Category Archives: Housing

Connect House

Office building, 21 Willow Lane, Mitcham, CR4 4FL.

Bought on 29th January 2015 for £3,100,000 by CONNECT HOUSE LTD (Co. Regn. No. 9296558) of Unit 9, Ravensdale Industrial Estate, Timberwharf Road, London N16 6DB. Source: Land Registry, title number TGL100496, obtained November 2017.

The land was used to grow watercress by Gaston DUTRIEZ, who bought the property from William Francis Joseph SIMPSON in 1922. Source: Land Registry title and 1930 Commercial directory.

In 2012, Google Street View shows the building as Connect House Serviced Offices, by a company called Frendcastle. On 8th November 2017, BBC London reported that the building was being used by four local councils as temporary housing, with rooms costing between £30 and £40 per night. A Royal Mail postcode search for the address shows 84 flats.

2016 Street View

2012 Street View

1938 OS map


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

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Rigid rules of the almshouses in old days

Clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_​Almshouses_​1-2, copyright London Borough of Merton. This early drawing shows the original enclosing wall.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 13th May, 1960, page 3.

TWELVE middle-aged women, protected from the cold winds by woollen capes that reached their ankles, wended their way to Mitcham Parish Church in 1829.

Parishioners who saw the women demurely stepping out each Sunday, knew by their dress that they lived at the newly-erected almshouses at the Cricket Green, Mitcham.

For in 1829 the Tate’s Almshouses were constructed to provide “a residence free from rent, taxes and outgoings for 12 poor women who shall be respectively widows or unmarried women … members of the Church of England and who have a legal settlement in the parish.”

TRUST FUND

For generations the Tate families had been benefactors in the parish and in this early part of the 19th century decided it was time to build houses for the poor and set up a trust fund.

The building, familiar to residents today, was built to designs by a Mr. Buckler on the site of a former house belonging to the Tates who lived nearby. When completed a board of trustees was set up to choose applicants for admission to the house and to organise the administrative side.

These well meaning gentlemen included the Rev. James Henry Mapleton, Vicar of Mitcham, who acted as clerk to the trustees; George Matthew Hoare, of Morden Lodge; Sir John William Lubbock, of Norfolk, and William Simpson, squire in Carshalton.

Each of these ebullient figures invested some money in the project as did the foundress, Mary Tate who gave £5,000.

EXPENSE

The almshouses, whose exterior has altered little, are built in the style prevalent in the latter part of the 16th century and were erected “ at considerable expense.”

For the poor of the parish there was considerable competition to be allocated a room or small flatlet in the almshouses and when, at last, they were successful in gaining admission, there were some fairly rigid rules to be observed.

A copy of the rules was presented by Worthing Public Library to Mitcham Library in the early 1930s.

One of the main stipulations was that the “almswomen” were to be 50 years old and upwards and were not to have received poor relief in the five previous years. They were to be selected by Mary Tate during her life and subsequently by the trustees.

The women forfeited their weekly allowance of three shillings if they remained outside their home for more than 24 hours without official leave.

They were expected to “ behave civilly and orderly and to live orderly and religious lives,” attending the church each week and receiving the sacraments four times each year.

The gates, inset in the high brick wall round the building, were locked at 11 p.m. and an hour earlier during the winter months.

No strangers were allowed into their homes without special permission and on receiving the weekly allowance, the women were “enjoined to discharge all debts contracted in the last week.”

They were also not allowed to keep dogs or alter their apartments without permission.

From this early record, it would seem that the establishment was run on rather austere lines with the matron keeping a book with the names of the women and reporting ” for infraction of the rules ” to the trustees.

The women also benefited from “Smith’s charity.” Smith was an eccentric retired London jeweller who travelled Surrey on foot accompanied by his old dog. He was dubbed “ Dog-smith ” and was reputed to leave sums of money where villages received him well.

Some of the correspondence between William Simpson and Mary Tate, who moved to a country house at Loughborough, shows how the women were chosen to live at the almshouses.

SAME COURSE

In February, 1837, he wrote. . . ” our course at the last vacancy was to give notice of it at church and invite each candidate to send in her grounds of admission to the trustees … if it is your pleasure we should follow the same course on the present occasion, will you do me the honour to communicate with me.”

Then again he wrote to Sir Lubbock asking if he considered it suitable to ask applicants to go to the almshouses 44 when particulars of each case be laid before Miss Tate for her decision on the next vacancy.”

But now a proportion of the old rules have been changed and a recently completed modernisation scheme has resulted in a transformation within the building.

The residents — still all women who have lived in the locality for not less than five years—have had their two-room flatlets redecorated in pleasant light colours. Electric light has been
installed, inside toilets, baths and new gas stoves in some of the apartments.

There is a new roof and drainage system and other renovations completed by a Mitcham firm to make the homes more comfortable.

The women, who now pay a small nominal rent, are chosen by a seven-man committee of trustees. Following former custom. Rev. John Thorold, Vicar of Mitcham, is the ex-officio trustee.

The memory of the Tate family is carried on, however, for there are several tablets and plaques in the parish church commemorating various members of the family.

Among them is a white marble monument erected to George Tate, “a gentleman of aimiable and accomplished manners,” father of the foundress, who died at the age of 77 in May, 1822.

1944 : Bath Road Condemned but still Inhabited

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th November, 1944

BATH ROAD CONDEMNED BUT STILL INHABITED

When Will The Huts Come?

The Job is Urgent in Mitcham

Deplorable Conditions

Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve, K.C., is Lord Woolton’s Chief of Staff in connection with the repair of bombed houses in the London area. Recently he paid a visit to the Town Hall.

Where he ought to have gone was Bath-road, Mitcham.

A member of our editorial staff – most appropriately, perhaps a young woman member – has been there, and her description of what she saw may be a spur to Sir Malcolm, the Mitcham Council, and all concerned.

When I visited Bath-road I asked the people there if they would prefer to live in the Baths Hall, which the Housing Committee, on the suggestion of the Housing Manager (Miss B. Thrupp) recommended should be turned into a hostel.

Their “No” was unanimous.

They do not want a glorified shelter life.

Many were under the impression that they could not remain there during the day, and said that night shelter alone was no use to them. I understand that the people were to be allowed to remain there if they wished.

Now, owing to lack of support, it seems unlikely that the hall will be opened as a hostel, though at the time of writing the committee’s decision is not public.

What are the conditions in Bath-road?

All the houses there are condemned. And rightly so. For even in its best days Bath-road was never a health resort. Now it is utterly desolate.

Like War Derelict Area.

It is like a deserted battlefield, grey, derelict, and very quiet; an apparently uninhabited place. There was no sign of life as I entered it. Ruined houses, most of them open to wind and rain lay on either side. Here and there attempts had been made to board up doors and windows, but most gaped open to disclose broken walls and piled-up rubble. Yet amid the ruins of these houses I estimate that over sixty men, women and children are living in conditions that can be best described as mediaeval. Often the only way of telling if a house is occupied is by a thin column of smoke that rises from the ruins.

I had thought the place deserted, and then I counted nine columns of smoke.

It came as rather a shock to know that behind these grey, silent walls so many families were living. Few have any lighting apart from lamps and candles.

Drains have been blocked by rubble, so that there is no proper sanitation.

There is not one room in the road that is wind- and water-proof. These conditions have existed since July.

Suddenly, at the far end of the road, a child appeared. She went to the door of a broken house, and as she called a woman appeared and sold her potatoes. It was Mrs Gibbs. She told me she lived there with her daughter. She showed me a room lighted by a fire and a little light from a boarded window. The walls were wet and laths showed in the ceiling.

Children’s Voices

“We sleep in an Anderson, but about 3 a.m. are usually so cold that we get up and come into the house,” she said.

“A lot of people live in the houses opposite,” she told me. I knocked on the loose door of one of them, and as there was no answer, walked into a narrow, damp passage. The stairs were broken, the front room a mass of rubble and broken rafters, but from the back of the house came children’s voices.

There, living in one room, with only the barest furniture, was Mrs Smith and her four children. Last week her husband went overseas. He is very unhappy about his family, especially as his wife is expecting another child in February. At present they sleep in the Tube.

“I want a place near so that my sister can look after me when the baby is born. I cannot go on much longer in these conditions and feel sure that if the Council officials could see what conditions are like here they would do something about it,” she said. She said she was one of the first on the list for huts.

The Universal Question

“When do the huts arrive?” she asked, a question I was asked by every family to whom I spoke. I was unable to give an encouragng reply, for only the day before the Borough Surveyor (Mr Riley Schofield) had said that it was unlikely that any huts would be available in Mitcham before Christmas!

Next door to Mrs Smith live Mrs Clark and her son, the latter home on sick leave from the Merchant Navy. Next to them is her son, Charles Clark. He, with his wife and five children, all sleep in an Anderson and live in a small draughty room. He, too, asked, “When do the huts arrive?” And with reason, for his wife is expecting another child.

Later, as I passed an apparently derelict house, a woman in a red coat appeared from a broken doorway. “Do you want to see us?” she asked, and going in, I found her 72-year old mother, Mrs Rachel Smith, having tea by candlelight. The room was dark, for all the windows were boarded up and furniture salvaged from other rooms was stacked round the walls. The front room was piled with rubble, the stairs were unsafe. The habited room is probably unsafe. “I cannot sleep here, for there is no bed, and so I go down the Tube. We cannot lock the room, and one night things were stoeln. I have lived here all my married life, and my thirteen children were born here,” she said.

Her daughter, Mrs Penfold, is expecting her husband, who is serving overseas, home at Christmas. “I have no home to offer him. What shall I do?” she asked.

Further down the road lives Mr Honey with six others, two of them are sick, in a tiny kitchen. They sleep in Andersons in what used to be their garden.

People living in similar conditions in Chapel-road and Century-road. They know that hundreds are in like plight, though I doubt if any borough can show a worse area than Bath-road. The people there seemed glad that someone, even if only a newspaper reporter, was taking an interest in them, though many of them showed disappointment when they found that it was “only a reporter” and not “someone from the Council.”

Several families said they felt that more would have been done if members of the Council had seen conditions for themselves.

When Mrs Smith learnt that Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve had been down to the Town Hall she said : “I wish he had come down here, then he would have known how badly we need those huts.”

Lulworth Crescent

New road and housing built on site of the Standard Upholstery factory, 36 Lewis Road, in 1988/9. Planning permission 88/P1640 was approved for the :

redevelopment of site by the erection of 20 no. 3 bed houses 14 no. 1 bed flats and 9 no. 2 bed flats with associated parking and landscaping including construction of new link road between Lewis Road and Portland Road.

The new link road referred became an extension to Portland Road. After the Standard Upholstery company left, its factory buildings was known as the Standard Trading Estate.

Street map of Lulworth Crescent overlaid onto Standard Upholstery factory

Street map of Lulworth Crescent overlaid onto Standard Upholstery factory

Ascot Road

Road built on a former golf course, hence the name the Links Estate, in around 1907. Between Seely Road and Links Road.

1913 OS map

1913 OS map

From the minutes of the Croydon Rural District council
Volume XII 1906 to 1907
Highways and New Streets and Buildings
10th January 1907

Application number 4129 from Mac Callum Bros. to build 50 houses in Ascot Road.


Occupants rom the 1915 street directory

from Links Road:
WEST SIDE

1, Alfred John SEWELL
3, Charles Robert STEGGALL
7, John BACON
9, Henry ROCHE
11, Amos JEFF
13, William J White
15, Ernest CROOK
17, James Cameron PARHAM
19, William JOHNS
21, Bertie John SAUNDERS
23, Mrs M.A. WHITE
25, Joseph OLSTEAD
27, William BUNDOCK
29, Edward WALTERS
31, Miss DELPLANQUE
33, Charles Henry GODWIN
35, Augustus WRIGHT
37, George PARTRIDGE
39, George Campbell GRACE
Ascot Villa, William BALDRY

EAST SIDE

2, William COOK
4, Ercole RAFFONI
6, Henry John TESTER
8, Francis BLACKWELL
10, Edmund George NEALE
12, Lascoff HUMPHREYS
14, Edward James FERGUSON
16, Charles Frederick Durrie MULFORD
18, Mrs MANDER, nurse
20, Walter John ELLIS
22, Daniel Chant WILLIS
24, William John COX
26, Lewis ESCOTT
28, John SANTRY
30, William Joseph McCARTNEY
32, Walter Henry JORDAN
34, Thomas WEATHERSTON
36, James Arthur TILLOTT
38, Chalres James SCREECH
40, Mrs CLARK
42, Frederick Robert GREEN
44, Henry SPOONER
46, Arthur James REEVE
48, Herbert CROSSLAND
50, Mrs TAYLOR
52, Charles MORITZ
58, William WEXHAM
60, William Henry JULIAN

From a 1939 auction:

SALE TUESDAY EVENING NEXT.

LEONARD DAVEY & HART Have been instructed to offer by Auction, at the Greyhound Hotel. Croydon, on TUESDAY. 28th MARCH, at 6.30 p.m. The following properties:-

9, ASCOT ROAD, TOOTING JUNCTION.

— Attractive centrally situated Villa, producing £65 gross. Lease 67 years at £5.


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.

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

Queen Anne’s Gardens

Cul-de-sac road that runs eastward from the north end of Glebe Path. Possibly built in 1928/9 as first mentioned in electoral registers of 1930.

Presumably named after the Queen Anne’s Bounty that bought land in this area as ‘glebes’: a source of income to support the local clergy.

In this 1953 OS map, the shaded area to the right hand side of number 14 was a pair of garages.

1953 OS map

1953 OS map

Houses are arranged in three terraces, two on the north side, numbers 1 to 13 and 15 to 27, and one on the south side, numbered 2 to 16.

Number 16 at the eastern end of the south side was added in 2010, on land that was occupied by the garages at the side of number 14, according to planning permission 10/P0102.

Number 27, at the eastern end of the road on the north side, was split into two properties, numbered 27 and 27A, in 1983/4, according to planning permission MER771/83.

Aerial view of Queen Annes Gardens, looking to the north.

Aerial view of Queen Annes Gardens, numbers (from left to right) 1 to 27, looking to the north.

Aerial view, looking northwards, of Queen Annes Gardens, numbers 2 to 16 (south side).

Aerial view, looking southwards, south side of Queen Annes Gardens, numbers (from right to left) 2 to 16.

According to tree planning applications 10/T2775 and 13/T1448, number 9 has a eucalyptus tree in its rear garden.

Occupants in 1930 from the Electoral Register
1, Charles Thomas and Alice Jane ALEXANDER; John and Alice Beatrice KING
3, Robert Henry and Mary Sophie SIMS
5, Arthur Ernest and Frances Lilian NEIL; Ellen Julia KETTLE
7, Henry John, Florence Annie and Beatrice Minnie SIMPSON
9, Herbert John and Alice SMITH
11, John and Edith Maude BUTTERS
13, Ernest William and Gertrude Florence STONE
15, Harold Sydney and Gladys Victoria HAMMOND

17, Victor John Bertha and Charlotte KING
19, Amelia BINNS; Ellen HATCHER; Robert ROBERTSON
21, Stephen Daniel and Mary Ellen HIGGINS; Michael DONOVAN; Soloman BECKETT; Thomas O’DWYER
23, William Henry and Pansy Grace FULLBROOK
25, Michael Thomas and Margaret Ada COLLINS
27, Albert, Emily and Maud SIMMONDS

2, Frederick Ernest and Kate Eva HOLLAMBY
4, Robert Albert and Ada Elizabeth GREEN
6, William Horace and Elizabeth Phoebe TEASDALE
8, Henry Herman and Grace Eveline BENSBERG; James and Emma SATCHELL
10, Robert and Amy LEWIS; Albert HEPPER
12, Arthur James and May Beatrice ANGUS
14, Augusta CRAMPTON


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

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.