Category Archives: Schools

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
1946 visit to Hengelo

1926 : Lower Mitcham Schoolboys’ Novel Jazz Band at Christmas


Schoolboys’ Novel Jazz Band.

“The Bath Road Symphony,” a musical medley descriptive of life in one of the poorest quarters of Mitcham, London, was publicly performed for the first time by Lower Mitcham schoolboys, whose instruments were made up of things found in the dustmen’s carts.

The boys were dressed as dustmen, and the instruments were old saucepans, knives and forks, combs, biscuit tins, pieces of bamboo, curtain rods cut into the form whistles, glass jam jars, and a bass drum made out of galvanised iron bath.

For Christmas Gifts.

The youthful conductor beat time with soup ladle, and, it is said, really excellent music was produced from the extraordinary assortment of instruments. The medley was arranged by Mr H. C. Toller, one of the masters.

Mr F. C. Stone, the headmaster, arranged the concert to provide Christmas cheer for the 350 boys school, of whom, he said, had never received a Christmas present in their lives.

In addition to the symphony orchestra, there was a boys’ mouth organ band, which played popular songs like experts, and bone duets by other boys.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Thursday 16 December 1926 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Mr Noakes

Mr. Noakes was a teacher at the Lower Mitcham School, possibly 1920s to 1930s.

Arthur, pupil in the school from 1927 to 1933, said:

I was dared by others in Mr Noakes’s class one day to throw a wad of blotting paper, full of ink, at him. I used a ruler to flick it to hime while he was writing on the blackboard and so facing away from the class. As I let go, someone yelled out, and Mr Noakes turned round. The blotting paper hit him right in the mooi (face). He therefore saw who had aimed this at him!

He ordered me to go and see the other four teachers and get three strokes of the cane from each of them. Actually the fourth teacher asked how many strokes I had had before him. I said nine, and so he let me off, saying that nine was enough.
Even so, it made me think twice before I did that again.

His nickname was ‘Blue Dot’, as he had a blue dot on the side of his face, from a war injury.

Mr Shaddock

Mr. Shaddock was a teacher at the Lower Mitcham School, possibly 1920s to 1930s.

Arthur, a pupil in the school from 1927 to 1933, said:

Mr Shaddock was a teacher who smacked our faces if we did anything wrong. If you were good and he thought you were okay, he would take you to the speedway at Wimbledon which cost 6d. each to go in. He would take about six of you at a time.

Some Wednesdays we had sparring boxing with him, until one day when Freddy Stevens hit Mr Shaddock hard on the nose, and made it bleed. He packed it up after that!

1924 Comedy of vacancy at Lower Mitcham School

Five men replied to an advertisement for assistant master at Lower Mitcham School, and were invited to interview the managers. None appeared.

Further invitations were sent – three of them. There was no response. The Clerk, Mr. W. J. Dickisson, then sent postcards to the three asking them attend an adjourned meeting, but all replied that they could not so.

In desperation Mr. Dickisson wrote to one man inquiring at which hour of the day he could attend. There was no reply till Tuesday morning, when the man wrote to say that he could not leave his present job.

This little comedy was recited at a meeting of the managers on Tuesday. The Clerk said that a candidate from Odiham wrote say that the train did not start in time for him to catch it (loud laughter)
A member: There is no station there.
The Clerk: That is probably the reason (loud laughter).

Source: Gloucestershire Echo – Wednesday 03 December 1924 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

1970 Rutted footpath of Moffat Gardens

From the Mitcham News & Mercury
16th January, 1970

A RUTTED footpath fronting properties in Moffat Gardens, Mitcham, badly needs repairing – but no one has yet been able to agree who should finance the work.

The trustees of five of the eight houses in Moffat Gardens recently suggested that Merton Council might improve the foot-path which runs from Church Road.

“We would be willing to contribute £10 per property towards the cost of such work,” the trustees have told the council. Interested departments of the council ought to finance the rest of the work, the trustees thought.

It was felt the education committee might have an interest in seeing the path put in order as it led on to a side entrance way to Benedict Junior School.

And the housing committee should have an interest in making good the path as they managed three properties which had been acquired in Moffat Gardens by Merton Council.

Merton Borough surveyor, Mr. C. H. French, had indicated that work to this footpath could not be undertaken by the council as highway authority. But he suggested improvements mights be carried out if the trustees, the housing committee and the education committee — in respect of schoolchildren using the footpath — contributed on a proportionate basis.

Chief Education Officer, Mr, Ronald Greenwood, reported, however, that it appeared that only children actually residing in Moffat Gardens would need to use this footpath.

And so the education committee have backed a resolution by their general purposes
sub-committee that “in view of the comparatively small use made of this footpath by schoolchildren, the sub-committee feel unable to contribute towards the cost of improvement works.”

The housing committee views on the matter are expected next week.