In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Mitcham like this:
MITCHAM, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Croydon district, Surrey. The village stands on the river Wandle, near the Wimbledon and Croydon railway, 4½ miles NW by W of Croydon; was known, at Domesday, as Michelham; and has a post office under London S, a railway station with telegraph, a police station, and a fair on 12,13, and 14 Aug.The parish comprises 2,893 acres. Real property, £22,439; of which £500 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851,4,641; in 1861,5,078. ...
Houses, 926. The property is much divided. The manor belongs to W. Simpson, Esq. There are numerous mansions and villas. Mitcham Grove mansion belonged to Lord Clive, the conqueror of India; and was given by him to Lord Loughborough, as a thank offering for his defence of Clives policy. Mitcham Manor House, now the seat of W. Simpson, Esq., belonged once to a descendant of Cranmer. Another mansion was the seat of Waldo who wrote on the Liturgy; and others were residences of Sir Walter Raleigh, Dr. Donne, Moses Mendez, and Sir Julins Cæsar. A curious ancient house, including remains of a chapel, is in the village. Some hundreds of acres in the parish are covered with plantations of lavander, rosemary, peppermint, camomile, and other aromatic plants for the use of the London perfumers and distillers. A considerable tract also is occupied with roses for making rose-water. The parish has been famous, during about a century, for its plantations of aromatic and medicinal herbs; and the air, over much of it, is strongly perfumed by them. Industry is carried on in corn mills, tobacco works, bleaching-grounds, and calico printing establishments. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £456.* Patron, W. Simpson, Esq. The church was rebuilt in 1821; is an edifice of brick and compo, in the later English style; and has an embattled tower. There are chapels for Independents and Wesleyans, national and infant schools, an endowment of £63 a year for a Sunday school, alms houses for 12 aged females, and other charities £110. The industrial school of St. George-in-the-East, in London, and the Eagle House lunatic asylum also are here; and, at the census of 1861, had respectively 225 and 51 inmates.The sub-district contains also four other parishes. Acres, 11,594. Pop., 9,381. Houses, 1,764.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Mitcham has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Merton. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Mitcham and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Mitcham, in Merton and Surrey | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 12th February 2016
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