Category Archives: Industry

Victoria Fencing Co. Ltd.

Listed in the 1930 commercial directory:

Victoria Fencing Co. Ltd. chestnut fence mfrs. 371 Church rd. Merton Abbey, T N 2404

and listed with same company name in the 1954 telephone directory as

Chestnut Fencing Mfrs, 263 Church Road, MIT 2404


1898 : Making oil cloth in Mitcham

From Pearsons Weekly (P.W.):-



Thanks to the courtesy of Messrs. Hampton, P.W. has been through a large factory in Mitcham and seen the whole process of oil-cloth making from beginning to end, from the plain canvas stretched on huge vertical frames sixty-one feet high to the rolling up, ready, one might say, for putting down on your floors.

To start with, the canvas is made in Scotland, and is delivered in whole lengths measuring as much as 145 yards long and six or eight yards wide. It is especially strong stuff woven of yarns made of hemp and flax combined, or jute, or other strong raw material. These fields of canvas are out into lengths to suit the frames, measuring sixty-one feet by twenty-four.

Like stage cloths, they are nailed by the upper edge to battens that run across at the top, being also secured tightly to side frames in order to stretch them.

Now, to render oil-cloth stout, solid, and durable the canvas in the rough_or first state has many coats of paint applied to it, the first coat being quite a pigment in substance, so thick, indeed, that it is actually laid on with a trowel. That is the first process, if we except the sizing. This pigment, or paint, is put on in four sections by “trowellers” who are stationed on one-plank platforms running along the sides of the canvas, the man on the top plank working down as low as be can, the man below him starting where his mate leaves off, and so on to the bottom. Before the first coat is allowed to set hard it is pumiced down to make it smooth and even. Both sides receive at least two coats of this thickish paint., then the upper side is treated with two or three more coats of thin paint, put on with a brush properly; it is then pumiced down again, and a final coat leaves it ready for the printing rooms.

These canvases weigh half a ton, and there was over a mile of canvas being treated at the time of our visit. Our canvas having been left hanging for two or three weeks it is now set hard and dry, so it is ingeniously wound round a roller and taken to the “printeries” where it undergoes that artistic treatment so familiar to our eyes in the multitudinous patterns, and in the working of the hundred and one colours seen in the rolls of oil-cloth you meet with everywhere.

The printing “lofts” harmoniously correspond with the “flies” of a stage; ropes, battens, gridirons, cloths, little gangways, everything, in fact, that one has seen in the place named you come across in the lofts of an oil-cloth factory.

Our canvas being fixed into position, it is allowed to pass over a table twenty-four feet long to receive the impression of the printing blocks. A separate block is required for every colour introduced into the pattern, the blocks being eighteen inches square. In the old days the printer had to use considerable personal force in pressing down on the block to make the requisite impression, but now a hand press, which travels along a trolley fixed overhead, is used.

Every colour in use has its own pad, and this is fed by a boy; a follower aids the printer. The blocks are usually made of deal, and the pattern is cut out in the wood; for very fine work the pattern is cut in brass.

To proceed : the printer takes up the block he wants, presses it on the pad of colour–the pads are all arranged in order at his book—and then applies it to the surface of the painted cloth. In some patterns as many as ten blocks are used, but the usual number is about five. He goes right across the cloth from one side to the other with one block at a time, and then goes over the same ground again with the second block. this method being observed till all the blocks have been used. The cloth having been printed it is taken to the drying warehouse, where it hangs for several weeks drying, at the end of which time it is varnished and then left to dry for another week or two.

If there was at the time of our visit a mile of canvas and over under the initial treatment there must have been at least five or six miles of cloth depending from the roof of the high building, all being seasoned.

The varnishing process is, of course, simple, but it puts on a smiling face to the cloths which before that treatment wear a sad, dull countenance.

Although the paint used differs in nothing from that used by the ordinary house painter, yet we could not conscientiously recommend you to try to paint your doors with it.

In order to bring their business up to modern wants and usages, a heat-drying warehouse has lately been erected where cloths are seasoned by artificial heat, which is pumped into the rooms by a patent engineering device, the heat being generated by engines in an adjoining building.

Kamptulicon was the pioneer of the new departure in floor-cloths, and was brought into use a little over fifty years ago. Oil-cloth has been in existence since 1745.

Alter kamptulicon came linoleum, about thirty years ago, invented by a Mr. Walton.

Source: Pearson’s Weekly – Saturday 29 October 1898 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Microplas Ltd.

Western Road

News Articles
Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th February, 1961

LATEST creation in fibre-glass by Microplas Ltd., Western Road, are two 2,000-gallon storage tanks for Vinyl ProductsLtd., Carshalton.

They are nine feet in diameter and five feet across and will hold six tons of liquid. For extra strength the tanks are bound with special continuous filament fibre-glass.

Microplas also make plastic boat shells and are at present negotiating for a big order from Sweden.

1933 : Obituary of Mr W.T. Clark, a Pascall director

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th January, 1933



The death took place at Brixton on Friday, December 23, of Mr, W. Thomas Clark, a director of Messrs. Pascall, who was one of the best known and highly esteemed men in the confectionery business. For some months Mr. Clark had been in indifferent health, which a sea voyage did not improve. In November he was ordered into Guy’s Hospital, and a severe operation was performed. The trouble, however, was too deep-seated, and shortly after his return home to Brixton he died.

The funeral took place on Wednesday of last week, at West Norwood Cemetery and, in addition to the widow, the brother (Mr. H. E. Clark) and other relatives, was attended by Mr. Sydney Pascall (chairman of the Board), Mr L. H Pascall (managing director), Mr. Wilfrid H. Pascall, Mr. S. E. Perkins and Mr. A. P Jones (director of James Pascall, Ltd.), a number of the firm’s representatives, and a large number of managers and heads of departments and others, all working colleagues and personal friends of Mr. Clark, and by many prominent members of the confectionery trade, who, as customers of the firm, were also his friends. Altogether the attendance was a remarkable tribute to the esteem and affection in which Mr. W. Thomas Clark was held by all.


Mr. Clark’s career, writes a correspondent, was both notable and interesting. It is well over fifty years ago that the late Mr James Pascall (founder of the firm), as the result of an amusing little boyish escapade he had witnessed, took on young Clark as an office boy. A real worker always, the lad soon made himself genuinely useful, and, with the growth of the business, rose step by step until he became sales manager, and later was elected to a seat on the Board of Directors.

Mr. W. Thomas Clark was remarkable for several qualities. Particularly his knowledge of the trade was unique, his memory almost uncanny. He not only knew hundreds, even thousands of the firms customers, but he was familiar also with the special character of their respective businesses. It is doubtful whether any single man in the trade has been so widely known among both wholesalers and retailers; and he was also well known to all the leading manufacturers.
Not only do the entire staff of James Pascall sadly miss their old friend, but the whole industry has lost one who in his time has rendered it yeoman service.

1960 : Explosion showers acid over homes

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 15th January, 1960, page 1.

Explosion hurls vat top through roof of factory

And two boys at play are covered

Acid showered over homes in the Batsworth Road, Mitcham, area on Friday after an explosion in a factory nearby.

The explosion hurled the top of a vat through the factory roof. A stream of acid followed and firemen were called to hose it from homes and the street.

The factory is W.J. Bush, synthetic chemists, Batsworth Road, scene of an explosion in 1933 whiched wrecked and damaged nearby homes, and killed a child. People in the neighbourhood have never forgotten it.


Friday’s explosion remains a mystery. The fac†ory would make no comment.

It happened in the evening as Mr Albert Bowdery, who lives nearby, went to buy some tobacco.

“I heard the bang and thought at first that a tower was going to fall, then I saw something rush through the roof.

“I hurried back indoors and called to my daughter-in-law: ‘Quick, the children.’ We ran with them into the road. It would not take much to make this old building collapse.”

Mr Bowdery’s daughter-in-law Violet, has two young children – John and Linda.

Mr Bowdery said: “The explosion reminded people of the 1933 incident. They are always a bit worried about the factory.

“We don’t know what goes on there.”

The shop of greengrocer Mrs L. Langridge was covered in a “sort of white wash.”

“We are still cleaning up. A pair of my overalls are ruined. We could not let the children play outside.”

A nearby butcher, Mr J. Stopher, said: “The sanitary people inspected my goods, and, to be on the safe side, I have handed over a quantity of lamb, although it was not contaminated as far as we can tell. The damage was done to the outside of my shop.”

An elderly painter said: “We worry about the factory because many of us remember the tragedy of 1933.”

Soon after the explosion Michael Fullick and his brother Norman went out to play. They became covered in the acid.


“When we found out we gave them baths immediately,” said mr F. Fullick, licensee of the Bath Tavern.

Firemen were given rubber gloves when they arrived at the factory. A works chemist gave them advice on how to deal with the spilt sulphuric acid.