Church Street and Whitford Lane

The origins of a village or small town are among the most fascinating facets of its history, and yet often the least known. Mitcham is no exception and fragmentary evidence can be seen of a substantial community, probably well-established by the fourth century AD, continuing into the early Saxon period. Its focal point was a ditched enclosure to the south of what became known as Church Street, close by the site of the present parish church. The early settlement was surrounded by a field system, the boundaries of which can be traced today. There was a stone-built church by the 12th century, and the names of villagers are known from the late 13th. The development of what appears to have been envisaged as a planned village seems to have halted in the 14th century. However, the later development of Church Street can be traced in increasingly copious documentation following the Reformation, survival of a few attractive 18th-century houses, and the rebuilding of the church early in the 19th century. Thereafter came decline, with urbanisation, the building of factories, and increasing traffic. It was in the belief that the remaining features in Church Street (now part of Church Road) might be saved and enhanced that in 1995 the local council included this historic part of Mitcham within the Cricket Green Conservation Area.