Friday, 24 August 2007

Colliers Wood High Street

Map of Route described


Another lunchtime stroll, this time leaving from South Wimbledon Tube Station and east along Merton High Street and into Colliers Wood just over the railway bridge and sniffing at the borders with Tooting. There was a surprising lack of painted wall signage but some interesting architectural features. Quite an enjoyable stroll all round…


1)First stop was the Admiral Nelson, a very ornate pre-first World War I pub covered in glazed and painted tiles, The two tiles sets face right onto the pavement and I’m amazed they haven’t been damaged or vandalized more than they seem to have been. Both sets of glazed tiles are dated and bear the name Carter’s, Poole 1910 in the bottom left hand corner. This company eventually became Poole Pottery and apparently did much of the art deco tile work for the London Underground


2) On the same site I also noticed a couple of these tiles whose message has been slightly lost over the years where, presumably frost and freezing has finally been taking its toll.


3)Quirky or naff, these signs were, I believe, designed after
a competition amongst local schools some years ago. There have been more recent and slightly more threatening efforts since then but there are still loads of these about the streets of Merton.





4) This plaque is on the side of the River Wandle by the footbridge to the Sainsbury’s and commemorates the presence of the William Morris mills. For a fairly shabby part of London there’s a surprising amount of history around these streets!



5)These photos show a monument just inside Wandle Park that has
inscriptions on three side. One side is pretty weather-beaten but these two are still quite legible and you can probably read them by clicking on the photo for a closer look. The park and monument was bequeathed by “John Feeney of Birmingham and Berkswell who loved nature and his fellow man” and was opened in 1907.





6) Down a bit further to the magnificent portico to the Royal Standard pub. No idea what it’s like inside but the fa├žade is very eye-catching.




7) Down the road a few hundred yards and you come across the only piece of painted wall signage on the walk. It may be modern but it does the job




8) At this point there is a l
ong stretch of old, slightly run-down shops underneath Victorian buildings. As usual you have to look up to get an idea of their original quality and there are some nice touches to be found. Here, not particularly clearly, you can see the name plaque ‘Spring Cottages 1863’ and I’ve also tried to include the attractive top of a column amidst more modern fittings.




9)These two pictures show some ornate brickwork on one particular row and the date plaque of 1875 showing that it was built by William Clark and was probably quite smart when first completed. I also tried to capture the top windows as they were the only ones with the original iron retainers to presumably stop flowerpots being blown off the ledges!.







10) Slightly further along I spotted this lonely pot sitting on top of its column.
I assume there were originally a few more but they are long since gone and this one doesn’t look in too good a state either.





11) Just before the railway bridge now and you have to wonder ‘What on earth was this?’. Although now a workshop this building has an enormous flagpole and looks as though it used to have a grander entrance. Could it have been an early cinema or scout hut? If you have any idea please leave a note in the comment section below…





12) On the railway bridge now and a couple of road signs, old and new (so good they named it twice!)




13) Over the bridge and to the left is a row of what at first look like fairly run of the mill shops divided by pillars, most of which are pebble-dashed. There is a glorious and unexpected exception though. This column of ornate tiles shows just what is lurking beneath the dirt, painted textured coating that covers the rest of the pillars. It really does catch your eye as you walk by and brightens up an otherwise dingy parade.




14) At this point I could see over the cross-roads into Tooting and a very large and tempting plaque on the eaves of a large building but with iron-will and self-discipline I crossed over and headed back to South Wimbledon. I walked past this ordinary post-box was drawn back to it as the proportions didn’t seem quite right, being slightly slimmer than usual. When I looked closely at the royal crest I saw it was for Edward VII so was probably put in place son after the surrounding building were erected. Street furniture that’s still going strong and being used for its original purpose after 100 years!


15) I couldn’t resist recording the fact that at Colliers Wood tube station I went passed the Infamous ‘Tower’, recently voted one of London’s greatest eyesores and a building that everyone in Colliers Wood would love to see removed. It has been likened to a scorched, post –apocalypse bunker but no doubt someone will buy it, tart it up and sell the penthouse suites with their extensive views of London for mega-bucks.


And that’s it for another lunchtime. But I’ve seen glimpses of the riches of Tooting and I’ll be casting my net further to the east next time!

87 comments:

Lone Star said...

this is very groovey!
i love the pics,, and even recognized some of them being the full fledged TEXAN that I am~~and I had to find this wonderful little email quite by accident! Put me on your mailing list!
Stood and looked at that TOWER many a mornin' at the Express while smokin a fag and drinkin a coffee! Truly an ugly building! Wish I could buy the thang and make them little suites you're talking about! stormylou53@aol.com
Thank you for the nostalgic pictures!

Anonymous said...

i've only just come across your blog, but i love it already!

i have just moved to colliers wood and it's lovely to see that so much history is still going on here. next time i'm wandering around i'll be far more aware of things such as you've pointed out :)

Yelfy said...

Hi Harriette
Glad you find it interesting. The area around Colliers Wood has a surpising amount of history associated with it considering it's so small and not particularly picturesque (at first glance anyway) You've the world's first public railway (on the Tram route), Merton Abbey (founded Merton College, Oxford), a King was crowned in the Sainsbury's car park (can't recall which one), the Wandle was reputed to have more mills per mile than any other river in the world ('the hardest working river in the world'), it was a centre of the 19th century Arts and Crafts movement (William Morris factories) and it was also the site of the only home owned by Lord Nelson, leaving his mistress Emma Hamilton in residence as he left for the battle of Trafalgar. Oh, and the Beatles also played at a venue now the site of a kitchen show room on Merton High Street!! Not bad really...

Anonymous said...

Sorry just found out it was Henry iv who was crowned in the Priory Church ...now Sainburys car park.
Thanks
Colin Tanner Town Centre Manager
colin.tanner@merton.gov.uk

Unknown said...

Hi there,
very interseting site,
I was born in Colliers Wood in 1943 and moved out when I got married in 1967.
The place has a fascination for me now though, and I often travel from Hertfordshire to walk aroud the area- it's amazing what you missed seeing in the area when you grew up there.
The building referred to on the railway bridge leading towards Tooting was never a scout hut or a cinema, I think it was just a smalll factory.
There were 3 scout groups in Colliers Wood, The 2nd Mitcham met in the old Parish Hall in Park Road (50 metres from it's junction with Robinson Road). This hall burnt down in about 1964 ish,a recently built block of flats is on the site. All my friends who had been in the 2nd Mitcham gathered around the dying embers of the old wooden building, and commisserated over the great times that we had in the hall. We had just amalgamated with the 10th Mitcham to become a new group, the 25th Mitcham. The new group met in the 10ths old hall - "Atlasta Hall" (they had been fundraising for years to build this hall - hence the name) in Colwood Gardens. The group folded some time in the 1970's/80's and the hall is leased out to a retired naval association. The other group was the 8th Mitcham, also known as "Cusden's Own". They met in what was the Old Institute Hall, sited just after Lyon Tower heading towards the Savacentre, opposite the old cottages known as Millers Mead. This was a very run-down scout hut and they eventually met at Singlegate primary school. The 8ths scoutmaster in the 1960's was George Dadswell, who, in the 1950's, used to run the Sunday school at the Park Road Parish Hall, and he also sung in the Christchurch church choir - he had a powerful tenor voice, and was quite a character.
For anyone else reading this, I am still in touch with Ken Parsons and Brian Bartaby, both were heavily involved with the 2nd and 25th Mitcham, and I guess that a lot of young lads, brought up in what was a fairly rough area of "Sarth London", owe a debt of gratitude to these great men who helped us in our formative years.
I have just purchased a paperback book from Colliers Wood library, called :-
Mitcham Histories:9 - Colliers Wood or "Merton Singlegate", it is a fascinating read.
During the 1950's, when I was about 13, I worked as a Saturday boy in Dan Genner's hand built cycle shop, opposite the Roman Catholic church in the High Street - my recollections, already published by a couple of cycling clubs, will follow.

Yelfy said...

Hi John,
Thanks for the Scouting info. Personally I was a 4th Putney myself and my son is with the 1st Morden but it's good to hear of the earlier history of the Mitcham troops. I like 'Atlasta Hall' though!
I was curious about the factory by the railway as it had flag-poles and what looked like quite ornate fittings around it. Not so impressive beyond the facade though so maybe it was just a small factory unit all along as you say. intriguing though, all the same.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

fantastic blog! I moved to Colliers Wood a few months ago and have been trying to find out as much as I could about its history.

http://www.merton.gov.uk/living/designandconservation/archaeology/archaeological_priority_zones_in_merton.htm

This link provides a lot of history, for example that there was a very important Roman road (Stane Street, or Stone Street) going from London through to the south coast, it's running through Colliers Wood.

Anonymous said...

the flag pole building on the bridge was called w h kimbers . a metal work factory its larger than you would think in side

Anonymous said...

Hey, Love the site.

One question, how long of a tube ride is it from Colliers Wood to Central London

Yelfy said...

Glad you find the site interesting and thanks for reading. According to the Transport for London site the average length of journey from Bank to Colliers Wood is 27 minutes.

Doc Dish said...

Yelfy, great blog. I was looking for info on the 25th Mitcham Scouts and found john's comment above.

I was a Cub at the 25th Mitcham until about 1983 and I don't recall hearing it had folded before we left Collier's Wood in 1986. The name 'Ken Parsons' rings a bell - I may have gone to school with his son/grandson!

I think I'll be spending a few nights looking through the rest of your blog...

Yelfy said...

Hi there Doc Dish. I never thought when I started the blog that it might become a link for those searching for Mitcham scout groups! Anyway, I hope that there's a few odds and ends that bring back a few memories. Any other comments, reminiscences or thoughts on various postings would gratefully received...

dennis said...

Hi Yelfy,
Just found your blog, very interesting. Just for the record I belonged to the 10th Mitcham from 1952 until we moved in 1954. Had a great time and remember the hall very well.I lived in the High Street just round the corner from College Road over what was a Library in a shop opposite the Sunshine Hall. My family all came from the immediate area and my Grandfather along with his brother owned the Fishing Rod and Tackle shop (Eggingtons) next door to the Merton Bus Garage, the other side from the Pub before it was all changed. I attended both Singlegate Infants and Fortescue Road Primary as did my mother and Grandmother. The area has a lot of history, more than many would appreciate but such a lot has been lost through modernisation.My life has taken me down to the west country but I will never forget where I spent the first 10 years including the Coronation parties,the last Tram and the baked potato man at the Tube Station after cubs.

Unknown said...

Dennis,
I vaguely remember a library in that parade of shops opposite the Sunshine Hall - although I can't remember exactly which shop it was. On the corner of College Road and the High Street used to be a shoe repairers, up until the early 1950's. It subsequently became a builders and decorators shop in the mid 1950's DIY boom, owned by the parents of a young girl, Elizabeth Reynolds, who eventually became my wife. Her dad, Fred Reynolds, was the proprietor of the shop and claimed that Colliers Wood was constructed of hardboard, held together with Polyfilla - he sold that much of the stuff. Also in that parade was James' the butchers, the daughter of the owner, who I used to hang out with in the late 1950's as a teenager, has just contacted me via Friends Reunited, then there was Osmans the grocery shop. Next to that was the pair of shops belonging to Dan Genner, selling hand made bikes where I worked as a Saturday boy, running errands for Mrs Genner. My Dad's business was the other side of the bus garage from Eggingtons, known as Barringer's shop. I bought my first fishing rod in Eggingtons - converted from a Ex army tank aerial, for £1.25.
I can also remember the Baked potato man outside the tube staion in the winter - Small potatoes at an old penny each - large ones, one and a half old pennies each. The smell of the coke and the roasting potatoes is something you never forget.
John Barringer

Anonymous said...

Great site I was born in Boyd Road in 1942 when I got married we held the reception in Atlasta Hall wonderful memories of Colliers Wood. I often drive through and remember the shops how they used to be, for example the large Co op where Burge and Gunsons are now .I also remember James the butchers there used to be a lovely man called George worked there . Ann

Russell said...

I believe the dog on the signs, bless him, was called Mertie.

Anonymous said...

I came across this sight by axcident, as i was looking for Atlasta Hall on goggel maps..
I was looking for the Hall as it was were 2 of my best friends had ther Weding recaption in July 1953,
Derick Read & Frances Hooper...

Sadlly Derick passed away 6 years ago, & Frances passed away last year...MUCH LOVED & MUCH MISSED
R.I.P.
LOVE ALLWAYS NIGE. XXX

If anyone remmbers them please leave a massage..

Anonymous said...

I was born Devonshire Road, Colliers Wood, and lived 14 years in Church Road to age 18.
The potato man at Colliers Wood has been remembered by many, and now again by me. What a treat the warmth and the smells were. Seasonally he offered hot chestnuts and they were equally beguiling.
Genner’s window was where I spent much time gazing at those beautiful bicycle frame colours, but especially the Chater-Lea wheel hubs, the alloy crank sets and all the delights offered to someone, like me, planning his first custom bicycle. Genner’s supplied me the Allez crank set, Brooks B17N saddle, Brooks saddle bag, and the Simplex derailleur gear set. I went to FW Holdsworth of Putney for that marvellous Accles & Pollock 531 light alloy frame.
Singlegate was one of my schools. Three years ago I revisited to find it a Grade 2 Listed Building and occupied by Jamia Ahmadiyya, a Moslem college of some sort. After being greeted with some initial suspicion I was welcomed, shown around and then invited to visit to view that day the new mosque at Morden. Both establishments were a delight to see, well maintained at Singlegate, beautifully designed, equipped and furnished at Morden.
Mitcham Grammar was another of my schools and I revisited to find it a privately run Catholic school, fully gated. My reception was cool to hostile. Eventually I was let in and I saw my old library and caretaker’s house, registered the many religious sculptures and other images, and left. They did not win any friends that day.
There is an excellent museum by the Cranmer Green, Mitcham.
Who remembers toffee apples from the rickety old house between Fortescue Road and the now demolished railway line?
Derek Arnold

Philip Davies said...

Well, well, well!I have just stumbled onto this and oh the memories, though some details
are lost in time.
Was born at The Woodlands 1945
and for some years lived at
Wilton road. Yes, also was a cub
(but not sure which pack), and loved it; went on to scouts, rovers
with the 36th Mitcham at Rowan rd.
Moved away in the fifties to a
block of flats near Ravensbury Park
but returned to Colliers Wood when
I started my first job as a packaging designer with a company
call the Shirley & Warbey Box Co.
Their premises were on the site of
the current Supasava complex.
I used to walk to work starting
down a footpath that ran alongside
Mordenhall Park, over a railway bridge and past Bunces meadow
into (I think) Church street or
Western road.

I have lived in Australia for 40 years but on my trips back always
make a point of visiting Colliers
Wood.

Anonymous said...

Great site, we are a young couple who have just moved into Denison road, great to hear so much history, it's a real shame the potato man is not hear anymore! :)

Anonymous said...

Great history that I wasn't aware of in Colliers Wood, even though I grew up in Acre Road from 1964 to 1982. Memories of being sent to the off-licence round the corner from Briscoe road to return the empties and collect a penny a bottle for my trouble, then race over the main road to the little window at the Co-op and pick up dad's 2oz of Golden Virginia and a packet of green papers. Until we had the phone installed we would again have to trudge over the main road to use one of the three public phones located at the bottom of Robinson Road and fire coins in whilst pressing buttons A,B or C usually at the wrong time.
Remember mum collecting money with many of her friends so that the building of St Joseph's RC Church could be realised in the High Street. There were many annual church fetes and fairs usually held in the Community Centre by what used to be the Red Lion or the Sunshine Hall next to the church itself.
Remember the sad demise of James's the butcher together with the DIY shop on the corner of College Road and many other shops both small and large which have been mentioned before. WH Kimbers metalwork factory on the bridge always seemed a little out of place with a small solitary wool shop tacked on the side of it.
Was never in the scouts but remember attending various youth activities in the small hall in Walpole Road which seemed to be very busy at the time with several clubs, including the Woodcraft Folk making use of the premises.
Went to school in Mitcham and waited endlessly outside the Post Office for the 152 or 200 bus staring blankly at the grim facade of the Brown & Root Tower.
Would walk the length of Blackshaw Road to see Wimbledon FC (long before they entered the league and won an FA Cup)and Wimbledon Speedway.

Anonymous said...

Also I never could work out how the Boat Harbour was able to carry out business for as many years as I can remember in the middle of Colliers Wood High Street!!

woody said...

Some nice memories in these stories.A few more from the 1950s - there was a laundry amongst those buildings on the railway bridge heading towards Tooting. An old man called Vic was the newspaper seller for years outside Colliers Wood station every morning and evening and had his shop in the first row of houses in Robinson Road. Paggets bakers was opposite the old Co-op (RACS) in the High Street and the Co-op milkman (a boxer called Eric Gears or Geary) had a horse called Brigette pulling his cart for years, until she was put down because a kick from another horse broke her leg.

Anonymous said...

photo number 10 is an apothecary jar over what used to be Browns chemist, on the corner of Brisco road.also the laundry mentioned was called Bartletts

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember Brobats factory in Wandle Bank or Colonys leather mill, where the 1,oclock hooter used to sound, calling all back to work after lunch

John Barringer said...

Connolly's Leather Factory is now an upmarket block of flats - but the smell of the tanning process still pervades the area when you stand on the roadbridge downstream from the factory. I suspect that the water taken from the Wandle for the tanning process and released back into the river, has leeched into the bank.
Just upstream from Connolly's is a footbridge over the Wandle leading into the park. Just inside the park, although no trace remains, is the site of Wandle Bank House. I remember, as a 5 or 6 year old, going into the then derelict building through some broken shuttering. The inside was like a horror film set, dust & cobwebs everywhere and a large sweeping staicase leading to the upstairs - very scary - I did not linger there for very long.
At the north end of Wandle Bank, just to the left of Connolly's was a large double fronted Victorian house, long demolished, but I used to deliver newspapers there, as a paperboy working at my dad's shop, Barringers, next to what used to be the Kings Head Pub, now the offices of the bus company.
I can also remember the shellfish stall on a Sunday morning outside the King's Head, along with the gathering of men gambling with cards and dice around the hatchway that led to the beer cellar- an activity I suspect was illegal in those days.
I recently found a press cutting from when my dad's shop was raided by the police in the 1920's. Off course betting was illegal until the early 1960's when betting shops were introduced - I'll put the text of the clipping on this site in due course.
John Barringer

Anonymous said...

I also remember Wandle Bank House, I think at one time it was a nursery. What a lovely house with beautiful gardens. Can not imagine how much it would be worth now.

Unknown said...

great site,just discovered,lived in park rd for first 20 years of my life.left singlegate at 15 and worked as a trainee butcher at bishops butchers between cavendish rd and the library.eventually joined met police,have recognised several names on here of people i grew up with,and went to school with.

Anonymous said...

my parents had a newsagents shop next to the red lion
in collierswood high street for fourteen years and new many
of the people mentioned in the above blog.

Anonymous said...

CAN ANY PERSON REMEMBER THE OLD COTTAGES
THAT STOOD WHERE THE COMMUNITY CENTRE NOW
STANDS

John Barringer said...

There is a description of these old cottages in the Mitcham Histories:9 book "Colliers Wood or Merton Singlegate" by E. N. Montague , obtainable from local branch libraries - No Collierswoodophile should be without one.
Page 110 of the book gives the following description:-
..."the so-called Red Lion cottages were demolished about 1960to make way for the building of the Colliers Wood Community Centre. Numbered 64 - 72 High Street, they were timber framed and weatherboarded, had boxed-sash windows and pantiled roofs with a central valley gutter. The style was a traditional one in the north-east of Surrey in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and, judged by the number of examples that can still be found, the method of construction has proved remarkably successful in withstanding the ravages of time & weather. Regrettably, in the case of the Red Lion Cottages years of neglect resulted in them becoming extremely dilapidated and their post-war shabbiness recruited no protesters when it became known that they were to be cleared away in the 1950's". There were similar cottages in the High Street opposite it's junction with Cavendish Road, which I would think would have also been cleared away at the same time.
When I did my paper round, I also had to deliver to "Flint Cottage" at the junction of Phipps Bridge Road(now called "Liberty Avenue") and Christchurch Road. This must have been one of the oldest buildings in Colliers Wood, very picturesque, now sadly long gone.
Iv' scoured the internet for pictures - sadly none exist - as yet.

John Barringer

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember the small cafe in Wandle Bank situated near the tannery and the bridge over the Wandle into the park?
It was run by my Uncle and Aunt, John and Ruby Matthews, until the early sixties when they moved to Liverpool.
I remember visiting and staying in their flat over the caff with my cousins, Jihnnie and Linda.
The one thing that sticks in my mind about the caff was the refrigerated Pepsi bottle dispenser! Fascinating to a little lad, not to mention the taste if that ice cold Pepsi!!

Anonymous said...

the small building that was not a scout hut was indeed an engineering factory that made armements during the war and later equipment for field kitchens company name was kimbers

Bert said...

Late to the party, but does anyone know where Harris' Field was, possibly as long ago as pre WWI?

John Barringer said...

Harris's Field was in the area between the junction of Colwood Gardens and Christchurch Road right across to the High street and Wandle Park. The other boundary would have been Priory Road. I can remember it as being an area of waste ground, about the size of a football pitch, with large advertising hoardings on the corner of Priory Road and the High Street, opposite what was "The Six Bells" Pub - now a Turkish restaurant (?).I am talking about the a time between 1947 & 1957 ish, and about then a National Benzole petrol station was built, just opposite the High Street entrance to Wandle Park.
At about that time it was also used as a storage area for enormous rolls of newsprint paper from the nearby Merton Board Mills, now the Savacentre.
Harris's Fields resembled a bombsite, the ground was very uneven and very overgrown with nettles. I must confess to my first sexual experience in Harris's Fields - although it was only a case of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" - I think I was about 9 at the time. A passer by (The area was unfenced and was used as a short cut) saw us, and we both ran off through the nettles - boy did they sting??!!
John Barringer

John Barringer said...

Further to my post earlier, I've been doing a bit of digging and found some more information about Harris's Fields.
A local benefactor, Mr W. J. Harris was instrumental in fund raising for the building of Christchurch, finished in 1874. (Incidentally where both my parents in 1931, and myself and Elizabeth Reynolds were married in 1967).
Previous to this there was a temporary church school opposite the entrance to Wandle Park. This building may well have survived up until the late 1960's and was known as "The Institute" and was at some time used as a scout hut by both the 2nd & then the 8th Mitcham, Scout Groups.
If you have a look at the map at :-
www.london1864.com/stanford58b.htm
(Once you have found the page, click on the 3rd section in from the left at the bottom, and scroll down to see a larger version, clicking on this will produce an even larger scale).
Examination of this map using the horizontal & vertical cursors will allow you to see that the area to the right of the "T & O" of "Merton lane"(Now Christchurch Road)shows the land and buildings where I believe the church now stands.This piece of land with the 3 buildings shown on it was part owned, and given by Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Now go in a north west direction until "Merton Bridge". On the south side of this road are marked several houses alongside the road, with possibly the most easterly one being the Church school/institute. Notice also on the other side of the road is shown the Mill Pond in what is now Wandle Park. The remains of the sluice gate which regulated the water level in the mill pond is still visible today, on the right, when looking downstream from the bridge over the Wandle by what used to be the 6 Bells Pub (Possibly now a restaurant).
I think it can be safe to assume that Mr Harris was the local worthy who may well have owned this whole parcel of land.
Other points of interest on this map are how little Colliers Wood was developed at the time. Most of the buildings are along the north west side of "Merton Road", now the High Street". Walnut Close is where William De Morgan had his tile works. His tiles today are highly sought after, he was a member of the "Arts & Crafts" movement, along with William Morris , and De Morgan's tiles were installed on the ill fated Titanic.
Bygrove house is clearly shown, as is Colliers Wood House, with a long drive up from the junction of "Robinson's Lane" (now road). This was demolished in the early 1900's to make way for the development of Clive & Warren Roads.
I also have another 1894 Ordnance survey map of Merton.
The area known as Harris's Fields (Although not marked as such on the map) is marked as "Watercress beds", possibly irrigated from the waters of the River Wandle prior to it becoming highly polluted with industrial development in the 20th century.
On this map it is evident that a lot of housing has been added alongside the road between Wandle Bridge and what is now Colliers Wood tube station.
I am no authority or expert on Colliers Wood, I have gleaned all of my information from an excellent book - "Colliers Wood or Merton Singlegate" by E. N. Montague, possibly obtainable from the local library
John Barringer

John Barringer said...

Whenever I meet my lifelong friends Ray Cole & Ken rooks, we all wonder what became of Micky Bunce.
Ray, Ken and Micky Bunce lived at the top end of Robinson Road near it's junction with Lyveden Road.
Micky was quite a character, and came to Ray's rescue once, when he was being " beaten up" at Singlegate school. Micky was a bit of a "Jack the Lad" who often sailed very close to the wind. He did feature in the National papers at least once to my knowledge over a fairly serious brush with authority. The four of us would often go to Streatham Ice Rink on a Saturday afternoon, where young Ken could chat up any of the birds he fancied - it was amazing to watch.
So, Micky where are you - do any of the readers of this site know what became of him
John Barringer

Ray Cole said...

I lived in Robinson Road for 22 years and regularily used the tube from Colliers Wood to London. Did you know that the tunnel from Morden to Edgware was the longest tunnel in Europe for quite some time, not sure if it still is. At the end of Robinson Road, there were a few shops and a small cul de sac, with a footbridge going over the railway lines where the trains would shunt around the Fyffes banana ware house. I think I had my first banana when I was about 7 years old. We used to stand on the bridge and when the steam trains went underneath we would be covered in soot and hot steam. My old house is still standing but the back gardens, which were quite long, were sold off and another row of houses built backing onto the railway and the river Graveney. Happy days

Unknown said...

Amazing ! I lived at 52 Wandle Bank in a flat above the Brobat factory and offices. It was the last house number on the street as on the corner of Wandle Bank and South Road (no longer in existance) was the Vicarage (opposite Connolys leather factory). I had a friend, Janet, who lived in Wandle House so I was in and out of there a lot. Most amazing. Downstairs was a baby clinic and classrooms with stuffed stags heads on the walls). Janet lived upstairs - really like something out of an old film set - fantastic. I remember from the photo that we used to drink out of that drinking fountain in the park. I also remember that the 2up and 2down houses in Wandle Bank had no bathrooms and the loos were outside. If anyone would like to be in touch I would be happy to hear. I went to All Saints Infants and Junior Schools, which buildings were pretty ancient in those days and are now extinct. Wow - talk about memory lane ......

Unknown said...

To anonymous
I don't believe this but I lived right next door to Ruby and John Matthews in a flat over the Brobat factory and offices. They used to bring a tray of "goodies" each day, from the cafe, into the offices to eat with the morning cup of tea (which the tea lady, Ethel made) and the staff would leave the appropriate number of pennies on the tray which was collected later by Ruby. They had two children a boy and a girl if I remember rightly. They were a lovely couple. I was a small kid at the time but remember them well.

Unknown said...

Can anybody remember a allotment around the back of the wandle park I used to go there with my uncle back in the late 70s he had a small plot. I was looking around there and cold not see it mind you it seems that they have built a lot of new houses and flats there. But if anybody can remember can you let me know where it was?

Anonymous said...

I have today been on a trip around Colliers Wood where I was born in 1948 and my Mother was born In 1922. Although I return to Morden often I now lives in Somerset. Couldn't believe how many of the old places have disappeared, the Red Lion, my grandad would be horrified, Woodlands Maternity Home where I Was born. Fortescue School, so many changes. Elizabeth Reynolds as she was, provided flowers for my wedding in 1973 at Christ Church, same church my Mum was christened and married at and where my children were also christened. I went to school with Brian Reynolds and remember the family well. We lived in College Road and often played in the back of their shop. Brother was in Cubs in Park Road. Went to many a social at the Atlasta Hall. Remember so well playing out the street and the street party for the coronation. So many happy memories but not as someone said of a run down place but of a very safe place to live

Unknown said...

I spent much of my early childhood playing in that Park as (I lived opposite at No. 52 and I do recall that there was an allotment but cannot recall exactly where it was in the park. I have a feeling it was to the left of the swings walking to the centre of the park in the vicinity balf way betweenh Wandle Bank entrance and Mertin High St entrance.

Unknown said...

After 3 days of looking finally found one photo of Wandle Bank House sometime before it was demolished in the 1960's.

John Barringer said...

I Have just come across a very interesting website - the Merton Memories Photographic Archive (Just Google it).
The site contains about 15,000 photographs of the Colliers Wood/Merton/Mitcham and Wimbledon areas and includes many old pictures of places mentioned on this blog - Wandle Park House, Colliers Wood High Street, Wandle Park open air lido, the wooden clad cottages by the Red Lion Pub. There are aerial photos of Singlegate School in the 1920's with the construction of the tube station in the background with my own house in North Gardens not yet built. The most interesting thing for me was a picture of the old Barringer family shop at 22, High Street, Merton - taken circa 1911, withy possibly my grandfather posing outside.
I would encourage anybody who does have old photographs to get in touch with the archive compilers to have them added to the collection, so they can be shared and enjoyed by the rest of us.
When accessing the website,do be careful though - you could waste a lot of time(enjoyably) working your way through the photographs!!
John Barringer

Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog. I was born in The Woodlands in 1947 and lived in Kimble Road until 1956. We had a great street party for The Coronation. There is mention of a laundry on the bridge over the railway line and this would have been the Waterfall Laundry where my mum worked in the accounts office and my dad was a part time delivery driver. I remember going into the laundry and the steam and the noises from the presses were quite scary. We played in the street and would often head off to the Wandle Park. Had a walk around about a year ago and was sorry to see that The Red Lion was no longer.

Cyril, Marlborough Close said...

Another world.
Round about March 1941, when the blitz was at its height, the raids were so intense that my parents and I were unable to make it home from the Red Lion to Marlborough Close, despite the fact there were substantial air raid shelters at both ends of Marlborough Road. My Father spent nearly all the war in the Army Catering Corps at Catterick Camp. At this time and for many years afterwards, children were not admitted in Pubs, blitz or no blitz.(I was seven and a half) So it was a great thrill for me to spend the night on top of the billiard table.
Cyril Maidment.

Sue Brooks (formerly Briggs) said...

I was brought up in Colliers Wood and my father worked for a metal working company in that building on the bridge approach. It was called Kimbers and my father was a sheet metal worker. Next door to it was a motorcycle shop.

Anonymous said...

Just to say that the Building mentioned on Colliers Wood bridge probably belong to Jack Lawrence he was a Shoe repairer in the 50s/60s he was a friend of my Father also a Tooting shoe repairer known for a bit of illegal boxing in the Tooting area he was known by most as Cobbler.
All the Best.
Ken

Ois Removals, Colliers Wood said...

It's great that you've found some hidden gems in an area that is sometimes regarded as a bit bland to say the least. An interesting post.

Bas-Relief said...

This is lovely site! Thank you for sharing with us.Great post.
Cast plaques

Cyril, Marlborough Close said...

Lived in Colliers Wood from 1936, aged three, until getting married in 1958, aged 25, since then at the same house in Wimbledon. Never evacuated.
Singlegate Primary, Fortescue Road, Singlegate Secondary, Rutlish, Wimbledon and Wandsworth Techs. Did exactly the same walk and it was entitled "Double Gates to Singlgate"
Cyril Maidment

Henry Taylor said...

Note to Cyril Maidment: I'm pretty sure we knew each other when we were aged about 9 or 10. I was born in 1932 and lived in North Gardens, Colliers Wood (No.15), and more than once came upon you in in the street. Once your mother brought you to our house one breakfast time (God only knows why) and we had porridge together before going . . . where? I've no idea, school possibly. But why did she leave you with us? That's the question. As identification: when you were about the age mentioned, did you wear glasses with a black patch over on one lens -- to correct your vision presumably?
Henry (known as Harry a lot in those days) Taylor.

Henry Taylor said...

To John Barringer: I knew a family called Barringer who lived opposite me in North Gardens, Colliers Wood (No. 15) when I was a boy. All I can remember about them is that they had a daughter called Sally. She appeared only with her mother at the front door occasionally, never in the street with the other local girls. Are you part of this family? To help you, next door to the Barringers was a Mrs Richards, who had two sons, one named Billy. Any help?
Henry Taylor (known in those days as Harry).

John Barringer said...

Hi There Harry,
I remember your family well - I moved out in 1967 when I got married. Bill Richards and his wife,Hilda(A very vivacious redhead)moved out in the early 1960', and were both killed in a car crash in the early 1970,s. My sister,8 years older than me is still alive, although recently widowed. One of her boyfriends was Don Lennard who lived further down North Gardens, just past the Brights.
I have recently been out for a meal with Doug Morris, who used to live at No 4. We had plenty to talk about as we had both been in the 2nd Mitcham scouts, and although some 8 years older than me I was able to update him on other scouts that he knew.
If you want to have a chat, I have very fond memories of growing up in the area, by all means look me up in the BT on line telephone book - J. Barringer, Codicote, Hertfordshire

Henry Taylor said...

Well hello, John, at least you are the right Mr Barrington, although I don't recall you at all -- only your sister Sally, and she only as a figure standing in the doorway of her house. God, you do have news about former North Gardians: Donald (never Don) Lennard I remember well, who was never the street Arab that I was; Duggie (never Doug) Morris I recall clearly; and the sad story of Bill Richards and redhead wife I did know but had forgotten. Instead of me trying to find your phone number, what about emailing me at Henry.Taylor@FreeUk.Com. Phone numbers can come later. When you email, don't forget the dot between my names. Regards, and many thanks for the blog (if that is what these things are called). -- Harry

Cyril, Marlborough Close said...

My good friend Don Lennard, ex Rutlish, and Handley Page. died 3 years ago.
The 1940s choir at Christ Church managed to meet every summer until two years ago.

Cyril, Marlborough Close said...


Note to Harry, Harry Taylor.
I did wear glasses with a black patch.
What a memory. Probably we did the walk together back from Fortescue (no longer a school) Cyril

John Barringer said...

Cyril, I think I was in the same choir as you at Christchurch - with Mr Piercy as choirmaster. Other choir members I can remember were George Dadswell, Mrs Allen, Julie King, Sean & Rosamund Johnson. I was a lowly treble at the time.

Cyril, Marlborough Close said...


the Note to Cyril Maidment: I'm pretty sure we knew each other when we were aged about 9 or 10. I was born in 1932 and lived in North Gardens, Colliers Wood (No.15), and more than once came upon you in in the street. Once your mother brought you to our house one breakfast time (God only knows why) and we had porridge together before going . . . where? I've no idea, school possibly. But why did she leave you with us? That's the question. As identification: when you were about the age mentioned, did you wear glasses with a black patch over on one lens -- to correct your vision presumably?
Henry (known as Harry a lot in those days) Taylor.icar

Cyril, Marlborough Close said...

John's comments on the choir were 100%.
We formed a youth club. The Parish Hall was destroyed by a flying bomb. I was 150 yards away.
We had to use a Hall at the northern end of Park Road, also for a Sunday School.
The harmonium was on the stage. Once when Pop Piercey was playing "God moves in a mysterious way", the whole lot came off the stage. The Vicar, the Reverend Gilbert Samuel Johnston was a lovely Irishman. In the Troubles, he fled Cork disguised as a woman. I was in love with his daughter Rosamund with red hair, not reciprocated.

Henry Taylor said...

Cyril, I get the impression from your notes that you have no memory of me at all; that even the porridge session is a blank. We were not close friends, but when we did come across each other we always chatted. I was certainly at Fortescue Road School for a while and Singlegate later, although I don't recall you at either. How old was Donald (Don to you) Lennard when he died; and you mentioned Handley Page -- what did he do there, build/design aircraft? This blogging business is new to me: I am a computer moron and ham-fisted, so why don't we stay in touch by email, which I can just manage.
My address is Henry.Taylor(@FreeUK.Com
Harry

Henry Taylor said...

John Barringer: Contact me on Henry.Taylor@FreeUK.Com
A trot down memory lane via email is easier for me than this blogging business.
Harry, ex-North Gardens


Unknown said...

Hi John. My Dad was born 1942 and lived in college Road Colliers Wood. I wonder if you might have known him? His name was Peter Finch. He had black hair. His Dad was in the Navy so was at war. His Mum Flo. Florence Finch also had dark hair and might have come under the name of Finch or Davies. They may have lived with her parents.. Norman and Amelia Davies. He talked about being part of the scouts as a kid, seeing your post made me wonder if u may have known him. Worth a try. Lol. He took us up to the smoke to see where he lived, but it was yrs ago and I cant recall which house it was now. I know he always had great memories to share of that place. I wish I could ask him, but he has passed now and I'm left with scraps of memories that dont make a lot of sense. Lovely to see so many people connecting n sharing on here.

Cyril, Marlborough Close said...

I was nine when your dad was born.
Sorry to tell you I cannot remember him.
There is an excellent 226 page history, "Colliers Wood", £5.95 from the libraries or the Merton Historical Society.Dozens of great photos. One on page 186 is credited to me!
You must get it.

John Barringer said...

I left this comment on the "Colliers Wood and Merton History" Facebook website 2 years ago - it seems appropriate on the 72nd anniversary of the incident to bring it to the attention of others interested in the history of Colliers Wood:-

THE DE ANTIQUIS MURDER – 29th April 1947
Colliers Wood was shocked on this day, 72 years ago, when a murder took place in central London. Alec De Antiquis, aged 34, a motorcycle mechanic and father of 6, living in University Road, Colliers Wood, was shot when he attempted to intervene in a jewellery robbery in Charlotte Street, just off of Tottenham Court Road in Central London. The robbery was a total botch from start to finish, the getaway car was hemmed in when a lorry inadvertently double parked. Mr De Antiquis was passing on his Indian motorcycle at the time, saw the hue and cry outside the jewellers and drove his motorcycle at the fleeing robbers. He was shot in the head, and died at the scene. So much evidence was left around, and the 3 perpetrators were quickly rounded up. All 3 were found guilty after 15 minutes deliberation by the jury.
One, as he was under 18 escaped the death penalty, but the other 2 were executed in a double hanging on 19th September in Pentonville prison.
Mr De Antiquis was hailed in the media as a hero.

James said...

l was very surprised and pleased to find this website.I was born in 1937 lived in Bygrove Rd for many years.My Mother lived in the same flat

in that road for 66 years.Recall how so many of the people there and in Bailey Road a little cul de sac where the flats are now were related.Almost everyone
was related to some one in the road. Two families the Boys. and the Webbs especially they seemed to be dozens of them living there
Spent happy hours in Wandle Park there was a resident full time park keeper there.At one time one of these lived in the lodge house still there l think
The keeper always had a little hut up by the wall of Connerleys the leather factory he would be after you if any misbehaviour occurred this included dropping litter.

Peter Thorogood said...

Guys, just discovered this great blog and I can certainly recall quite a few of the names mentioned. My name is Peter Thorogood born in 1941 and I lived at 78 Robinson Road. I attended both Singlegate infants and seniors whilst the middle part of my education was spent at Fortesue, which was mixed up to the age of 11, when the boys went one way and the girls the other. I attended the 2nd Mitcham scout group in Park road and also cubs at Atlasta Hall. I also remember Ken Parsons the scoutmaster who also lived in the same road as the hall but cant remember any other names of the scout leaders. We used to play on the bomb site in Devonshire road between Robinson road and Harewood road and also in the air raid shelter past Norfolk road going towards the v bend where Lyveden road turned into Robinson road to go all the way to the start of the railway bridge towards Tooting. Does anybody remember these teachers from Singlegate seniors?
Mr Turner (History, and of course cricket), Mr hall French. Mr Kenyon headmaster, Mr Spencer geography, Mr Hall science and various others. We used to frequent the Red Lion and prior to that Victory. ...(Continued)

Peter Thorogood said...

It was a pre-requisite to visit the Red Lion prior to staggering down to the Wimbledon Palais on Tuesday and Saturday nights. Great place to grow up as a kid, probably because we didnt know any better. No bathroom at no 78 but regular visitors to the public slipper baths at Tooting Broadway where soap and a towel cost 1p each. As a teenager spent lost of time at the Colliers Wood Constitutional club in Marlborough road where Eric was the steward with his wife Kathy for many years. Anyway, now aged 78 and still in touch with Stan Baker, Roy Robinson , Don Green, Bob Adam, Reg Behling. Those I know who are no longer with us include Bob Slater, Willie Camps, Ronnie Bright, Bob Wilson. Shout if anybody out there remembers any of the names above. Thanks.
Pete Thorogood (Pthgood@talktalk.net)

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,
just saw your contribution to this blog - you were my patrol leader in the 2nd Mitcham scouts, Otter patrol, and you took me on my first camp under canvas at Frylands Wood, about whitsun 1954/5.
Sadly, Ken Parsons and Brian Bartaby died last year, but I'm still in touch with Dave Powell, John Price, Frank & Dave Jones + many others. You mentioned some other names that I remembered - Willy Camp, Bob Wilson, Ronny Bright. I think Reg Behling may have gone to the Victor Sylvester Dancing School at the Gaumont in Wimbledon - he may remember Dave Jones who also went there.
A few years ago I bumped into Alan Jones at a Classic Motorcycle show, I believe he lived a few doors away from you in Robinson Road.
I have a lot of 2nd Mitcham scout photos that I have posted on the website:- https://www.facebook.com/groups/562087903875603/ . I have made many contributions to this site about the area - I don't want these memories to die when I do. I also have a couple of photos with you in them, one at the troop party about 1954 and another of the troop outside the scout hall taken in about 1952/3, when the troop won the district camping competition and also the Swimming gala at Mitcham baths.
Let me know if you are interested in seeing them and I can send them to you via email
Scroll down the whole site, I am sure you will find a lot to interest you. Do you still live in the area?
John Barringer

Peter Thorogood said...

John, boy you have a great memory. I do remember the name John Barringer but to be perfectly honest cannot place the face. Where did you live?, if I had to make a guess it would be the Boundary road side of the high street but not sure. Sorry to hear about Ken Parsons and Brian Bartaby but they must have well into their 80's I would think. The name Alan Jones doesnt ring a bell either. I lived at 78 Robinson Road, any idea which number he might have lived at. Searching through my fading memory other inhabitants of Robinbson Road and surrounding roads were the Walsh family, Luke, Ginger, Henry Paddy etc, Trevor Goodsell, John Neville, The Ferguson family who emigrated to Australia somewhere around 1953/4, Peter and Kenny Noyes (not the one just released from prison),m Billy Bird and the Homans, The Homans still go to the old Atlasta hall,something to do with one of the services. Would love to receive any photos by email and will join Facebook to see your very interesting site. Left Colliers Wood when I was 25 and lived at Addington, (Very close to Frylands Wood campsite), Worcester Park, Hinchley Wood, Weybridge and moved to Barton-on-sea ...(Continued)

Peter Thorogood said...

John, have a feeling you are possibly a year or two younger then myself so might not remember or two of the names. Whilst I am now down the south coast, I do re-visit fairly regularly to see some old mates, play golf, drink and reminisce and I will definitely come back to Colliers Wood over the weekend of June 28/29/30 when I am back up there. Peter

Unknown said...

John Barringer you may like to contact me on Facebook.I now have the 25thMitcham sash

Unknown said...

WoW!!!

My wife, who made the sash in about 1968 when the 25th Mitcham Scout Band became very successful in the National Scout Band Championships,
would love to see it again. My email address is e.barringer@btopenworld.com. You suggest that I contact you via facebook, but I don't know how to(I'm not very computer literate), so please can you make contact via the email address above,
Thank you so much,
John Barringer

Peter said...

Hi James, just seen your comments of last year regarding Byegrove Road etc.
I remember the Boys (or Boyes) well, Georgie in particular and also a
rather attractive sister whose name eludes me. The other family down there I knew were the Watsons, Alan and Bobbie were the kids and Ben was the Dad. I know Bobbie Watson died at a very young age and Ben used to work in Champions the wood people down at New Malden as a joiner. He also used to help run the Singlegate boys football club. Its amazing what you can remember all those years ago. You are a few years older then me but presume you went to Singlegate school?

Peter Thorogood

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Cyril, Marlborough Close said...

Stane Street, London Bridge to Chichester.
The first eleven miles are dead straight, as is the Northern Line. However, after Colliers Wood, it crossed what became Merton Priory in 1114. The Augustinians decided part of the Roman Road had to go and it is lost altogether until it re-appears at the George Inn, say two miles distant.
Norman arches in London are hard to find! If you want a thrill, go to the other Augustinian church, St Barts at Smithfield, bursting with Norman arches.

SaqibD said...

Great to read the comments. Slightly younger than most here but born in Nelsons in 1967 and went to Singlegate and Alphea (just before they closed it dwon). Would love to hear about memories from 70's and 80's. I have good and bad memories but back in the Wood looking after my old man who has been here since 65/66. Writing a book about growing up in the area and the Surrey Iron Railway.

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Anonymous said...

My dad is Sam boys lived in Bailey Road with his family

Anonymous said...

I was born in Oslo ct ,opposite the victory pub small flats ,went to singlegate and fortesue

Anonymous said...

I went to school with the park keepers son ,stayed in the lodge

Anonymous said...

Remember the off licence in byegrove Rd, had aunty's uncles lliving in byegrove

Anonymous said...

Any photos of Bailey Rd, would be fantastic

Anonymous said...

Hiya, I went to single gate ,had Mr Turner, and French teacher we called froggie

Anonymous said...

Also Mr Stapleton ( metal) and murdock( wood)

Anonymous said...

Park keeper was reg