Place:Mitcham, Surrey, England

Watchers
NameMitcham
Alt namesPollards Hillsource: settlement in parish
Upper Mitchamsource: settlement in parish
Whitfordsource: settlement in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Suburb, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates51.4009°N 0.1517°W
Located inSurrey, England     ( - 1965)
Also located inGreater London, England     (1965 - )
See alsoWallington Hundred, Surrey, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Croydon Rural, Surrey, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1915
Merton (London Borough), Greater London, EnglandLondon borough covering the area since 1965
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Mitcham is a district in the south west area of Greater London, in the London Borough of Merton. It is centred south-west of Charing Cross. A suburban area, Mitcham is located on the border of Inner London and Outer London, and was traditionally in the county of Surrey. It is both residentially and financially developed and served by train, bus and tram routes. Localities within Mitcham include Mitcham Town Centre and Mitcham Common. Amenities include Mitcham Library and Mitcham Cricket Green. Nearby districts include Wimbledon, Streatham, Croydon, Tooting, Morden and Sutton.

Prior to joining the London Borough of Merton in 1965, Mitcham had been an urban district and then a municipal borough in Surrey. Between 1894 and 1915 it was sufficiently rural to have been part of Croydon Rural District.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The toponym "Mitcham" is Old English in origin and means big settlement. Before the Romans and Saxons were present, there was a Celtic settlement in the area, with evidence of a hill fort in the Pollards Hill area. The discovery of Roman-era graves and a well on the site of the Mitcham gas works evince Roman settlement. The Saxon graveyard, located on the North bank of the Wandle is the largest discovered to date, and many of the finds therein are on display in the British Museum. The area is a possible location for the Battle of Merton, 871, in which King Ethelred of Wessex was either mortally wounded or killed outright. The Church of England parish church of St Peter and St Paul dates from the Saxon era. Although it was mostly rebuilt in 1819–21, the current building retains the original Saxon tower. The Domesday Book of 1086 lists Mitcham as a small farming community, with 250 people living in two hamlets; Mitcham, an area known today as Upper Mitcham; and Whitford, today known as the Lower Green area.

The area lay within the Anglo-Saxon administrative division of Wallington hundred.

The Domesday Book records Mitcham as Michelham. It was held partly by the Canons of Bayeux; partly by William, son of Ansculf and partly by Osbert. Its domesday assets were: 8 hides and 1 virgate. It had ½ mill worth £1, 3½ ploughs, of meadow. It rendered £4 5s 4d.

During her reign Queen Elizabeth I made at least five visits to the area. John Donne and Sir Walter Raleigh also had residences here in this era. It was at this time that Mitcham became gentrified, as due to the abundance of lavender fields Mitcham became renowned for its soothing air. The air also led people to settle in the area during times of plague.

When industrialisation occurred, Mitcham quickly grew to become a town and most of the farms were swallowed up in the expansion. Remnants of this farming history today include: Mitcham Common itself; Arthur's Pond, sited on the corner of Watney's Road and Commonside East, and named for a local farmer; Alfred Mizen School (Now named Garden Primary), named after a local nursery man who was very charitable towards the burgeoning town; and the road New Barnes Avenue, which was named after the farm that stood on that site.

There were many lavender fields in Mitcham, and peppermint and lavender oils were also distilled. In 1749 two local physic gardeners, John Potter and William Moore, founded a company to make and market toiletries made from locally-grown herbs and flowers. Lavender features on Merton Council's coat of arms and the badge of the local football team, Tooting & Mitcham United F.C., as well as in the name of a local council ward, Lavender Field.

Mitcham was industrialised first along the banks of the Wandle, where snuff, copper, flour, iron and dye were all worked. Mitcham, along with nearby Merton Abbey, became the calico cloth printing centres of England by 1750. Asprey, suppliers of luxury goods made from various materials, was founded in Mitcham as a silk-printing business in 1781. William Morris opened a factory on the River Wandle at Merton Abbey. Merton Abbey Mills were the Liberty silk-printing works. It is now a craft village and its waterwheel has been preserved.

The activity along the Wandle led to the building of the Surrey Iron Railway, the World's first public railway, in 1803. The decline and failure of the railway in the 1840s also heralded a change in industry, as horticulture gradually gave way to manufacturing, with paint, varnish, linoleum and firework manufacturers moving into the area. The work provided and migratory patterns eventually resulted in a doubling of the population between the years 1900 and 1910.

Mitcham became a borough on 19 September 1934 with the charter of incorporation being presented to the 84-year old mayor, Mr. R.M. Chart, by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Lord Ashcombe.

Mitcham's population
19th Century 20th Century
18013,466190114,903
18114,175191129,606
18214,453192135,119
18314,387193156,859
18414,5321941¹war
18514,641195167,269
18615,078196163,690
18716,498197160,608
18818,960198157,158
189112,1271991² n/a
  1. no census was held due to war
  2. census data no longer relates to parish boundaries
source: UK census

Social housing schemes in the 1930s included New Close, aimed at housing people made homeless by a factory explosion in 1933 and Sunshine Way, for housing the poor from inner London. This industry made Mitcham a target for German bombing during World War II. During this time Mitcham also returned to its agricultural roots, with Mitcham Common being farmed to help with the war effort.

From 1929 the electronics company Mullard had a factory on New Road.

Post war, the areas of Eastfields, Phipps Bridge and Pollards Hill were rebuilt to provide cheaper more affordable housing. The largest council housing project in Mitcham is Phipps Bridge estate. Further expansion of the housing estates in Eastfields, Phipps Bridge and Pollards Hill occurred after 1965. In Mitcham Cricket Green, the area lays reasonable, although not definitive, claim to having the world's oldest cricket ground in continual use, and the world's oldest club in Mitcham Cricket Club. The ground is also notable for having a road separate the pavilion from the pitch. Local folklore also claims Mitcham has the oldest fair in England, believing it to have been granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I, although this claim has not been proven.

Surrey Research Tips

Government

Administrative boundaries of the county of Surrey (Surrey History Centre. The centre has a website with a number of useful indexes--titheholders in various parishes, deaths at the county gaol, etc.)

Registration Districts

  • Registration Districts in Surrey from their introduction in 1837 to the present. By drilling down through the links you can follow any parish through the registration districts to which it was attached.

GENUKI provisions

The website GENUKI provides a very comprehensive list of reference sources for the County of Surrey. It includes:

  • Archives and Libraries
  • Church record availability for both Surrey and the former Surrey part of Greater London
  • 19th century descriptions of the ecclesiastical parishes
  • Lists of cemeteries
  • Local family history societies
  • A list of historic maps online

History

Greater London Research Tips

  • See wiki.familysearch.org under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
  • The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. These lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century.
  • GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
  • GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
  • The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
  • London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
  • London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
  • A street-by-street map of London (both sides of the Thames, and stretching from Limehouse and Stepney in the east to Hyde Park and Kensington in the west) drawn by Edward Mogg in 1806. Blows up to a very readable level.
  • Ordnance Survey map of London 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing London parishes just after the reorganization of 1899.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Middlesex 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Middlesex parishes just after the reorganization of 1899 when much of the former area of Middlesex had been transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Surrey 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Surrey parishes just after the reorganization of 1899 when the most urban part of Surrey had been transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Kent 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Kent parishes just after the reorganization of 1899 when the most urban part of Surrey had been transferred into London.
  • The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
  • Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.
  • Ordnance Survey map of London 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing London parishes just after the reorganization of 1899.


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Mitcham. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.