Category Archives: Council

Mortuary Chapel in parish churchyard

In 1882, the parish church’s burial ground was enlarged and a mortuary chapel was built by Crockett at a cost of £1,761, as referred to in an advertised tender in the Surrey Mirror. (Adjusted for inflation, this was the equivalent of around £200,000 today.)

An entrance from Church Road was made, opposite the post office (later 71 Church Road). A path from this entrance led to a circular path in front the chapel.

The new burial ground was consecrated on 15th January 1883 by the Bishop of Rochester.

This 1910 Ordnance Survey map shows the entrance to the chapel as being opposite the letter box on the west side of Church Road. Another building is shown north east of the chapel, along the wall with Miles Road. The entrance that is there today is not shown and it is not known whether this building was related to the mortuary chapel.

1910 OS map


When Mitcham became part of the London Borough of Merton in 1965, the Coroner decided that autopsies and inquests would be performed at Battersea for both Merton and Wandsworth. This decision was recorded in the minutes of the Parks, Cemeteries and Allotments Committee dated 26th May 1965:

612. Mitcham and Wimbledon Mortuaries

The Director of Parks reported

(i) that following the reorganisation of the London boroughs, H.M. Coroner had decided that as from the 1st April, 1965, he will hold all inquests for both the London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth at the Battersea Coroner’s Court and that consequently all autopsies on bodies will be carried out at the Battersea Mortuary; and

(ii) that no request has been made to use the Wimbledon and Mitcham mortuaries which had been kept in readiness since the 1st April in case local funeral directors wish to use them as Chapels of Rest, and

(iii) that consequently there seemed to be no necessity to keep the mortuaries available particularly as some financial arrangements would have to be agreed with the London Borough of Wandsworth for bodies admitted to the Battersea Mortuary from this borough.

Source: Minutes of proceedings of the council and committees, London Borough of Merton Council Minutes, 1965-66, volume 2, part 1.

Today, nothing is left of the chapel building, although the circular path remains. It is currently not known when it was demolished.

Photo taken 26th April 2017 of plot where mortuary chapel once stood.

Measurements made using the online map show the length of 45 feet along its east-west side, and its depth of 30 feet along its north-south side.

Inquests were held at the Mortuary Chapel. Here are links to some newspaper articles that reported them.

1895 Death from pleurisy
1910 Miss Ellen Peerless, of the Ship Laundry


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


Minutes of meetings held by the London Borough of Merton are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

Leonard H. Munday

Mitcham Borough Council Valuation Officer from 1928 to 1947.

In council minutes from 1917, he was a rate collector.

News Articles

Ex-valuation officer’s rating appeal dismissed

Mr Leonard Munday, valuation officer for Mitcham from 1928 until 1947, has failed in his bid to cut the rating assessment on his own house at Crescent Grove, Mitcham.

In a reserved decision in London on Thursday last week, Mr R.C.G. Fennell dismissed Mr Munday’s appeal against a local valuation court’s decision which reduced by £2 to £54 the gross value on his house. Mr Munday had asked the Tribunal for a greater reduction.

Industry zone

He said his house was within an area planned for industrial development. He had an intimate knowledge of rents in the borough, and in the absence of rental evidence relating to his own house, the next best method in fixing the assessment should be on the basis of the capital cost of the property. In adpoting such a method he arrived at figures representing a gross value of £38.

Mr Fennell said the present valuation officer, Mr W.H. Mason, had relied on pre-war rental evidence for 10 houses in the neighbourhood which he regarded as providing a fair basis for comparison, although they differed in size and situation.

Mr Munday was directed to pay the valuation officer a guinea costs.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 25th September, 1959, page 1.

Alfred Henry Bailey

Alderman and mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. Born 1876, died 22nd May, 1959.

Mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. This clip is from Merton Memories photo 50641 copyright London Borough of Merton

Mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. This clip is from Merton Memories photo 50641 copyright London Borough of Merton

His obituary as reported in the local press:

Mr A.H. Bailey, former mayor, Boer War veteran and campaigner for a better Mitcham, died on Friday after a short illness. He was 82.

Throughout his long connection with Mitcham he fought for improvements. It is through his efforts that Mitcham was provided with two secondary schools.

In recent years, despite his age, Mr Bailey continued to play an active part in local organisations and affairs.

Mr Bailey came to the district in 1909. For several years until his death he lived in a bungalow at Glebe Court Estate, London Road.

Before he met his wife and settled down he was a roamer. He went to South Africa in 1895, and fought in the Boer War.

He joined an uitlander regiment and, as sergeant, took part in the battles preceding the relief of Ladysmith.

After being a member of Mitcham Urban District Council for six years he was elected chairman in 1926. Since then he has served the district in almost every civic capacity.

He became a member of the Borough Council in 1935, an alderman in 1937 and in 1944 he and his wife became Mayor and Mayoress.

His interests in Mitcham were many. He was president of the local boy scouts association for 17 years, a war-time deputy chief warden, founder member of the North Mitcham Improvement Association and founder member of the Anglo-Netherlands Association – now the All Nations’ Sports and Cultural Association.

Mr Bailey’s funeral was on Wednesday (27th May, 1959) at South London Crematorium.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th May 1959

More information on his life was given in a profile in the The South Warder, magazine of the South Mitcham Residents Association, volume 1 issue 1, November 1947.

Born in 1876 at Epsom, he attended the same primary school as Mr. Chuter Ede, the MP for Mitcham in 1923.

At the age of 12 he was apprenticed to a trade he disliked, and when in his ‘teens he emigrated to South Africa, ultimately settling in Pretoria, working in a shop for three years and becoming personally acquainted with the State Attorney (Field Marshal Smuts).

When hostilities broke out he found the lines to Cape Colony and Natal blocked, and had to escape through Portuguese territory (this route was later used by Winston Churchill). Joining a Uitiander Corps, he quickly became a sergeant and saw service at Colenso, Vaal Krantz, Spion Kop, and eventually taking part in the relief of Ladysmith; he was then invalided home to England with enteric fever.

On returning to civil life he entered the Post Office engineering service, retiring in 1936 at the age of 60.

He came to Mitcham in 1909 and was elected to the Council in 1920, and raised to the Aldermanic bench in 1937.

Mr. Bailey was very prominent in the formation of the Air Raid Precautions of the Borough and served throughout the War as a Deputy Chief Warden.

He served on many Committees of the Council and also on several outside bodies, such as School Managers, Boy Scouts, etc., where he was well known for his intelligent approach to the problems arising therein.

Perhaps the highlight in his long career was to be chosen as Mayor during V.E. year, when, in addition to his normal duties, he was seen at practically every street party held in Mitcham, accompanied and ably supported by the Mayoress, Mrs. Bailey.


In the 1911 census, Alfred Henry Bailey, inspector in the engineers department of post office telephones, is living at 48 Boscombe Road, with his wife Florence May, aged 34, and daughter Mary Alice, aged 1.

From a public family tree on Ancestry, his daughter Mary Alice married Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse in 1938.

Alfred Henry Bailey died in 1959, as shown in his probate record, from Ancestry:

BAILEY Alfred Henry of 180 Glebe Court, London Road, Mitcham
Surrey, died 22nd May 1959 at St. Anthonys Hospital Cheam Surrey.

Probate London 9th July to Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse quantity surveyor and Mary Alice Rodhouse (Wife of the said Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse).

Effects £1886 13s. 8d.

Adjusted for inflation, this is worth around £40,000 in 2017 values.

Merton Memories Photos
1945
1946 visit to Hengelo
1958

H. Richards

He became a Councillor in 1922, Chairman of the Urban District Council in 1931, and Alderman of the Borough of Mitcham in 1938.

He was a lover of flowers and trees and was a Conservator of Mitcham Common.

He was chairman and secretary of the North Mitcham Plotowners.

He died in the spring of 1940.

Source: ‘The Sentinel’ magazine, September 1949.

Ernest Charles Clay, Mitcham Borough Treasurer

5th December 1958. Clip from Merton Memories photo http://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/collections/people/50478 (c) London Borough of Merton

5th December 1958. Clip from Merton Memories photo http://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/collections/people/50478 (c) London Borough of Merton

Mitcham Borough Treasurer for twenty years, he died at his home in Sutton on Friday 31st January, 1964, aged 57. He had retired from the council in September 1963, and had been suffering from ill heath for a number of years. The funeral service was at Mitcham Parish Church on 5th February 1964 which was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor and Mrs W.H. Sanderson; the Town Clerk, Mr R.H. White; and chief officers of Mitcham Council.

Mr Clay was one of the most prominent members in the community. Not only did he guide Mitcham Council on their methods of finance but also a large number of local organisations. He was a founder member of Mitcham Old People’s Housing Association; treasurer of the Old People’s Welfare Committee, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Mitcham Youth Committee and a founder member of the handicraft class for the disabled.

He was also a district head of the Forces Help Society and secretary of S.A.F.F.A. as well as being connected with many smaller organisations.

Mr Clay joined Mitcham Council in 1929 when it was an urban district. When Mitcham became a borough he was promoted to deputy borough treasurer and during the war he became the Borough Treasurer.

A keen photographer, he was to have been presented with the A.R.P.S. on Wednesday.

Mr Clay leaves a widow, son and daughter.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 7th February, 1964, page 1.

In his will, he left his widow £5,516 which, when adjusted for inflation, is around £100,00 in 2017 values.

Ernest Charles CLAY of 86 Albion Road, Sutton, Surrey, died
31st January 1964.

Probate

London 18th March to Dorothy May Clay, widow. £5,516.

Source: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995.
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 (c) Crown copyright.


Note about his forename: the newspaper article and Merton Memories photo refer to him as E.C. Clay. On Ancestry, a death index entry has an Ernest C. Clay, aged 57, first quarter of 1964, Surrey Mid Eastern (Vol 5G, page 294), which is assumed to be him. Also from Ancestry, the will for Ernest Charles Clay is a match on the date of death, residence in Sutton.

1903 : House Refuse Nuisance in Lewis Road

This report to the Mitcham Parochial Committee of the Croydon Rural District Council describes a parcel of land, formerly and orchard, which has been divided by two owners. A gravel pit, filled with water has dried out and is being used to dump household waste, leading to the nuisance complained of. The report describes the size of the land, who owns it and where houses were built.

This 1894 OS map shows a field, number 298, of the same size referred to in the report, and so could be Nicholl’s Orchard.

1894 OS map

1894 OS map

From the minutes of the
Croydon Rural District Council
Mitcham Parochial Committee
Volume VIII 1902 – 1903
21st July 1903
page 294

2. House Refuse: Lewis Road.

The Sub-committee appointed to consider and report upon the alleged nuisance caused by the deposit of house refuse on land in Lewis Road, occupied by Messrs. Reader and Cramp, submitted the following report:-

The piece of land in question is about 3.5 acres in extent, and was
formerly known as “Nicholls’ Orchard.” It has a frontage of about 230 ft
to Lewis Road, and a depth of something over 650 foot. The gravel was
excavated a few years ago from the whole of the land in question, with the
exception of a small piece in the south-west corner abutting on Lewis Road.
The piece of land has since been sub-divided, the western portion being
owned and occupied by Mr. George Reader, and the eastern portion being occupied by Mr. Cramp.

Mr. Reader has built a pair of cottages on the south west corner of his piece abutting on Lewis Road. There are two or three cottages on the other side of Lewis Road, near to the south east corner of the part occupied by Mr Cramp, but, generally speaking, this district is sparsely inhabited.

The filling up of both parts of this excavated gravel pit has apparently been going on for the past year or two in an irregular and unsystematic manner.
The materials used for filling consist of miscellaneous rubbish, a large part of which appears to be unobjectionable from a sanitary point of view (however unsightly it may be from the point of view of the landscape gardener). A certain proportion of it, however, no doubt consists of vegetable and other refuse, the decomposition of which under unfavourable conditions might produce malarious vapours and be injurious to health.
When the Sub Committee first visited the place on Saturday, the 20th June, it was flooded by the exceptional rains of the previous week; a large part was completely submerged, and the remainder was a sloppy bog.

As this moisture evaporated during the dry weather which followed, bad and unwholesome vapours were no doubt given off, but that was a state of things prevalent throughout the district after the abnormal rains, and was not peculiar to the piece of land under consideration.

When the land was revisited three weeks later a marked improvement was apparent. On Mr. Cramp’s part of the land there was still a deepish pool of some size at the further end from the road to which the filling in process has not yet extended, the water in which was discoloured and foul, and there were still some puddles of foul and stagnant water in certain hollows and depressions on Mr. Reader’s piece; but having regard to the distance from dwellings and the nature of the surroundings, there was nothing to take serious exception to.

Mr. Cramp had been continuing to bring in dust contractors dust-bin refuse, but following up a caution from the Sub-Committee, had had it covered fairly.

Mr. Reader had been taking in no more filling in of any kind, and made complaint of what he considered inequality of treatment, saying that Mr. Cramp had been permitted to continue to fill in with dust contractors dustbin clearings, whereas he (Reader) had been forbidden ; that in consequence the general level of Cramp’s piece was raised a foot or more higher than Reader’s, and the water was forced from Cramp’s on to Reader’s piece, causing the puddles before referred to.

As regards this complaint the Sub-Committee think there must have been some misunderstanding on Reader’s part, for it is manifestly desirable that both Reader and Cramp should be encouraged to fill in as rapidly as possible, so as to bring the surface of the land up to the normal level, and get rid of the pools of stagnant water from which malarial vapours may arise.

If this work of filling in is undertaken systematically from the frontage to Lewis Road with dust-bin clearings and other suitable materials, properly covered as the work goes on, the water which must gather in the hollows will be gradually driven further and further back from the roadway and the inhabited houses until it is got rid of altogether, and the land will be rendered fit for cultivation.

Both Mr. Reader and Mr. Cramp appear ready and willing to do this, which is manifestly to the advantage of their property, and this Sub-Committee recommends that the misapprehension under which Mr. Reader appeals to labour, as before stated, be removed by a proper intimation from this Committee, and that for the present no further action be taken.

G. Farewell Jones.
George Parker.
John Stickings.


Minutes of meetings held by the Croydon Rural District Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

Glebe Square

Social housing built by Mitcham Borough Council, in 1955, on the site of the Glebe Villas. The council’s 2,500th post-war dwelling was completed there.

The blocks of flats are arranged as a square, with the western side on the east side of Glebe Path. The two southern blocks face Lower Green West, but are separated from it by fencing. There are two other blocks, one on the eastern and the other on the northern side.

There are 36 properties in total, numbered anti-clockwise sequentially from 1. In 1960 an attempt was made to change the numbers of the western block that had doors facing onto Glebe Path. Protests from homeowners in that road prevented this. See Glebe Path renumbering.

Layout of Glebe Square. Lower Green West is at the bottom of this diagram.

Layout of Glebe Square. Lower Green West is at the bottom of this diagram.

Aerial view of Glebe Square. The road on the left of the square is Glebe Path.

Aerial view of Glebe Square, looking northwards. The road on the left of the square is Glebe Path.