I should like to make a short statement to-night, after our twenty years service as a Parish Council. There is alway a sadness in the last time and to-night we have come to the last time that we sha11 meet as a Parish Council, but our sadness is softened by the knowledge that we shall shortly re-assemble with larger powers, and, may I add, that I hope under brighter prospects than those in which our Country is now unfortunately plunged. We shall meet with a more imposing title of Urban District Council, but we can never be more in accord as to our desire to serve the Parish to the best of our ability. There has always been a keen anxiety to obtain a seat on the Parish Council. During the first eight years we had an annual election, then the period of election was altered to once in three years. I may say that as a Parish Council we have always had regard to economy, and I hope with our larger powers we may continue to do so, remembering that high rates alway mean high rents.
Gentlemen, after being in existence for 20 years we have tonight held our last meeting; since the Local Government Act of 1894 gave us the power to elect a Parish Council we have grown from a country village of 12,000 parishioners having a rateable value of £57,381 with an annual estimate rental of £70,092, to an Urban Parish of about 31,000 inhabitants with a rateable value of £137,000 and a estimated rental of £174,000. The Parish is 2,914 acres extent, viz. 4.5 square miles. Our Parish of Mitcham contains the largest population of any Parish in England that is governed by a Parish Council; we have seven groups of Council Schools, and one Voluntary School the Parish, with about, 7,000 children, or one-tenth of the children in the County of Surrey.
It may interest you to know that since the formation of the Parish Council there have been 50 gentlemen honoured by the electors to serve upon it.
served 20 years
Messrs. J. R. Chart, J. M. Leather, E. E. Mizen, and A. Mizen
The Rev. R. Richman
G. J. Dale
W. M. Bland and J. Stickings
J. Drewett, W. H. Parslow, C. W. Benger and G. F. Jones
F. L. Mizen, A. E. Cubison, W. M. Thomson
H. L. Hallward and H. Mount.
G. Parker and G. Barson.
W. Tupper, W. Catt, J. P. Harvey, Rev. Canon Wilson, Rev. W. M. C. McAlister, A. Cooper, G. Granger, F. L. Baker, C. H. Dant, P. L. Kensett, T. Taylor.
Rev. C. Codlin, W. Harbour, T. Francis, jun., G. Gregory, T. W. Aldwinkle, Dr. de Caux, S. Blaker, J. Brewer, F. F. Laker, J. Snelling, E. E. Snowsill
G. P. Bidder, T. Allen, J. T. Figg, C. H. Dungate, F. H. Oedgrith and J. W. Moore
From among whom the following have occupied the chair:-
Messrs. G. P. Bidder, Rev. Canon Wilson, A. Mizen, J. R. Chart, E. E. Mizen, J. M. Leather, A. Dendy, C. H. Dant, J. Drewett, G. J. Dale, W. H. Parslow, Rev. R. Richman, W. M. Bland.
Among the most important offices to which the Parish Council have the power to elect members are the Overseers of the Poor, Mitcham Common Board of Conservators, Mitcham School Managers, and Trustees of the Parochial Charities. The Parish Council have also been constituted a Parochial Committee, to carry out various powers that have been delegated to them by the Croydon Rural District Council.
The Surrey County Council have on the petition of the Parish Council, held enquiries into the following matters, viz., in 1897 as to the status of the road leading from Locks Lane to Greyhound Lane ; in 1898 as to the adoption of the Housing of the Working Classes Acts; in 1912, as to the division of the Parish into Wards ; and in 1913, as to the granting of Urban Powers to Mitcham.
In 1904 Capt. Harold Bidder presented the Parish Council with some very interesting Saxon Relics, which are now suitably exposed in a glass case in the Vestry Hall. The Parish Council have not neglected the protection of the Parish from fire, having provided 2 Fire Escapes, one for each end of the Parish, and in 1911 purchased a Motor Fire Engine. In 1897 the Parish Council took over the control of the fire extinguishing appliances at Colliers Wood and appointed a joint Committee to manage the same. The Parish Council also accepted a clock and tower which had been placed on the Upper Green in memory of the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee. I may mention here that the Parish Council met twice to record the regret at the death of two sovereigns, that of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria and His late Majesty King Edward VII., and also twice to approve of festivities in honour of the coronation of King Edward VII. and His Majesty King George V.
The Parish Council also have acted as the Burial Board and have made provision which should last for a great number of years by the purchase of the glebe land which adjoins the old churchyard and the newer portion which was purchased and formerly managed by the Burial Board before the creation of the Parish Council.
In conclusion I must say that during the 20 years of the Parish Council the members have given of their time and talent for the betterment of the Parish and the good of all its inhabitants, and from its first inception to its last hour to-night we have been favoured with the ungrudging and valuable service of our Clark, Mr Alderman Chart, without whose valuable advice we might have often gone astray; and in tendering him my personal thanks I will include his absent son, Mr, Stephen Chart, who in the past we have so constantly had with us, but who is now absent on the service of his country, to which we wish in God speed and a safe and speedy return.
Mr. Alfred Mizen,
Chairman of the Mitcham Parish Council