September 2020 – Bulletin 216
Farewell to Finch & Co – Charles Toase
The opening of John Innes Park 1909 – Jennifer Bromfield
RG Jones Recording Studios – Clive Whichelow
War Savings Week 1942 at South Merton Station – Jennifer Bromfield
Last journey of a Mitcham-born taxidermist – Rosemary Turner and David Haunton
and much more
VICE PRESIDENT: Judith Goodman
CHaIR: Keith Penny
BULLETIN No. 216
South Merton Station Entrance, War Savings Week 1942 (see p10)
Message from the Chairman 2
A Virtual Programme December 2020 – March 2021 2
Farewell to Finch & Co – Charles Toase 3
Hot off the press 1!! The Life of Guy of Merton 3
Hot off the press 2!! Medieval Morden: The Manorial Economy 4
Virtual Workshop: Merton Park station name; Mitcham Saxon burials; Shannon Corner floods;
Borough end; Croydon RAF hospital; Baseball on Mitcham Common
The opening of John Innes Park 1909 – Jennifer Bromfield 6
RG Jones Recording Studios – Clive Whichelow 8
Merton Priory Chapter House – John Hawks 9
Correction – ‘Two more drug stores’- Norma Cox 9
War Savings Week 1942 at South Merton Station – Jennifer Bromfield
Last journey of a Mitcham-born taxidermist – Rosemary Turner and David Haunton
Help, please – Mick Taylor
MESSaGE FROM THE CHaIRMaN
Since I wrote to you in October, we have had another lockdown, scheduled to end more or less when this
Bulletin is published. Nevertheless, we will aim to stay with the timetable set out in that letter, unless it
proves impossible to do so. Meetings are scheduled to resume with our AGM on 10 April 2021, and a
programme of visits for June-September 2021 will be produced, probably following the programme intended
for earlier this year. You will be kept informed through mail or email. I am encouraged by the high level of
membership renewals and I am pleased to welcome some new members. Let me recommend again browsing
in the pictures and articles on the Society’s website, if you can; if you cannot do so, look at the list of our
publications provided with this Bulletin and pick one for Christmas! I send all of you my good wishes, and
let us hope that, with the turning of the year, our fortunes will turn for the better.
aVIRTUaL PROGRaMME DECEMBER 2020 – MARCH 2021
There will be no meetings before april, but we are suggesting a
LINK OFTHE MONTH to some online videos.
These links will be displayed on the Home page of our website each month:
This month sees the 850th anniversary of the death of former Merton Priory student Thomas Becket,
so John and Katie Hawks have produced a short video on Thomas Becket and Merton Priory.
You might also like to watch a lecture on Thomas Becket and London by
Barron, one of many video lectures available on the Gresham College website.
Dave Saxby has produced a delightful video of the William Morris Works at Merton,
using old photos and personal stories of the workers.
To celebrate the launch of Medieval Morden: The Manorial Economy (see page 4),
you might like to view a couple of short videos on The Luttrell Psalter with its
wonderful illustrations of everyday life in the 14th century. The first is a brief overview, the
second a re-enactment of some of the scenes of daily life on the manor.
The Wandle Industrial Museum has produced four videos, some of which cover talks
previously enjoyed at our meetings. But we haven’t yet had the privilege of listening
to Mick Taylor’s illustrated talk on The People and Families of the Wandle Valley.
Note also that our Local History Workshops will not be held for the time being, but
please send any items of interest to the Editor for inclusion in our Virtual Workshops.
HaVE yOU PaID?
2020-2021 are now overdue. Please note that this will be the last issue to reach you
if we do not receive your payment before the March Bulletin.Amembership form was enclosed with the
Current rates are: Individual member £12, Additional member in same household £5
Full-time Student £5.
Cheques are payable to Merton Historical Society and should be sent with completed forms to our
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 2
CHaRLES TOaSE bids a reluctant
FaREWELLTO FINCH & CO.
The office of the estate agents Finch & Co. has closed, severing a link with the John Innes estate in Wimbledon
and Merton Park. The Merton Park Estate Co. originally had its offices at 146 Kingston Road, on the other side
of the railway from the White Hart pub, in a house called The Oriels that also served as a home and office for
the estate architect Henry Quartermain. In 1936 the estate agency side was completely taken over by Howard
Morgan of Finch & Co. His firm had been founded by Percy Finch in 1907, initially based in Clapham, but by
the 1920s the practice had been sold to the Morgan family, and had became an integral part in the setting up of
the now well-established Merton Park Estate.
In 1941 The Oriels was demolished by a bomb which also severely damaged the White Hart.Morgan borrowed
a barrow from Woods, the builder along the road at the
so-called Manor House, 120 Kingston Road, and rescued
both the firm’s and the architect’s records, including the
original plans of Quartermain and Brocklesby houses;
publicity material, and some residents of, for instance,
Wilton Crescent were surprised to find a plan of their
house dropping through their letterbox with an offer from
the estate agent to sell their property. Finch & Co moved
across Kingston Road to an empty ironmonger’s shop at
no.187, and then to its final address at 193 Kingston Road,
on the corner of Hartfield Road (right).
They had a signboard on the brick wall that later bounded the site of the original offices, and provided a seat
there as well, but both have now disappeared. Finch & Co has been associated with the Old Rutlishians since
2012 through sponsorship of the Sports and Social Club, which encompasses rugby, cricket, football and squash.
Finch & Co also host an annual Art Evening in the autumn to support local artists.
Until 2004 Finch & Co remained a family business but was then bought by Stephen Goodfellow, whose firm
has several other branches, including one at Raynes Park. I asked them what was happening to the records of
Finch & Co, and the architects’ plans, but have had no reply.
HOT OFFTHE PRESS 1!!
The Life of Guy of Merton
Following the publication in 2019 of the first full translation of four medieval
Latin documents which deal with the earliest days of Merton Priory and with its
founder, Gilbert, sheriff of Surrey, Merton Historical Society is now pleased to
publish the first parallel Latin/English text of The Life of Guy of Merton, one of
the earliest canons of Merton, who died in 1124, just ten years after Merton was
Guy, an Italian, came to Merton after a career as a ‘director of schools’. He seems
to have had enough of teaching, and to have sought solace in the cloister but
his obvious spiritual and intellectual gifts soon led to his being ‘headhunted’as
founding prior of first Taunton and then Bodmin.
We are indeed fortunate to have these accounts of the lives of such influential men
as sheriff Gilbert and Master Guy, revealing as they do the personal struggles and
the challenges of both secular and monastic life in the early 12th century.
This account was written by Rainald, a contemporary of Guy at Merton. It survives in a fifteenth-century copy
found in the British Library. We are grateful to the British Library for permitting us to publish this work, and
to include within it two images from the document.
The Latin text was edited by Katie Hawks, and then compared with that published in 1969 by Professor Marvin
LColker. Katie also prepared a translation, as did our Chairman, Keith Penny, and they then amicably agreed
the final version as published here. Katie has also contributed an excellent introductory essay.
A5 stapled booklet with 32 pages and three images, two in colour, two from the original manuscript. £2.00 full
price, members £1.60, plus 65p postage (ISBN: 978 1 903899 80 9).
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 3
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
HOT OFFTHE PRESS 2!!
Medieval Morden: The Manorial Economy
Peter Hopkins began his studies of Medieval Morden more than 20 years
ago, by copying, transcribing and translating any and every medieval
record relating to Morden that he could find. The comprehensive results
may be seen on our website, under morden-manorial-records. Peter’s
ultimate aim was to produce an integrated view of life in Morden in
the medieval and early Tudor period. The present volume is the first
of three, which together aim to cover ‘everything you never wanted
to know about medieval Morden’as Peter has often commented! Of
the 20,000 -25,000 manors in England (estimates vary considerably)
Morden was notthepoorest, butwas along way frombeing therichest.
Happily, itis thus representativeof alargefraction of thetotalnumber,
and well worth the intense study that Peter has afforded it.
Basedmainlyonthesurvivingrecords ofWestminsterAbbey’s manor
of Morden, we have here a study of how the available resources were
managed to best support the monks. In other words, howdid the manor
earn money and how was it spent? Detailed chapters on individual subjects start with the manorial centre and
its equipment, comprising ploughs, carts, and tools, and some brewing equipment. There is a splendid list of
the medieval Latin terms for such inventory items as untyred cart, dung fork, cask, cask for servant’s flour, cask
and so delightfully on. We continue with the land, where Peter’s examination of field names places
many in the landscape. Your reviewer is puzzled by the position of the manorial centre, tucked away in the
northern-most corner of the parish, far from the church, but near the mill. Discussion of crops covers not only
the usual wheat, barley and oats, but also unfamiliar mixtures such as dredge, maslin and mixstillio. Evidence
for the rotationof these crops and their yields is carefully examined. Their profitability is calculated, as is that
of meadow, pasture and woodland. Livestock, comprising horses, cattle, the dairy herd, poultry, sheep and pigs,
are enumerated, and the varying prices obtained for their produce (hides, leather, wool) are listed.
The human resources, both labour and management, are considered at length. The changes in management
after the Black Death are examined, when direct rule under local estate managers (tenants or employees of the
abbey) was replaced by farming out to leaseholders for varying terms. Under both, the tenants were responsible
for paying their rents and dues and fulfilling their customary labour services, though increasingly resisting the
heavier of these. Craftsmen and specialists (carpenters, miller, smith, roofers, tilers) and casual labourers are
noted and costed.
Morden was not self-sufficient, especially in mill stones, building stone, roof tiles and timber, and the manor’s
contacts elsewhere were quite extensive, including London and places in Surrey, Middlesex, Hertfordshire,
Essex and Kent. Other aspects of Morden are discussed briefly, including roads -the king’s highways to London
(the present A24) and to Kingston (the present track known as Green Lane) and the mere highway to Croydon
– and problems with tenants in Ewell, as well as the more serious challenges of famine, murrain and plague.
The 200 pages of text are supported by a full academic apparatus and an Index. Numerical data throughout is
presented in graphical form, year by year. All of the text extracts are dated and given in two forms: an image
of the original Latin document (and the original hand-writing – a help to palaeographers) and a translation,
faithfully reproduced, including crossings-out and later additions. The information is leavened by the pages for
chapter-heading being illustrated, with not always serious items (‘two medieval doodles’anyone?). There is a
useful map on the back cover showing the various estates within the ancient parish, allowing comparison with
the drastically different modern parish boundary.
In the course of this endeavour, Peter Hopkins enlisted the aid of an amazing number of academic specialists
in the period, duly credited in the Notes and References.
This is a work of immense scholarship, that your
Committee is confident will remain a respected work of reference for many years to come. But Peter warns:
‘this volume has a very small print run so, if you are one of the select few who would like to read it, order now
before we sell out’.
A4 paperback with 240 pages and innumerable images, charts, maps and drawings (ISBN 978 1 903899 79 3).
Full price £7.50, members £6.00, plus £3 postage.
Bothpublications areavailablefromourPublications Secretary,57TemplecombeWay,Morden,SurreySM44JF.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 4
♦ Merton Park station name intrigues Charles Toase. The station was originally called Lower Merton, until
John Innes persuaded the railway company to rename it. The name has long puzzled him – why ‘Lower’?
Lower than what? Lower Wimbledon would make sense, but Merton? There is also a Lower Morden, which
includes Garth Road, the dump and the cemetery; it was originally a hamlet, separate from the village of
Morden, and the term ‘lower’in this instance means the smaller. Presumably Lower Merton was similarly
a separate hamlet, as was Merton Rush further along the Kingston Road.
♦ Mitcham’s Saxon burial ground: Rosemary Turner’s interest in this was renewed by an enquiry from the
Coordinating Editor of the New Florida journal, who is based at the Dept of Anthropology in the University
of Florida. Two articles had appeared in theSurrey Archaeological Collections, onein 1908 and onein 1959,
both of which have been added to our website. Eric Montague also mentioned the cemetery in his Mitcham
Histories 10, Ravensbury.
The 1908 article was written by Harold F Bidder and related to his discovery of Saxon burials on what was
then his Ravensbury estate. His father’s workmen had uncovered burials 20 years beforethis, when extracting
gravel, and just reburied them. Skeletons had been unearthed in earlier years, but I think that this was the
first time that they had been recorded. There was an area mentioned in manorial records as Dead Man Lane
because it was known that burials had been found there.
Bidder undertook the excavation with
members of his family. He was a member
of the Society of Antiquaries of London
and his article was originally written for
their publication Archaeologia Vol LX.
The 1959 article referred to the 1908
one, but also mentioned later discoveries.
The main concentration of burials was
Mitchamstation (now thetramstop) and
Ravensbury Park (see map, right), but
other interments had been found to the
north, nearly as far as St Peter & St Paul
parish church. (Interestingly, the street
where Rosemary’s parents lived in 1937,
Heatherdene Crescent, was also part of
the burial ground.) Alist of graves and
details oftheir contents appearedinboth
articles. Anumber of the boneswere sent
to the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Cambridge for study.
Mention was also made of skeletons uncovered by men digging in liquorice fields in the 1800s. They
would collect all the bones and at the end of the day they were taken to a barn. When the workmen had
finished clearing the field the bones were re-interred.
♦ More Shannon CornerFloods: Judy Brickell was interested to read about the Shannon Corner flooding in
1981, and remembered that there was also severe flooding on Sunday 15 September 1968. She recalls:
‘My future husband and I had been to Southsea that day on a day’s outing from Battersea Bus Garage.
AlltheLondonBus Garages ranSunday seasidetrips fortheir staff.After awetday weallboardedthe
double decker bus at about 5.30 pm for the journey home. As we travelled towards Surrey, it became
evident that we had a problem. The Police had closed roads in most directions. After a few hours,
most of the passengers were missing their usual pub stop -but not for the beer!! The driver eventually
managed to pull in near some woods and everyone was much relieved (!). On into the wild, dark night
we crawled, encountering road blocks at every junction. Eventually, at around one a.m., we reached
Shannon Corner. This was completely flooded and closed off. After discussion with the Police, they
allowed us to try and get through. The water was over the platform on the old Routemaster, lapping at
the steps, but we slowly got through. We finally got back to Battersea in the early hours and a driver
kindly took me back to Mitcham on his motorbike. The water was over my feet on that journey! All
this was accomplished without benefit of today’s SatNavs or mobiles. How did we cope ?’
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 5
The publicity document for
THE OPENING OF JOHN INNES PaRK 1909
JENNIFER BROMFIELD has kindly given us a scan of this document. The original in her possession is a very
fragile object, which she has offered to Surrey History Centre. We re-print it here as a fine example of the florid
style of 19th- and early 20th-century advertising, with its occasionally comical results. Various indications,
such as the length of sentences, and the date, hint that it was written in haste. Capital letters, punctuation and
typing mistakes have been preserved.
THE MERTON PRESS
FULL DESCRIPTION OF THE INNES PARK WITH ILLUSTRATIONS
July 31st, 1909.
are primarily for the benefit of the inhabitants of
Merton and Morden only, and the trustees have power
by their bye-laws to exclude residents of other parts,
but so long as the bye-laws are not infringed, the
beautiful grounds will be open to residents and nonresidents
alike. The sports’
ground proper is about
4½ acres, and is in splendid condition. The scheme
of the Charity Commissioners provides for a pavilion,
bandstand, lavatories and drinking fountain, and the
are empowered to appropriate out of the
charity for the upkeep of ‘ThePark’ a yearly sum of
£1,000. The scheme also embraces the formation of
Institution for the investigation and
research, whether of a practical or scientific nature,
into any matters having reference to the growth of
trees and plants generally, but especially of fruit trees,
shrubs, fruit, vegetables and flowers. The Mansion
will be arranged for the residence of the Professors
and the lawn in front will be shut off from the other
parts of the ground by an ornamental fence or wall,
and will therefore be strictly private.
The Trustees are Charles Clare Scott, of the Middle
Temple, London, Barrister-at-Law; Frederic George
Courthorpe, of Eastover, Lewes, Esq.; and William
Ernest Reid Innes, of Roffe Park, Horsham, Esq.
In the schedule of property the total amount is set
down as £157,004 8s. 3d., and the income £9,953.
The total amount in annuities under the will is £1,630.
The rules are framed so as to ensure good order in
the grounds. Public addresses, preaching or ‘praying
aloud’ in any part of the Park are prohibited. Dogs
unless attendee, are not allowed. The charge for bowls
is 1d. per hour; for tennis 2d.;and for croquet 2d.
Coming back to the grounds. The cricket field is in
the midst of a wide expanse of landscape, and is near
Cannon hill, where tradition says Cromwell planted
his guns to destroy Merton Abbey. Passing from the
field we come upon a small orchard which
to convert into a childrens’
recreation ground with
swings, see-saws, horizontal
bars &c., but
present is in abeyance. Everyone will be especially
charmed with the ‘Rose Walk’. In the centre is a path
of velvety grass leading to the Drinking Fountain,
On either side of this path are roses in full bloom,
ramblers, standards &c., and a variety of flowers.
Near is the bowling green. Itappears likean immense
billiard table, the ‘green carpet’ looking as if it had
been laid on a perfectly Ievel floor which had been
made so with a spirit level. On each of the four sides
the ground israised, forming a pathway, on which are
placed seats with high backs, and being painted white
for a pleasing contrast to the dark green of the Yew
hedges. There is an atmosphere of quite here which
will induce many to avail themselvee of the repose
which it will afford when not used for bowling.
The tennis court is available for two sets, as is
ground, adjoining, and nothing is
wanting in the way of netting, &c., to make the tennis
courts up-to-date. It may be mentioned that all the
paraphernalia necessary for the various games will
have to be found by the players. A
of labour, to say nothing of the
expense has been
devoted to the undertaking, which it must be borne
in mind is for the benefit, in the first place, of the
inhabitants of Merton and Morden, the adults -those
over 17 -having special privileges, Kitchen gardens,
orchards, &c., have been ‘turfed’ to form some of
the pleasure grounds, and Mr. Rumble, assisted by
his staff, cannot be too highly complimented for their
splendid achievement, which to them is a labour of
love no less than an appreciation of the beneficence
of the benefactor. Mr. B. T. Rumble is secretary of
the Merton Park Estate Company, and clerk to the
Trustees, and he has carried out their instructions
in a very able manner, being much assisted by his
professional knowledge as a surveyor. Mrs. Inness,
widow of a brother of the late
John Innes, opens the
park on the 31st inst. at 3 o’clock.
it is proposed, if it can be satisfactorily arranged,
Published by the Merton Press,
90, Kingston Road, Merton, S.W.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 6
DESCRIPTIONS OF ILLUSTRATIONS
the centre of the
picture. Our artist has
sketched him in one of
his happy moods, and
produced a faithful
likeness. Our readers
will agree with us
sketches are all
replete with every
dining room, and two
dressing rooms – one
for the use of the home
teams, with lockers,
&c., and the other,
which is similar, is for
teams outside Merton.
There is also a kitchen
with gas stove, &c.
artistic. It is made of
Dolton ware. The base
is of Portland stone.
look like polished
is made of Surrey
Oak. The acoustic
well considered by Mr Rumble who had expert opinion from a bandmaster as to that. There is room for 8
performers. Mr. Ferrier’s Blue Viennese Band has the honour of being the first to perform on the stand. The
ground surrounding it is beautifully laid out, and affords plenty of space for a large audience.
THE GROTTO is unique. Imitation stalactites depend from the roof, and among the rocks are a variety of ferns
and other plants. A small lake adds a charm to an exceedingly pretty scene.
THE SEATS, for the most part, on the Grounds are made from teak taken from old ships which have been
broken up in a yard on the Thames Embankment, and the wood isfastened together with dowelsor wooden pins.
THE FISH POND with fountain and water lilies will be a great attraction for juveniles and children of larger
growth, being situated in a very pleasant spot with umbrageous surroundings and a delightful green sward.
ROOM deserves some remarks. It is situated in a remote part of the grounds, and is
fitted up in a most elaborate style. The framework is of Surrey Oak, which is much in evidence everywhere.
The ventilation and sanitary arrangements are of the very best.
Some of the enclosures are surrounded by Yew hedges, about two feet thick and six feet high – they seem to
have been planted with mathematical precision. The Yew does not grow very fast, and the hedges represent 25
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 7
CLIVE WHICHELOW affectionately explores the history of
RG JONES RECORDING STUDIOS
The Rolling Stones recorded music there, as did David Bowie, Tom Jones
and many other stars but where was this studio? In the 1960s it was a long
way from Swinging London, in London Road, Morden, but RG Jones has its
place in pop history as one of the small independent recording studios that
was used by many a famous name over the years. It even spawned its own
highly collectable record label, Oak Records.
In the 1920s Ronald Godfrey Jones was a sales representative for the Milton
Pharmaceutical Company and sold their products from a van in the Welsh
markets near to where he lived. In order to communicate with the noisy crowds
he decided to put a loudspeaker on top of his van and broadcast through that.
His boss was so impressed he asked him to equip more vans for his other reps!
Ronald then started his own electronics business in 1926, and by 1947 was
supplying sound equipment to theatres, equipping every West End theatre
apart from the Criterion. He set up the recording studio in 1942 in the back
room of the old coach
(near the present care home called Manor House), and was
soon recording artists of the day such as Cyril Stapleton.
He later demolished a greenhouse and built workshops and
a garage, which was later converted into a larger recording
studio (left and below).
Ronald even recorded some of Churchill’s
speeches which were cut straight to disc.
Some of the biggest stars of the 1960s recorded
tracks at RG Jones. As well as those mentioned
earlier, there were The Yardbirds (with a young
Eric Clapton), Lulu, The Bee Gees and Engelbert Humperdinck. A
demo made by sixteen year-old David
Bowie’s band, the Konrads, was discovered a couple of years ago in the attic of their drummer. It sold at auction
for almost £40,000.
The studio’s very own Oak label started in 1952, releasing mainly folk and jazz records in small quantities for
sale in specialist record shops in the West End. But by the time the Beatles became popular in 1963 there was
a demand for more records by beat groups and the label tried to satisfy this demand.
In 1999 a retrospective collection, The Story of Oak Records, was released on CD, featuring 23 tracks made at
the studio between 1964 and 1968. Asecond such collection of records has just been released, a CD entitled
17 From Morden, which features tracks made at RG Jones recording studio between 1964 and 1967. There are
no household names on here but it seems the aim was to feature some of the unsung, and often local, groups
of that very fertile period in pop music. Remarkably, none of the tracks on the
latest CD repeat those from the 1999 release.
Perhaps even more remarkably, the CD tracks are not culled from the master
tapes, which no longer exist, but from the small number of acetates and official
releases still in the hands of collectors. Copies of Oak records are hard to find
now as most titles were pressed in small quantities because more than 100 of
any record would have attracted purchase tax. The picture (right) shows an
original vinyl EP
record made by one of those 1960s beat groups, The Five
of Diamonds. This track was included in the first collection, The Story of Oak
Records, but is not on the recent 17 From Morden CD.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 8
In 1968 Merton Council, from whom Ronald
Jones rented the property, gave him and his
way for the
college. The buildings were soon demolished:
Robin Jones has kindly shared this very sad
image of his father surveying the pile of
rubble that was once his home and studio
In 1969 RG Jones moved to Beulah Road,
Wimbledon. The Oak label was discontinued
soon afterwards. In fact, for a short period,
while the Wimbledon studio was being built,
the sound hire and installations division was
based at the Octagonal school in Camp Road Wimbledon. The studio carried on until 9 November 2001. When
it did finish it went out on a high with three records in the charts, including one by Sir Cliff Richard. He had
recorded his perennial Christmas song Mistletoe and Wine at RG Jones (and his following six albums).
In 1986 the record industry magazine Music Week had voted RG Jones the top studio in Britain. But by the
early 2000s the recording industry was changing. With the advent of new computer technology it was now
possible for performers to make records in the comfort of their own homes without the need to go into a studio.
The RG Jones company continued however, providing sound equipment for St Paul’s cathedral, Westminster
Abbey, Lord’s cricket ground, Chelsea Flower Show, investitures at Buckingham Palace, and various television
Founder Ronald Jones, seen at work here (right), was an active
member of the local community, from organising VE Day
celebrations in Mostyn Gardens in 1945, to being a founding
member of the John Innes Society in 1971. He died in 1987, but
the business was carried on by his son Robin, who had started
helping out at the London Road studio in the 1950s while still
in his teens.
glance at the company’s website (rgjones.co.uk) shows the
extraordinary diversity of its activities: it holds a Royal warrant
and supplied sound equipment for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee
in 2002 and her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It has been involved
with Glastonbury festivalsince2007 and Wimbledon tennis since
1985. It had even supplied mobile PAs (public address systems) during World War Two to control the landings
of US troops, and supplied equipment for Dunkirk.
RG Jones is theoldestsound company in theUK and oneof theoldestin theworld and in 2026 willbecelebrating
its centenary. Perhaps that will be the greatest record ever made by this remarkable company.
All pictures courtesy of Robin Jones, apart from the Oak record, from eBay via Clive Whichelow.
MERTON PRIORy CHaPTER HOUSE
Building: a revised plan is in preparation, to keep within the funds available. The recent rainfall left serious
flooding on the lower-lying parts of the excavation, and the revised plan will take full account of this. Because
of continued delay regarding the legal arrangement with Sainsbury’s, building work cannot begin this year. This
means our plan to reopen come Easter with paving and full services is now very optimistic. However, Andrew
is still planningto hold a Catholic Mass on the afternoon of December 29th 2020, on the 850th anniversary of
Becket’s death, to commemorate our star pupil.
CORRECTION – ‘TWO MORE DRUG STORES’
Norma Cox would like to clarify a statement in her article on p.10 of Bulletin 212.
Parkes Drug Store was a chain of drug stores in London and the South East. They became Parkes Chemist Ltd in
1924 following a meeting of the shareholders of the company. Thus it was that the name of Parkes Chemist Ltd
was first seen in the Kelly’s Directory 1925 for Wimbledon, Merton & Morden, and not 1930 as stated in the article.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 9
JENNIFER BROMFIELD recalls family railway careers, with photos of
WaR SaVINGS WEEK 1942 aT SOUTH MERTON STaTION
War Savings Weeks became a regular feature of the home front during the Second World War. Local authorities
were asked to designate one week each year as a ‘war savings week’. These events were nationally led but
regionally co-ordinated and involved locally organised events to raise funds to support the war effort, by selling
NationalSavings stamps. Funds weresetup bylocalcouncils, individuals andother organisations toraiseenough
for a plane, a wing, a gun, whatever was a realistic target. One of the earliest public appeals, in May 1940, was
for the production of Spitfires, officially for ‘Weapons Week'(1940), followed by ‘Warship Week'(October
1941), ‘War Savings Week'(July 1942), ‘Wings for Victory Week'(1943), and ‘Salute theSoldier Week'(1944).
For the 1942 War Savings Week, Saturday 30 May to 6 June, Mr W
Mason, Station Master at South Merton
Railway Station, Martin Way, Morden, organised such a fund, with my father, ‘Stan’Waltham, booking clerk,
as group secretary. The original target was £150, but the final total raised was an astonishing £1,130. (£150
would provide uniforms for 24 soldiers, while £1,130 would be a substantial proportion of the £5,000 cost of
These photographs were taken
at the station during the week:
the first is a general view of the
station (note the flags) (right). We
have a letter from Arthur E Smith,
National Savings Liaison Officer,
dated 6 June 1942, about Porter
AS Waltham setting up a Savings
Week, stating that ‘flags were sent
from the Engineers, and I obtained
a suit of battledress …which was placed on the platform with the slogan at the entrance and at several points of
the Station ‘Where’s George’ and a notice on the dummy ‘Here’s George’. … You will see that they are getting
well on the road to £1,000. This effort has created a wonderful feeling between the travelling public and these
two Porter Lads who are running the Station.’The picture with the blackboard saying ‘Target Smashed'(see
page 1) shows my father sitting at the station entrance selling stamps; the lady receiving stamps is actually his
mother Catherine. I don’t know the identity of the other staff members or the female passenger. George, the
dummy figure in battle dress and gas mask, is just above the notice board.
(left) shows Fred Reynolds,
mother Florrie with an unknown lad
and (presumably) his mum. The similar
picture (right) has Fred just out of shot
on theleftandhis wifeMarjorie,WVS
(this was before it became WRVS)
front right. Not sure of the identity of
the others. Incidentally, most of the
Internet references to the ‘Wings for
these photographs show that the slogan
was already in the public eye in 1942,
well before the Savings Week in the
The lad is seen again with Stan and Florrie (ie.
Mum and Dad) with the tip of a bomb covered in
savings stamps and a swastika toy (made by Florrie) (facing page top). The toy is a
nice three-dimensional expansion (presumably of Florrie’s own design) of a National
Savings cartoon – the Squander Bug (left Image from a poster in the Imperial War
Museum)-which was used on posters to portray a menace who encouraged shoppers
to waste money rather than buy war savings certificates. It was created by artist Phillip
Boydell, an employee of the National Savings Committee, and was widely used
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 10
throughout the Empire. Furthermore, the American children’s author Dr
Seuss created his own version for use in war savings campaigns in the
The last of the station photos shows eight young men who are probably
ATC (Air Training Corps), to promote the ‘Wings for Victory’aspect,
plus the stamped bomb and Squander Bug (below). The young lady with
them is my mother Florrie.
Dad and Porter Smith were judged
to be the winners of the War Savings
Group, and in July were officially
thanked by, and photographedwith,
Mr R M TRichards, Traffic Manager,
Southern Railway (ie. second in
On this occasion Dad was presented with a silver watch, which I still treasure.
Railway Careers: My great grandfather, Henry Waltham, was a
signalman on the London and South Western Railway (LSWR)
and lived in Fairlawn Road, Wimbledon. The LSWR operated
from 1838 until 1922, when it became part of Southern Railway.
Henry’s son Horace was also a signalman on the LSWR; he died
on the track outside Wimbledon Station on the 11th October 1918
when he took a short cut across the line on the way home from a
late turn. I don’t know which signal box he had been working at
that day but it was not Wimbledon. As it was an October evening
and dark I was told he alighted from a stationary train at a red
signal outside Wimbledon Station stepping into the path of a train
on the adjacent track. Electrification had been installed recently
and theory has it that he didn’t hear it coming, but as a railwayman
you would think hewould bemorecautious. Attheinquestsuicide
was ruled out as he was carrying a sack of potatoes.
My father, Alfred Stanley Waltham, was born at 2 Watery Lane, Merton, in July 1910, the third son of Horace
and Catherine Waltham. As a boy he kept silkworms and was allowed to pick Mulberry leaves to feed them,
possibly because two of the park gardeners, Harry Roland Amos and Alfred Andrew Richards lodged with the
Station; his second job was at Wimbledon Chase Station as a porter. Subsequently he moved to South Merton
as a booking clerk. In the late 1940s he became Station Foreman at Streatham Common Station, moving back
to Waterloo early in 1957 as a travelling ticket inspector. He died in June 1957.
I was born in Mitcham in November 1944 at the height of the V-1 raids. It was usual for expectant mothers to
be evacuated for the birth but my mum refused, deciding to take her chances. According to family tradition,
while expecting me, on different occasions she heaped earth on a fire bomb and searched the rubble of her
in-law’s house in Northway, Morden, for my grandmother’s lost gold cross, evading the warden guarding the
bomb site. She found it!
In 1953 we moved to the house in Fairlawn Road my father inherited from his grandfather. The family worshipped
at St Mary’s, Merton, with various baptisms, marriages and burials conducted there. I attended Merton Park
School, leaving in 1959 aged just 15. My mother died in 1955, Dad remarried in 1957 only to suffer a pulmonary
aneurism three months later. My stepmother and I moved to Mitcham but I cycled back to St Mary’s.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 11
The diary of LEONaRD HaRWOOD recorded the
LaST JOURNEy OFa MITCHaM-BORN TaXIDERMIST
Leonard Cuthbert Harwood (1872-1926) was born and brought up in Mitcham, and became a
taxidermist (or ‘Practical Naturalist’as he termed it in business dealings). In November and December 1925 he
kept a diary of his journey from London to the Sudan, to join a Big Game hunting expedition. We have kindly
been given a transcript of this by Lisa Compton, his step-granddaughter. The original is on tracing paper which
had had a carbon paper backing, which is very hard to read and occasionally illegible. The diary contains no
Merton references, but has some interesting descriptions and remarks; we have supplemented this with some
research on ancestry.co.uk, and information in Mitcham Histories 5 & 12.
Family Leonard was a son of WilliamRussell Harwood, the local collector of taxes and clerk to the Mitcham
school board, and his wife Emma. By 1874 William had moved his growing family to ‘Glebelands’in Love
Lane, where he remained in occupation for some 20 years or more. Leonard was born in July 1872. In the Census
of 1891 the family was recorded at Glebelands (with the surname mistakenly as ‘Rutherwood’), comprising
William (51, HMC Services, Assist Examiner, Office of Works), his wife Emma (52), daughters Lucy Rose
(23), Mildred E (14), and sons Athel R (18, Solicitor’s general assistant), Cedric G (16), Gilbert Wm (11) and
Leonard C (18, taxidermist’s assistant). Also in the house were cousins Rose (16, no occupation) and Winifred
‘Rutherwood’ (14, scholar), a cook-housekeeper, a housemaid and a visiting medical student.
Leonard does not appear in the 1901 Census [perhaps abroad, perhaps in Africa?], but married Kate Hallward
on 5 Dec 1907 at St Peter’s, Hammersmith, and in 1911 is recorded at 9 Western Broadway, Hammersmith,
as a taxidermist with no children, but with a wife Kate (46, née Southerton), stepdaughters Dorothy Hallward
(25, actress, the future grandmother of our transcriber Lisa Compton), and Kate Hallward (18, no occupation),
and general domestic servant Elizabeth Longley (32), all born in Mitcham.
Kate had previously married Charles M L
Hallward in January 1885. In 1891 they were living at 26 Lower
Green, Mitcham (the Census giving the surname as ‘Hellword’). Charles was 38, Kate 26, and their daughter
Dorothy was 5. Their domestic servant was Alice Mary Hills (14). By 1901 they had moved to 2 Renmuir Street
in the parish of St Nicholas, Tooting Graveney. Charles was 48, a Metropolitan Police Officer, born Woolwich
8 October 1852, Kate was 36, the mother of Dorothey (15), and young Kate (8), and their servant is Elizabeth
Langley (22). However, Charles Hallward died on 2 September 1907 in Tooting [at home?] and Kate married
Leonard in December. [This was very swift – were they childhood sweethearts?] The diary contains a loose
single sheet of headed notepaper, giving the address of 35, St Peters Square, Hammersmith, London W. Lisa
Compton believes Leonard was living there in 1925 when he left to go on the expedition.
As an aside, two houses, ‘Thrushcroft’and ‘Athelstan’, were built by Athel Harwood on a plot in the middle of
Glebe Villas, Mitcham. He sold ‘Athelstan’, but lived in ‘Thrushcroft’until his death in March 1943. The 1930s
terraces of Harwood Avenue and Russell Road are obviously named after the one-time occupant of Glebelands
itself – is this due to Athel having built them?
The Journey (mostly in Leonard’s words)
Left home 4 November 1925 from Liverpool Street for the Royal
Albert Docks. The P&O SS Dongala1 was still taking on cargo and I was certainly not impressed by the look
of the boat, she has been takenover by the government for the last ten years as troops and hospital ship (below,
as a troopship).
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 12
The sea soon became choppy, it rapidly became rougher and kept it up till we reached Cape St Vincent on
Sunday 8 November. The dining saloon had become very sparsely attended by then. People on board who
had been through the Bay dozens of times said they had never had it so bad before. Some cabins in the first
class were flooded out on Saturday night – fancy all your trunks swilling from one side of the cabin to the
other and all your belongings soaked. [Leonard later notes fairly high cliffs at Cape St. Vincent, a sight of
Gibraltar, standing close in to the coast of Algiers, and islands off the Tunis coast with ‘fearfully contorted
rock strata from volcanic action’.] Of course it is all new to me. Arriving at Malta on 12 November, the next
day a party was made up of six, each member paying £1 to a bank, a large motor car was bargained for that
took us all over the island during the morning, had a nice lunch with wine, visited St John’s church, then to
the Governor’s Palace, Parliament chamber, Ballroom and Museum. Accounts were settled, each receiving
6/-, so it was not very costly for what we had seen.
Anchor was dropped at Port Said at 9pm. Up early on 17 November to see the Canal. The Chitral,2 a P&O
boat that left England two days after the Dongala, followed us through the canal. On 19 November about
1pm we passed an iron frame lighthouse, turned at right angles and were soon entering the harbour of Port
Sudan. This place is entirely new, a long quay has been built, three ships were lying alongside and occupied
the whole length. One was the B.I. Matiana3 which should have all the material for the expedition, so the
Dongala had to drop anchor in the fairway until the Matiana left.
special train was being run to Khartoum that afternoon. In a few minutes after tickets were taken, your
name was on the compartment reserved for you, and your luggage put in correctly. Dinner was served at
8pm-everything was prepared nicely, soup, fish, joint, sweets, and coffee, beer, whiskey, and minerals iced.
20 November arrived at Khartoum at 8pm, and in five minutes were at the Gordon Hotel. Could then see
nothing of the town, besides Friday is their Sunday so everything was quiet. Amongst the party for Khartoum
in Dongala were two civil engineers and two clerks, out here to plan and construct electric tramways. On
Sunday afternoon the whole party of us went to the zoo gardens. It is a nice little collection but the light fades
so soon that we had to hurry round. There were several gazelle (Dorcas) running about the garden loose, they
would come and take a biscuit from your hand, and then start chasing one another round the grounds, quite
in the condition of wild animals. Several lions, the largest with a good mane but no ambition, for it certainly
looks as if he could get out of his cage any time he chose to make the effort. From November 23 to 28 there
was nothing to do as no baggage had arrived.
On the Dongala there was very little news of the expedition; only that there would
be a Col. Wood, Col. Wedgewood, Sir Nelson4 Rees and a Doctor. Col. Wood and Sir Nelson Rees joined in
Khartoum, together with Sir John Harrington [a diplomat, who had been Ambassador locally], Lady Harrington,
and Miss Haliday (her Ladyship’s maid): the group stayed for one night at the palace. The Maharajah of
Kutch, his grandson, a Secretary and seven servants with two and a half tons of luggage arrived at Khartoum
four days later. He was received as royalty, with the ADC5 to the Governor and the Sudanese guard from the
palace at the station, and of course Sir John. The party stayed at the Grand Hotel, except the servants, whom
they would not have in the place, and eventually an empty bungalow was found for them.
[Leonard was on the expedition as an employee, probably of Sir John. His second class passage on the Dongala
(on which he was the only member of the expedition) may well have been paid for by his employer. If so,
Leonard evidently had a note-worthy reputation as a taxidermist, as an ‘Africa hand’and as an excellent shot.
At one point he remarks ‘Sir John told me to get his 12-bores out, but when he went on shore he told me to
take one and try for some guinea fowl’and continues ‘got four, they were needed in the kitchen as the ships
stores are not too good or plentiful, another morning got three with one barrel of the .410 collecting gun’.]
The Journey continues:
The Government steamer ‘Kaibar’was chartered for the expedition. It is a large
flat bottomed barge with a high paddle wheel at the rear, driven by steam. The fuel is wood which has to be
replenished at Stations along the Nile; consumption is rapid so you want another barge lashed alongside to
stack the wood on. The upper deck of the Kaibar has a very confined dining saloon right in the front of the
boat; behind this is a smaller saloon, ten cabins and two bathrooms, and a small space of deck at the end where
our meals are served. The whole of this space is framed in and fitted with copper wire gauze that keeps all
the flies and insects out especially mosquitoes. Lashed to the side is another barge with an upper deck in the
centre of which is a mosquito house about 20ft by 10ft. There are four cabins which are far too hot to sleep
in, so our beds are in the mosquito house.
On the deck below us are the Indian servants, as one cannot mix them with the Africans. On the other side
of the Kaibar is lashed the Glider, while in front of the steamer is another barge, also with upper deck but no
houses on it – this is where the Africans live – and lashed to the side of this is a pontoon barge that carries
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 13
three Citroens, Morris tractor and two motor boats. Our speed on average is five miles an hour, and it takes
15 days to get to Mongala. We left Khartoum on 7 December.
Along each side is a mass of green vegetation [sudd, tall reeds] which in places must be three-quarters of a
mile to the land, which is marked by trees; in other places the sudd would be only a few yards wide. It was a
relief to tie up at a place where the landing was easy, that is to step right onto the solid land so we could get
some exercise. There was no change in the scenery except perhaps the sudd was not so wide, the dry land
just as far off. The line of dry land is immediately conspicuous by the dried up stream colour of the grass but
trees are green right away from the river and all the land is dead level.
On 18 December at Malakal Sir John called on the governor and learnt that owing to lack of rain, big game
was not in one of the districts that it was intended to be visited so plans have been somewhat altered. In the
night we stopped at a wood station and here the river was so narrow that two of our barges had to be taken
off to get in at all. The boat went back to pick up the two barges and again we proceeded South. Here the
river became so narrow in places that we were brushing the reeds on both sides.
This day we were supposed to be in Game country. We saw several groups of Waterbuck, all females with
some young, but only saw one male. Some giraffe were seen a long way off, but nothing else. Whilst writing
this a group of female waterbuck and large young, stood in a pool of water only 60 yards away; they stood
watching us for some minutes then walked into the reeds which entirely covered them. Later on they emerged
from the reeds into shorter grass and one kindly mounted an ant hill and stood to be scrutinized through the
glasses. Thecountry was very uninteresting, grass and swamp as far as onecould see, with only an occasional
tree and small patches of bush.
21 December the country was even more uninteresting and not a sign of any game and very few birds. A
crocodile was lying in a niche of the reeds on a shallow bank, three rapid shots from the top deck, a very feeble
wiggle and it was finished. It measured 10ft 3in. Directly after this we met Hippos, one we saw walking on
land but there were quite a few of them in the water. So far this country has not proved up to expectations,
there is very little game about though it is generally reported as a good stretch of country for shooting. Rains
may have attracted them elsewhere. 23 December we moored at Shambe, the usual wood station, but also a
cotton market. The three Citroen cars were run on shore and we all went for a joy ride ten miles out, it was
quite a decent road. The journey was made just to see what prospect there was of shooting; it did not look
The first cabin boy we had was quite useless so another was appointed, but he was too attentive. The other
day I wanted something done, called out ‘boy’, he came and did what was wanted, then came back and said
‘Sahr, Ahbdoo is my name. My name is Ahbdoo, sahr’so must be careful to remember it, for it wounded his
dignity to be called boy.
25 December I am surprised Sir John has stood the food of the boat for so long, what with the Indian cooks.
The stores brought out from Fortnum & Mason were intended for the side expeditions but now it is doubtful
if there are to be any side runs at all, the expedition is panning out very different to the early arrangements,
so stores are now being opened up. Before breakfast we had the excitement of watching two elephants quite
near and indifferent to the close proximity of the boat. Sometimes they were quite hidden by the grass, but
you always knew where they were by the white egrets sitting on their backs. Once one of them threw up its
trunk to scent the wind but otherwise they took no notice of us.
26 December we reached Boe. During the afternoon we sighted seven elephants in the tall grass about half
a mile away. Only occasionally could we see the seven all at once and then only their backs. Now and then
one would lift his head and flap its great ears but only once did I see a glimpse of the tusks, and they looked
small. However Sir Nelson Rees decided he would try and see if he could get near to them; one of the natives
acted as a guide; we watched from the top deck. The party were immediately hidden in the 12ft grass. There
were ant hills dotted about, first the native guide would appear on one and beckon the others on, and so it
went on till at last a shot rang out and the elephants moved off a little way. We were left in doubt for some
time, but presently Sir Nelson returned. He had shot one, so the natives will have meat for months. On seeing
the tusks, I was appealed to say what I thought of them. Of course he wanted to think them good, but later
Sir John told him the truth, that the animal never ought to have been killed. At any rate, I hope to get some
work out of it.
27 December Col. Wood and Sir Nelson had gone on shore in bush country and Sir N got a buffalo. It was
a young bull and took six shots before it was finished. [This is the last entry in the diary, only a few days
before Leonard died, at Shambe in the Sudan, on 11 January 1926, aged 54.]
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 14
Birds and Collecting
Leonard has a lively interest in birds. He appreciates their
colours-of a group of goldfinches flying in the lee of the vessel while crossing the
bay of Biscay he remarks ‘They looked such bright little gems’-and their songs
‘bronze-wing doves and long tailed doves in great numbers – the air is full of
their sweet musical calls; they would be charming birds in an aviary’, while in
Khartoum ‘I was awake at 5.30, the familiar sparrow chirp was the first thing
I noticed, just the same noise as in England’. He is familiar with African birds,
mentioning herons,spoonbills, pelicans,darters andwaders,finches,cordonblues6
and small weavers, and appreciates that many of a large group of night herons
are immature. He recognises a Shoebill (right) from a verbal description, and
notes ‘it is a bird of which the egg is unknown; a fine of £50 if you shoot one.’
Shoebill, a relative of the pelicans, that inhabits freshwater swamps
of central tropical Africa, southern Sudan to eastern Congo.
However, he is a collector, ie. someone who collects dead birds, and is evidently a very good shot. He remarks
‘so far it looks a difficult country to collect birds in. The trees are rather thick and there are myriads of [birds]
which I don’t want to collect and it’s hard to follow up a single bird amongst such crowds. Col. Wood wants to
be interested in birds (he has shot nearly all sorts of Big Game). He has a beautiful little collecting gun much
better than the one brought for me. He soon recognised this and has told me to use his when I like. One evening
we went out after Guinea Fowl, and I had Col. Wood’s .410 but I failed to find the flock. It was getting dusk,
with midges and mosquitos a fearful torment. I had not waited long before I had a glimpse of a [illegible] it
was flying low over the tallish grass. A
moment later I saw it again and snapped him [ie. took a snap-shot,
successfully]; it took me a long time to find it in the grass. It was quite dark when returning to the boat, saw
another with a long tail, knelt low in the grass to get him against the sky, he soon gave me a chance and got this
one also. This was the first time I had used the gun so you may be sure I am in love with it.’
Previous african Experience
Leonard has obviously spent much time in Africa. He gives no details, but we
can find a few pointers. He has visited Port Said: ‘The only building that I had seen before was the office of the
Canal,…you at once realise the wonderful change that has taken place in the last 25 years. The whole place as I
knew it had been pulled down and rebuilt in much larger scale but still retaining its well earned character.’Also
the Suez Canal is ‘marvellously improved, with large docks on both sides and an entirely new colony sprung
up opposite Port Said, looking more like an English garden than an Eastern settlement… The town of Suez lies
right back surrounded by palm trees; this also appears to be entirely rebuilt.’Later ‘there is no comparison to
be made with the Khartoum of 1899 and as it is now, without the usual howling mob of natives demanding
backhands [probably baksheesh = tips, money].’
Leonard has observations both zoological: ‘near Khartoum, … the cattle were different to what I had seen in
other parts of Africa’and ethnographical: ‘The natives here are getting nearer their original condition, carry
spears, and the youths are gaily decorated with collars of beads … The women’s carriage is not so graceful as
the Somali women. They are clothed in a big sheet of blue material, but they don’t drape it like the Somali girls
and wear no ornaments at all’, while ‘at Malakal the native …houses are built similar to the Abyssinians, round
huts with walls 6ft to 10ft high and a conical roof of thick grass thatch’.
[Edited and commented by Rosemary Turner and David Haunton]
in 1905 by Barclay, Curle, & Co, 8000 tons, length 470ft, sold for scrap 1926. Owned by Peninsular & Orient
Steam Navigation Company. Brought troops from Bombay to Liverpool (27 September to 23 October 1914). During
the war she was a British Hospital ship, staffed by nurses, and served in the Dardanelles campaign. Used later as a
Troopship, returning troops from the Middle East to Australia.[DH]
Amuch bigger boat, 15250 tons, built in 1925 by Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd, Govan for Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation Company, for the Australian run.[DH]
Built 1922 by Barclay, Curle & Co. Ltd of Glasgow, for British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.[DH]
This name could be Nelson or Wilson, or even possibly Milton. I’ve used Nelson throughout. [LC]
More correctly ‘cordon bleu’, a small finch of the scrublands and grasslands of east Africa, with a bright powder-blue
neck and chest. [DH]
NB. The East Surrey Family History Society have published Leonard’s complete text in their Journal, Vol 43
number 3, September 2020. It covers five A5 pages.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 15
♦ Where the Borough Ends: Keith Penny took this nice clear picture of the still extant
1908 boundary marker between Croydon and Mitcham at the corner of Galpin’s Road
and South Lodge Avenue. Can anyone tell us if the year was significant?
♦ Croydon RaFHospital: Mavis Priestleyhas asked for help with this Hospital. One
of the subjects she included in an exhibition was of a VAD nurse. This lady served
in Serbia in 1915,
and then in the Red Cross. Her Red Cross Card shows she
enlisted with them in 1916, and subsequently nursed at Harwich, the 4th London
General Hospital, and in France. However, from 15 April 1919, until she left the
service in September of that year, she was at the ‘Croydon RAF Hospital’. Where
was this? (There was an RFC Hospital at Shirley but it closed in 1918.)
All we can supply is that the nursing branch of the RoyalAir Force is Princess Mary’s
Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS), establishedas the RAF Temporary Nursing Service in 1918
and becoming part of the permanent establishment as the RAF Nursing Service on 27 January 1921. So there
definitely was an RAF nursing service in 1919, but where was its Croydon Hospital? Can anyone help?
♦ Baseball on Mitcham Common: Lee Fardon asked us ‘When I was a child in the fifties, I went to watch my
father play baseballwith ateamof Americans on MitchamCommon.Do you haveany informationregarding
Alas, we could not help, though our Local History Note 27 Sporting Memories of Mitcham in the late 1940s
and 1950s does mention Americans and baseball. Can anyone assist?
MICK TayLOR asks for HELP, PLEaSE
I have got a bit stuck on a couple of items that have come into my possession after the passing of my mother-
in-law. Below (left) is a picture of an award given to her father in 1959. He was a local umpire and lived in
Raynes Park and Morden from the 1920s until he retired to the coast in 1959. What do the five initials on the
award (RPRCC) represent? Presumably ‘Raynes Park something’? (There is a Raynes Park Cricket Club, but
it is apparently more recent.)
The other pictures are of a hockey team and its
badge. My mother-in-law is in the
non-player, though I believe she did play at one
time. The photo looks as if it was taken at Joseph
Hood Recreation Ground in Martin Way, probably
after 1945. Who were the club? Do they still exist?
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MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 216 – DECEMBER 2020 – PAGE 16