Tag Archives: Colliers Wood

1917 : Flooding of the Links Estate

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 10th August, 1917, page 2:

THE FLOODS AT MITCHAM AND COLLIERS WOOD.

The aftermath of the floods at Mitcham, Tooting Junction and Colliers Wood is what was expected.

Those who remember the great storm of the early months of 1914, when Tooting Broadway, Mitcham Road and other parts of the borough suffered considerably from the flood,
are certainly justified in their expressions of disgust at the means available to prevent these floods.

At Seely-road, the tenants are up in arms, and are reported to have refused to pay their rent this week, owing to the damage done to their household goods through having 2ft.
to 4ft. of water in the ground floor rooms; feeling that action will enable their landlord to make a claim in bulk upon the proper authorities for compensation.

After the last storm, the tenants were assured that it would not be possible for the scenes of 1914 to reoccur, as proper pumping machinery was installed to meet future contingencies. Apparently, the great force of water lost week overcame the capacity of the pumping machinery and, getting the upper hand, the water flowed in all directions and did considerable damage.

The wood pavement in High street Colliers Wood, was torn up by the force of the water, and the Rural District Council’s men have been busy this week in relaying the road way; whilst, in all directions the gardens give evidence of extensive floods, and the open doors, of the cottages and houses affected show bare flooring which is gradually drying, now the water has subsided.

The river Wandle is a pretty old fashioned stream, passing through some of the sylvan beauty of Surrey (in ordinary times); but on the occasion of floods it becomes a strong torrent, and once it overflows banks, the surrounding property is soon presenting the appearance of a vast lake. Some explanation of the failure of the pumping machinery
awaited.

The river Graveney formed the north boundary, along with the railway line the south, of a golf course, as shown in this 1895 OS map:

1895 OS map

The housing estate built on this land was dubbed the Links Estate, being a reference to the golf links. By 1911, as this OS map shows, a number of roads with houses had been built. The river Graveney also formed the boundary between the London County Council and the Mitcham Urban District Council, which is why the letter below from Mr Popple of Links Road was forwarded on to the Mitcham council.

1911 OS map

From the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 109-112, Public Health and Burial Committee meeting of 11th September, 1917

FLOODING : LINKS ESTATE –

The Clerk reported that on August 1st there was a very abnormal rainfall, which resulted in the flooding of many houses on the Links Estate, in consequence of which he had received 31 complaints from owners and occupiers, together with claims to be compensated of varying amounts, a list of which he presented to the Committee ; that these had been duly acknowledged by him, pointing out that the flooding of their properties was due to the overflowing of the River Graveney, caused by the quantity of water discharged from the relief Sewers of the London County Council and the incapacity of the river; at the same time repudiating any liability of this Council for any damage arising therefrom.

The Clerk drew attention to a report made to him as Surveyor to the late Rural District Council recorded in Vol. XVIII., p. 485, of that Council’s Minutes, in which the danger of this flooding was anticipated and the action of the Rural Council in consequence thereof.

The Clerk also reported that he had forwarded copies of the complaints and claims to the Chief Engineer of the London County Council and had written him on the subject; further, that he had, with Mr. Drewett as Chairman of the Joint Sewerage Board
had an interview with Mr. G. W. Humphreys, the Chief Engineer, and had obtained from him a promise that he would take into consideration the practicability of adopting some temporary means preventing future floodings from the Graveney until some permanent work can be carried out, and that my letters and the complaints and claims should be laid before his Committee.

It was Resolved, That the Clerk’s report be entered in the minutes of this Committee.

The following letter was read from the Local Government Board asking for the observation of the Council on a complaint of Mr. Popple, of Links Road, as to the flooding.

It was Resolved, That the action taken by the Clerk be approved and that the Local Government Board be made acquainted with the facts, and that they be requested to urge upon the London County Council the necessity for providing for the adequate capacity
of the River Graveney to discharge the volume of water brought into it.

Local Government Board,
Whitehall, S.W., 1,
15th August, 1917

Sir, –

I am directed by the Local Government Board to forward to the Mitcham Urban District Council the enolosed copy of a letter which has been addressed to the Board by Mr. H. Popple, 96, Links Road, Tooting, S.W.17, and I am to request that the Board may be furnished with the observations of the Council upon the subject of this communication.

I am Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
F. J. Willis,
Assistant Secretary.

96, Links Road,
Tooting, S.W. 17.
4th August, 1917.

The President of the Local Government Board,—

I beg to bring to your notice the shocking conditions existing on the Links Estate, Tooting, London, S.W., Parish of Mitcham.

This estate is composed of a large number of 5-roomed houses tenanted by respectable working people. A very large percentage of the male population is away serving with the Colours.

Whenever a heavy downpour of rain is experienced on this estate the roads become flooded, the water in many cases surging up through the drains. In some instances the flooding only occurs in the roadway, and even in this case an offensive sediment remains which creates
disease. In other cases the whole of the neighbourhood is turned into a huge lake, varying from inches to 3 or 4 feet deep. This latter has happened twice during the past week, and three times within a month. About a month ago a petition was sent to the local Borough Council, Mitcham, but nothing has been done in the matter except talking. Talking does not assist in such matters, and I am, therefore, appealing to you in the interests of health. Such conditions are disastrous in many ways; the damp conditions prevailing and the
offensive sediment deposited by such floods being a huge source of danger to the community. There is a very large Council School on the estate, and the children passing to and fro after such floods must inhale the germs created by the dried offensive sediment. Again, a small child slipping out unnoticed from one of the houses, might easily be drowned.

The damage caused is also very great, as the majority of the male population being away the women left are unable to lift the heavier furniture, and it is generally recognised that a piano or such article standing in about a foot of water is not going to improve. Further, the male population left have devoted their spare time to cultivating
vegetables in accordance with the desire to produce as much food as possible, and it is heartbreaking to see such labour wasted by the vegetables boing washed away by the flood.

I am placing the case in your hands, confident that you will see that proper redress will be given if such lies within your power.

I might add that I lived six years in the neighbourhood before any suggestion of this kind occurred, the first flooding taking place on June 14th, 1914. I believe the cause to be primarily as follow:-

About 1912, the L.C.C. were granted power by Act of Parliament to lay a 4ft. storm-sewer to carry off the London storm water and discharge it into the River Wandle. This sewer does not discharge into the river Graveny at Colliers Wood. This being but a brook, such
a volume of water being discharged into it is already heavily taxed, holds up the water with which it is already charged, causing it to overflow and thus turn our estate into a gigantic lake. Thus it happens that many thrifty men who have purchased property in this
neighbourhood and are away serving their country are having their little all ruined in order that the L.C.C. or whoever is responsible, might save a few pounds.

I should be pleased if you yourself or a reliable inspector would visit my house and the surrounding neighbourhood and note the state existing.

There are hundreds who could fully endorse my letter, and I therefore ask you in my name and in the name of the others who are not here to ask for themselves to see that the matter receives proper and immediate attention.

I am, Sir,
Yours faithfully,
(Signed)
H. POPPLE.

Mr. Councillor Laing reported that on the occasion of the flooding referred to Mr. Cusden loaned his horse and van for conveying persons to and fro through the flood.

It was Resolved, That a letter of thanks be sent to Mr. Cusden.

It was moved by Mr Drewett and seconded by Mr Bland, and Resolved, That the Council be recommended to give special consideration to the serious conditions created by heavy rainfall and

Report from the Town Clerk, Robert Masters Chart, from the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 133-4, meeting of 25th September, 1917

FLOODING : LINKS ESTATE.—

The Clerk reported that he had replied to the letter of the Local Government Board of August 10th, in accordance with the instructions of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, as follows :—

Sept. 12, 1917.

Sir,

In reply to your letter of the 16th August, enclosing a letter addressed to the Local Government Board by Mr. H. Potter, drawing the attention of the Board to the Flooding of houses on the Links Estate, Tooting Junction, in this Urban District, which letter was laid before the Public Health Committee of tho Council yesterday, I am directed to
state as follows:—

1. The River Graveney at the locus-in-guo forms the boundary between this District and the County of London. The London County Council contend that this portion of the river is under their jurisdiction as being scheduled as a Sewer in the Metropolis Management Act of 1855, although this Council do not admit the contention. The outfall of this river is into the River Wandle at Mitcham, and is the natural outfall for this area.

2. The London County Council have from time to time constructed overflows from their Southern Area Sewers into the River Graveney, the last of these being constructed in or about 1913, and is 4ft. in diameter. The late Rural District of Croydon at that time pointed out to the London County Council the probability of flooding of, and damage to, property that would ensue unless proper provision was made for increasing the capacity of the river to accommodate the volume of water that would be discharged when, in times of storms, these sewer overflows were brought into action.

3. The view expressed by the late Croydon Rural District Council in 1913 have been realise on two or three occasions, notably on June 29th, and again on August 1st of this year. On the former occasion the Medical Officer of Health and Sanitary Inspector reported to this Council that although considerable inconvenience and some damage was caused to the occupiers, no nuisance injurious to health was occasioned.

4. Numerous complaints have been received from owners and occupiers, and some claims for compensation, to all of whom a reply has been given that, whilst this Council regrets the occasion, they repudiate any liability for damage or responsibility for the flooding, having provided an efficient service of soil sewers and surface water sewers for the drainage of the Links Estate; at the same time, they have forwarded copies of the complaints and claims to the L.C.C. engineer, and a deputation from this Council have interviewed the Chief Engineer and urged upon him the necessity of providing a more effective outfall for the River Graveney.

5. Having regard to the fact that the present unsatisfactory condition has been brought about by the L.C.C. in order to relieve the Southern portion of their district from flooding to the prejudice of this Council’s District, this Urban Council trust that the Local Government Board will urge the L.C.C. to take immediate steps to provide an adequate outfall for the River Graveney.

Yours obediently,
Robert M. Chart

From the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 165-6, Council meeting of 23rd October, 1917

FLOODING OF LINKS ESTATE

The following letter was read from the Chief Engineer of the London County Council:-

LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL,
Engineer’s Dept.,
County Hall,
Spring Gardens, S.W., 1.
9th Oct. 1917

dear Sir,

RIVER GRAVENEY

As promised on the occasion of your call here on the 7th ult., I have considered the question of carrying out temporary works for the prevention of the overflowing of the River Graveney at the Links Estate. After inspection of the river and the adjacent land which had been flooded in recent storms, I am afraid that the work in a nature of a temporary expedient would prove to be ineffective to cope with such an influx of water as has been at times experienced this summer.

I am, however, about to place the whole matter before the Main Drainage Committee of my Council.

Yours faithfully,

G. HUMPHRIES,
Chief Engineer.


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.

Bailey Road

Bailey Road no longer exists. It was off the south side of Byegrove Road.

It is shown on this 1950 OS map, with houses numbered odd on the south side, and even on the north. Just south off this map is the cork factory of Walter Mays Ltd.

1950 OS map

Occupants in the 1925 street directory

North Side

2,Mrs HEATHER
4,Herbert SILENCE
6,William Edwin LANG
8,George Herbert PORTER
10,John POTTER
12,Henry LUFFMAN
14,James Frederick SKELTON
16,John STANFORD
18,Frederick Samuel BATHO

South Side

1,Henry George THORPE
3,Ernest WHITE
5,William Frederick BAKER
7,Mrs. A WARWICK
9,John HARRIGAN
11,Walter MUNT
13,Charles BOYES
15,James George HUGGETT

Bailey Road is shown on this 1895 OS map:

1895 OS map

However in the 1891 electoral register, a terrace called Bayley Cottages is shown as in Byegrove Road.

Other entries in the 1891 electoral register Listed as Bayley Cottages, Byegrove Road:

Not numbered:
Edward BOWDERY

Numbered:
2, Charles BAKER
3, John LUFFMAN
7, William PHIPPS

Note the Henry LUFFMAN in the 1925 street directory.

The Merton Historical Society have a photo from Eric Montague’s slide collection of the terrace of houses north of Bailey Road. The photo was taken in 1973 looking south. It shows the blocks of flats where Bailey Road was. It can be found on the Colliers Wood collection of photos, related to his book on Colliers Wood in the Mitcham Histories series.


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

Baltic Close and Oslo Court

Road and block of flats off northern side of Colliers Wood High Street and built in 1938/9 by Mercer Taylor & Co. At this time the Mitcham borough boundary included this road. Royal Mail postcode lookup shows 16 flats, all with the postcode SW19 2BL.

1950 OS map

The developer wrote to Mitcham Borough Council and suggested that since this road was next to the Victory pub, then the name of the road could be Trafalgar Close or Victory Close. The council disagreed, pointing out there were already similar named roads in the SW19 postal district. The council suggested Baltic Close, and the developer agreed, who suggested that the block of flats be named Oslo Court.

Source: Minutes of the Mitcham Borough Council, 1938-39 volume 5, pages 12 and 127.

Note that the Victory pub has since been renamed a couple of times, and the current (as of Feb 2018) name is the Charles Holden, who was an architect who designed the nearby Colliers Wood underground station.


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.

Public Convenience opposite Ravensbury Arms

1962 clip from Merton memories photo, reference Mit_​Streets_​Col_​Cro_​16-5 copyright London Borough of Merton

Built around 1930/1 as discussed as item (3) below in the council minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council, volume XVI, 1930 to 1931, page 101

PUBLIC CONVENIENCES.

The Surveyor submitted the following report June 3rd, 1930.

Dear Mr. Chart,

Re SITES FOR PUBLIC CONVENIENCES.

I suggest to the Committee the following’ sites for their consideration :

(1) Short cul-de-sac roadway off High Street, Colliers Wood,
opposite Christchurch Road, and adjacent to The Victory PH.

(2) The northern extremity of Figges Marsh, at the junction of
Gorringe Park Avenue and London Road.

(3) At the junction of New Road and Croydon Road, adjacent to the Ravensbury Arms.

The first one will drain to the sewer by gravitation, and in the remaining two positions pumping will have to be resorted to.

I think that it is essential that the conveniences in the first two positions be constructed underground, but with respect to the third site, the Committee might consider incorporating the existing tramway shelter in an overground convenience at this point.

If the general opinion is in favour of underground, the alternative to No. 3 would be at the other end of New Road, at its junction with Commonside East. I think that it is just possible to drain an underground convenience by gravitation into the soil sewer.

Yours obediently,

RILEY SCHOFIELD, Assoc.M.Inst.C.E.,
Engineer and Surveyor.

RESOLVED, That the Surveyor be instructed to prepare a further report showing the cost of providing sanitary conveniences at Colliers Wood on the site suggested.

Note that New Road is now called Cedars Avenue.

1953 OS map


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.

1961 : Publicans welcome new betting laws

Publicans welcome the new laws

MITCHAM publicans welcome the new betting and gaming laws allowing small bets to be placed on bar games.

But some point out that it merely makes legal something that OH been going on for years.

Licensee of the Red Lion, Colliers Wood, Mr. Frank Clements, said this week: “I am all for it. We will now be able to organise whist drives and housey-housey for money.

“What I do think is ridiculous is that you can’t place a bet on a horse in the bar. To do that you have to go outside.”

Licensee of the Beehive, Commonside East, Mitcham, Mr. A. Pays, said it would clear up a lot of underhand practices.

Mr. William Lewis of the White Hart thinks it will make little difference to his customers. “What I am against,” he said “are the one arm bandits (slot machines).”

source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th January, 1961, page 1.

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.