Tag Archives: Wide Way

A Romance of Evacuation

From the Norwood News – Friday 24 August 1945

A ROMANCE OF EVACUATION

Bridegroom 75, and Bride 77

LATEST tenants at Mitcham’s hut town at Wide Way, are a 77-years-old bride and her 75- years-old bridegroom. The wedding at Mitcham Parish Church of these two old-age pensioners was notable for several reasons. First, the bride arrived with no-one to give her away, and then it was found that the bridegroom had been equally forgetful — he had not brought a best man.

The quandary of Mrs. Flora Sarah Farr, Rodney-road, Mitcham, and Mr. Hadyn Douglas Sanders, Bruce-road, was solved by Mr. A. E. Champion, who in nearly fifty years as parish clerk has attended thousands of weddings and has unriddled many such knotty problems.

He not only became best man but persuaded Mr. Joseph Stevens, gallery keeper, who happened to be in the vicinity, to give the bride away. All four members of the bridal party who assembled before the vicar, the Rev. G. S. Lubbock, were over seventy years of age.

The ceremony over, Mr. and Mrs. Sanders sought a wedding luncheon at several local hotels. but it being Sunday they were unsuccessful, and so they went to their new hut home, where the bride opened a tin of corn beef.

EVACUATION ROMANCE.

The romance of Mr. and Mrs. Sanders began when a party of Mitcham old people were evacuated during the flying bomb raids to a country mansion at Great Barrington, Oxfordshire. Their first meeting was last summer, when they packed into cars at the Mitcham Citizens’ Advice Bureau for their journey into the country. During their nine months stay at the mansion Mr. and Mrs. Sanders sat next to each other at meals, and took walks in the country lanes together. When they returned to Mitcham they decided they would like to continue the companionship and arranged to get married. Both were so anxious to keep the wedding quiet that they did not tell their families the date on which it was to take place. “We were sure that it would leak out and that there would be someone we knew at church who would be able to act as witnesses. But no-one turned up and we had to rely on the good offices of Mr. Champion,” said Mr. Sanders.

Mr. Sanders lost his home in an early blitz, when his wife, son and daughter were killed. As a bombed-out person he qualified for a hut. Both he and his wife like their new home. Mr. Sanders managed to save enough furniture from the ruin of his old home to make the hut comfortable. Its walls are hung with pictures of his family, of whom he is very proud. Among them are portraits of his mother, Grace Armitage, who achieved fame as an actress in the latter part of the last century. His sister, Grace Noble, following in her mother’s footsteps, also became an actress and won renown in Australia.

Mr. Sanders’ father was an opera singer and appeared at Covent Garden, but his early death brought hardships to the family who had chosen Tooting as their headquarters. His mother continued her career and sang at a Manchester theatre on the night her son, Haydn, was born — to help bring up her family of four boys. As soon as he was old enough Haydn went out to work in the shoe trade.

“If there had been enough money for training I should probably have followed in my father’s steps and, become a singer,” said Mr. Sanders, “But as it was I spent a life-time in the shoe trade, starting at a Tooting shop and working in many parts of the country. Now, with Mrs. Sanders, I am going to enjoy a well-earned rest, free from bombs,” he said.

Notes

The original news article had the spelling Saunders instead of Sanders, which is the spelling used by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) website and records on Ancestry.

Mr Sander’s wife, son and daughter died during the Blitz, on 11th October, 1940, at 29 Bruce Road. Below are links to the CWGC casualty records:

His wife, Minnie Sanders, aged 69. His son, Reginald Frederick Sanders, aged 44, an A.R.P. Stretcher Bearer. His daughter Ella Marjory Dunn, aged 31, wife of Charles Dunn.

Flora Sanders died later that year. Her death is registered in the last quarter of the year, in registration district Surrey Mid Eastern, Volume 2a, Page 268.

Haydn Douglas Sanders died the following year, on 11th November 1946. His address was 35 Wide Way.

Mitcham and District Lambretta Club

Clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_Transport_17-1

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 19th January, 1962, page 1:

Night out for the Goons

The Mitcham Goons celebrated their fourth annual dinner at The White Hart Hotel, Mitcham.

Mr and Mrs D.C. Guy were guests of honour and Bob Hazell of Surrey Scooters, vice-president of the club, was also there.

The trophies for the annual club memorial trial were presented by Derek C. Guy, the first place being won by Harry Neal the club’s secretary, second place by Mike Austin and third place by Norman Creker.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 8th March, 1957, page 1:

A piece of mouldy cheese fetches 3s

A piece of mouldy cheese wrapped in paper sold for 3s. on Monday.

It was a mock auction organised by Mitcham and District Lambretta Club. All the parcels were wrapped so that the bidders did not know the contents.

Other articles sold included a bottle of Mitcham lavender that raised 5s., a puncture outfit and a pinafore.

A novelty item was a cardboard replica replica of a “goon.” It was made by Mrs Margaret Griffiths, Wide Way, Mitcham.

Mrs Griffiths has also designed “goon” pennants and badges. (Goon Harry Secombe is club president.)

The auctioneer was Mr G Hall, Bramcote Avenue, Mitcham, the Club chairman. Nearly £4 was raised.

1960 : Glad Farewell to Nissen Huts

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th April 1960

Home … but not for much longer for the occupiers of this Nissen hut at Wide Way. Until recently there were many homes like this on the site.

The last families on Mitcham’s largest Nissen hut colony on Wide Way will soon be saying a glad farewell to the dwellings they call home.
They are the last of 60 families who have lived in the galvanised huts on a muddy site littered with bricks, glass and old car parts for as long as eight years.

But nearly all have tried to make a home of the huts until better places are found for them.

One mother of six boys between the ages of 15 months and 11 years said she found it almost impossible to bring up a family in such conditions. But she had tried, and gay curtains decorated the small windows of the hut.

BROKEN WINDOWS

Another woman with four young children is looking forward to moving to a house with a small garden.

“As long as I have somewhere where they can play without wandering away or getting lost, I won’t mind,” she said stop

“The garages in nearby houses are in better condition a More habitable in these hearts similar woman. But I’m lucky ones – I am moving this week.”

At present there are fewer than a dozen families living on the site. The empty huts have become a playground for children who have added to the chaos by breaking windows and defacing the walls.

Wide Way

Road that runs from the crossroads at its north end with Manor Road, Rowan Road and Northborough Road, south-easterly to the roundabout with Recreation Way, South Lodge Avenue, Chestnut Grove and Sherwood Park Road. See Open Street Map.

1954 OS map

Temporary housing using Nissen Huts was on the south side of the road until 1960.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.