Tag Archives: fire brigade

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.

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Fire Hydrants

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council
Volume 11 April 1913 to March 1914
Report of the No. 1 Fire Brigade Committee
24th June, 1913

Page 37

The Superintendent’s Reports were read:

June 11th … Hydrant Inspection … 7s. 0d.

Page 38

The Superintendent submitted the following statement as to the result of testing of the pressure and flow at various hydrants.

TEST OF WATER MAINS ON June 16th, 1913

Position of Hydrant Static pressure in lbs. per. sq. inch. Quantity in gals. per minute
Woodite Towers 48 90
Tamworth Park 50 180
Fair Green 60 240
Graham Road (Figgs Marsh end) 60 330
Pascalls 64 360
Park Avenue 20 150
Vestry Hall 28 460
Hancock and Corfields 32 105
Canons Gates 60 80
Tramway Path 58 55
Frinton Road Links Estate 32 315
Tooting Bridge 30 300
Bonds Road
Western Road 34 240
Western Road Schools 34 340
The above tests were taken between 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock in the evening.

             Yours obediently,
                   A. L. JENNER, Superintendent.

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

Firemen’s Call Bells

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council
Volume 12
April 1914 to March 1915
Fire Call Bells
1st December, 1914

Page 121

An agreement from the General Post Office was submitted for removal of Circuit Wire from Cavendish Road to 29, Courtney Road, and it was proposed by Mr. Bland, seconded by Mr. Blaker, and resolved –
That the Chairman be authorised to sign same on behalf of the council.

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council
Volume 11 April 1913 to March 1914
Report of the No. 1 Fire Brigade Committee
24th February, 1914

Page 177

Driver Stevens having removed from The Parade, London Road, to Edmund Road, the call bell recently fixed by the General Post Office has been rendered useless, and the Committee therefore directed the Clerk to ascertain the cost of removal to the new address. The Clerk reported that a wire was already connected in Edmund Road, and that a bell could be attached to this at a small cost and that the General Post Office were willing to remove the existing bell at The Parade to the house occupied by Fireman Jordan at the Blue Houses for an additional rental of £1 5s. The Committee are of opinion that as the Council are already under an agreement for five years for the bell at The Parade it would be advisable to accept this proposal and recommends

That the Council cancel the existing agreement with the General Post Office and enter into a new agreement upon the terms quoted, and that the Chairman be authorised to execute the same.

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council
Volume 11 April 1913 to March 1914
Report of the No. 1 Fire Brigade Committee
3rd February, 1914

Page 164

A letter has been received from Mr Brooks, one of the fireman, giving notice of his removal from 75, High Street, to No. 4, West Gardens.

The committee recommends

That an order be given to the General Post Office for the removal of the call bell to the new address.


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

Firemen killed in 1941 at Surrey Theatre Blackfriars Road

A plaque near Blackfriars Bridge reads

In memory of 11 London Auxiliary Firemen, a Sub officer of the London Fire Brigade and five Mitcham Auxiliary Firemen, killed by enemy action while relaying water from the basement of the demolished Surrey Theatre, which stood on this site and was then used as an emergency water supply, to fires at the Elephant and Castle on the night of 10th/11th of May 1941

The five firemen from Mitcham are listed below. The links are to Commonwealth War Grave Commission web page entries.

.

Name Rank Age Address
Cecil Arthur ELLIMAN Fireman 32 75 Longthornton Road, Mitcham
Harold Charles PARKES Fireman 40 15 Homefield Gardens, Mitcham
Edward George PEPPER Fireman 32 1 Aberdeen Terrace, Merton
Ernest Francis ROBINSON Fireman 35 49 Courtney Road, Collier’s Wood
Albert Henry SPILLER Leading Fireman 34 24 Heyford Road, Mitcham

Source of age and address is the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website.


Probate for Edward George Pepper

PEPPER Edward George of 1 Aberdeen-terrace Merton London SW19 who is believed to have been killed through war operations on 12 May 1941 and whose dead body was found on 12 May 1941 at Surrey Theatre Blackfriars-road Surrey

Adminis-tration Llandudno 4 July to Kathleen Isabel Pepper widow. Effects £329 14s. 10d.


1939 Home Made Pie Shop blaze at Fair Green

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Friday 21 April 1939

MITCHAM SHOP BLAZE
MAN RAN TO FIRE STATION IN HIS SOCKS
Family’s Narrow Escape

“The Home-made Pie Shop” on Mitcham Fair Green was burnt out in the early hours of Monday morning. Mr. Bryant, his wife and child, who occupied rooms above, had to rush Into the street partly clad. They had a narrow escape from being cut off by the flames, which blazed up the front of the shop to their bedroom window. A milk roundsman called the Fire Brigade from the point near the Jubilee Clock Tower. They were just leaving the station at five minutes past three when Mr. Bryant rushed in give the alarm. He had run all the way, quarter of a mile or more, his socks. The brigade gave him a lift back to the shop. Chief Officer W. Lawson, who was in charge, entered the shop to make sure no one was left on the premises, which were then well alight. The shop, which was partly matchboarded, was loaded with stock, all of which was destroyed. A good deal of the Bryant family’s furniture was damaged. Mr. H. J. Clarke, the proprietor of the shop, and also of “The Home-made Cake Shop” next door, told The Advertiser that he was awakened by Mr. Bryant. The flames were then leaping up the front of the pie shop. It was a big blaze. There was an exceptionally heavy stock in both shops owing to the war scare. The damage was considerable. The two shops, both small, are at the corner of the Nag’s Head forecourt, opposite the Conservative Club. They are among the older properties on the Fair Green.

1939 Fireman Tilley Rescues 15th Cat

Hull Daily Mail – Friday 15 December 1939

HIS CATS HAD 15 LIVES
Second-Officer , Alfred Tilley, of Mitcham Fire Brigade, Surrey, who has received three public testimonials, including a medal from the R.S.P.C.A. for his pluck and resource in rescuing cats, rescued his fifteenth cat on Wednesday night from the roof of the home of a Mitcham councillor.

1911 Letter to Fire Brigade from WT Bigsby and Sons

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council, 27th June, 1911

Report of the No. 1 Fire Brigade Committee.

Present:

Mr. A. Mizen (Chairman)

Mr. G. H. Barson
Mr. E. Birch
Mr. W. M. Bland
Mr. J. R. Chart
Mr. G. J. Dale
Mr. A. Dendy
Mr. J. D. Drewett
Mr. J. M. Leather
Mr. H. Mount
Mr. W. H. Parslow
Rev. R. Richman

Meeting held 27th June, 1911

The Committee beg to report the receipt of a letter of thanks from Messrs. Bigsby & Sons for the services rendered by the Brigade:

Dear Captain Jenner,

I take this, the earliest opportunity after the Coronation holidays, of thanking you on behalf of our firm for the splendid efforts you made in preventing the spreading of the fire at our premises. It was due in a great measure to the fact that both your No. 1 and No. 2 companies have apparently been in the habit of fighting fires at Varnish Factories that no greater loss occurred, and that you were able to limit the fire to the building in which the fire originally broke out.

We must certainly compliment you on having a most efficient staff under your control. We think that the Insurance Companies who carry our insurance have much to thank you for, as had it not been for the efforts of your Brigades, the remaining building of the block which contained a gum stock of £4,000 to £5,000, and about 60,000 gallons varnish, would most certainly have caught fire and nothing then would have saved them.

We therefore beg you to convey on our behalf our thanks to your fire committee and to each individual member of your brigades, for their efforts in putting out the fire last Wednesday.

Faithfully yours,

W. T. Bigsby & Son,
per J. A. Bigsby


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