Pollards Hill, Commonside East and Lonesome

Pollards Hill itself – the dominating topographical feature of the district – is beyond the boundary of Mitcham. The Pollards Hill housing estate and the neat roads of inter-war houses extending towards the centre of Mitcham had been until the early 1920s largely farmland, extending to the edge of Mitcham Common and interspersed with hedgerows and clumps of residual woodland. Here and there Victorian villas and old country cottages still survived as links with the past.

Commonside East is a study in its own right, showing how as early as the 17th and 18th centuries desirable sites bordering the open heath had been enclosed for the building of several substantial houses. A change in tempo is discernible from the beginning of the 20th century, and the process of suburbanisation reached its climax with Mitcham’s phenomenal growth in the 1930s.

Closer examination shows the history of the hinterland to be even more interesting, for here a medieval open field system had survived virtually intact until the mid-l9th century before giving way to market gardens, a firework factory and other light industry, gravel extraction, brickworks and chemical works – each making its own contribution to the economic history of the expanding town.

Finally there is the strangely-named hamlet of Lonesome, appearing more as a late-Victorian overspill from Streatham rather than part of the ancient parish of Mitcham, and yet having origins extending so far back in time that the student is still left to speculate on how it all began.