Explore the author's map to discover strange stories from Mitcham and the surrounding areas.
Part 1 - Mitcham:
The Phantom Cyclist
of Mitcham Common
(update to Strange Mitcham)
A Dark Figure on Mitcham Common
Tales from the
'Calico Jack': The
Playful Ghost of
Lacks the Drapers
The Faces on the Walls:
The Haunted Cottages
in Tramway Path
The 'Haunting' of
Soldier of Graham
The Legend of
Remember the Grotto
The Phantom of
An Apparition at
Woof & Sabine
Haunted Rooms at
The Phantom Cat
Mitcham's (not so)
The Kingston Zodiac
The 'Ghost Tree'
Medicinal Plants and
A Magical Tree
The Wrath of God
A Ghostly Experience
in Morden Road
Mitcham Clock Tower:
When Time Ran
The Rosier Family
The 'Ball of Fire'
UFO over Mitcham
UFO over Tooting
Bec Common, 1990
Part 2 - South of
The Ghosts of
Church & Churchyard
The Figure in the
A Spectral Cavalier
'Haunted Mitcham' Facebook group:
Facebook group set up
by Geoff Mynn in
Thanks to the
and Merton Council
there are some very
maps of Mitcham
Download for free
via this link.
The Mitcham Ghost
The Haunted Cottages in Tramway Path
Tramway Path lies a little to the south of Mitcham tram stop (formerly Mitcham railway station), where the
short stretch of road runs parallel to the tram tracks. In the early 1950s a pair of old cottages stood
at the end of the road, just about where the worked surface became a rough path that led to a footbridge across
the railway lines.
Above: Tramway Path. (James Clark, 2010)
The cottages had seemingly been a single property at one time, since divided into smaller dwellings for two
separate families. They stood at the edge of vast watercress beds (owned by the Vitacress company) that filled the
expanse between the railway lines to the north and the River Wandle to the south, creating a shimmering sea of
bright green that stretched into the southeast as far as Carshalton Road and Goat Road.
Above: Mitcham tram stop. (James Clark, 2010)
Mr 'Burford' (pseudonym) lived in one of the cottages with his wife and two children, and was employed to tend
the watercress beds. An occasional visitor to their home was James Bonser, who remembers that Mrs Burford believed
her home to be haunted.
The Burfords' Ghostly Visitor
James (who originally contacted me in February 2010 after reading the chapter about
Hall Place) was about 8 years old at the time.
He had first become acquainted with the Burfords when his sister, who was about three years older than him, started
at a new school where she struck up a friendship with the Burfords' daughter, 'Susan' (pseudonym). As the younger
brother, James would sometimes tag along with his sister when she visited her friend during the summer holidays
and during these visits he became friends with Susan's younger brother, 'George' (pseudonym) who was around 10 years
old, and the four children would often play together.
The subject of the ghost in the cottage was not raised by any of the children, as might have been expected, but by
Mrs Burford herself one day. She told James that she had seen the same apparition on many occasions.
'It had appeared so many times and proceeded in the same fashion,' recalled James, 'that the mother had become almost
immune to its appearance. Taking it as an everyday occurrence. I can't for sure say whether the story was [known
outside the family] or not, but as far as the whole family was concerned, it was what it was. I also can't remember
how long the family had lived there before I got to know them, but as far as I can tell, the appearances had started
'As far as the details are concerned, the mother was extremely descriptive. Whether or not it was
for our benefit I will never know. But this is what I was told. The ghost appeared as a woman, somewhere between the
ages of 20 and 30, she was dressed in bright colours and wore a mop hat, her clothes included a small light brown
cape over her shoulders, and a long full dress. [...] [It's] amazing what the memory retains. But of course my friendship
with the family lasted over some years, so I suppose I was exposed to the story many times. [...] The two cottages, as I
have said before, were once one. The front door to my friend's part of the cottage was the original front door. The
entrance to the other cottage was the original back door. Whoever converted the cottage, simply divided it in half, by
building a wall, straight across the middle.
She Walked Through The Wall
'Now,' continued James, 'the sighting was related to me as follows. One sunny afternoon, the mother was sitting in the garden, when along
the path, seemingly out of thin air came a woman dressed as I have described. The mother rose from the chair, to see
what she wanted, but by now the woman had reached the front door, and to the mother's surprise, walked straight through
it. Although the mother was obviously shocked, she managed to open the front door just in time to watch this woman walk
directly through the dividing wall, supposedly into the other half of the cottage. Sometimes the mother would be in the
cottage, when the woman walked through the room and then on through the wall. The strangest thing about all these
sightings was that they only occurred in the summer, never during the winter. Now [...] the reason for the visitation
might only be speculation on the family's part, but they believed that she was a relative of the family that lived in
the cottage when it was first built. Visiting only during the summer months and staying there until the weather grew
cold, and then returning home from wherever she originated. When the family died and the cottage became two, the ghost
returned in the summer, to once again enjoy the sunshine in the country, maybe to visit with uncles and aunts, or
even grandparents, long since passed.'
James would have loved to see the apparition himself but never did. He does, however, clearly recollect an eerie
atmosphere inside the Burfords' home. It might simply have been because the cottage was very old, he acknowledges,
perhaps combined with his vivid child's imagination and his longing to see the apparition, but whatever the cause he
remembers that 'there was always a strange feeling to the cottage once inside.'
Above: The footbridge across the railway tracks has been replaced by a simple crossing point.
(James Clark, 2010)
The cottages at the end of Tramway Path, along with the watercress beds once tended by Mr Burford, and even the
footbridge have long since disappeared but if any reader knows more about this story please do
get in touch with me.
[Note: See 'An Apparition at Woof & Sabine' for another ghost
story from this area.]
[Source: personal communication with James Bonser, April 2010.]