Hadfield’s in Western Road was one of a number of paint and varnish manufacturers based in the Mitcham and Colliers Wood area during the First World War. From 1914 much of the local output was used for military purposes, from strengthening and camouflaging the fabric of British aircraft, to coating artillery shells in order to prevent accidental explosions.
Another local varnish manufacturers was Harland's. Founded during the 1820s, the firm made paints, enamels, varnishes, cellulose and synthetic finishes, at their works near Phipps Bridge Road. The factory had a large workforce and the Harland family home was situated within sight of the works.
The firm finally ceased production during the 1960s and the land was sold for development in 1967. The site is now occupied by the houses of Brangwyn Crescent.