Tag Archives: 1962

Romany School of Dancing

Elsie and Bobby Smith started giving dancing lesson in Monarch Parade in the early 1940s, according to a contributor to the Facebook Mitcham History Group. An ad from 1962 said that they had been established for 21 years, giving their start year as 1941.

In 1947, this ad shows that they were teaching at the Majestic cinema:

Learn to Dance at Mitcham's Most MODERN BALLROOM  Romany School of Dancing Elsie & Bobby Smith (N.A.T.D.) now at Majestic Mitcham. Beginners Classes : Mon & Thurs Intermediate Classes : Tues & Fri Dances : Wed & Sat. Private Lessons by Appointment

Learn to Dance at Mitcham’s Most MODERN BALLROOM
Romany School of Dancing
Elsie & Bobby Smith (N.A.T.D.)
now at Majestic Mitcham.
Beginners Classes : Mon & Thurs
Intermediate Classes : Tues & Fri
Dances : Wed & Sat.
Private Lessons by Appointment

This ad from 1959 shows that they had moved to their own premises, at the rear of 484 London Road:

1959 ad

1959 ad


Elsie and Bobby Smith, N.A.T.D., invite you to dance at the


482, London Road, Mitcham.

Strict beginners classes, Mondays & Thursdays, 8-10.30, 2/6.

Beginners and Intermediate

Old Time 8-11 2/6.

Over 25’s Beginners 8-11

Children’s Ballroom Class
10.30-12. 1/-.


For Enquiries : ‘Phone MITCHAM 4329.

STAGE BRANCH : Ballet – Tap – Modern Dance – Acrobatic Class Daily

This 1953 OS map shows the Dance Hall:

1953 OS Map

1953 OS Map

Ad from 1962 shows the introduction of a ‘Rock n Roll Club’ on Saturday nights:

1962 ad

1962 ad

Text of ad:

ROMANY’ School of Dancing
Est. 21 years
Principals : Elsie and Bobby Smith, N.A.T.D.
482 LONDON RD, MITCHAM (opp. Mitcham Stn.). Tel. MIT 4329

Monday – BEGINNERS ONLY, expert tuition, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Tuesday – HOLIDAY COURSE CLASS, 8-10.30 p.m. ……… 2/6
(Special tuition for every kind of holiday dancing)
Thursday – BEGINNERS and INTERMEDIATE, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Friday – Over 25s, Beginners and Intermediate, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Saturday morning – Children’s Ballroom, 10.30 a.m. – 12 noon ……1/-
Saturday night – ROCK ’N’ ROLL CLUB, 7.30-11 p.m. …… 3/-
Sunday – OLD TIME CLASS and PRACTICE, 7.30-10.30 p.m. 3/-

STAGE BRANCH – Tuesdays and Fridays, 4.30 p.m.

Private Lessons Daily

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


Fountain Road

Demolished in mid 1970s to make way for the ‘Quadrant’ housing estate, Sadlers Close. The road was off the Western Road and connected to the end of Sibthorpe Road. At the corner of Fountain Road and Western Road was the Fountain pub.

Included Trotts Yard.

1910 OS Map

1910 OS Map

Occupants from the 1891 directory:

From Merton Lane to Sibthorpe Road


Walter Lancaster, contractor
Mrs. C. Howe, wood dealer


Chas. Stevens, wardrobe dealer
Mrs. E. Ballard, shopkeeper

In the 1915 directory:

From Western Road to Sibthorp Road


23, Mrs. Mary Prestridge, shopkeeper


14, Mrs. A. Ellis, shopkeeper
36, James Elliott, marine store keeper
52, Mrs. Eliza Ballard, shopkeeper

Merton Memories has a photo of around 1962.

World War 1 Connections

Private Charles Bone
Driver William Thomas Challis
Private David James Elliott
Private John Gardner
Lance Corporal Isaiah Lemon

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

1962 Cleaning of the Mitcham War Memorial

The Mitcham War Memorial on Lower Green West was cleaned in 1962.

The contract for the cleaning was awarded to Neonore Stone Cleaning Co. Two extra inscription panels were added during this work.

On the fifth plinth step:

1939 – 1945

and between the fourth and fifth plinth steps


From the Mitcham News & Mercury

10th August 1962 : Face-lift for war memorial

MITCHAM’S 40-year-old First World War Memorial is to have a face lift.

In their 1962 estimates Mitcham Council have put aside ” a certain amount of money ” for the restoration of the memorial, which has been affected by the weather.

According to the borough engineers’ department the face-lift is expected to take place some time during October.

Since the memorial was built in the early 1920’s many of the names and inscriptions have faded—some have been worn completely away—and now the local council feel it is time for a restoration.

A spokesman for the borough engineers’ department said this week: ” The memorial is quite weather-beaten and we are planning to re-cut the names and inscriptions.”

17th August 1962 : Weather erases names

MITCHAM COUNCIL have had quite a job deciphering the names on the First World War Memorial at Lower Green West, near the fire station.

During the 40 years the memorial has been standing it has taken quite a beating from the weather so that now most names can hardly be read. A spokesman for the borough engineer’s department said that it was the initials causing the most bother. Same of them had worn off completely. A list of the names has been taken off the memorial which will be cleaned and smoothed so that the names can be recut. The council hope to have the work completed before Armistice Day on November 11.

10th October 1962 : £118 bill for memorial work

The restoration of the war memorial, Lower Green, Mitcham, is to cost Mitcham Council £118 plus 1s. 2d. for the re-cutting of each letter.

It has also been decided by the council to incorporate suitable wordings with the restoration work so that the memorial shall also serve for those who died in World War II.

Until now the memorial has been solely for the First World War.

Adjusted for inflation, £118 in 1962 is around £2,400 in 2016 values. The number of letters re-cut is not known as no records were kept of this work. Adjusted for inflation, each letter at one shilling and twopence is around £1.20 in 2016.

From the minutes of the Corporation of Mitcham Volume 22 1962 to 1963

Finance Report 25th September 1962 page 295

War Memorial, Lower Green –

(i) That the quotation of the Neonore Stone Cleaning Co., in the sum of £118, plus 1s. 2d. for the re-cutting of each letter, be accepted; and

(ii) That, while the restoration of the War Memorial is in progress, the Borough Engineer be authorised, in consultation with the Chairman and Town Clerk, to incorporate suitable additional writing to those that died in World War II.

Finance Report 15th January 1963, page 634

War Memorial, Lower Green – The Borough Engineer submitted the following report:-

11th January, 1963

To the Chairman and Members of the Finance, Rating and Valuation Committee
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,

War Memorial, Lower Green

I have to report that the cost of providing an additional tablet referring to the dead of the second world war is £28.

Yours obediently,
J. W. Turner,
Borough Engineer and Surveyor.
Resolved, That the report be received.

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

Deseret House

No. 286 London Road. Three floors of flats above shops on ground floor.

The name comes from Deseret, the provisional name for the state of Utah, according to wikipedia.

As seen in this Google StreetView of 2015, the name ‘DESERET HOUSE’ on the front of the building between the second and third floors, is missing letters, so it says ‘SERET HOU’.

News Articles

Mormons open a local bookshop

DESERET Enterprises Limited, which is owned by members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, opened their first bookshop in England at London Road, Mitcham, on Tuesday.

The building houses a great variety of books not necessarily associated with the church, and is Mitcham’s first shop specializing entirely in reading matter.

The building “Deseret House” has three storeys. The ground floor, is composed of a library of books and shelves of stationery. At the rear of the main room is the manager’s office and a smaller book room containing books mainly connected with the church.


The storeys above contain 12 self-contained flats which will be let to local people. Elder Spencer Kimbal, a member of the church’s Council of Twelve, carried out the opening ceremony by cutting a ribbon across the door.

Before the doors were officially, opened the general manager of the new shop, Mr. Derek A. Cuthbert, welcomed members of the Mitcham Council and the Chamber of Commerce. He explained that it was hoped the premises would not only serve members of the Mormon Church in this country, but also the people in Mitcham.

Deseret Enterprises Limited was first registered in September and all the shareholders are members of the Mormon Church although not necessarily Americans.


The church has always had a book department for members but as the church has developed the need for a separate organisation has been felt.

The company shareholders decided the new shop should serve the general public. This is, in fact, the first commercial activity of the company in this country. They are the leaseholders of the premises.

The shop will be staffed by English members of the church and the general manager, Mr. Cuthbert, comes from Nottingham.

The ceremony was attended by a second member of the Council of Twelve, Elder Howard W. Hunter.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 26th January, 1962, page 1. For photos, see Merton Memories. Mr Cuthbert died in 1991, see obituary in Deseret News, which says that this was their first commercial venture in Europe.

The Limes

Was 380 London Road.

Used as a halfway house for homeless people before they were allocated housing, this building was demolished in 1962/3.

1959 photo on Merton Memories.

News Articles

The Limes to go as half-way House
MITCHAM’s half-way house, “The Limes” – a temporary housing centre for homeless families – London Road, Mitcham, is to go.

Mitcham Council revealed this at their meeting last night (Thursday) when the chairman of the housing committee. Coun. W. J. Dungate. said the site was to be redeveloped.

Three modern-style shops, maisonnettes, garages and site works will be built in its place.

The large house, which was taken over some years ago by Mitcham Council, was split into eight units.

Most of the families who are put into “The Limes” stay for about 18 months before alternative accommodation is found for them.

Six families

At present there are six families in the building. A spokesman in the local housing manager’s department said this week: “I don’t know when the building will be demolished but we have purchased another building at Streatham where the families will be accommodated.

” The Limes’,” she went on, was once a large private house. When the council took it over they did so knowing that sooner or later it would have to be pulled down for road widening in London Road.

“That time has come and we are gradually making plans to transfer the tenants.”

Since “The Limes ” was taken over by Mitcham Council. local people have been anxious to see an end to it They have called the centre a slum, disgrace and an unwanted place in Mitcham.”

Time and again they have complained about the conditions there, and urged the council to clean it up.

In January this year Mr. Tom Braddock, former Labour M.P. for Mitcham, said at least £3.000 needed to be spent on the centre to give it “a decent living condition.”

But now the council have accepted proposals for the re-development of “The Limes” and have invited tenders for this scheme in advance of the demolition of the site.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury 27th April, 1962, page 1.

1962 Bank Raid at Fair Green

Daily Express 6th September, 1962

High-street Incident

A fight starts and one by one a whole street joins in …

“IT WAS wonderful the way the public piled in to help,” said a detective at Mitcham, Surrey, last night.

And there are indeed a lot of ordinary people who can be very proud of the way in which they piled in to aid two security guards carrying payroll to their armoured van yesterday.

It was just after 10 am. The two guards were carrying a tin box containing several thousand pounds from Lloyds Bank in Upper Green East.

Suddenly there was a struggle with a group of men.

Guard Derek Clarke, 32, of Halley-road, Manor Park, fell back, his arm injured; his colleague Norman Negus, 54, who had the box chained to his waist, was seen, his head injured, being lifted into a van.

Mitcham then blew up.

Greengrocer Tom Norris hit a man on the head with his window-blind pole. Passers-by hurled fruit boxes at the van.

Police Constables George Nazer and Stanley Black joined in the struggle. Private Investigator Mark Scott jumped from his car and hurled a crate at the van. Lorry driver John Taylor, 34, from Cambridgeshire, stopped his lorry.

“I saw there was trouble and leaped out,” he said. “I managed to hit two men before they got to the van.”

The third member of the armoured van team, 50-year-old Mr. Edward Yaxley, of Lancaster Court, Fulham, waiting locked In the armoured van, radioed his headquarters and Scotland Yard.

There was a puff of white vapour and dye as guard Clarke fired a dye-gun. Then the smaller van began to move off.

At the corner of St. Mark’s-road and Lansdell-road, near by, Mr. Douglas Gardner, at the wheel of his London Electricity Board van, pulled in and halted a van with a number of men inside. Police arrived and another struggle developed.

Kenneth Hall, 21, of Norbury-crescent, Norbury, saw a Ford Zephyr drive away. “I drove my cab straight into it but my car was forced on to the pavement,” he said.

Last night three men were charged with the robbery of a tin box containing £10,981 in cash. They will appear at Wallington court today.

Daily Express, 6th November 1962


A PRIVATE posse who chased a gang of armed bank bandits were praised by a judge at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Three members of the gang were jailed for a total of 34 years, and Judge Rogers said:

“It is often said after these cases that the public have stood by and watched and done nothing about it.

It is certainly not so in this case. I hope you will pass on to these people our appreciation of the public-spirited assistance they gave which required considerable courage.”

Only a few of the people who took part in the chase were mentioned in court.


Judge Rogers added: “It may be that there were other members of the public not mentioned: and I hope you will make it quite clear that I would like to thank all who took part.”

He jailed Harry Gowen, 40, dealer of West Green Way, Wandsworth, for fourteen years; Leslie Hornet, 40, builder, of Franciscan-road, Tooting, for twelve years; and Harvey James Mason, dealer, of no fixed abode, for eight years.

All pleaded guilty to taking part in the robbery of £10,671 from a security guard outside Lloyds Bank, Upper Green East, Mitcham, last September.

After the raid a civilian posse of cars and vans chased the gang as they drove away with one of the security men in the back of their stolen van.


The van was trapped a few streets away and three of the gang were held after a struggle.

Four escaped in another car. All the money was recovered.

Last night it was announced that the owners of the security van had given £100 to the Mayor of Mitcham in recognition of the civilians’ actions.

The money is to be divided between two local charities.

Church Place numbers 1 to 12

A terrace of 12 houses that were on the west side of Church Place, a road off Church Road, between numbers 32 and 34. Demolished in 1962/3, see below.

1953 OS map

1953 OS map

World War 1 Connections
Private Albert Morgan

From the Surrey Recruitment Registers:

H G CHOULER of 11 Church Place, Mitcham, aged 33 Years 11 Months, Engine Driver. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 29 February 1916 to the Royal Fusiliers (15th Batn).

W E GREEN of 12 Church Place, Mitcham, aged 34 Years 8 Months, Labourer. Volunteered on 1 November 1915 to the Royal Garrison Artillery.

W JONES of 1 Church Place, Mitcham, aged 18 Years 2 Months, Labourer. Conscripted on 28 August 1917 to the 20th Training Reserve Batn.


From Minutes of the Housing Committee
6th June 1957
page 48

The Town Clerk reported that at the meeting of the Public Health Committee held today the Medical Officer had submitted official representations under Section 25 and 154 of the Housing Act 1936, that the areas comprising the houses 1 to 12 (consecutive numbers inclusive) Church Place and Nos. 46 to 60 (even numbers inclusive) Love Lane and Nos. 1 to 9 (consecutive numbers inclusive) Nicholls Cottages, Gaston Road, be dealt with as Clearance Areas.

Resolved, That the Council give an undertaking to carry out or secure the carrying out of such re-housing as the Minister of Housing and Local Local Government may consider necessary.

From the minutes of the Highways Committee
8th March 1962
page 817

Demolition of 1-12 Church Place and 42-60 Love Lane
The following quotations have been received for the demolition of the above properties:-

Company Cost
Gorst & Co., Ltd. £290
Syd Bishop & Sons (Demolition), Ltd. £350
J. W. Elliott £450
W. H. Penfold & Sons, Ltd. £489

I recommend that the lowest quotation, that of Messrs. Gorst & Co., Ltd. in the sum of £290 be accepted.
Yours obediently,
J. W. Turner,
Borough Engineer and Surveyor

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

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