Tag Archives: 1965

1965 : Mr Tilley retires after 25 years with Mitcham Fire Brigade

Twenty-five years as a fireman ended on Friday for Mr Terry Tilley, Russell Road, Mitcham. Here (centre) with his wife he receives a clock from Station Officer P. Dann, and an illuminated address signed by all members of the station.
All his colleagues also subscribed towards the cost of the clock.
From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 12th February, 1965, page 1.

Enjoyed his 25 years of fire-fighting

The summer afternoon when a rubber dump started to smoulder in the Willow Lane was the start of the biggest fire in Mitcham since the war.

Mr Terry Tilley recalled the blaze this week as he sat in his Russell Road home and looked back on 25 years as a fireman.

“It was two or three years after the war,” he said, “and I remember it was very, very hot.

“Tons and tons of rubber went up and you could see the flames miles away. It was like a mushroom.”

Long into the night 40 engines and dozens of firemen fought the fire, one of a spate of rubber dumps which went up the London area.

Of his experiences during the war Mr Tilley most vividly recalls a bombing raid on London’s dockland.

Fire engines raced from all over London to fight the blazing oil and tar refineries at Silvertown.

“The raid began in the afternoon,” said Mr Tilley, “and about 8 o’clock the bombers came back and went on dropping until the early hours of next morning.

“It was a fantastic sight with the fire engines and A.R.P. units all over the place. We lost a few men, I think, when the bombers came back.”

“Mr Tilley, who is 55, joined the Mitcham Brigade in 1940. In 1946 he moved to Banstead for nine years before returning to Mitcham.

He didn’t join for any particular reason, but now he says: “I enjoyed the life, and I shall miss the men.”

For the future he intends to have a few weeks’ holiday and then get another job, though he is not quite sure what.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 19th February, 1965

There are photos on Merton Memories of the rubber tyre dump fire on 2nd June 1947. For example:

Clip from Merton Memories photo 51069, copyright London Borough of Merton.

Alfred Tilley, also at the Mitcham Fire Station, was his uncle, according to a post on Facebook. He is pictured on a 1930s photo of the brigade. He was mentioned in newspapers as having rescued 15 cats over his career.

Second Officer Alfred Tilley, of the Mitcham Fire Brigade, has just rescued his fifteenth cat. He saved his first cat in 1920. In those days he went out on a bicycle and borrowed a ladder.
From the Daily Herald, 16th December, 1939.

Mortuary Chapel in parish churchyard

In 1882, the parish church’s burial ground was enlarged and a mortuary chapel was built by Crockett at a cost of £1,761, as referred to in an advertised tender in the Surrey Mirror. (Adjusted for inflation, this was the equivalent of around £200,000 today.)

An entrance from Church Road was made, opposite the post office (later 71 Church Road). A path from this entrance led to a circular path in front the chapel.

The new burial ground was consecrated on 15th January 1883 by the Bishop of Rochester.

This 1910 Ordnance Survey map shows the entrance to the chapel as being opposite the letter box on the west side of Church Road. Another building is shown north east of the chapel, along the wall with Miles Road. The entrance that is there today is not shown and it is not known whether this building was related to the mortuary chapel.

1910 OS map


When Mitcham became part of the London Borough of Merton in 1965, the Coroner decided that autopsies and inquests would be performed at Battersea for both Merton and Wandsworth. This decision was recorded in the minutes of the Parks, Cemeteries and Allotments Committee dated 26th May 1965:

612. Mitcham and Wimbledon Mortuaries

The Director of Parks reported

(i) that following the reorganisation of the London boroughs, H.M. Coroner had decided that as from the 1st April, 1965, he will hold all inquests for both the London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth at the Battersea Coroner’s Court and that consequently all autopsies on bodies will be carried out at the Battersea Mortuary; and

(ii) that no request has been made to use the Wimbledon and Mitcham mortuaries which had been kept in readiness since the 1st April in case local funeral directors wish to use them as Chapels of Rest, and

(iii) that consequently there seemed to be no necessity to keep the mortuaries available particularly as some financial arrangements would have to be agreed with the London Borough of Wandsworth for bodies admitted to the Battersea Mortuary from this borough.

Source: Minutes of proceedings of the council and committees, London Borough of Merton Council Minutes, 1965-66, volume 2, part 1.

Today, nothing is left of the chapel building, although the circular path remains. It is currently not known when it was demolished.

Photo taken 26th April 2017 of plot where mortuary chapel once stood.

Measurements made using the online map show the length of 45 feet along its east-west side, and its depth of 30 feet along its north-south side.

Inquests were held at the Mortuary Chapel. Here are links to some newspaper articles that reported them.

1895 Death from pleurisy
1910 Miss Ellen Peerless, of the Ship Laundry


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


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

James Chuter Ede, Mitcham MP in 1923

Right Honourable James Chuter Ede, P.C. (1944), M.P., son of James Ede, of Epsom.

Born 1882; educated Dorking High School and Chrit’s College Cambridge.
Married 1917 to Lilian Mary (died 1948), daughter of Richard Williams, of Plymouth.

Served in Great War with 5th East Surrey regiment and special brigade of R.E.

D.L. (Deputy Lieutenant) (1931), J.P. (1923).

Chairman of Surrey County Council 1933-37; M.P. (Labour) Surrey (Mitcham division) in 1923 and South Shields 1929-31 and from 1935. Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Education 1940-45, Secretary of state, Home Office 1945-51.

Leader of the House of Commons 1951.

Chairman of London and Home Counties Joint Electricity Authority 1934-40.

Oxford and Cambridge Club.

7 Tayles Hill, Ewell, Surrey.

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

He died at Ewell, Surrey, in November 1965, aged 83.

More information on wikipedia.

1965 Luftwaffe Contract for Bryans

From Flight International, 4th March, 1965 page 346

Luftwaffe Contract for Bryans

The West German Ministry of Defence has recently placed a £68,500 contract with Bryans Ltd, of Willow Lane, Mitcham Junction, Surrey, for the supply of 52 Oxygen Demand Regulator Test Stands, Model 1488/A.

Delivery of the first nine units has already been made. This equipment is used for
testing aircrew oxygen demand regulators for How capacities and oxygen concentration under simulated flight conditions.

Altitudes of up to 70,000ft can be reproduced in the pressure chamber where the
regulator is tested. Provision is made for the accurate control and measurement of
pressures and flows of oxygen through the regulator.

Full facilities are available in Model 1488/A for testing all airborne regulators of European and US origin.

Bamboo House

Chinese restaurant, 249 London Road, corner of Langdale Avenue. Established in 1960.

Extract from the Daily Mirror, 8th April, 1965

In England Today there are more than 2,000 Chinese Restaurants

… in the “Bamboo House,” 45-year-old Mr. Pui Cheung opens seven days a week with members of his family as his chief assistants.

Mr. Cheung arrived in England eleven years ago by boat from Hong Kong with very little money in his pocket, and for six years he worked in restaurant kitchens and then as a waiter.

Five years ago he risked his savings and got a mortgage to open his Chinese restaurant.

Today he has paid off his mortgage and is saving hard to expand.

He regularly serves more than 300 4s. 6d. lunches between midday and 3 p.m.

He employs an 18-year-old boy, Lai Fong, solely to look after and grow fresh bean shoots from seed in huge wooden tubs in an immaculate transformed coal cellar.

He told me: “I often use 100lb. bean shoots on Saturday nights alone, and I can only keep pace with the demand by growing them on the premises.”

Most Chinese restaurants do the same — it’s handier and cheaper than buying outside.

The popularity and standard of food values can be judged by the fact that local housewives now collect Mr. Cheung’s three-course 4s. 6d. meals to take home for the family.

Shiu-King, the owner’s strikingly good-looking wife, supervises the kitchen. His elder son Ching Kwong is her deputy, his daughter-in-law, Choi King, is a waitress, his 21-year-old son Yick Kwan is the deputy chef and his 19-year-old daughter Oi-ling, is a waitress.

Inflation adjusted, four shillings and sixpence in 1965 is around £4 in 2016.

Pollards Hill Arcon Bungalows

From the minutes of the
Housing Committee
22nd June 1965

695. Notices to Quit. – The Housing Manager reported that (a) there remained at Pollards Hill seven occupied Arcon bungalows which had to be cleared by the 29th September 1965; and b) the rehousing of the tenants was proceeding, but he felt that the time was approaching when all remaining tenancies should be formally terminated by Notices to Quit as a precaution against any last minute difficulties in rehousing.

Resolved – That authority be given for the the service of Notices to Quit accompanied by an explanatory letter.

Source: Minutes of Proceedings of the Council and committees, London Borough of Merton, Volume 2 1965-66, page 417

345 Arcon bungalows were built by Mitcham Borough Council as temporary housing after the Second World War.

Merton Memories photos of Arcon bungalows at Pollards Hill: outside and inside.


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