Category Archives: People

Plummer Lane

Road running north-westerly from Bond Road and Eveline Road.

Possibly built by H. Paulson in around 1926/7. A terrace of six houses on each side of the road, numbered odd on the west side, as 1 to 11 going north, and even on the east side 2 to 12. Royal Mail postcode lookup in 2017 shows 13 properties in CR4 3HR, with the addition of 2A.

1951 OS map

From the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District Council, Highways and Buildings Committee, on 7th November, 1929, page 469, the residents of Plummer Lane had written to the council asking for it to be renamed. The council said that:

the name was originally suggested to perpetuate the name of the Plummer family, who had left certain moneys for the benefit of the parish, which moneys are included in the sum administered by the Trustees of the Mitcham United Charities. … the residents were to be informed that the Committee saw no adequate reason for any change.

Thomas Plummer’s charity was created out of his will of 1641. Bread was to be handed out by the parish church, every Sunday, to the local poor. Source: Reports of the Commissioners Appointed in Pursuance of Acts of … concerning Charities and Education of The Poor, Volume 33.


News Articles

Dundee Evening Telegraph – Thursday 30 August 1928 (via the British Newspaper archive)

GIRL DRAGGED ALONG BY MOTOR CAR MUDGUARD.

As an ambulance was returning along London Road, Mitcham, with an accident case the driver, E. Hedger, heard a bump, and saw in his mirror a girl being carried along on the mudguard of a motor car that had just passed him. He stopped the ambulance, and picked up Hettie Sinclair, of Plummer Lane, Mitcham, who after stepping off a tramcar was caught by the motor car.

“It is my 14th birthday to-day,” she said as she was being taken to a doctor for treatment. She was taken home in the ambulance.


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

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

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Charles Catt and Son Furniture in Western Australia

From the Mitcham and Colliers Wood Gazette, 12th September, 1969, page 5.

Mitcham Family Who Went To Western Australia

Now Among Leading Furniture Manufacturers

A former Mitcham cabinet maker, who migrated to Western Australia in 1961 from Riverside Drive, Mitcham, now owns one of the leading quality furniture manufacturing businesses in the State capital, Perth.

Mr. Charles Catt, 59, his wife Grace and their son Roy, run the firm Charles Catt and Son, whose reputation for making quality furniture has been founded on the West Australian hardwood, jarrah – once thought only suitable for railway sleepers or timber construction work. However they have made it fashionable to have jarrah wood furniture in the home and now export it to other parts of Australia.

Mr. Charles Catt left his son behind in London when he went to Australia, so that he could complete his diploma course at the London Furniture College. When Roy arrived a few months later he started work for a large manufacturer, but became frustrated at the lack of opportunity to do design work. So at a family conference it was decided they
would set up in business for themselves.

FIRST FACTORY

Mr. Catt said, “Our first factory was a converted shop with about 800 square feet to work in. Our first job was to build cupboards and built-in wardrobes, and although we lost money on that job we established a reputation for quality which we have retained ever since.”

From that small start they were able to begin manufacturing Roy’s designs. He said, “We were fortunate that when we began there was a general demand for better furniture. We joined the Guild which is dedicated to raising standards and improving design.

“At the first show we were awarded first prize, and it was rather
embarrassing as we only had the small workshop and could hardly cope with the subsequent orders.”

Since then the family has had two other factories including the present one, which occupies 5,100 square feet at Willeton, an outer Perth suburb. It has showrooms,
offices, a well-ventilated workshop area and an amenities room for the staff.

As a cabinet maker, Charles converts Roy’s designs from the drawing board and makes them into working drawings for the men in the factory. Grace does the office work and the administration, a side of the business she enjoys.

Roy lives at Swanview Terrace, South Perth, which is just around the corner from his mother and father who live at Stanley Flats, Mill Pount Road, South Perth.

The whole family like Australia, and the three children – Roy, Gillian and Graham – are all married to Australians.

See also biography of Charles Catt at Design and Art Online website. According to the Western Australia Museum Welcome Wall website, Charles died in 1979 and Grace in 2002.

Mrs Wray, pioneer of Mitcham’s child welfare service, died in 1960

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th May, 1960, page 1.

CHILD WELFARE PIONEER DIES

Mrs Elizabeth Sarah Wray, friends to hundreds of Mitcham families and pioneer of Mitcham’s child welfare service, has died. Her home was at Harcourt Road, Wallington.

Mrs Wray joined Mitcham Urban District Council in March, 1916, as the first health visitor. She remained until her retirement in February, 1943.

Mrs Wray, who did her rounds by bicycle, laid the foundation of maternity and child welfare in Mitcham. Working alone as health visitor she organised the first infant welfare clinics and inaugurated the home visiting scheme.

She was behind the opening of the infant welfare clinic in the creche at Colliers Wood –
one of the first.

HIGHEST ESTEEM

In 1920 a second health visitor was appointed, and Mrs Wray became senior health visitor. Later she was promoted and became the first local superintendent health visitor and infant life protection visitor.

During her 23 years’ service she worked during the term of three successive medical officers of health.

Dr Florence M Parsons, former assistant Mitcham medical officer of health, writes of Mrs Wray: “Practically every family in the borough was known to her.

“Many thousands of mothers have reason to be grateful to her invariably sound, helpful and sympathetic advice, and she was always held in the highest esteem by her professional colleagues and all those with whom she came into contact.”

Mrs Wray, a widow, has been an invalid for some years. The funeral service was at Wallington Parish Church on Wednesday last week. It was conducted by the Rev Frank Colquhoun, who also took the service at Streatham Vale crematorium. He paid tribute to her life of service for the community.

See a photograph, from Merton Memories, of her in 1920 at Woodlands.

Independent Order of Oddfellows : 150th anniversary in 1960

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 19th February, 1960, page 7.

THE Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a friendly society who ban arguments about religion and politics at their meetings, were praised as “ pioneers ” by the Mayor of Mitcham (Ald. D. W. Chalkley) on Saturday.

He was speaking at the annual dinner at the Crown, Morden, of the order’s Mitcham and district section, who cover large areas of Surrey, South and South West London. About 178 people attended.

Ald. Chalkley said the order, 150 years old, had helped pioneer the welfare of Britain’s ordinary people and the idea that a sick man should be helped and not cast aside.

“ You have also pioneered the right of people to belong to organisations irrespective of race or creed — a thing people could well do to remember these days,” he said.

HOW IT STARTED

Earlier Mr. R. O. Early, past Grand Master, outlined the beginnings of the order. He said it started among farm labourers who used to meet regularly for a drink at a Midlands pub.

One night one of them was missing — he was ill. The others clubbed together to help him. When he was better they continued to keep the fund going in case others needed it.

“ It is now the richest friendly society in the world,” he said.

Mrs. L. M. Payne, Provincial Grand Master, proposed a toast to the Manchester Unity and Mitcham District. Chairman, past Provincial Grand Master, Mr. Harry Crossley, proposed the
loyal toast.

Note: The Odd Fellows got their name because, at the beginning of the original scheme, it was thought strange that poor people should contribute to a fund for others.

For more on this society’s history, see their website.

1960 : Explosion showers acid over homes

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

Explosion hurls vat top through roof of factory

ACID IS SHOWERED OVER HOMES
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.

Mystery

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.

Baths

“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.

1960 : 132 year old Love Lane cottage to come down

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 2nd September 1960, page 1.

132-year old cottage to come down

SEVENTY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Mrs. Frances Dent, whose family have grown flowers in Love Lane, Mitcham for the past 60 years, walked out of her 132-year-old timber cottage for the last time on Tuesday.

She is the last owner of Dent’s Nursery, soon to be demolished to make way for a primary school.

When the Dent family first came to the cottage and nursery they were surrounded by open fields.

On the one-and-a-half-acre site they had five large greenhouses. Their main crop was flowers for Covent Garden.

Mrs. Dent who lived in the cottage alone since her husband died, walked along her narrow garden path and set off for the Tate Almshouses, Cricket Green, where she will now live.

HAPPY

“I have been very happy at the old place,” she said. “ It’s a great wrench to leave. But the house was in a bad state and it is best that it comes down.”

The lone nurseryman is 58-year-old Mr. Daniel Grace who rented the ground when Mrs. Dent’s husband died. He grew plants and vegetables to sell locally.

“ I am going to buy a little place in the country,” he said. “The place has changed. You have only got to cast an eye around the neighbourhood to realise that.
“In my day Love Lane was a lane. It was lined with hedges and dog roses.”

This OS map from 1954 shows a nursery and a pair of houses numbered 54 and 55 on the north side of Love Lane.

1954 OS map

1863 : Fatality at Pudding-fields

Fatal Railway Accident

— An inquest was held at the King’s Head Inn, Mitcham, before T. Carter, Esq., coroner, on the body of Harriet Collins, aged 72, who was killed whilst passing over a crossing, on the Wimbledon and Croydon Railway.

It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, with her husband and daughter, were on their way home by a regular footpath through Pudding-fields, and, on arriving at the railway crossing, they observed a train approaching. The daughter ran across the line, leaving her mother to follow; and on the poor creature attempting to do so, the engine caught her and literally tore her to pieces. The driver of the engine was called on evidence, but said he did not see anything of the occurrence. The stoker, however, stated that he saw the deceased attempt to cross the line, but not until the engine was within 12 or 15 yards of her; he then told the driver to sound the whistle, which he did, but the engine was too near to allow of her escape. The jury returned the following verdict:—

“That, in returning a verdict of accidental death, the jury are anxious to express their wish that the Brighton Railway Company will substitute bridges for footways at the various crossings on the Wimbledon and Croydon Branch, all of which are, in their opinion, more or less dangerous to the public.”

Source: Thame Gazette – Tuesday 13 January 1863, via the British Newspaper Archive.

The area called Pudding Fields was referred to in the Mitcham Memories of Ben Slater.

The name might be related to ‘pudding grass’, a former name of the mint pennyroyal, see Peppermint in 1875.