Tag Archives: Wilson Hospital

The Brampton Connection

Overheard on an S1 bus recently, as it passed the Wilson Hospital:

“Wilson Hospital?”
“Which Wilson was that then?”
“Harold Wilson?”

Named after Isaac Wilson, the Wilson Cottage Hospital in Cranmer Road, was opened in 1928. He paid £60,000 for the land and its construction. In 1933, he donated a further £10,000 for an extension to the hospital.

The Cumberland Hospital, built in the grounds of his house Birches, was named after his home county.

Eric Montague, in his Mitcham Histories book “The Cricket Green”, tells us that Isaac Wilson was born in 1862 in Milton, near Carlisle, one of four sons of a Cumbrian farmer. His brothers persuaded him to join them in London, where their building business was flourishing.

For a time Isaac and his wife Sarah lived at Fulham and then, in the early 1900s, they moved to Gorringe Park Avenue in Mitcham. Whilst living there the Wilsons became active members of St. Barnabas church and many of the houses in the vicinity were built by them.

He lived at ‘The Hut’, later numbered 185 Commonside East, on the western corner of Cedars Avenue, until 1928. He then lived at The Birches, built by his firm in Lower Green East. This road was renamed to Cricket Green in 1944 after a suggestion by Lady Robertson.

An idea of the size of their enterprise can found in the local newspaper report on the Mitcham Military Service Tribunal in 1916, when Joseph Wilson asked that his last employee left be given exemption. Mr Wilson said that before the war he had a staff of 40, and there were around 1,000 houses to be kept in repair.

Isaac Wilson also funded the building of 56 houses for the elderly, the Mitcham Garden Village, which was opened in 1930.

A similar development of 24 homes in Brampton, near his home town of Milton, Cumbria, called the Wilson Memorial Homes, was built in 1930.

Back to Mitcham, and the house at the corner of Cold Blows, currently a nursery, was originally called Brampton. Montague says it was believed to have been built by the Wilson firm, which, given its name, is quite likely. See 1953 OS Map.

1928 Princess Mary At Mitcham

Western Daily Press – Thursday 08 November 1928

Scene Outside Hospital Gates.
The people of Mitcham received a visit from Royalty for the first time yesterday, when Princess Mary opened the Wilson Cottage Hospital, which has been erected on the edge of the common. Thousands of people, mostly women and children, thronged the common, which was decorated with flags and red bunting. About ten minutes after the Princess had entered the hospital two men made their way through the crowd to the gates. A commotion followed, and the men were eventually removed by the police, one of them having to be lifted bodily from the ground and carried.

Events of 1932

From the Mitcham News & Mercury of 6th January 1933

It can be safely said of Mitcham, as of the majority of other places, that few regretted the passing of 1932, with its times of severe depression, but that everyone is looking forward confidence to enjoying better times in 1933. An important event early in the year was the decision of the Council for a petition for the incorporation of Mitcham as a borough. During the year Mitcham Common Conservators sanctioned public golf on the Common, and decided not to allow Sunday football. A new Rotary club for Mitcham was inaugurated in February, and in April Mr Joseph Owen gave £4,025, in addition to the site, for a public library. In November the new super-swimming baths were opened. The wedding of Mr Isaac Wilson, J.P., to Miss Elsie Evans, former matron of Wilson Hospital took place in October. The death-roll included Dr A.W. Harrison, Mrs S.J. Mount, the Rev. Alfred Grove, curate of the Parish Church, and Mrs Roberts, wife of the Rev. W.K.Roberts, vicar of St. Marks Church.


2 Frederick Thomas Mansfield (18) of Homewood Road, Mitcham, electrocuted at butcher’s shop in Church Road

12 Mitcham Council decide on petition for incorporation

15 Death of Mrs Florence Edith Trevelyan Juster, wife of Mr John Juster, undertaker, High Street, Colliers Wood, aged 59

18 Funeral of Mr Walker T. Davis, of Penge Road, South Norwood, an old-time Mitcham cricketer.

18 Death of Dr. Arthur William Harrison, of Park Road, Colliers Wood, aged 64

28 Mr and Mrs William White, of 144, High Street, Colliers Wood, golden wedding


7 Death of Mrs Mary Florence Downing, wife of Mr H. P. Burke Downing, a distinguished church organist of Colliers Wood

15 Death of Mrs Sarah Jane Mount, wife of Mr Harry Mount, J.P., of Church Road, Mitcham, aged 67

15 Inauguration of new Rotary Club for Mitcham

19 Death of Mr B C Moore (18) of Tynemouth Road, Mitcham, a promising footballer and cricketer

24 Death of the Rev. Alfred Grove, curate of the Mitcham Parish Church; aged 40


5 Funeral of Mr L. White, for 29 years chief sanitary inspector at Mitcham

29 Mitcham and Tooting Football Clubs amalgamate


15 Robbery of £660 from workmen’s hut at Figges Marsh

18 Death of Mr W R Boon, of Tamworth Park, aged 96

26 Mr Joseph Owen’s munificent gift of £4,025 towards Public Library, including site

26 Election of Mr W Carlton, J.P., chairman of Mitcham Council


3 Public golf course on Mitcham Common sanctioned by Conservators


1 Mitcham New Congregational Church in London Road, dedicated and opened

5 Mr Stanley G Barrows (31), an auxiliary fireman, found gassed at Edmund Road, Mitcham

6 Mr Ernest Burnell (52), of Prussia Place, Nursery Road, Mitcham, found hanging

18 Foundation stone laid of headquarters of 10th Mitcham (Christchurch) Scout Group, by Sir T. Cato Worsfold

22 Death of Mrs Jane Theresa Lewington, of the Catholic Presbytery, London Road


3 Mitcham Catholic’s procession

6 Record show at Mitcham Floral and Horticultural Society

13 Mrs Miriam Victoria Moore, aged 35, and her daughter, Denise Olive Moore, aged six, found gassed at Caesar’s Walk, Mitcham

18 New police boxes opened

26 Councillor S.L. Gaston created a Justice of the Peace


8 Mrs Sophie Garrett, aged 62, found murdered at Love Lane, Mitcham. Her husband, John William Garrett, aged 56, afterwards found guilty but insane

14 Marriage of two dwarfs at St Barnabas Church. Miss Dorothy Kathleen Griffiths, of Thirsk Road, Tooting Junction, 3ft. 10ins., and Vivian Pascoe, of Hammersmith, 4ft.

18 Mr and Mrs F. Jones, of Melrose Avenue, diamond wedding

18 Death of Mr George reynolds, an old showman at Mitcham Fair; aged 79

30 Destructive fire at Hill Farm, Bishopsford Road


18 Fire at Grosvenor Model Laundry, Colliers Wood, damage estimated at £1,200


4 Farewell and presentation to Mr F.C. Stone, head master of Lower Mitcham Boys’ School


2 No Sunday football on Mitcham Common decision by Conservators

12 Death of Mrs Roberts, wife of the Rev W. K. Roberts, vicar of St. Marks Church, Mitcham

28 Opening of Mitcham’s new super-swimming baths and dance hall


5 Mr and Mrs Isaac H. Wilson entertain Rotary Club of Mitcham

7 Opening of Shaftesbury Society’s meeting place in Gladstone Road, Mitcham

16 “Mercury’s” exclusive announcement of Mitcham’s first cinema, the Majestic

18 Mr and Mrs R. J. E. Wiss, of 89 Caithness Road, Mitcham, diamond wedding

22 Destructive fire at Bond Road, six cottages involved

23 Mr and Mrs A. E. Knight, of 339 Church Road, golden wedding

23 Mr Ronald Arthur Keeble (20), fell 80ft. to death from dome of Eyre Smelting Works, Colliers Wood

Athel Russell Harwood

Born in January 1863, died 25th March 1943. He left £17,723 6s. 5d. in his will (£750,000 in 2015 money).

He built two houses on the glebe lands, opposite the post office (which became the telephone exchange), and called them Athelstan and Thrushcross. He sold Athelstan and lived in Thrushcross until his death.

He gave £100 to the local Horticultural Society and another £100 to the Mitcham Cricket Club.

In the 1911 census, he was listed as being a collector to the gas company, and lived with his wife Caroline, aged 43 and daughter Kathleen, 22. In addition they had a live-in domestic servant, Nellie Howe, aged 16.

From 1926, his address in the electoral registers is 308 London Road.

He was the first annual subscriber to the Wilson Hospital. In the Mitcham Tooting Advertiser of 29th March 1943, Colonel Stephen Chart, the chairman of the hospital said that Mr Harwood had left £2,000 to the hospital subject to the payment of 10 shillings per week for life to one of his wife’s relatives.

According to this historic inflation calculator, £2,000 in 1943 is the equivalent of £84,000 in 2015.

A photograph of 1887 shows him as captain of the fire brigade.

He also suggested the planting of trees for the coronation of King George VI in 1936 and gave £50 towards the cost. The road King George VI Avenue, leading from the Blue House Bridge to the entrance of the Wilson Hospital, was completed in 1937.


1. Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.
Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England © Crown copyright.

2. Ancestry.com. Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Surrey Electoral Registers. Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey, England.

3. Source: Mitcham Histories 12 : Church Street and Whitford Lane, page 108
NB: Montague has the spelling Thrushcroft for his house instead of Thrushcross as in the electoral registers etc.

4. Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 29th March 1943 page 1

King George VI Avenue

After the abdication of Edward the eight, Albert Frederick Arthur George became king George VI on 11th December 1936.

His wife, the then Duchess of York, proposed a nationwide tree planting as a permanent memorial of the coronation.

King George VI Avenue, on Cranmer Green, was created with the planting of 36 tulip trees and 36 purple-leaved plum trees. The number 36 was chosen to represent the year, 1936, of his becoming king, although his coronation was not until the following year, on 12th May, 1937.

On 29th December, 1936, the Town Clerk reported that he had attended a meeting of the Coronation Planting Committee with the mayor and the then Duchess of York about adopting some scheme of tree planting as a permanent memorial of the coronation, and that since then the Borough Council had been approached by resident Mr Athel R. Harwood, who had offered to contribute to any scheme of planting that the Council might think to adopt.

The Council then resolved that an avenue of trees be planted from the Blue House Bridge to the gates of the Wilson Hospital, and for other plantations of suitable trees to be arranged in the land between the avenue and the line of the Southern Railway.

On 7th April 1937 the Town Clerk report that Messrs. John Waterers, Son and Crisp, Ltd. of Bagshot, were carrying out the scheme in accordance with the arrangements approved by Mr A. R. Harwood, who contributed £50 (£3,100 in 2015) towards the cost.

looking south with avenue on left

looking south with avenue on left

looking north with avenue on the right

looking north with avenue on the right

The line taken by the road was that of the drive that approached the entrance of Cranmer House, shown as ‘Cranmer’ in this 1910 map. According to Eric Montague in his “Mitcham Histories : 11 The Cranmers, The Canons and Park Place“, page 4, this drive was originally lined with tall elm trees.

1950 Cranmer Green

1950 Cranmer Green

From the Royal Record of the tree planting:

An avenue of 36 purple-leaved plum (Prunus Pissardii) and 36 tulip trees (Liriodendron Tulipifera), with individual trees and clumps consisting of 11 purple Norway maple (Acer platanoides Schwedleri), 11 silver birch (Betula verrucosa), 1 copper beech (Fagus sylvatica cuprea), 1 weeping ash (Fraxinus excelsior pendula), 3 purple sycamore (Acer purpureum), 4 red-twigged lime (Tilia platyphyllos corallina), 7 red horsechestnut (Aesculus carnea), 3 beech (Fagus sylvatica), 6 lime (Tilia euchlora), 3 Norway maple (Acer platanoides), 1 Turkey oak (Quercus Cerris), 3 golden sycamore (Acer Pseudoplatanus Worlei), 1 scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea), 3 maple (Acer platanoides Drummondi), 12 white elm (Ulmis americana), 11 willow (Salix vitellina britzensis), 3 willow (Salix vitellina), 2 cherry (Prunus Sargentii), 7 cherry in variety, 7 willow (Salix babylonica ramulis aureis); planted by the Borough Council.

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