Gorringe Park Avenue predates the rest of this area’s development by half a millennium.
Gorringe Park was the old name for this far northern part of Mitcham. As noted by ’Hidden London’, it is an answer to the riddle that there’s no word rhyming with ‘orange’.
Already by the 15th century, the future Gorringe Park Avenue was the track leading to Biggin Farm - a farm and later also a grand house - in the 15th century from the London Road
. Also known as Biggin Grove, the fields covered the area east of Figge’s Marsh up to the South London, Peckham and Sutton Railway’s line.
Biggin Grove was pulled down in 1821 and the grounds became largely agricultural. However, in the 1860s, a villa named Gorringe Park had been built, owned by the Wilson family.
In the 1890s and 1900s, the surrounding land owned by the Wilsons was developed with housing.
The Wilsons helped fund the neo-gothic St Barnabas church on Gorringe Park Avenue, designed by architect Henry Burke-Downing.
Gorringe Park became a convalescent home during the First World War and was then demolished around 1930 to make way for more housing.
Amen Corner, SW17 Amen Corner is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Arnold Road, SW17 Arnold Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Avarn Road, SW17 Avarn Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Balham Road, SW17 Balham Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Church Lane, SW17 Church Lane is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Cowick Road, SW17 Cowick Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Cromer Road, SW17 Cromer Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Deal Road, SW17 Deal Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Eswyn Road, SW17 Eswyn Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Gorse Rise, SW17 Gorse Rise is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Links Road, SW17 Links Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Links Way, SW17 Links Way is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. London Road, SW17 London Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Lucien Road, SW17 Lucien Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Moring Road, SW17 Moring Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Seely Road, SW17 Seely Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Vant Road, SW17 Vant Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Vectis Road, SW17 Vectis Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area. Welham Road, SW17 Welham Road is one of the streets of London in the SW17 postal area.
Mitcham is in south west London, and the name simply 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 Michelham
, 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
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.
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 train station opened on 22 October 1855. The route was operated as a conventional railway until it was closed by Railtrack on 31 May 1997, for conversion to tram operation. Station Court, on the north of the tram line and east of London Road
A217, was one of the SIR's original station buildings, used as a merchant's home, making it one of the oldest railway buildings in the world. The wall of the Ram Brewery on York Road has a plaque commemorating this.
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.
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.