Category Archives: WW1

1914 : Helmet maker gets into trouble

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 21st August 1914

A helmet maker named William Tilley (42), of Sibthorpe-road, Mitcham, celebrated his sudden increase in business by getting drunk on Saturday. He was fined 5s. and 4s. costs by the Croydon Magistrates for being drunk and disorderly on the London-road, Mitcham. He said he worked for contractors who supplied the Government and the Metropolitan Police, and he wished he could be onboard ship with his son, “doing what they were doing for the war.”

There is a Charles T. TILLEY on a war memorial in St Mark’s church, Mitcham, and ‘C T TILLEY’ is inscribed on the Mitcham War Memorial, but no further details are known.

The 1910 electoral register has the following Tilleys:

George TILLEY : 2 Yew Villas, Leonard road, Lonesome
John TILLEY : 6 Victoria Terrace, Lansdell Road
Stephen TILLEY : Firework Road, Eastfields
William TILLEY : 11 Prussia Place

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Walter Mays Ltd.

The Abbey Cork Mills of Walter Mays Ltd was built on the site of William De Morgan’s pottery, Colliers Wood, in around 1890.

1950 OS map

Walter Carden-Mays born December 1865 in Camberwell. He married in 1888 and died on 21st January 1941 in Surrey. The ‘Carden’ part of the family name was dropped at some point, and his company was known as Walter Mays Ltd.

Listed in the 1925 street directory as Walter Mays Ltd. (Abbey Cork Works), 150 & 152 Byegrove Road.

1924 aerial photo. The site for Colliers wood underground station can be seen bottom right. The cork factory is on the left of the High Street.

1934 OS map rotated to show same view as aerial photo above


Ad from Flight Magazine of 1938 :

and directory listing from same:

WALTER MAYS, LTD., Abbey Cork Mills, London, S.W.19 (Liberty 3764).—” Everything in cork “; carburettor and oil indicator floats, gauge glass washers, gland packings, strut sealing corks, anti-vibration mats, composition cork jointing to D.T.D.219A, laminated and plain.

In an entry on Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History from 1939 about suppliers to the aircraft industry, cork joints to specification DTD 219A were widely used for petrol tank gaskets and packings.


The Stone Cottage of the Surrey Iron Railway stood on the Walter Mays Ltd site for over 150 years.


Mitcham Military Service Tribunals

As reported by the Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, 16th June 1916, an employer of a cork business in Colliers Wood, appealed for his son. Although not named, it is likely that the company was Walter Mays Ltd.

Exemption was asked for a skilled mechanic, by the owner of a cork manufacturing business in Colliers Wood. The employer said the man was very valuable in his present employment and he will be practically impossible to replace. A large proportion of their manufacturers were for government uses. He employed about 17 men of whom are only three were eligible. He pleaded that his son was capable of doing almost anything in the business and his departure might cause the closing down of the business.

Three months exemption.

In the Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, 2nd November 1917, the company and employee are named in an appeal.

Mr Walter Mays, cork manufacturer, of the Abbey Cork Works, High Street, Colliers Wood, asked for a exemption for Mr T.W.S. Cavey, age 41, B1, motor driver and mechanic, residing at Birdhurst Road, Colliers Wood.

Applicant: An exemption for so long as the man remained in his employment. He was engaged in delivering all Mr Mays’s important Government contract work. The average mileage was 250 miles a week.

Counc. Baker : I suppose it is all Government work that Mr Mays does?

Applicant: Oh, yes, it is most important.

The appeal was disallowed.

In the 1919 electoral register a Thomas William Sherrin CAVEY was living with his wife Florence Louisa in 28 Birdhurst Road. He died in 1950 as stated on the Find-A-Grave website, which also says he was a Music Hall performer known as Stirling Fred.


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

Edward Pullen gets MBE in 1961 but missed DCM in 1916

Local man in the Honours’ List

A MITCHAM First World War hero was made an M.B.E. in the New Year Honours. He is 64-year-old Mr. Edward Charles Pullen, Framfield Road, who will be given the award by the Queen.

He gets it for public service in the Inland Revenue Department — he is a staff officer at Somerset House.

His meeting with the Queen will make up for a disappointment he had in 1916 when he should have received the D.C.M. from King George the Fifth. When the investiture date arrived Mr. Pullen had influenza.

Mr. Pullen said this week: “This rather goes to make up for it”

WOUNDED

He earned the D.C.M. during the Battle of the Somme while serving with the Northamptonshire Regiment. His company was trying to win a German strongpoint at Thiepval.

All the officers were wounded or killed and Mr. Pullen, then a sergeant, took charge. Although himself seriously wounded, he led his men to capture the outpost and held it until they were relieved next day.

Between 1919 and 1929 he played for the Wanderers, forerunners of Tooting and Mitcham United.

Mr. Pullen retires in April when he reaches 65.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th January, 1961

His MBE award was published in the London Gazette on 27 December 1960 in supplement 42231, page 8906.

His DCM award was reported in the London Gazette of 24 November 1916 in supplement 29837, page 11559.

13537 E. C. Pullen, North’n R.

For conspicuous gallantry in action.

He assumed command of and led his company with great courage and initiative, capturing an enemy strong point. He was severely wounded.

Anti-German Riots after sinking of the Lusitania

Anti-German riots broke out on the evening of Wednesday 12th May, 1915, in Tooting and the next day in Mitcham, in response to the sinking of the ship Lusitania.

ANTI-GERMAN RIOTS

Bakers’ Windows Broken

Several Arrests

The scenes of violence which have marked the public feeling against enemy aliens which has been aroused as a result of the Lusitania crime broke out in the neighbourhood on Wednesday evening. At Tooting Broadway a crowd commenced to assemble about 8 o’clock, but for some time it reached very large dimensions. Towards nine o’clock the gathering became more dense, and it was obvious that the baker’s shop owned by Mr P. Jung was in danger of assault. The police, who were reinforced, did their utmost to keep the crowd on the move, and prevented any congregating immediately outside the shop. Meanwhile Mr Jung closed his business as a precautionary measure, but this move was only greeted with jeers. Shortly before ten o’clock a loud crash of glass told that at least one missile had found the mark, a success which was boisterously cheered. The police continued to force the crowd to the opposite side of the road, but the passing of the trams enabled the mob to make some advances, which, however, were fortunately checked.

Every now and again more glass was smashed, and eventually there was very little left of the huge plate-glass windows which have helped to make Mr Jung’s shop such an attractive place of business. When the police did actually see a person throwing he was promptly arrested. Some ugly rushes were the result, and it is a matter for congratulation that no very serious conflicts occurred between the police and the public.

While the guardians of the law were straining every endeavour to cope with the crowd at the Broadway, now numbering some 2,000, a few persons commenced paying attention to the Hygienic Bakery, owned by a German, and situated further down the High-street, opposite the “Mercury” Offices. The roller shutters were lowered, but some spirits more determined than the rest wrenched them away from their fastenings, and with considerable noise they fell to the ground. Without loss of time a brick was hurled at the window with an accuracy of aim somewhat remarkable for a member of the fair sex, who made the claim of having drawn first blood. Other bricks and stones followed in quick succession with more or less precision, and one windows had hardly a particle of glass left in.

THE “SPECIALS” ARRIVE

At about 11 o’clock a strong contingent of special constables appeared on the scene, and were accorded a very mixed reception. The Tooting section was strengthened by a force from Mitcham, numbering about 70, under Inspector G.J. Poston. They were divided into sections, and did most useful work in helping the regular police to disperse the crowds.

Other shops were attacked in Garratt-lane, and all suffered in a like manner and to a similar extent. Police remained on guard all night and the next day, and as soons as carpenters could be procured the premises were boarded up, and in some cases the German traders packed up their goods and chattels and cleared off with all possible despatch.

ANTI-GERMAN DEMONSTRATIONS AT MITCHAM

Early last evening a crowd, which gradually swelled until about 8 o’clock, when it numbered several hundred persons, assembled at the Fair Green for the purpose of expressing indignation at the recent murders on the high seas.

Proceeding in the direction of the Parade, the crowd halted in front of the jeweller’s shop tenanted by Mr J. B. Rompel, a naturalised German.

Their attitude was distinctly menacing, and but for the prescence of a large force of Special Constabulary they would, no doubt, have vented their feelings in no unmistakeable manner. After some jeering and hooting the police dispersed the crowd.

With the exception of one man, whose head was cut with a stone, no damage or injury took place.

Source: Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, Friday, 14th May, 1915, page 4.

A photo of special constable recruited during the First World War is on Merton Memories.

Rose Nursery

Weatherboarded cottage in Tramway Path.

There are two photos of this cottage on the City of London ‘Collage’ collection, both with the year of 1977, so perhaps it was demolished after that.

Image courtesy of Collage - The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1977 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Image courtesy of Collage - The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1977 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

From the 1911 commercial directory:

Arthur George & Ephraim SIMMONS, florists, Tramway path, Lower Mitcham

The 1915 street directory names the cottage:

Tramway Path, from London Road, Lower Mitcham

George THOMPSON, florist (Station Nursery)
Ephraim SIMMONS, florist (Rose Nursery)

The cottage is shown on this 1953 OS map:

1953 OS map

1953 OS map

An area in the south ward called Simmons’ Land was recorded in UDC minutes of 1917 as being of 13 acres. This land was used for allotments during the war. From the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council, volume III, 1917 to 1918, 19th June, 1917, page 52.

Agnes Clarrissa Simmons, the daughter of Arthur George Simmons, married Private Percy John Hale in February 1916. She lived with her parents in Elmwood Road.


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.

Harold Francis Bidder D.S.O.

Lt. Col. Harold Francis Bidder, D.S.O. (1917), M.A., F.S.A.

Second son of George P. Bidder, Q.C., of Ravensbury Park, Mitcham.
Born 1875; educated St. Paul’s and Trinity College Cambridge.
Married in 1918 to Vivian, eldest daughter of late H. M. Rush, of
Edinburgh; 2 sons, 1 daughter.

Barrister at Lincoln’s Inn 1899.

Joined 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex regiment in 1899, and served in South African War 1899-1902 and in Great War 1914-19 in France.
Lt. Col. Machine Gun corps 1917

Associate member of Chartered Surveyors’ Institute,
J.P. (1926) Surrey.

1 Brick court, Temple, E.C.4 (Central 1687) ;
The Malt House, Nettlebed, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon (Nettlebed 260).

Source: Kelly’s Handbook to the Titled, Landed & Official Classes, 1952 from Find My Past (subscription required)

According to Eric Montague in his book Mitcham Histories : 10 Ravensbury, pages 42-3, among his interests was archaeology, and he started the excavation of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Ravensbury in 1891. He continued with this after WW1 and finished it in 1922.

He became the first president of the Merton and Morden Historical Society when it was formed in 1951, a position he held for 20 years until his death at the age of 92.