Gun site, Mitcham Common

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Date Photo Taken 1st January 0001
Partial / Incomplete Date c.1961
Area Mitcham
Picture Reference Mit_​War_​5-1
Original Format Photo
Notes / History The War Department took over parts of Mitcham Common during the Second World War to create anti-aircraft gun sites. This was one of a number of sites placed strategically around London as part of the city’s defence. The London Borough of Merton was particularly vulnerable to enemy attack as it was close to Croydon Airport. During the war the airport was closed to civil aviation but played a vital role as a fighter station during the Battle of Britain.

The sites remained long after the army had departed and many families made homeless by the war moved into the buildings. Many were already on the housing list for a council house and the last family left in 1959. When this photo was taken c1961 the site had become derelict and was occupied by squatters until it was finally demolished in 1964.

The land was then returned to the Mitcham Common Conservators.

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