London Road, Mitcham
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|Copyright 1||Mitcham Public Library|
|Notes / History||Back view of houses in London Road,Mitcham. Figges Marsh is in the background and in the foreground are the remains of an Anderson Shelter.
It is not clear when the bomb that caused the devastation shown in this photo was dropped on the London Road during WW2. It could have been during the Blitz (October 1940-June1941) when records show that a high explosive bomb fell on the corner of London Road and Crusoe Road opposite Figge’s Marsh (Bombsight.org: Mapping the WW2 bomb census).
Alternatively, the damage may have been caused by a V1 flying bomb (or ‘doodlebug) in 1944. The Ordnance Survey Mitcham Bomb Map 1944 shows that a V1 fell on Pitcairn Road where it joined the London Road just south of Tooting Station. Another fell on the London Road side of Figge’s Marsh itself during the same period. According to local historian Eric Montagu ‘No fewer than 49 V1s fell on Mitcham in the closing years of the war. Very few houses escaped damage and many hundreds were either destroyed outright or had to be demolished’.
It is possible that the occupants of these houses had enough warning to escape to the underground shelters on Figge’s Marsh which had a sleeping area with bunks three high on either side of the centre aisle and which remained in place for some time after the war ended.