Category Archives: Pubs

1889 : Flooding at the Fountain


Messrs. Oehme, Summerhays & Co., solicitors, wrote stating that Mr. Peter Dale, of the Fountain, Mitcham, had consulted them with reference to the over flowing of the Board’s sewer into their client’s cellars. They understood that the flooding had occurred several occasions and that the attention the Authority’s surveyor had been drawn the fact on more than one occasion, but steps had been taken until October last prevent a recurrence. Mr. Dale estimated that had sustained damage amounting for loss of beer and cost cleansing, in addition to which and his family had suffered severely from inconvenience. It was hoped that the Authority would make some adequate compensation.

The Surveyor said the flooding took place over six months ago.

The Chairman — Then they are debarred from making a claim upon us.

Mr. Philpott said in addition that the flooding was due the excessive rainfall, over which the Authority had control.

The Surveyor said that was not all. The drain was constructed without the consent of the Authority, and stated the time that it would be liable to overflow. He had had an interview with Messrs. Crowley, the brewers, about the matter some time ago, he had no difficulty in convincing them that the tenant was in the wrong.

It was decided to reply that the Authority could not recognise any claim.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 16 March 1889 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)


1879 : A Question of Sobriety

From the Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 03 May 1879 via the British Newspaper Archive


— At the Croydon Petty Sessions on Saturday, Mr. Parkes Hope, landlord of the Bath Tavern Mitcham, was summoned for serving intoxicated persons with liquor on his premises on the 16th April; and Alfred Stevens, James Stevens, and Joseph Munt were summoned for being found drunk on the premises. Mr. Dennis appeared for the defendants.

— P.-c. 382 W stated that on the 14th April he was on duty in Church-road, Mitcham, when he saw James Stevens drunk and incapable. He also saw Alfred Stevens and Joseph Munt, who were drunk, but not incapable. The two latter were supporting James Stevens between them. Witness saw them enter the Star beerhouse, Church-road, and heard them call for beer. Mr. Chapman, the landlord, however, refused to serve them. They then proceeded to Rock-terrace, and he saw them enter the Bath Tavern. Alfred Stevens called for a pot of beer, and was served by the landlord. Witness saw Alfred Stevens and Munt drink from the pot. A disturbance arose between them, and Alfred Stevens and Munt dragged James Stevens from the bar, and after great difficulty succeeded in getting him home. Witness told the landlord that he should have to report the case, when Mr. Hope replied that he had drawn the beer himself, but did not know that the parties were drunk when they came in.

— William Chapman, landlord of the Star beerhouse, gave evidence as to the elder defendant, James Stevens, coming into his house alone on the evening in question. He was very drunk, and witness refused to serve him, and tried to get him out of the house. While he was doing Alfred Stevens and Munt came into the house, and assisted him in getting the old man out of the house. —Neither Alfred Stevens nor Munt were intoxicated.

— Mr. Dennis said his answer to the case was that on the day in question the younger Stevens drove his master to Thames Ditton, and on his return to Mitcham learnt that his father, who was upwards of 70 years of age, was in the Star beerhouse, drunk. He went there and got his father out, and was assisted by Munt in getting him home. On their way, having to pass the Bath Tavern, they went in, and having placed the old man on a seat, they called for a pot of beer, which the two drank between them, but the old man did not have a drop.

— Mr. Hope, landlord of the Bath Tavern, Alfred Stevens, and several others were called as witnesses, and their evidence confirming the above statement, James Stevens was fined 10s. and 7s. costs. The other summonses were dismissed.

1973 : News article on The Cricketers pub

In 1973, the Mitcham News & Mercury ran a series of articles on local pubs. Here is their report on The Cricketers, published on 16th November 1973:

Landlord Mr Charles Cromack with some of the Inn’s famous cricket pictures.


THE worst moment for the Cricketers in Mitcham’s Cricket Green was when they had to decide whether to blow up the pub or the Vestry Hall.

It happened during the war when, with the compliments of the German air force, a land mine dropped between those two most important buildings in Mitcham.

The mine didn’t go off right away and the locals had time to put up a blast shield but, as any ex-air warden knows, there’s no point in setting it up on both sides of the bomb – there has to be somewhere for the blast to go.

There are still people in Mitcham who remember the arguments that raged over which building would be added to the list of bomb sites in the area. And there are some who reckon they made the wrong choice in saving the Vestry Hall.

Bar in store

But, finally, the bomb went off and that made way for the Cricketers as it is today. It was rebuilt about 15 years ago – just as the regulars were getting used to the bottle store behind the pub.

But whatever anyone says about the loss of the old pub which had graced the Cricket Green since the late 1700s, the new Cricketers is a worthy successor.

It has been going long enough not to have that fiercely modern look of the new or “done up” pub yet, it’s not so old as to be plain uncomfortable. And with the atmosphere it inherits from its cricketing tradition, it emerges, rightfully as a well-known pub of character.

The first thing you notice in the lounge bar are the dozens of photographs of cricketing “greats”. A long line of former county players stare down slightly disapprovingly as the customers line up at the bar and the whole of one wall is given over to a colour photograph of Mitcham playing Streatham on the cricket green. On the way to the gents there is a collection of cartoons depicting the rules of cricket.

But, then, it’s only right that the pub should hang on to some of its history – after all, for years it was used as the pavilion.

Atmosphere of a different kind is provided by the licensee, Charles Cromack. He’s an enormous man, given largely to blue suits and yacht club ties, who seems to spend most of his time on the outside of the bar where he calls for drinks on the house as if the stuff was still a penny a pint.

With him is his wife, Joan, with her pewter goblet from the London Victuallers Golfing Association. Together they make the ideal couple to run a pub where businessmen come in to unwind.

They come from the executive floors on the local industrial estates and from the many offices fronting the cricket green. Dozens of them make the daily trek to the pub where they set about a lager, a laugh and lunch.

Overseas representative for Downs Bros of Church Path, Mr. Richard Dickinson, said: “We mostly come here for the beer – after all it is real beer, from the wood. But then there’s the food as well. I think the Cricketers serves real pub food and, for that, it’s one of the best in the area.”

Down’s Transport manager, Mr. Peter Galtrey was there too: “I like to eat in the bar as a rule but people entertaining clients can go in the restaurant upstairs. Anyway, you generally find the lunches here are pretty good.”

And so they are, Charles Cromack admits: “I suppose the food here is as important as the drink. Our restaurant does very well.”

The restaurant is really a small meeting room cosily decorated with a red colour scheme and complete with bar and barmaid. It is perhaps too small, giving the impression of a country tea shop but there’s a good meal to be had there with melon and 8oz. steak, mushrooms, tomatoes, peas and potatoes, then a cheese board and coffee at £1.58p.

For those who prefer to eat in the bar, a good helping of real home-made steak, kidney and mushroom pie comes at 27p and chips and peas at 7p a portion.

Penny bonus

A ham sandwich costs 18p and arrives with a knife.

Service is good and quick, and very reasonable considering there always seem to be about five people milling around behind the bar. Barmaid Irene Hogg, the pub’s 53-years-old heart-throb, dishes out a warm wlcome and refers to everyone under 90 as “young man.”

A bonus heart-throb is 25-years-old Penny Balsom, a very shapely clerk at the borough’s health department in the Vestry Hall. All eyes swivel towards the door when she walks in with an absurdly unintentional sex appeal.

The lunching businessmen were most flattering in their comments but none of them wanted to be quoted: “Wouldn’t want the wife to see it, old man . . . ”

Auburn-haired Penny just opened her eyes very, very wide and said: “I never knew I was any sort of a mascot or anything. I just come here because it’s handy at lunch time and I like the people.”

There was an immediate murmur of approval at these words.

Finding out why the regulars in the public bar liked the Cricketers was more difficult. Almost to a man they said it was the lousiest pub in Mitcham, and Jim Goodsell added that the governor wasn’t too sociable in the “public”. Why not go somewhere else then?

“Because he comes here,” he said and pointed to his brother Fred.


Fred Goodsell thought for a moment, hesitated over saying he was only there because Jim was there, and finished up with: “You can always find a good argument in here.”

Immediately he had one. New faces popped up to say it was the only place you could get decent beer while others came to play crib or darts.

Certainly none of them could have been attracted by the bar itself. It seems to have missed out on all the effort that produced all those cricketers in the lounge. Instead there is dark green wallpaper, peeling at the edges and an obscene sort of trough at the foot of the bar which catches cigarette ends.

But there’s a lot to make up for it. Just outside the public bar is a rose garden and, although there’s plenty of traffic noise, it’s a real suntrap in the summer.

Strangely enough, not many people seem to know about this, most of them sit out in front of the pub where they can rest their feet on the bumpers of cars in the car park and catch glimpses of the cricket green through the traffic.

The Cricketers isn’t a big pub so there’s no room for bar billiards or any of the more traditional pub games but there’s a flourishing darts club and a football team; every year there’s a coach outing to the races at Goodwood.

The public bar has a TV and in both bars are one-arm bandits which pay out a ceiling of 10p in cash and the rest in tokens.

There is no juke-box – which gives the lads in the public bar something to moan about; but there is piped music on tape.

Mild, disappearing from most pubs these days, is still on draught at the Cricketers; bitter comes from the wood as well. There’s draught Guinness, draught lager and Worthington “White Shield”, as well.

Surrey Arms coat of arms

Photo taken 2016. The pub sign is no longer hanging from its frame on the pub sign post.

Photo taken 2016. There are two coat of arms signs on the flanking walls of the pub building.

The coat of arms displayed on the walls of the Surrey Arms pub are for the county of Surrey. These arms were in use from 8th August 1934, and were replaced on September 20, 1974.

The description or blazon of these arms :

Per pale Azure and Sable a Fess per pale Ermine and Or in chief a representation of the Crown of King Edgar proper and a Sprig of Oak fructed Argent.

King Edgar, as well as several other Saxon kings, were crowned in Kingston. The ermine underneath the crown is from the arms of the Borough of Richmond. When Kingston and Richmond became part of Greater London, they left Surrey and so these arms were changed.

The sprig of oak and the colours azure and sable (blue and black) have been retained on the current arms for Surrey, see the Heraldry of the World website.

Burnett Bullock

The King’s Head pub was renamed the Burn Bullock in 1975 by the owners Ind Coope. ‘Burn’ was the shortened name of its licensee, Burnett Bullock, who died in 1954. His widow carried on the pub business until she retired in 1975. The brewery renamed the pub in their honour.

The Burn Bullock pub sign, photo taken July 2017

He and his wife Lilian became licensees of the King’s Head on 20th January, 1941. They had previously been joint licensees of the Regent’s Arms in London’s West End. Her parents, Mr & Mrs Card, owned the baker’s shop across the road from the King’s Head. Burnett’s father was surveyor in the Mitcham Urban District Council.
(Source: EN Montague, pages 38-39 of Mitcham Histories: 1 The Cricket Green.)

From 300 Years of Mitcham Cricket, a historical record by Tom Higgs, published in 1985:

The former Secretary, Burn Bullock Snr. had produced a worthy son and Burn Bullock Jnr was to score his first century on the Green when only fifteen years of age. Two years later he was a regular member of Mitcham’s 1st XI. The War interrupted Burn Bullock’s cricket career but when he returned to Mitcham in 1919 he lopped the Club’s averages and played occasionally for Surrey 11s. Burn joined the Oval staff as a professional in 1921 but those were the vintage days of Surrey batsmen with the likes of Jack Hobbs, Andrew Sandham, Andy Ducat and Tom Shepherd available. Burn Bullock had few opportunities with the County side and had to content himself with Minor Counties cricket. He left the Oval in 1926 to become cricket coach on a Norfolk estate and in his first season there made 1500 runs and took 50 wickets before bringing the Norfolk side down to see his beloved Mitcham Green.

Three years later Burn Bullock returned south, became a licensed victualler, and in due course took over the King’s Head, next door to Mitcham’s pavilion. In addition to playing for Mitcham, Burn also skippered the powerful North and South of the Thames Licensed Victuallers XI and score some fifteen centuries with them. But excellent as was his playing ability it was for his outstanding service off the field that Burn Bullock is remembered in Mitcham. He served as player, committee member, Hon. Secretary and Match Secretary. Each year he brought the county side sown to the Green to play a charity match for the local hospital and raised substantial sums by this means. At the time of his death in 1954 Burn Bullock was one of the Club’s most distinguished Vice-Presidents.

From the Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 21st April 1954

Mr B. Bullock leaves £2,591

Mr Burnett Wedlake BULLOCK, licensee of the King’s Head, Mitcham, former Surrey cricketer, who died on 21st December last, left £2,591 gross, £2,134 net value. Probate has been granted to his widow Lilian J. Bullock, of the same address.

Lilian Bullock’s obituary was published in the Mitcham Cricket Club Yearbook for 1977.

Gardeners Arms Pub Sign

The Gardeners Arms pub, 107 London Road, Mitcham, had a heraldic style sign hanging from a post in the centre of the wall on the upper floor. In November 2017, the sign couldn’t be found by the new landlord.

There are three photographs on Merton Memories, and none show a sign attached, for example, this one from 1989:

Clip from Merton Memories photo Mit_21_11-2 copyright London Borough of Merton.

This undated black an white photo shows flower baskets hanging from the wall:

Clip from Merton Memories photo Mit_21_11-1 copyright London Borough of Merton.

The late Eric Montague, of the Merton Historical Society, took a slide of 109 & 111 London Road in 1966, and this included the pub, which has no sign.

A 1973 photo on the Collage collection also doesn’t show the sign:


The only photograph found so far showing the sign is from Google Street View, from 2008:-

The sign is blurred when zooming in, but what can be seen is shield with a blue background, a white chevron with two objects above and three or more below. The shield has two supporters, one of which may be a gardener. The Surrey Coats of Arms, online at the Surrey History centre website, have been searched for Mitcham arms, and none of these have a field of blue with a white chevron.

Street View of 2012 shows no sign:


Public Convenience opposite Ravensbury Arms

1962 clip from Merton memories photo, reference Mit_​Streets_​Col_​Cro_​16-5 copyright London Borough of Merton

Built around 1930/1 as discussed as item (3) below in the council minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council, volume XVI, 1930 to 1931, page 101


The Surveyor submitted the following report June 3rd, 1930.

Dear Mr. Chart,


I suggest to the Committee the following’ sites for their consideration :

(1) Short cul-de-sac roadway off High Street, Colliers Wood,
opposite Christchurch Road, and adjacent to The Victory PH.

(2) The northern extremity of Figges Marsh, at the junction of
Gorringe Park Avenue and London Road.

(3) At the junction of New Road and Croydon Road, adjacent to the Ravensbury Arms.

The first one will drain to the sewer by gravitation, and in the remaining two positions pumping will have to be resorted to.

I think that it is essential that the conveniences in the first two positions be constructed underground, but with respect to the third site, the Committee might consider incorporating the existing tramway shelter in an overground convenience at this point.

If the general opinion is in favour of underground, the alternative to No. 3 would be at the other end of New Road, at its junction with Commonside East. I think that it is just possible to drain an underground convenience by gravitation into the soil sewer.

Yours obediently,

Engineer and Surveyor.

RESOLVED, That the Surveyor be instructed to prepare a further report showing the cost of providing sanitary conveniences at Colliers Wood on the site suggested.

Note that New Road is now called Cedars Avenue.

1953 OS map

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.