March 2002 – Bulletin 141
John Arbuthnot of Mitcham – E N Montague
The Mitcham Virgate: comment – E N Montague
In the Midst of Life [Merton Priory 1344-56] – L E Green
The Wandle Navigation – E N Montague
Welch’s Table-Cloth Printing Works – E N Montague
The Catherine Gladstone Home, Morden – J A Goodman
and much more
PRESIDENT: J Scott McCracken BA FSA MIFA PRESIDENT: J Scott McCracken BA FSA MIFA
VICE PRESIDENTS: Viscountess Hanworth, Lionel Green and William Rudd
BULLETIN NO. 141 CHAIRMAN: Lionel Green MARCH 2002
Thursday 14 March 2pm Visit to Surrey History Centre
This behind-the-scenes tour should be fascinating, and will include a glimpse of the Centre’s
conservation work. The Centre is at 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, about 15 minutes walk from
the station. Local buses pass the door, or there are taxis at the station. The 11.50 fast train
Wimbledon will give time for lunch first (cafés etc in Woking). You can park at the Centre,
access from Kingsway. There is a group charge for the visit of £20. Numbers are limited to 24,
and there are still places available.
Saturday 20 April 2.30pm The Canons, Madeira Road, Mitcham
.The Wandsworth Mills.
Dorian Gerhold, who is a House of Commons Clerk, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
and author of several books, including Wandsworth Past and a history of Westminster Hall. In
1992 he guided some of our members on a memorable walk around Roehampton. This time he will
give an illustrated talk about the flour mills once powered by the lower waters of the Wandle.
Thursday 23 May Visit to Morden
11am: Church of St Lawrence 2.30pm: Morden Park House
Our own Bill Rudd will guide us on a visit to Morden’s Grade I listed church and to the
restored 18th-century Morden Park House, now the Borough’s handsome Register Office. Lunch
available at The George.
Public transport: buses, 80, 93, 154, 293 (alight at Merton College); Morden South station.
Drivers use Morden Park car-park.
Friday 14 June 1.45pm Visit to Croydon Airport
Cost £2 a head.
Meet at the Rayon d.Or café on the ground floor of the Croydon Airport visitor centre, in
Way (A23). There is a Heron aeroplane in front of the building, which is opposite the Hilton
Hotel. The café serves snacks and lunches from 11am.
The tour includes three floors of the old control tower (there is a lift). There is a
exhibition as well as the preserved booking hall to be seen.
Bus 289 (every 15 min.) goes past and can be picked up outside Sainsbury’s, near Waddon Marsh
Tramlink stop. A
more reliable service is the 119 Bromley-Purley Way (every 10 min.) from opposite East Croydon
Car parking is possible at or behind the visitor centre.
The Society’s events are open to the general public, unless otherwise stated.
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
Friday 23 November 2001 – 8 members present
Amy Warren sent a magazine article
(date unknown) on English cottages.
Twelve are illustrated, including this
from Mitcham. The caption reads:
Late 18th-century weatherboarded
timber frame cottages at Mitcham,
Surrey: once common in what is
now south London. Originals of
U’s. ‘colonial style’.
There was some discussion at the
Workshop as to its identity . possibly
one of the Watermeads group . but
no consensus was reached.
Peter Hopkins reported that when
he helped with the Shere Village
Project he was interested to find that they had a map produced by John Harding in the same
style as his 1723
survey of West Barnes (reproduced in E M Jowett Raynes Park 1987, and P Hopkins Discovering the
2: West Barnes & Cannon Hill 2000).
At the Surrey Villages Day (20 October 2001), Peter had been chatting to Graham Gower, who had
talk about Streatham. Graham had noticed a reference in Peter’s display to Dead Man’s Furlong
and had asked about the origin of the name. Peter believes it may relate to the mound in Morden
Park, or a
gallows nearby. Graham had just published an article on an Anglo-Saxon signalling system along
Street, based on a study of placenames with the element .tot.. The sequence is interrupted
and Tooting, and Graham wondered whether the mound in Morden Park was in existence at this
Bill Rudd reported that Margaret Carr had donated photographs of the Society’s Addington visit,
for the archives.
He gave an update on the Morden Park House booklet. Judith Goodman had a note, from the local
of the date of opening of the golf-course in Morden Park, in late March 1934, on temporary
greens. It only
lasted a few years because of the war. Bill had found pictures of the park’s conversion to a
the lay-out of the greens. He had not found any photographs of the fishpond, but has aerial
photos from 1938
and 1950. The pond was produced by abstraction of clay.
Madeline Healey had noticed in the Wandle Industrial Museum newsletter an article about ducks
Ravensbury Mill, taken from an oldPoultry Magazine. She said that they were kept on the
Her grandparents moved to Ravensbury in 1933.
Steve Turner said that the Ordnance Survey maps on the Internet were no longer in the same
now has a complete set for Surrey.
Judith Goodman had spoken to Alan Crocker at the Surrey Villages day, about Merton Board Mills.
had previously noted that the mills ran into financial problems in the mid-1920s, after which
they became the
New Merton Board Mills. She had now given Alan Crocker the references. He had not been able to
photographs of the mills, particularly of the interior. Bill will check to see if there are any
in the store.
Lionel Green spoke about the new gallery in the Museum of London, which traces the changes in
life between 1789 and 1914 and contains 3000 objects, most of which have not previously been on
These include Nelson’s ceremonial sword, the hilt of which bears the same coat of arms as his
He went on to talk about the origin of the Ordnance Survey late in the 18th century, when a
French invasion was
expected. Surveying was carried out in 1792-1816, and the maps, mostly 2″ to the mile, were not
available to the
public at first, the first published map being produced in 1816, at 1″ to the mile (photocopy
of Surrey map in Local
Studies Centre). Lionel commented that this first one showed the mound in Morden Park.
Don Fleming had been wondering why the name of Robin Hood was so popular as a street name .
there are 12
Roads, Lanes etc between North London and Sutton. Judith commented that Clive Whichelow (a
published a booklet about .the local mystery of Robin Hood. in Wimbledon, Kingston and Richmond
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 2
Friday 11 January 2002 – Lionel Green in the chair
Sheila Harris reported receipt of a letter explaining, inter alia, ideas being considered by
Community Development Trust for promoting awareness of the history of Pollards Hill. It was
agreed that a
draft version of MHS’s proposed book on Pollards Hill be made available (with copyright
reserved) to assist
She had also received a request for a speaker on the local lavender industry.
Judith Goodman had followed up information from Dave Saxby about a collection of 19th-century
the Merton Abbey estate at Surrey History Centre. These include a number of plans, details of
leases of the
Morris site, an inventory of fixtures and fittings at Gate House etc, and promise to be a
valuable source of
new information about the site.
Judith also reported having confirmed that copper-engraver James Hudson, said to be son-in-law
Cribb, Nelson’s gardener, had not married .Thomas Cribb’s daughter Emma., as stated by
his book. Hudson’s wife was Maria, daughter of a Francis Cribb of Wimbledon. Probably they were
but sadly Chamberlain got it wrong!
ENM described how work by Peter Hopkins at Surrey History Centre, transcribing details of the
collection of Mitcham deeds they hold, has led to a much clearer understanding of the origins
of several big
houses built in Lower Mitcham in the 16th century. Details have been incorporated in the draft
prepared for the next book in the Society’s .Mitcham Histories. series.
Don Fleming gave a brief, and entertaining, preview of the talk he is preparing on the early
life of Elizabeth
I, to be given after the business part of the Society’s AGM on 2 November.
Peter Hopkins handed out copies of an early draft of a Local History Note being prepared, based
diary and notebook of the Revd Herbert Randolph of Mitcham in 1837/8. This, a fascinating
social study in its
own right, has been augmented by Steve Turner, drawing upon Messrs Crawters. survey of Mitcham
1838, following which detailed maps were prepared and particulars of the occupancy of every
house in the
village were recorded. Supplemented by information from local directories and the 1841 census a
detailed picture should emerge of Mitcham at the beginning of Victoria’s reign.
An extract from the Revd Herbert Randolph’s Notebook
Bill Rudd has rediscovered the record of a survey of churchyard memorial inscriptions in which
the Society, notably Evelyn Jowett and Mrs Reeves, were involved in the early 1960s. Results of
at St Mary’s, Merton, were deposited with Surrey Archaeological Society as part of a
but copies were retained locally, and are now at The Canons. More recently, surveys have been
of inscriptions in the parish churchyards at Mitcham and Merton by the East Surrey Family
These are already proving of great value to family historians.
Bill also announced that Sarah Gould, the Heritage Officer, is making part of The Canons
available to the
Society this coming May and June for use as an exhibition space. Volunteers with expertise or
willing to help are asked to contact Bill as soon as possible.
Lionel Green concluded the Workshop with a description of Edward III’s visit to Merton and the
organised in 1347/8, following various victorious campaigns, which had done much to enhance the
popularity. The following year, however, plague arrived, appearing first in the west country,
rapidly throughout the kingdom. The impact on the religious houses was, as might be expected,
and it is evident that the effects of the Black Death were truly devastating. (See article on
Dates of next workshops: Friday 8 March and Friday 17 May at 7.30 pm at Wandle Industrial
Everyone is welcome.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 3
.From our post-bag. – ERIC MONTAGUE’s in-tray provides another Mitcham snippet.
JOHN ARBUTHNOT OF MITCHAM . GENTLEMAN FARMER
Most of us recall from our schooldays how the agrarian revolution of the late 18th century was
led by innovators,
such as Coke of Norfolk and .Turnip. Townsend, who introduced new methods of farming, including
of soils to improve fertility and the growing of root crops as fodder, which facilitated the
livestock. We also heard of Robert Bakewell of Leicester, whose selective breeding of cattle
and sheep so
greatly improved British blood lines. But what most of us probably failed to appreciate was
that the new ideas
were taken up with enthusiasm all over the country.
I was therefore fascinated to learn recently that John Arbuthnot, who I was aware was the owner
Ravensbury print-works, had other interests, and I am indebted to Dr Elspeth Veale of the
for the following snippet of information from page 540 of The Correspondence of Edmund Burke
Lucy Sutherland) Vol.11 (July 1768-June 1774) published by Cambridge University Press in 1960:
In a letter written to Burke in June 1774 the Marquess of Rockingham, who rented a house there
and 1782, observed .I have passed a pleasant day at Duckets Farm with some gentlemen farmers
dined here. Arbuthnot met us and dined here – he seems so right in his ideas.. Sutherland in
note 2 refers to A
Young, On the Husbandry of three celebrated British farmers, Bakewell, Arbuthnot and Ducket, a
read to the Board of Agriculture on 6 June 1811, and adds that .John Arbuthnot of Mitcham. was
.noticed as a
farmer c.1760.. Duckets Farm, I understand from Dr Veale, was at Petersham.
John Arbuthnot was first recorded in Mitcham in 1753, when the vestry minutes describe him as
of .a most extensive manufactory. at Ravensbury. There is also a lease extant dated November
1755 in which
Sir Nicholas Hackett Carew granted land and appurtenances in Mitcham and .Moredon., including
Manor House, to Arbuthnot for 30 years. The property is described as including .barns,
outhouses and buildings.
together with .fields arable and pasture.. Research by Peter Hopkins indicates that most of the
land lay on the
south side of the Wandle extending towards Rose Hill. Nothing more is known of the farm, apart
comment made by James Malcolm in his Compendium of Modern Husbandry, published in 1805, to the
that the clay soil here was .tenacious. but capable, if well drained and ploughed early, of
good. crops. Arbuthnot remained as Ravensbury until about 1780, and his subsequent career seems
taken him to County Mayo, where it is believed he held office under the Irish Linen Board.
.THE MITCHAM VIRGATE.
I am indebted to John Pile (Bulletin No.140: Dec 2001) for demonstrating how difficult it is to
make sense of
medieval land measurement, and what a minefield 13th-century assessments for fiscal purposes
can be. The hide
(itself a variable, dependent on soil quality) might include anything between two to eight
virgates, depending on land
fertility and local usage. John Blair, an authority on the subject, to whom John Pile refers,
devotes several pages of
his Early Medieval Surrey (Alan Sutton and SyAS 1991) to the subject, and shows that in the
north-east of the
county virgates could range from 15 acres in Wandsworth and Putney to 20 in Morden and 21 at
Cheam. No figure
is quoted for Mitcham, but given the rich loamy soil which comprised much of the de Redvers
estate, a 15-acre
virgate seems feasible. I used the conventional four 30-acre virgates to one hide when
attempting to convey some
idea of the extent of Aelmer’s pre-Conquest estate, hypothetically located in Mitcham on the
basis of its subsequent
descent. By the 13th century, Blair points out, the topographical significance of the virgate
had diminished, and it
had become more a unit of seigneurial assessment. Regardless of the basis adopted to calculate
the total acreage
of tenant holdings, it is quite obvious the latter cannot be the sole factor in the equation,
and allowance has to be
made for land in demesne, common waste etc, when attempting to estimate the size of a
particular estate. Beguiling
as the 13th-century de Redvers rental might be, with its references to Phipps mill and Hugh at
church, this is clearly
insufficient in itself. However, an Aelmer/Mortain/de Redvers/Vauxhall continuum for the
tithing of Mitcham can
be argued holistically. With hindsight, I can see that in my desire not to bore the reader with
over-much detail, I was
too drastic when editing the draft for page 19 of the Cricket Green book.
With this Bulletin is enclosed an application form for the Society’s visit to Parham House on
Saturday 13 July.
Please note that this trip starts and finishes atPark Place, Mitcham, and not as listed in the
NEWS FROM YOUR COMMITTEE
At the first meeting of the new Committee Judith Goodman (Bulletin editor) was co-opted onto
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 4
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY AT THE HERITAGE CENTRE
Sarah Gould, the Merton Heritage Officer, has kindly offered us the use of the Heritage Centre
in the basement
of The Canons, Madeira Road, Mitcham, from Tuesday 30 April to Sunday 2 June. We have set up a
committee and plan an exhibition to demonstrate some of the interests of, and researches by,
our members including
archaeology, social history, industrial history and so on. The 50th-anniversary exhibition last
much appreciated by those who came, and we hope we can count on members. support this time.
your friends know! Opening hours as in the first .In Brief. item below. Admission free.
Hospitals and health form the theme of the current exhibition at Merton Heritage Centre, at The
Madeira Road, Mitcham. Opening hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs 10am-4pm; Fri, Sat 10am-5pm (last
4.30pm); Sun 2-5pm. Admission free.
A performance of T S Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral by the K-Bis Theatre School will take
place at the
Chapter House of Merton Priory (entrance from the Savacentre south-side car-park, off Merantun
Tuesday 26 March at 7.00 pm. Tickets £10 (£5 conc.) at the door.
One of Mitcham’s athletic heroines has received an honour in the New Year list. Dorothy Tyler
(née Odam), who
now lives in Sanderstead, has been awarded an MBE, in recognition of her outstanding
achievements over many
years. (See Bulletins 134,135 for a summary of her career in athletics.) It was Ray Kilsby, of
this society, who is a
neighbour of Dorothy’s, who approached the right people and organised the support for Dorothy’s
!!!!!Edna (.Peggy.) Duke, who kindly and efficiently examines our annual financial statements,
recipient of an MBE in the New Year. This was for her work with Merton Voluntary Service
Council over the
last 15 years or so, and particularly in recognition of her efforts in support of people with
The January/February issue of the Wimbledon & Putney Time & Leisure Magazine carried an article
John Hawks of Merton Abbey Mills about the Wandle, with a photo of the recently excavated
Bennett’s Mill at Merton Abbey Mills, as well as some .autumn colour. views.
Our Chairman Lionel Green speaks on Merton and the Augustinians at The Ralli Room, Ashtead
Memorial Hall, Woodfield Lane, Ashtead, on Friday 3 May at 7.30 for 8pm (tea/coffee available
This is one of a series of lectures in April and May at Ashtead, arranged by Surrey
Archaeological Society, on
the theme of Friars, Monks and Canons: some Religious Houses in Surrey. Cost £4 at the door or
01483 532454 for a booking form and further details. There may be follow-up visits to one or
two of the sites.
The annual service to commemorate the opening of St Mary’s Priory, Merton, on 3 May 1117 will
at the chapter house (under Merantun Way) on Sunday 5 May at 3pm.
A reminder, prompted by the coming talk by Dorian Gerhold (see p.1), that Wandsworth Museum’s
permanent display includes a historic look at the lower reaches of the Wandle. There are also
changing temporary exhibitions. The museum is in Garratt Lane, just off Wandsworth High Street.
Tues-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 2-5pm. Admission free. Tel: 020 8871 7074
Also in Wandsworth, a new home has been found for the De Morgan collection that has been housed
temporarily for some years at Old Battersea House (Society visit in June 2000). The local
offered the former West Hill Library for what is to be the De Morgan Centre for the Study of
Art and Society. At different times the ceramic artist William De Morgan had his pottery works
Chelsea, Fulham and .Merton Abbey. (actually Colliers Wood – see Bulletin 132, December 1999).
Evelyn was an admired artist in the pre-Raphaelite tradition.
LAMAS (London and Middlesex Archaeological Society) lectures coming up include Bridget Cherry
(Editor, Pevsner Architectural Guides) on Medieval Churches of Middlesex on 20 March; and
Evans (British Museum) on Sutton Hoo: Past, Present and Future on 17 April. Lectures are held
Interpretation Unit of the Museum, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN at 6.30pm. Refreshments
6.00pm. All welcome, especially visitors from affiliated societies (includes MHS).
The Society of Genealogists have recently renovated their Goswell Road premises. Their members
access to the computer suite and to the superb library of books, periodicals, manuscripts and
such as census and will indexes. There is a members. magazine, a bookshop and a programme of
visits etc. Tel: 020 7553 3291 or email@example.com or www’soc.org.uk
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 5
On 1st December a goodly gathering listened to the story of Reigate Priory imparted by Mrs
founder of the Reigate Priory museum. She recounted 800 years of history in 1½ hours, but it
was never a race
against time. Her talk was illustrated with views of the Priory Park and Mansion, with some
prepared, which related to Merton Priory.
Audrey Ward came to the Priory school in 1971 and immediately made everyone aware of their
surroundings. The age range of the children then was 8 to 12 . ideal for stimulating their
imaginations. With a cooperative
head she was able to form a museum in the library.
Reigate Priory was founded by William de Warenne about 1200, and it was dissolved with the
in 1536. Edmund Howard was made steward of the priory until his death in 1539. In 1541 his
William was granted the buildings, which he converted to a comfortable residence. Today the
priory can boast
that it possesses the only remaining example in Surrey of a roofed monastic church, and it is a
Grade I listed
The grading no doubt also takes into account the 16th-century chimneypiece, said to have been
Hans Holbein. Audrey dealt with this conundrum in a way to upset nobody. Did it come from
or Blechingley Place? She felt that it was designed for Nonsuch, but that Henry VIII changed
his mind, and it
was delivered to Blechingley. There seems little doubt that Elizabeth, Countess of
Peterborough, had to give up
residing at Blechingley about 1650 and arranged for the wooden overmantel to be removed to
feature that enhances Reigate Priory was provided by Sir John Parsons, who bought the priory in
constructed a grand staircase at the west end and decorated the ceiling and walls. The painter
may have been
Antonio Verrio (died 1707) before he started decorating the extensions to Hampton Court. Sir
John was Lord
Mayor of London in 1703 and 1704, and possibly one of the first commuters from Reigate.
The priory passed from the Parsons family (1681-1760), to the Irelands (1760-1801), to George
(1801-7) and the Somers family (1807-1921). The last family to live in the priory were the
Beattys, until the
outbreak of the second World War. Audrey brought us into this century by showing recent
achievements at the
school, where there are now 550 children proud of their inheritance.
The Society has arranged a visit to Reigate Priory on Saturday 28 September at 2.30pm. Numbers
restricted to 30, at £2 a head.
from T F W
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 6
THE VESTMENTS OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY
At the Society’s first meeting in 2002, held on Saturday 26 January at the Snuff Mill
Morden Hall Park, Rosemary Turner, who is one of our members, held 29 members and four guests
with her account of the work of the Guild of St Faith at Westminster Abbey. The Guild, which
soon after its foundation in 1981, takes its name from the only chapel in the Abbey which is
dedicated to a female
saint (apart from the Lady Chapel), and is one of numerous similar groups of volunteers formed
all over the
country to care for the vestments and furnishings of churches, large and small. Many of these
are not only very old, but being of perishable materials do call for expert attention. The cost
conservation and repair would be prohibitive, and it is only through the devotion of workers
like Rosemary that
this magnificent heritage will continue in regular use.
With the aid of colour transparencies Rosemary took us through the original cloisters of the
Abbey, with a
glimpse at a secluded little garden, and into the medieval infirmary hall, where the ladies
meet every Wednesday.
Whether professional seamstress, experienced embroiderer or just .plain needlewoman. (as
described herself) each obviously welcomes any challenge. They have been filmed at work by the
BBC – the
programme has yet to be shown.
Rosemary’s talk included some amusing anecdotes, such as the one about the pocket accidentally
to front in the verger’s cassock, so that he found he had been sitting on the chocolate bar he
planned to eat after
the service …
She ended as all good speakers hope to do, with the audience wishing to see and hear more.
vote of thanks neatly expressed everyone’s appreciation, and was warmly supported.
NEW FROM THE WIMBLEDON SOCIETY
The Lull before the Storm . The Last Years of Rural Wimbledon . Richard Milward & Cyril
Further collaboration between Richard and Cyril, both members of Merton Historical Society as
well as the
Wimbledon Society, has brought to life the final years of rural Wimbledon. By bringing together
facts from the 1841 Census and the 1848 Tithe Apportionment, it is now possible to look closely
at rural Wimbledon
on the eve of the radical transformation brought about by urbanisation.
Richard Milward needs no introduction to our members, and his text, as always, transforms a
list of names into
a lively sketch of Wimbledon’s inhabitants and their way of life at this crucial period of
Those who have seen Richard and Cyril’s previous book, Wimbledon . A Surrey Village in maps,
familiar with Cyril’s excellent work in recreating early maps on his computer. Hours of
of the 1850 Tithe Apportionment map have resulted in an edition both easy to read and easy to
A4 sections cover the whole of the ancient parish of Wimbledon at a scale of approximately 14
inches to the
mile, enabling each plot to be labelled with owner and occupier, as well as plot number. The
village centre is
reproduced at the original scale of about 19 inches to the mile. In addition, a series of A3
spreads, covering the
whole parish, show land utilisation, modern place names, and a copy of the 1865 Ordnance Survey
As the Wimbledon Tithe Apportionment does not give many field names, it has been possible to
information in a concise format without losing essential detail. Each landowner’s property is
listed, with each
occupier’s holding described and its acreage and rent-charge totalled. In this way it has been
possible to contain
the book within 63 pages without sacrificing content or appearance. Two watercolours from the
Society Museum’s collections adorn the covers.
This book will prove both enjoyable and useful, not only to those interested in Wimbledon’s
history, but also to
those in adjoining parishes. (Our forebears were never restricted by parish boundaries, and
several names are
recognisable from other parishes). MHS’s edition of the Mitcham Tithe map, due out later this
year, will complete
the set for the Borough of Merton.
The Lull before the Storm is available from The Wimbledon Society Museum of Local History, 22
Wimbledon, LONDON SW19 4QN (Tel. 020 8296 9914). The Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from
2.30 to 5.00pm.
Richards Milward will be giving a slide presentation based on the new book, onThursday 14 March
Village Hall, Lingfield Road, 8pm for 8.15. All are welcome. Admission free.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 7
LIONEL GREEN, with more episodes from the story of Merton Priory:
IN THE MIDST OF LIFE WE ARE IN DEATH
Edward III loved to show off. In 1344 he constructed a
circular building at Windsor (Round Tower) to house a large
round table around which the knights could meet. Invitations
were issued, and a lavish first gathering took place – but
without the round table. The king enjoyed dressing up and
wearing disguises, and had two suits of red velvet made for
the occasion. One was long (traditional), and the other short
(a new fashion). In addition he wore a cloak made of 369
In England, Edward III had never been more popular. There
were celebrations for the victory at Crécy over the French
on 26 August 1346, and at Neville’s Cross near Durham
over the Scots on 17 October the same year. The king came
to Merton and allowed the priory to host royal sports and
plays. On 6 January 1347 he ordered 13 masks with heads
of dragons and another 13 with heads of men, and having
diadems. Also ten short cloaks of black buckram requiring
12 yards of English canvas of flax.2 Masks were worn in
mystery plays, by men representing devils and demons, and
mummers wore the heads of animals. The reference to short
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
cloaks may hint at the king’s new style.
In the 1330s Edward had welcomed Flemish weavers to England, and the demand for wool increased.
every country in Europe was relying on England to supply both wool and finished cloth. It was
III who placed a sack of wool in the upper chamber of Parliament which became the official seat
of the lord
In 1346 Edward’s ships sailed from the port of Melcombe (Weymouth) for the successful siege of
surrendered on 2 August 1347. The army returned triumphantly in October with much loot. It was
that no woman of any standing had not her share of the spoils of Calais, Caen and other places
Channel, such as clothes, fur, pillows, household utensils, table cloths, necklaces, gold and
silver cups, linen and
Celebrations continued in 1348, and on one occasion when the king was dancing with Joan,
Countess of Salisbury,
he picked up her dropped garter and placed it on his own knee with a chosen remark. He told his
he would make it the most honourable garter that was ever worn, and instituted the Order of the
24 knights on 23 April 1348.
The Pestilence and the Monasteries
It was Cardinal Gasquet (1846-1929) who suggested that the crews of the ships returning from
Calais to Melcombe
in 1358 brought the plague to England.4 And it was a canon of the Augustinian monastery of
Nicholas Trivet, who records the plague passing southern districts of England in the summer of
1348. On 24
October 1348 the bishop of Winchester, William de Edington, ordered the archdeacon of Surrey to
make full use
of the sacrament of Penance, in view of the terrible plague which was approaching. Processions
were to be
made with bare feet in towns through the market-places, and in the villages in the cemeteries
round about the
By the autumn it had reached Farnham, where up to 700 succumbed. According to the annals of
the disease reached London on 29 September, and the months of February, March and early April
the most severe.
In January Thomas Plomer was instituted vicar of Leatherhead, but died in March. His successor,
Goderynton, was instituted in March 1349, but died the following month.
The shortage of priests meant that untrained clerks were placed into parishes. Richard le Clerc
was instituted to St Mary’s Guildford by Merton priory in 1349, but he was not ordained until
some time later.
This was a temporary appointment and Robert atte Mere took his place in Guildford in 1350.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 8
William de Hastings of Wotton died in 1349, and almost all his tenants. Lawrence de Hastings,
Westcott mill, also died.
Near the modern Godstone, the villages of Langham and Marden suffered. The manorial lord, John
de St John,
succumbed to the plague on 8 April 1349.
The manorial court at Cuddington recorded the deaths of five freeholders and 15 villeins.
The monasteries were clearly affected. Abbot John of Waverley died early in 1349. Also the
abbot of Chertsey
and abbot John de Waring of Boxgrove, in May 1349. Two priors of Merton died,5 and the prior of
Newark (Surrey) was impoverished. At Michelham in Sussex only five canons survived out of 13.
sub-prior and third prior of Lewes all died.
All the eight chaplains at Sandown hospital near Esher perished at the beginning of 1349,6 but
the bishop of
Winchester held an ordination on 6 June 1349 and appointed William de Coleton as the new head.
In May 1349 abbot Bircheston of Westminster perished, along with 26 monks. About 15 canons died
Bartholomew’s Smithfield, and St Thomas’s hospital suffered badly, with the number of brothers
reduced to five.
St James’s hospital Westminster, part of the abbey, lost about 24 brothers and sisters, with
only a single inmate
The pestilence continued, and in 1350 at Shulbred priory, Sussex, near Haslemere, many servants
The primacy itself underwent four changes. John Stratford died on 23 August 1348, and John
Offord in May
1349, but before he was consecrated archbishop. Thomas Bradwardine was consecrated on 19 July
died in London in the following month. Simon Islip succeeded on 20 December 1349, and he lived
Monastic life was affected by the loss of experienced seniors, with a relaxation of discipline,
for youths requiring
sound training, which could not be renewed by the surviving community.
The Round Table
In 1356 the king bought 50 oak trees from woods near Reading belonging to Merton Priory. These
were used to
construct a round table for Windsor castle.7
T James The Palaces of Medieval England 1990 p120
Archaeologia xxxi p43; A Heales The Records of Merton Priory Henry Frowde, London 1898 p248
Close Roll 21 Edw.III pt.2. m28d; Rymer’s Foedera iii p131.
England, 155 years earlier, had to find 50,000 sacks of wool as ransom for the release of
Richard I. A sack held about 364lb (165kg) of wool
from some 250 sheep.
F N Gasquet Henry VIII and the English Monasteries 1889
Victoria County History of Surrey Vol ii p15
Lowth Wykeham p84
Heales op.cit. p254
A Costume Note
The reign of Edward III is one of the most important eras in
the history of costume. The drawings on the left illustrate
the sharp style change Lionel Green refers to in his first
paragraph. The king, with his patriarchal beard and long hair,
wears the dalmatica and under-tunic, which with only small
changes had served many previous generations. By contrast
his second son, clean-shaven and with cropped locks, wears
the new close-fitting cote-hardie, which finishes at mid-thigh
(lower ranks wore a longer and looser version). William’s
mantle is also in the new style – very long, with .dagged.
borders, and fastened on the right shoulder with large buttons.
Information and illustrations are from an anonymous History
of British Costume published for the Society for Diffusion
of Useful Knowledge, London 1834.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 9
Effigy of Edward III in Westminster Abbey, and
of his second son William of Hatfield in York
THE WANDLE NAVIGATION
Did it ever exist?
ERIC MONTAGUE examines the evidence:
Writing of the industries and natural resources of Surrey in the late 17th century, Thomas Cox,
the transport of coals to towns and villages on the river Wey, observed:
.And not only on this River is the Traffick
maintained, but there is a Way found to carry
up Coal upon the Wandle to Croydon where there
is a great Trade for them..1
The implication is that, like the Wey, the Wandle had been made navigable from Wandsworth Creek
as far as
Croydon, presumably in the latter half of the 17th century, and that it was still functioning
commercially as a
.navigation. or canal at the time Cox was writing.
No other published source I have seen refers to such a use of the Wandle, and in the absence of
evidence I have tended to dismiss Cox’s comment as suspect.
I have nevertheless always been puzzled as to why, when and by whom the very straight (and
.cut. was made between Morden Hall and Phipps Bridge. It predates the earliest map we have of
the Garth estate,
made for Richard Garth of Morden in 1750,2 and there is no record of it serving a mill
downstream at Phipps
Bridge. Improvement of land drainage north-east of Morden Hall is one possibility, and another
is an attempt to
speed the flow away from a mill leased from the Garths by a Nicholas Davison, the site of which
may have been
immediately downstream from the Hall, where there is a small island. The mill was
operatingc.1620, but seems not
to have survived beyond the mid-17th century.3 Neither theory, however, offers a convincing
explanation for the
expenditure of what must have been a large sum of money and an immense amount of labour.
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
Other, separate, .improved. sections of the Wandle in its course through the borough of Merton
with mills, but may not have been dug specifically for them. For example, the Papermill Cut in
takes its name from Richard Glover’s paper mill, which functioned c.1780-1830,4 but there is no
record of when
and by whom it was excavated, and it could have been intended originally to serve the copper
mills which were
here from c.1700,5 and were working until the mid-18th century. It is even possible that the
cut pre-dates the
copper mills, and was dug for some other purpose.
The present mill-head above Ravensbury Mill, is another obviously .improved. length of the
Wandle. It was
presumably there in 1680, when an entry in a rent roll of the manor of Ravensbury mentions .Mr.
new mill..6 Again, the construction of a mill-head of this size seems excessive for a
relatively humble mill. Was
the channel dug several decades before the mill was built, and if so, why?
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 10
Other clearly man-made stretches of the Wandle can be seen above and below the Morden Hall
below Phipps Bridge as far as Merton Abbey Mills; and between Merton Bridge and the .Merton.
(later Connolly Leather Ltd). Each is associated with a mill or mills working in the mid-18th
century, but may
have been designed for other, earlier, mills. Nothing survives in local records, however, to
identify the original
instigators of these enterprises, or their motivations.
There, it seemed, the matter had to rest – to remain a mystery. Until, that is, my attention
was drawn early last
year (2001) to a .River Wandle Navigation Act 16 & 17 Charles II c.12., which, I was told,
provided .for certain
rivers to be made navigable..7 This enabling measure applied to several watercourses in Surrey,
Wandle and the Mole, and stipulated that unless acted upon within 11 years the power conferred
by the Act
would lapse, ie in 1676/7.
Neither Surrey History Centre nor the archivist at Sutton Archive and Local Studies knew of
this legislation, but
on enquiry of the House of Lords Record Office I found that the measure did exist,8 that it was
a Private Act,
and that its full title was .An Act for Making Diverse Rivers Navigable or Otherwise Passable
by Barge or
Other Vessels.. Since this was a Private Act only one copy exists, but the membrane has been
microfiche, and prints can be obtained for a modest charge.
Did knowledge of this legislation lie behind Cox’s comments, and, in the absence of any
physical or documentary
evidence of a Wandle navigation having been completed, should his observation perhaps be
…. and there has been identified a means whereby
coal might be carried on the Wandle to Croydon ….?
In other words, Cox was aware of the scheme, but did not consider it necessary to add that it
had not been
implemented. One of course wonders who the promoter(s) of the Act were, and further research in
of the House of Commons and in contemporary Parliamentary records could be productive.
Interesting light is shed on the historical background to the pioneering efforts to create what
is now known as the
Wey Navigation by two articles in Surrey Archaeological Collections.
Michael Nash has noted that stretches of the old river course were navigable and used by
vessels in the early
17th century, but that mills and natural shallows presented serious obstacles.9 Furthermore, in
the 17th century
government authority was hard to obtain. The attraction of linking various .cutts. to create a
from the Thames to Guildford, and hence revive the town’s flagging industries, spurred Sir
Richard Weston of
Sutton Park both before and after the Civil War to proceed with such a scheme, but opposition
was fierce, and
it was not until 1651 that an Act was secured for making the Wey navigable. Work started
immediately, and the
project was substantially completed in 1653.
Hector Carter has shown10 how disputes and demands for compensation etc beset the project
within a few
years, so that Parliament eventually appointed trustees to settle matters.
Is it possible that Weston’s enterprise and vision inspired landowners in the Wandle Valley to
follow suit and start
opening up sections of the river to water-borne transport? Before the Civil War the Carews of
well have been attracted by such a project, for their large riverside estate extended
downstream as far as
Merton. Unfortunately the Carews were Royalists, and by the time hostilities ended they were
Moreover, the many local interests, including mills and other industries along the Wandle, may
well have presented
daunting obstacles in the years that followed, and made agreement virtually impossible. If this
is so, it seems
likely that the difficulties faced by the otherwise successful Wey Navigation were enough to
initial interest there might have been in the Wandle Navigation, and the powers conferred by
the Act were
allowed to lapse.
R Cox Ecclesiastical and Natural History of Surrey 1700, p443
Merton Local Studies Centre A Plan of the River Wandel in the Parish of Morden and County of
Surrey Survey.d 1750
Surrey History Centre 85/2/27
A Crocker .The Paper Mills of Surrey Part III. in Surrey History Vol 5, No.1 p16
E Montague Copper Milling on the River Wandle Merton Historical Society 1999, pp10-13
Surrey History Centre, Rent Rolls of the manors of Bandon, Norbury and Ravensbury 212/9/2
My informant was a visitor at a meeting of Merton Historical Society on 21 April 2001.
House of Lords Record Office and Parliamentary Archive (tel: 020 7219 2570)
M Nash .Early Seventeenth Century Schemes to make the Wey Navigable 1618-51. Surrey
Archaeological Collections Vol. LXVI (1969)
10. H Carter .The Wey Navigation Claims of 1671. Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol LXII
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 11
TONY SCOTT reports on the CONSERVATION AND DESIGN ADVISORY PANEL
This is the name of the new body which replaces, and has a broader brief than, the Borough’s
Areas Advisory Committee). Merton’s CADAP aims:
To promote good design and conservation in the urban environment.
To advise on matters concerning the care, maintenance and enhancement of the Borough’s built
including Conservation Areas and other areas with heritage assets.
To advise on the preservation of buildings of special architectural or historical interest on
the Statutory and
To advise on archaeological matters.
To advise the Planning Application and Licensing Committee on the conservation area and design
of major development proposals.
The membership of the CADAP will continue more or less unchanged, but now including
from the Mitcham Society and Groundwork Merton.
The Buildings at Risk Register has been revised, and is currently:
Garden wall enclosing playing field, Church Lane, Merton Park
Mitcham parish churchyard
66 Church Road, Mitcham
475 London Road, Mitcham
The Canons, Mitcham (to apply for Heritage Lottery funding)
Chapter House, Merton Priory (risk from development)
Bazalgette mausoleum, St Mary’s, Wimbledon, churchyard
Churchyard walls, St Mary’s, Wimbledon
Section of Priory wall, Station Road SW19
Section of Priory wall, rear of 27-33 Windsor Avenue SW19
Base of windmill, Windmill Road, Mitcham
Recommended removals from list:
Wall and gateways, Sacred Heart church, Edge Hill SW19
Eagle House, London Road, Mitcham
Recommended additions to list:
Morden Cottage, Morden Hall Road
Mitcham vicarage, Church Road, Mitcham
Merton Abbey Mills site
Foundations have been found on parts of the site where new buildings would be located.
Developers will need to
reposition buildings as well as meeting the Mayor of London’s requirements.
LOCAL HISTORY WEEK 4-12 MAY 2002
This is a national event initiated by The Historical Association in conjunction with the BBC’s
and Channel 4 Learning, and is supported by Phillimore & Co.Ltd of Chichester, the local
history publishers. This
Society’s exhibition (page 5) is timed to include this special week.
The Society of Genealogists are putting on a Family History Fair at the RHS New Hall and
Greycoat Street, London SW1 on 4 and 5 May from 10.00am-5.00pm.
Channel 4 Learning are sponsoring a conference at Senate House on 11 May, which will look at
and local projects. Contact Debra Birch at The Institute of Historical Research. Fax: 020 7862
For other events visit the Historical Association website at www.history.org.uk and click on
the Local History
Week logo, or tel: 020 7735 3901.
There are also special offers for HA membership and History Magazine subscriptions.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 12
The English Heritage Quarterly Review for Greater London, August-October 2001 contains the
Site Name: FURNITURELAND, MERTON HIGH STREET SW20 [sic]
Arch Org: MoLAS Report Type: POST-EXC ASS Site Code: MHH 00
Summary: TQ2630 7010: the earliest feature encountered during the excavation was an east-west
aligned ditch and recut. This ditch could date to any time between AD100 and the 15th century.
The first evidence for occupation comes from the structure dated to the middle of the 15th
century which was
open to the south and probably abutted a tile kiln (not found during the excavation). It is
likely that the structure
represented a forming shed for tile making and also a work area in front of the kiln.
A second kiln was constructed around 1480 and this was recorded during the excavation. The kiln
partly built with waste tiles from earlier kiln firings. The excavated part of the kiln
comprised three furnace
chambers and a flue had been placed along the back of the kiln to help feed air to the kiln
fires. The presence of
this flue would appear to indicate that the .forming shed. was still attached to the kiln and
so there may have
been a circulation problem. After a number of firings, the kiln was rebuilt and a replacement
series of furnace
chambers constructed. The back wall of this replacement kiln was constructed from reused
from a 12th century building belonging to the priory of St Mary Merton. During the tile making
phase it seems
that the immediate area of the site was stripped of the natural layers of brickearth (and any
overlying layers) in
order to provide raw material for the tile works. It is likely that the tile kiln was situated
near to an entrance into
the Prior precinct.
Truncating the kiln was a chalk foundation wall for the .Gatehouse. built around 1500. The
walls were generally
truncated to cellar floor level. The foundation formed a small building measuring 7.20m wide
and running into the
northern trench section, with the majority of the buildings probably lying beneath the current
Merton High Street.
These foundations could form the back end of a western tower, if the superstructure were in
brick (which would
not require a large, wide foundation). If this is the case it is possible to reconstruct a
potential gateway, where
two towers are astride an entrance arrangement c12m wide. Associated with this building is a
layer, where the ground was raised up after the clay extraction had finished.
During the middle of the 18th century the medieval building was enlarged with the addition of
extensions to each
side, thus extending the cellar to a width of 13.20m. Walls with more shallow foundations had
during the 20th century demolition.
The gatehouse was demolished in the early 20th century and the site was also truncated
horizontally at this time,
in order to prepare the wooden suspended floor for the subsequent Palais de Dance [sic]. This
removed the post-medieval external surface and shallow wall surfaces.
Date of Report: MAR 2001
(See Peter Hopkins.
report in Bulletin 138 on
Dave Saxby’s talk to the
Society, .Recent Work on
the site of Merton
The site, on the corner of
Merton High Street and
Mill Road, is of course in
SW19. The building
which replaced the
gatehouse in 1909 was
used for roller-skating and
then for making airships.
It was not converted to a
palais de danse until
The same issue of the EH
Quarterly Review carries
brief and largely negative
reports of other
investigations in the Borough of Merton.
The rear of Gatehouse, Merton, from a old postcard
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 13
.MR. T. WELCH’s TABLE-CLOTH PRINTING WORKS, MERTON,
A recent contribution to the Wandle Industrial Museum’s library is a copy of an anonymous
article in The
Illustrated Exhibitor and Magazine of Art Vol.II No.30 pp.53-6 dated July 1852.1 It describes
in detail the
processes used at Welch’s works, which stood partly on the site of Trellis House in Merton High
partly on the east bank of the Wandle, where Savacentre now stands. (The premises were, in
fact, those taken
over by William Morris in 1881.) Several of the picturesque weatherboarded buildings familiar
taken early last century undoubtedly dated from Welch’s time, if not before, and can be seen
clearly in the 25inch
Ordnance Survey maps of 1874 and 1894-6.
The history of Welch’s works can be traced back to Halfhide & Son in the late 18th century, and
William West, whose .calico and printing grounds. were mentioned by James Malcolm in his
Modern Husbandry of 1805. The date West left Merton is not known, but he seems to have ceased
in the early 1820s. The trade had by this time shifted more towards meeting the demand for
finer materials and
luxury goods, and accordingly the activities at the Merton workshops were directed increasingly
to the printing
of silks and challis. West was succeeded by a Mr Allchin, and a map of c.1825 shows, to the
east of the river at
the head of a large mill-pond, .Mr. Allchin’s Silk Mill..2
In 1853 Braithwaite visited .Mr. Welch’s print works. located on what he described as the south
side of Merton
bridge,3 and there seems to be little doubt that they were in premises formerly occupied by
Allchin. Welch would
have been .Thomas Welch the younger., whose name is mentioned in an indenture dated 1846, now
Surrey History Centre.4 A wheel of eight horsepower was employed, and the millhead was
described as a .large
basin. fed by an overflow from the Wandle. There was also a rinsing wheel worked by the main
river, and here
ten men were constantly employed.
At this time Welch was considered to be one of the foremost printers of table-cloths in the
country, and had been
awarded a prize medal at the Great Exhibition in 1851. Four classes of table-cloth then being
produced at his
works at Merton are listed in The Illustrated Exhibitor as
.I Table-cloths printed in squares or oblongs
II Table-cloths printed in pieces about 40 yards long, and cut up to the size required
III Table-cloths of velvet pile, in squares or oblongs and
IV Table-cloths of which the material is embossed
The fabrics used were not produced locally. The material for the first category of table-cloth
came from Yorkshire.
The long lengths of fabric were supplied ready-dyed to order, commonly green and crimson,
whilst velvet pile
material, composed of silk and wool, was produced in Glasgow.
The article follows in great detail the processes employed, that of embossing being of
particular interest since it
seems not to have been described at Merton before. Colour mixed with flour was applied to the
dyed material in
sections using deeply-cut brass plates. The cloth was then placed in steam-heated presses for
achieving a .metamorphosis. which, the reader is told, .greatly increased its beauty and
Welch’s was one of the many textile works in the Merton area the history of which has been
by firms like Littler, Liberty and Morris & Co., and the article from The Illustrated Exhibitor
is a valuable
addition to the
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 14
Notes and References
There is also a copy of this article at Merton Local Studies Centre.
Wimbledon Society’s Museum: map of the River Wandle. There is a copy at Merton Local Studies
F Braithwaite .On the Rise and Fall of the River Wandle. Proceedings of the Institution of
Civil Engineers Vol. 20 (1861)
Surrey History Centre 3057/1/7
Thirty years later tastes were changing, and Welch’s table-cloths were evidently viewed with
disapproval, at least by leading members of
the Arts and Crafts Movement. William Morris, writing to his wife Janey on 19 March 1881 after
viewing Welch’s Merton Abbey works,
left no doubt as to his opinion of what they were producing, referring to …. those hideous
red and green tablecloths and so forth …. .
By that date the works were being run by George Welch (Note 4).
N Kelvin (ed.) The Collected Letters of William Morris Vol. II 1881-1884 p.37
See also R Watkinson .Merton Before Morris. William Morris Society Journal Vol. IX No. 4 (1992)
(I am indebted to Judith Goodman of Merton Historical Society for supplying the information in
notes 4 and 5.)
E N Montague
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 15
THE CATHERINE GLADSTONE HOME, MORDEN
In the archives of the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, there are three files of
notebooks etc relating to an institution which was a landmark in Morden for more than 40
Catherine Gladstone was the wife of William Ewart Gladstone, the 19th-century Liberal leader
who was four times
prime minister. In the cholera outbreak in East London in 1866 she made daily visits to the
London Hospital, and as
a result of what she saw she set up an orphanage for children who had lost their parents to
this dreadful disease.
The information in the file states that the institution was in Watford, but this was not so. It
was first at Clapton, but
soon moved to Woodford Hall on the edge of Epping Forest.4,5 This was a handsome Georgian house
with a wing
at each side and large grounds. (From 1840 to 1848 it had been the home of William Morris, as a
As it turned out, thanks to cleaner water and much improved sewage disposal, the outbreak of
1866 was the last
such in London, and provision for .cholera orphans. was no longer needed. The home became Mrs
Convalescent Home – for women and children of the East End.
Though imposing, Woodford Hall may have been becoming dilapidated, for c.1897 it was
new premises for the Home had been found, at Morden, in the shape of Ravensbury Park House.
gaunt structure had been built in 1864 by George Parker Bidder the railway engineer,6 who had
died in 1878 and
who had sold the estate the year before to his eldest son, also George Parker Bidder. After the
death in 1896 of
the latter the house and most of its land came on the market.
The Home moved in, continuing, as before, to depend on subscriptions for its support. During
the 1914-18 war it
was a military hospital, and then in 1922 there was a crisis in its affairs. It was offered, as
premises and furniture,
to the London Hospital as an annexe, with an endowment of £20,137. The hospital could not
afford to accept and
referred the trustees to the .Marie Celeste. Samaritan Society. This charity had been set up in
1791 by Sir William
Blizard to provide social welfare services at the London Hospital. The name .Marie Celeste. was
added in 1899 as
a memorial to the wife of a generous benefactor. The Society had just closed its own home at
Whipps Cross. Under
the new arrangement the committee of the Society would act as agents for the London Hospital in
Home. The Society paid for structural alterations, new furniture and (new) electric lighting.2
To mark the occasion there was an opening ceremony on 19 November 1923, performed by Sir
Hicks Bart., Minister of Health. It was widely reported in national and local papers and in the
nursing press. A
special feature appeared in The Commercial Motor, as the Samaritan Society had taken delivery
of a new
Lancia ambulance to bring patients from the East End to this country convalescent home.
The Home (or .Homes. as it was usually called) was set in seven acres of grounds, including
orchard and kitchen
garden. There was room for 42 patients – 28 women and girls and 12 children, plus an isolation
bed and an isolation cot.
The Home continued to depend on subscriptions for most of its income, and the matron’s cash-
book for 1919-233
lists some of these (including donations from the Duke of Westminster and Viscount Cobham) as
well as accounts
with local (Mitcham) tradesmen.
The archives contain a number of photographs, from
the late 1930s, showing patients in the grounds – on
beds, in deckchairs, women knitting in the sunshine,
children on swing-seats or being pushed in wicker
In 1940, following the outbreak of the second World
War, the Samaritan Society closed down the Home.
Later in the 1940s the house was demolished and
the site was soon covered with houses. The
Catherine Gladstone Home stood close to where
Seddon Road meets Bishopsford Road.
Royal London Hospital Archives LH/P/2/68.
Royal London Hospital Archives LH/D/4/21
Royal London Hospital Archives SS/F/102.
J Thorne Handbook to the Environs of London (1876)
reprinted by Godfrey Cave Associates 1983 p.736
H V Wiles William Morris of Walthamstow The Walthamstow Press, London 1951 pp.6-7
E F Clark George Parker Bidder: the calculating boy KSL Publications, Bedford 1983 pp.284-7,
Catherine Gladstone Home, Morden postcard view from the north-east
Letters and contributions for the Bulletin should be sent to the Hon. Editor.
The views expressed in this Bulletin are those of the contributors concerned and not
necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 141 . MARCH 2002 . PAGE 16