Tag Archives: 1949

Cumberland House

Cumberland Hospital was paid for by Isaac Wilson, and built on land he owned, at the rear of his house The Birches. Its entrance was at the end of Whitford Gardens at Cold Blows.

Opened in 1939, it was demolished in 1992. Its perimeter wall along Cold Blows remains.

1953 OS map

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 21st July, 1939, page 1.

LEFT THE GOLD KEY AT HOME

But Sir Isaac’s Splendid Gift is Duly Inaugurated

CUMBERLAND HOUSE OPENED

An amusing hitch occurred at the formal opening of Cumberland House, Mitcham, on Friday afternoon. Sir Isaac Wilson, as the munificent donor of the place, was about to present the key to Sir Richard Meller, M.P., with which to unlock the door, when he discovered that he had left it at home.

A messenger was dispatched post-haste, and in ten minutes’ time he arrived with the gold key.

The ceremony then proceeded smoothly. It was a semi-private affair, arranged by the Surrey County Council officials. Among the guests present were Sir Isaac and Lady Wilson, Sir Richard and Lady Meller, the Mayor and Mayoress of Mitcham (Ald. and Mrs. Field), Mr. R. M. Chart, the 89-years-old Charter Mayor of Mitcham, Mr. Stephen Chart, the vicar of Mitcham (the Rev. C. A. Finch) and Mrs. Finch, Col. W. F. Johnson, Mr. Christopher Chart, Dr and Mrs. A. T. Till, Ald. E. H. Rickards (Croydon), County Councillor Mrs. C. Randall, Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Alderman, Mr. H. H. Dance, staff, officials, and inmates of the House.

COSTS £60,000.

The building was erected at the cost approximately of £60,000 by Sir Isaac Wilson, on land belonging to him, and adjoining his own residence at The Birches, almost overlooking the famous Mitcham Cricket Green. The foundation stone was laid on March 1, 1937, by Sir Kingsley Wood, then Minister of Health. The place was originally to be used as a home for poor disabled persons, and it was vested in trustees for that purpose. Subsequently, however Sir Isaac and Lady Wilson, with the approval of their co-trustees, offered the building as a gift to the Surrey County Council for use as a convalescent home in connection with the Council’s hospitals. The munificent and public-spirited offer was gratefully accepted in May, 1938. Under the scheme, Sir Isaac and Lady Wilson are life members of the committee of management, with seven other members appointed by the County authority. The hospital has been furnished and equipped by the Council, who have also appointed the necessary staff. The first patient was admitted on March 29 last. The hospital has accommodation for 110 patients and 24 staff. The patients are mainly transferred from hospitals as requiring from two to eight weeks’ further treatment in order to firmly reestablish their health.

UP-TO-DATE.

On the ground floor there are the administrative offices, kitchens, a dispensary, and two units. The first floor comprises two ward units, an electrical treatment room, the doctor’s flat, and dining-rooms for the nursing and domestic staff. The second floor contains bed- and other rooms for the matron, assistant matron, and 22 members of the nursing and domestic staffs, including two staff common rooms. The lay-out of the Home is magnificent, with sunshine balconies, and spacious grounds for recreation.

Sir Isaac paid tribute to the architects, Messrs. Chart, Son and Reading; the builder, Mr. C. Higginson; his confidential friends, Mr. R. M. Chart, and his son, Mr. Stephen Chart (Town Clerk of Mitcham), Sir Richard Meller, and the Rev. C. A. Finch, chaplain of the home. He declared that every one of these gentlemen had helped him by good advice during the building of the Home. He went on to say that the Surrey County Councii were now trying to do the very best they could with the building, and “I shall be fully recompensed to know that the institution will be carried an efficiently in the future for the benefit and use of convalescent cases,” he added.

DEPUTISING FOR MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Sir Richard Meller humorously suggested that a record of the ceremony should be “the safe arrival of the key.” He greatly appreciated the honour and privilege conferred upon him, he said. He was really deputising for the Minister of Health, who was unable to attend. “This is a succession of noble acts of benefaction by Sir Isaac Wilson,” commented Sir Richard. The building of Wilson Hospital, and the Garden Village, are other worthy examples of his generosity. There is nothing which adds to human happiness so much as the enjoyment of good health, and Sir Isaac and Lady Wislon have been so charity-minded as to build these institutions to try to confer the greatest blessing on mankind by providing them with means of achieveing the greatest human happiness.”

In handing over the Home to County authority, Sir Richard thought the donors had paid tribute to the efficient administration of that body. It came at an opportune moment for the County Council in providing them with the necessary accommodation to relieve their present hospitals, and particularly as an outlet for the large institution being built on St Helier Estate. Sir Richard gave the assurance that the intentions of the trustees would be carried out as far as possible.

“The opening of this home, concluded Sir Richard, “confers a very valuable asset upon the County, and it should be duly recorded among the great historic events of Mitcham.”

“By taking over this building, the County Authority have enabled Sir Isaac to confirm two benefits on community, provision of an institution for the sick, relief for the ratepayers. It is a second example of the dual benefit that Sir Isaac has conferred upon the ratepaying community through Wilson hospital and now Cumberland Home. “Where I am ye shall dwell,” seems to have animated the donor, for he has built both institutions close to his own private residence, equivalent to saying what is good enough for me I hope is good enough for you. In your name as residents of Mitcham, and on behalf of the County of Surrey, I express to Sir Isaac and Lady Wilson our whole-hearted gratitude for their generosity and kindness. Before their eyes they will have the satisfaction and knowledge that those who came here sick went away rejoicing in good health.” (Cheers).

The company then proceeded to the main entrance of the budiling, and Sir Richard unlocked the door with a gold key, declaring the Home open for the succour of mankind.”

Photos on Merton Memories:
Laying of the Foundation Stone
Foundation Stone
1958 : Chest hospital building


The hospital, originally under the Surrey County Council, became part of the NHS in 1947. This ad for nurses in 1949 shows it was part of the St Helier hospital group:

16th July 1949

In 1979, the Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth Area Health Authority announced it was to close. The buildings were demolished in 1992. Redevelopment of the site by the health authority has included day care centres, and is the site of the Merton Dementia Hub.

For more information about the hospital, see the website Lost Hospitals of London.


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

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Fish Leather at Beddington Corner

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th January 1950, page 4.

WORKING on trawlers sailing from the sturdy little fishing port of Fleetwood, Mr. W. V. Kuncewicy was struck with an idea. But it was war time and his conviction that the seas surrounding these inlands contained great untapped wealth could bear no fruit until the end of hostilities.

When peace came Kuncewicy and his friend, S. Cyuba, equipped only with an idea and about £300 between them, began to explain to people that a flourishing industry could be built on the by-products of fish, principally the skins, most of which are thrown away, or at best, reach the fertiliser factory.

The skins of cod and catfish, declared these two former Polish naval men, could be used as a substitute for fine leather. Cleaned, treated and dyed it would make dainty shoe uppers, belts and other trimmings. The skin of the dolphin, porpoise and shark, which at present sport unmolested about our shores, were the real wealth which, if scientifically harvested, could provide enough hides to abolish the need for a large percentage of leather imports. The oil, too, was valuable.

Five years after the end of the war these two men have established a factory in Goat-road, Mitcham, where fish skins are treated for commercial use.

HOME MADE FACTORY.

Its home is a converted stable. Kuncewicy and Cyuba did most of the converting. They laid the concrete floor of the tanning room, installed the machinery, converted the loft above the stalls into an office-cum-work shop, The entrance is by an outside wooden staircase. To get in you bend double and, push open the old loft door. There is an old-fashioned air about this beamed, dimly-lit building where a new industry has been born. In the former loft skins of cod and catfish hang from lines stretched across the low ceiling. In the stable below 2,500 skins are cleaned and tanned each week.

The tanning of fish skins has been attempted with indifferent success for probably 3,000 years. Now, for the first time it is being done satisfactorily, and dainty shoes and other accessories, many of them in gold and silver finish, are being exported as well as sold in the West End.

The skin is soft and flexible, yet, stronger than leather of equal thickness. Fish skin accessories have become popular for evening wear, yet probably few women realise that they are adorning themselves with the skin of cod.

How in these days of restriction have these two penniless sailors succeeded in launching a new industry? The real answer lies in the burning enthusiasm of Kuncewicy; the imagination, initiative and drive that persuaded the authorities to allow him to study at a marine biological station on the Clyde, and later imbued enough people with sufficient enthusiasm for fish skins to lend money to set the factory going.

ON OUR DOORSTEP.

But powder compacts and evening shoes are only part of Mr. Kuncewicy’s dream. In spring millions of porpoises and dolphins come to Britain’s shores. Spring, too. brings schools of sharks to Scottish waters.

“These creatures represent potential wealth.” said Mr. Kuncewicy. “The hide of a porpoise or dolphin is the size of a cow hide, and as tough. There are several layers of skin: the outer ones can be used for heavy goods such as suitcases or heavy boots, the inner layers for lighter things.

“Fishermen on the Clyde used to poach dolphin from small boats — killing them was illegal — for the sake of the blubber and the skin. To-day the blubber would be useful as lubricating oil, and the meat is quite good, much better than whale steak.”

Shark skin was a good substitute for calf. They had had one skin from the shark station at Soay, the tiny Hebridean island that lies in the shadow of the Black Cuillins of Skye. The setting up of a station there had failed because the shark fishing had been treated rather as a gentleman’s sport than a serious business. But it had demonstrated the use to which these creatures, some of them as long as a London bus, could be put.

Mr. Kuncewicy has been asking the Board of Trade to establish three stations — on the Clyde. Cornwall and the East Coast — for the purpose of catching porpoises, dolphins and sharks. Such an experiment would provide the nucleus of a flourishing industry.

“The Government sets up elaborate groundnut schemes in Africa, but has no time for the undeveloped natural wealth of Britain,” he commented. “The launching of a scheme would cost only about £15,000. It could well grow into an important industry, providing Britain with much of the leather she now imports. The raw materials department of the Board of Trade have shown some interest, but the Treasury will not respond to appeals for funds.”

British Pathe made a newsreel in 1949, which can be seen on YouTube:

On the British Pathe website, the names are given as Witold Euncewicz and Stanislaw Czuba, as opposed to Kuncewicy and Cyuba in the newspaper article.

N.M.I.A. Hall, Woodland Way

Called the North Mitcham Hall by the North Mitcham Improvement Association, or N.M.I.A., this building stood at number 51 Woodland Way, close to the junction with Ashbourne Road. There was also a pavilion, with two hard and three grass tennis courts

1949 OS map

1949 OS map

Clip from 1939 photo of the North Mitcham Hall from Merton Memories photo 49676 (c) London Borough of Merton

Clip from 1939 photo of the North Mitcham Hall from Merton Memories photo 49676 (c) London Borough of Merton

22nd February 1949 - the first play by the North Mitcham Players, held at the NMIA's North Mitcham Hall

22nd February 1949 – the first play by the North Mitcham Players, held at the NMIA’s North Mitcham Hall

example of event at the hall and grounds

example of event at the hall and grounds

The hall was built by Joseph Owen, who lived at 89 Ashbourne Road.


Demolished in 2015/6 and redeveloped.

Girdlers Radio Ltd

Radio and television shop started by Edward Girdler.

In the 1930 commercial directory, and the 1933 ad shown below, his shop was at 245 London Road, Mitcham, which was part of The Parade, the Edwardian shops between the Fair Green and the telephone exchange.

In the 1952 Chambers of Commerce, the address for Girdlers Radio Ltd is 293 Mitcham Road, Tooting. See the ad on the front cover of the North Mitcham Improvement Association below.

1950 OS map

1950 OS map

1933 ad

1933 ad

Text of ad:

WIRELESS ACCESSORIES Phone Str. 605. VACUUM CLEANERS ON HIRE

EDWARD GIRDLER

REGISTERED ELECTRICAL ENGINEER & CONTRACTOR
231b STREATHAM ROAD, MITCHAM
AND AT 245 LONDON ROAD, MITCHAM

OUR OWN HIRE PURCHASE TERMS ON 18 MONTHS, ANY SET OVER 12 GNS.

PHILIPS 4 VALVE, 2 S.G., ELECTRIC 16 Gns. CASH or 18 monthly payments of 19/7.

This is the electrical age, and an electrical gift is the most useful and acceptable gift. We have in stock countless Shades, Standards. Fittings. Irons, Fires, Radio Sets, etc. at the LOWEST POSSIBLE PRICES.

We shall be pleased to make suggestions and help you in every possible way.

August 1950 front cover of The Sentinel magazine of the North Mitcham Improvement Association

August 1950 front cover of The Sentinel magazine of the North Mitcham Improvement Association


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

Grenfell Road

Road off west side of London Road, south of Tooting Station.

1950 OS Map

1950 OS Map

The road was made up in 1902. From the minutes of the Croydon Rural District Council, Volume 8, 1902 to 1903, 18th September 1902, page 394:

Grenfell Road Tenders

The Council opened and considered the undermentioned tenders received for the making up, forming, kerbing, and metalling of Grenfell Road, Mitcham:-

Stockwell & Co., Bromley = £600 8s.
Adams, T., Wood Green, London = £527
Iles, E., Mitcham = £476
Free & Sons, Maidenhead = £454
Wheeler, W., Southwark, S.E. = £336

Resolved, That the tender of Mr. E. Iles, of Mitcham, be accepted, and that the necessary bond be entered into in accordance of conduct.

A water trough outside the Gorringe Park Hotel was in the way of this however, as can be seen from the minutes of the Croydon Rural District Council, Volume 8, 1902 to 1903, Road and Buildings Committee, 20th November 1902, page 571:

The Surveyor reported that in order to complete the work of making up Grenfell Road it had become necessary to remove an obstructive water trough erected in connection with the Gorringe Park Hotel. The Owners of the Hotel (Messrs. Young & Co.) stated that the water trough was the property of the tenant, who, however, had refused to remove it.

—The Committee instructed the Surveyor to formally call upon the tenant of the Hotel to remove the water trough.


From the 1915 street directory:

from London Road to Bruce Road

SOUTH SIDE

2, Daniel KERWOOD, confectioner
Snelling & Gathercote Ltd. concrete slab manufacturers

… here is Bruce Road …

NORTH SIDE

1, John C. HUGHES
3, Mrs KNAPP, wardrobe dealer
15, Raphael SHIREWITZ, ladies’ and gents’ tailors
25, Joseph WILSON, estate office

… here is Sirdar Road …

27, F. BOWDITCH, confectioner
29, Sydney HANNAM, fried fish shop
31, Hill House Laundry
33, David MORRIS, dairy
35, William TYRELL, butcher
36, Walter SWEET, oil and color man
39, Peter HEARN, greengrocer

World War 1 Connections
Private Henry Frederick Boston
Private Percy George ROE
Private John THURLOW
Serjeant Hubert William WATTS

Ad for Wainberg’s of number 3, Grenfell Road : Shoe maker and repairer.

June 1949 ad

June 1949 ad


From the minutes of the Croydon Rural District Council
Volume IX 1903 – 1904
23rd April 1903
page 68

No. 2483, Wilson, J., 8 shops and tenement houses, Grenfell Road, Mitcham


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

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

Grand Parade, Streatham Road

1949 OS map and 1920 ads/1925 street directory

1949 OS map and 1920 ads, with 1925 street directory

Parade of shops on the east side of Streatham Road consisting of eleven shops between Caithness Road and Park Avenue, and four more from the southern corner of Park Avenue.

Mentioned in 1920 adverts as ‘Grand Parade’, the numbering was from north to south, 1 to 15, which was then numbered as 121 to 93 in the 1925 street directory. In the OS map of 1949, the numbers are 221 to 193, as they are in 2016.

This ad for J Brewer at number 217 shows that the final renumbering occurred between 1925 and 1938.

1938

1938

Merton Memories photo of 1930 shows the parade from corner of Caithness Road looking south.


Occupants from 1911 Commercial Directory

Number Occupier Trade
1 Percy Beard wine & spirit merchant
2 Thomas James Mills laundry
4 Jas. Benj. Austin grocer,& post office
5 Thomas George oil & color man
6 James Pigg dairy
9 Edward Huntley & Sons house & estate agents
10 Edward Arthur Jesson newsagent
12 Albert Keirle baker
13 Thomas George Humphrey Palmer ironmonger
14 Miss Babette Reiss confectioner

In the 1915 directory, Raoul Chabauty is listed as a draper at 11, Grand Parade, and in the 1925 director as draper at 101 Streatham Road. This implies that the first renumbering was between 1915 and 1925.

World War 1 Connections
Able Seaman Walter Thomas Edmonds

Private Peter F Lawton


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

Gladstone Road

No longer exists. The Sadler Close housing estate was built over it, the name being kept for one of the blocks, Gladstone House.

The Mission Hall seen in the map of 1952 was opened in 1939, see Merton Memories.

From Croydon Rural District Authority Minutes read in the Local Studies Centre at Croydon library, the following plans were approved:

21/10/1897:
– Mr JM Pitt of Mitcham to erect four houses Gladstone Road, Mitcham

Youth Club details in 1949 Youth Handbook.

World War 1 Connections
Private William Richard Angliss

Private Henry James Collins

Private Harry George Sheppard


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