September 2009 Bulletin 171
A Discovery at Godalming (Gertrude Jekyll) J A Goodman
Monumental Sculpture L E Green
Jean Reville – Part 3 D Haunton
Morden Women’s Institute – celebrating 90 years B Oliver
The Wall of Merton Priory C Maidment
The ‘Grasping’ Merton Priory P J Hopkins
and much more
PRESIDENT: Lionel Green
PRESIDENT: Lionel Green
BULLETIN NO. 171 CHAIR: Dr Tony Scott SEPTEMBER 2009
‘The Last Cottages of Central Road [Morden]’
Vincent Lines 1930
The Wimbledon Society’s Vincent Lines exhibition
continues at their Museum until February.
The accompanying book costs £9.99
and is worth every penny.
Programme: September – December
Reports: Visit to Godalming
The Musical Museum
Sheffield Park and Bateman’s 5
Local History Workshops:
15 May: archaeology at Church House; telephone exchange names; John Innes Park;
Surrey 50 years ago; photos of vanished Merton; a libel on Merton priory; Yaxley family enquiry 6
3 July: wooden houses at Ravensbury; V1s in Mitcham; Growtes inventory;
Bennett/Captain Cook connection;Youth Hostelling memories; more on medieval Morden 7
A Discovery at Godalming – Judith Goodman 8
Monumental Sculpture – Lionel Green 9
Jean Reville: Merton’s Racing Motorist, Part 3 – David Haunton 10
Morden’s Women’s Institute – Celebrating 90 years – Bea Oliver 12
The Wall of Merton Priory – Cyril Maidment 14
The ‘Grasping’ Merton Priory – Peter Hopkins 16
PROGRAMME SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER
Thursday 10 September 2.00pm Merton Park walk, led by Clive Whichelow
This event is part of Merton’s Celebrating Age Festival for the Over Fifties. Booking required.
Details are in the Festival brochure, obtainable from libraries and from Age Concern, Merton.
Saturday 17 October 2.30pmSouth Wimbledon Community Association, Haydons Road
Evelyn Jowett Memorial Lecture for 2009
‘Sir Francis Carew’s Garden at Beddington’
An illustrated talk by John Phillips, Heritage Officer, London Borough of Sutton, about the
celebrated garden that once ornamented the house we now know as Carew Manor.
The venue is on bus route 200, and is close to Merton High Street and its buses. Access to
the car-park is from Victory Road via Quicks Road.
Saturday 7 November 2.30pm Raynes Park Library Hall
Annual General Meeting
followed by a talk by Gregory Vincent on
‘A History of Du Cane Court, Balham: Land, Architecture, People and Politics’.
The story of one of south London’s most striking buildings.
Raynes Park library hall is in Approach Road, on or close to several bus routes, and near
to Raynes Park station. Very limited parking.
Please use the entrance in Aston Road.
Saturday 5 December 2.30pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
‘The Cinema Buildings of Merton Past and Present’
an illustrated talk by Richard Norman
The Snuff Mill Centre is reached from the Morden Hall Garden Centre car-park by
crossing the bridge between café and garden centre and turning right along the main
path. It is a ten-minute walk from Morden Underground station. Morden Hall Road is
served by many bus routes.
Please note that the National Trust strictly limits numbers to 50 at this venue.
Visitors are welcome to attend our talks. Entry £2.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
An agenda and renewal form are enclosed on a separate sheet
J-HOOKS AND BED-IRONS?
Held over, with apologies, from the last issue, for lack of space, and in response to David Haunton’s
semi-serious speculation about the ‘illegible’ object wielded by the Bennetts’ maid (Bulletin 169,
p.15), is a rival theory from DAVID ROE.
I immediately saw the troublesome word as ‘J hook’ – is that possible? One form of J hook available today, and
possibly in the early 19th century, is the type where the ‘J’ hooks over the picture rail. Another type has the
vertical part of the hook screwed to the wall, with a mirror or picture hanging from the J. When the need for a
weapon arose, a housemaid would not unscrew a hook from the wall, but perhaps there was a spare hook
around, or she could lift off a mirror or picture to use a large J hook that was hooked over a picture rail (if they
had picture rails then). Perhaps in those days a large J hook was hung up when and where required for
temporary hanging up of items of clothing.
Another possibility is that the word transcribed as ‘bedroom’ might be ‘bed iron’, an L-shaped iron bed-part,
currently typically 3in x 6-10in. The ‘J hook of the bed iron’ sounds like a very suitable weapon! Further
research into the domestic use of J hooks and bed irons in the 1820s might prove fruitful.
Another thought – is it ‘T hook’?
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 2
A VISIT TO GODALMING
On 9 May nine members caught the train to Godalming from Clapham Junction. We then walked via Mill Lane
and Mint Street to the museum in the High Street. This is Grade II listed, part dating from c.1400, added to in
1446, and extended further at a later date. Many of the features of the old building are revealed, such as traces
of the original shutters, and the wattle-and-daub construction.
After coffee/tea and biscuits Alison Pattison, the curator, explained that the museum was run on a partnership
between Waverley Borough Council and the Museum Trust. The latter raises £15,000 annually towards the
running costs. It houses local history exhibits, which include ‘touch objects’, family trails, banknotes from
Godalming Bank, established in 1808, a solid iron chest dating to c.1600, which has a hidden keyhole and seven
locks, and is said to have been used to take sailors’ pay to Portsmouth, and an interactive computer programme.
An early 19th-century mantrap was also on display, along with the story of Mary Toft, a local resident, who in
1726 claimed to have given birth to 18 rabbits! Elsewhere are displays relating to Gertrude Jekyll (artist, gardener
and craftswoman), Sir Edwin Lutyens (architect), James Oglethorpe (soldier, politician and founder of the
colony of Georgia, USA), Julius Caesar (England cricketer), and many other figures in Godalming’s history.
One local hero is ‘Jack’ (John George) Phillips (1887-1912), born in Farncombe and educated at the local
grammar school. He was the chief wireless telegrapher on RMS Titanic, employed by Marconi to send messages
between passengers and the shore. But he stayed at his post after the order to abandon ship had been given,
sending out SOS messages, and thereby saving 705 lives, his last message being sent three minutes before the
Titanic disappeared. His photograph is in the museum, and the Phillips Memorial Cloister (1914) in the recreation
ground, designed in the Arts and Crafts style by Hugh Thackeray Turner and Gertrude Jekyll, commemorates
his bravery. The memorial, being 80 feet square, is one of the largest Titanic memorials in the world. He is also
remembered in Farncombe church, and his family’s grave has a memorial stone in the form of an iceberg. A
pub, a row of shops, and a road also bear his name.
Godalming, before the A3, was on the main route to Portsmouth from London, and, as it was halfway, was a
convenient coaching stop. Trade was enhanced in the spring of 1764 when the Godalming Navigation was
opened, which connected the town to the Wey Navigation at Guildford.
In medieval times the town was a centre of
the woollen cloth industry, and it was granted
borough status by Queen Elizabeth I in 1575.
Later it switched to the knitting of stockings
in wool, silk and, nearer our time, cotton –
there is a 19th-century knitting machine on
display. Papermaking and tanning were also
local industries: the waterwheel at
Westbrook Mills, one of the local tanneries,
supplied the power for the world’s first
public electricity supply system in 1881.
After lunch we regrouped by the attractive
‘Pepper Pot’, which dates from 1814. This
was once the market house or town hall,
and replaced a former timber structure on the site. We were joined by our guide, a Friend of the museum, who
took us on a very interesting tour of the town, pointing out various landmarks, including Brook House, birthplace
of Percy Woods in 1842 (whose collection of historical material is in the museum); the Old Post House; the Red
Lion, the public bar of which was the original grammar school; the old cottages in Mill Lane, where the mill was
powered by the River Ock; the 18th-century Friends Meeting House; James Oglethorpe’s house; and the Jack
Phillips memorial. As we walked alongside the river, with the Lammas lands on the opposite side, Charterhouse
School could be seen in the distance. It moved here from London in 1872. We then walked through the churchyard
to the parish church. The earliest parts of the church are 10th-century, but there have been many changes since.
Many of the High Street buildings have interesting features, such as timber framing or fancy brickwork. The
King’s Arms (1753) is a coaching inn once used by royal visitors.
There are so many interesting buildings in the town that a return visit would be well worthwhile, to retrace at
leisure the tour and revisit the museum. Many thanks to the museum staff for their welcome, to our guide for an
interesting tour, and to Sheila Harris for organising the trip.
THE TOWN OF GODALMING ILLUMINATED BY THE ELECTRIC LIGHT,
from Illustrated London News 1882
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 3
THE MUSICAL MUSEUM
Our June outing was to Brentford, to visit the Musical Museum, which has recently moved from a damp and
chilly redundant church to a striking new building. It is signposted from Kew Bridge station. Now one of the
world’s foremost collections of automatic musical instruments, the museum’s backbone is the collection originally
assembled by the late Frank Holland MBE in 1963.
A century or so ago most people would never have been able to hear an orchestra, a concert soloist or an opera
singer. However, for a period of about 50 years, until the late 1920s and the advent of radio and sound recording
techniques, automatic musical instruments of extraordinary sophistication were manufactured in huge numbers.
The dainty 18th-century musical box expanded and became more complicated in the following century. Small
bells, drums and even miniature organs were added, but the technique remained the same – a cylinder fitted
with tiny pins rotated against tuned metal teeth. This was a Swiss industry, but the big leap forward was a
German invention – the disc musical box. Its great advantage was that interchangeable discs could be rapidly
stamped out once the master version had been produced. At first the tunes had to be fitted into a single
revolution of the mechanism, but this difficulty was resolved by the invention in the late 1880s of the paper
music roll. Table-top hand-operated ‘organettes’ using paper rolls were made in the USA by a forerunner of the
The next development was the ‘Piano Player’, nicknamed the ‘Push-Up’, which consisted of a cabinet that
could be clamped onto an ordinary piano. A music roll was inserted and the player, pedalling with the feet and
operating hand levers, was able to add expression. The Push-Up marketed by the Æolian Company was called
the ‘Pianola’ and was such a success that the name has been misused ever since to mean any type of automatic
In 1904 in Freiburg an electrically operated machine was invented that could exactly reproduce a performance
by a celebrated pianist, and soon several companies were manufacturing ‘reproducing pianos’ whose owners
could enjoy ‘live’ performances by Rachmaninov, Gershwin and Paderewski.
Orchestrions, which could imitate the sound of a small orchestra, were first made in Germany in the mid-19th
century. Imhof & Mukle was one firm that made very fine machines (and yes, there is a connection with the
much-missed Imhof’s music shop in New Oxford Street). Electricity began to be used in the homes of the rich
in the 1890s and was soon powering increasingly large and powerful machines.
The extraordinary Violano-Virtuoso
was developed in Chicago, and used a
real violin, accompanied by a 44-note
piano. Even the tuning of the violin, and
application of the rosin, was automatic,
and all four strings could be played at
once (eat your heart out, Nigel
The museum’s curator Richard Cole
was our knowledgeable and ebullient
guide, and demonstrated many of the
remarkable exhibits in the main
exhibition area before taking us
upstairs to see, and hear, the museum’s
WurliTzer [sic] pipe organ. Originally
made for a Chicago millionaire, it was shipped to this country in 1931 and installed in the Regal cinema, Kingston
upon Thames (perhaps the millionaire had suffered in the financial crash of that period). It was acquired for the
collection in1972 and now is housed in a purpose-built concert hall, along with a Steinway grand piano which
can be played remotely from the organ console. An automatic reproducing roll player is connected to the organ,
and the museum has more than 60 organ rolls. We were treated to a short but dashing recital by Richard, while
the console’s lights changed from pink to red, orange, blue, violet …
The Musical Museum is at 399 Brentford High Street, and is open 11.00-17.30 Tuesday to Sunday and some
Bank Holidays. Guided tours at weekends or bookable for groups at other times. There is a café and a shop.
Entry £7.00/£5.50 Tel: 020 8560 8108 Website: www.musicalmuseum.co.uk. The museum holds a regular
programme of recitals and other events.
The Violano-Virtuoso. Photo: R Di Vito, from the guidebook
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 4
VISIT TO SHEFFIELD PARK AND BATEMAN’S
This was the ninth coach trip organised for the Society by Pat and Ray Kilsby, who boost the numbers with
members of Sanderstead & Selsdon WEA branch, and it took place on 4 July in fine weather (the Kilsbys seem
always to manage this), which was however comfortably cooler than the torrid temperatures immediately
preceding it. After a pleasant drive into Sussex, and a coffee stop at Sheffield Park station on the Bluebell Line,
we reached Sheffield Park itself. ‘Sheffield’ means ‘sheep clearing’, and the estate is mentioned in Domesday
Book. It has an interesting history, with its owners at various times including Robert of Mortain, half-brother to
William the Conqueror, the 3rd duke of Norfolk, and the earls De La Warr. Henry VIII visited, and Edward
Gibbon wrote a few chapters of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire there. In 1769 the future first earl
of Sheffield had bought the estate, and he used the skills of, first, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, and then
Humphry Repton, to lay out a series of four lakes and to landscape the surrounds. Though the second earl
seems to have neglected the estate, the third (1832-1909) was responsible for the planting we see today,
including many exotic trees and shrubs. He was also very keen on cricket, and, from 1884 to 1896, touring
Australian teams played their first match each time against Lord Sheffield’s XI on the cricket ground which is
still on the estate. The same Lord Sheffield it was who presented the trophy that gives its name to the Sheffield
Shield inter-state cricket tournament in Australia.
The National Trust bought the estate in 1954, but was not able to buy the house, now converted into luxury
apartments. It is a typical late 18th-century ‘gothick’ building, having been remodelled by James Wyatt (distant
cousin of the Wyatts of Merton) and is beautifully situated above the Ten-Foot Pond. Though May and October
are the months for dramatic colour, the midsummer landscape of many shades of green, and the striking variety
of trees, made for a delightful visit.
Back to Sheffield Park station for lunch, and time also to inspect some of the many locomotives being restored,
and to savour the prevailing aroma of cylinder oil. Here my other half pointed out how flimsy and rusted a 1943
American locomotive was, compared with the robust and gleaming 19th-century British ones around it. As a
Brightonian by birth I was especially pleased to see several products of the Brighton railway works, which
were in business from 1852 to 1962. There is more to Brighton than a seaside playground.
Then on to Burwash, and Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s home from 1902 to the end of his life. His widow
Caroline (‘Carrie’) bequeathed it to the National Trust on her death in 1939. This charming, unpretentious, 17thcentury
house, built of Wealden stone quarried just across the road, and with fittings of Sussex oak, looks very
much as it must always have done. The Kiplings made few changes to it and bought (uncomfortable) furniture
mainly of the same period. Kipling’s books cover his study walls and his ‘gadgets’, as he called them, cover his
work table. This is much tidier and cleaner than in his day, for he was notoriously messy, splashing himself and
his work with ink. In the main bedroom are mementoes of their three children: Josephine, dead from pneumonia
in New York, aged six: John, missing presumed dead at the battle of Loos in 1915: and Elsie, who knew she was
the least dear to her parents, and escaped from home into a marriage of convenience. There are a number of
drawings and plaster reliefs by Kipling’s father, designer and artist John Lockwood Kipling, good portraits of
Kipling by Sir William Nicholson (briefly resident in Mitcham) and John Collier, and an interesting miscellany in
the exhibition room, including Kipling’s
Nobel citation from 1907. In the
grounds are an orchard, a formal pond
and a rose garden, and outbuildings
which include a garage that houses
Kipling’s Rolls Royce. A grassy walk
leads to a picturesque watermill, where
one can buy stoneground flour. The
power comes from the little River
Dudwell, a tributary of the Rother.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable and
nicely varied day out. Many thanks
once again to the Kilsbys for a well-
chosen itinerary, and for their hard
work in organising it all. Mick the
driver was his usual cheery competent
self. We are very grateful to all three.
Bateman’s from the south-west (1913) by E J Poynter (Kipling’s uncle), from the guidebook
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 5
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
Friday 15 May 2009, afternoon meeting. Six present. Rosemary Turner in the chair.
……….Bill Rudd brought along a couple of items from the excavations undertaken in August 1981 at 10 Church
Path, Merton, within the grounds of the former Church House, (once the property of the Tudor merchant
William Lock and his descendants, including Rose Hickman, whose memoirs have been mentioned at recent
workshops). The site had been severely disturbed by a WWII bomb, but a round drain made of bricks was
discovered, together with a brick-built oval well, and the timber foundations of an earlier well. The structural
finds have been deposited at the London Archaeological Archive & Research Centre (LAARC), but Bill
had retained a couple of souvenirs, an apostle spoon and an empty bottle of Dr J Collis Browne’s Chlorodine.
Bill had noted the enquiry about the Aston Banjo Band in Bulletin 169. He often went to their concerts, and
still has their centenary booklet and programme, signed by members of the band. Lesly Trodd recognised
one of the signatures as the son of a friend, who played the banjo. She will ask her friend for more information.
……….Madeline Healey had recently come across her grandmother’s phone book, dating back to the 1950s,
when she lived at Ravensbury. Those were the days when telephone numbers included the first three letters
of the name of the exchange, such as LIBERTY and DERWENT. Many of the long-gone shops are listed,
as well as former staff at Morden Hall, where Madeline’s grandfather had been Mr Hatfeild’s bailiff.
……….Lesly Trodd reminded us that John Innes Park was opened on 31 July 1909 and will be celebrating its
centenary on 1 August this year. The park started with facilities for cricket, hockey, tennis, croquet and two
bowls greens (Lesly is a member of Merton Park Ladies Bowls Club). The present croquet green now
occupies a former bowls green, and the present bowls green is in a part of the park added from the grounds
of the adjoining Merton Cottage. A section of the brick wall that formed the boundary between Merton
Cottage and John Innes’s kitchen garden still survives. The bricks may have been made in Innes’s brickworks,
now Mostyn Gardens.
……….Lionel Green donated to the Society a copy of the 1954 Guide to Surrey, which was passed around for
members to look through (see below).
Lionel then traced the story of some Elizabethan monumental sculptors, which may throw light on the origins
of the Lovell memorial in St Mary’s church, Merton Park (see p9).
……….Cyril Maidment has been looking at more of the
photographs taken by Evelyn Jowett. There are ten
views of the Unigate Dairy, in Kenley Road, Merton
Park, now replaced by housing. Cyril brought along
several views of the Merton Board Mills, which used
to stand on the site now occupied by Sainsbury’s at
Merton Abbey. He wondered if some of these
photographic collections could be reproduced as
further Local History Notes, similar to his recent
study of Merton Rush? Can anyone enlighten Cyril
as to the purpose of the structure shown here?
……….Peter Hopkins had read in a back issue of Current Archaeology a book review of Historic Clapham,
which denounced Merton Priory with gusto, but without foundation (see p16)!
Peter also asked advice in identifying some medieval properties that had stood in what is now Central Road,
Morden. He has traced three clusters of cottages and crofts back to the early 14th century, and hopes he has
correctly identified them with three clusters shown on the 1838 Tithe Apportionment Map (Local History
Notes 13), though he had difficulty matching the boundaries of one property.
……….Rosemary Turner had looked through the Guide to Surrey that Lionel had donated, and spotted a section
relating to the proposals for creating Gatwick Airport. No doubt other interesting items await future readers.
Rosemary had received a family history enquiry about members of the Yaxley family who were calico
printers and who lived in ‘the cottages on the south side of the line between the Rush and the Double Gates’,
according to the 1841 census. The Society has published the 1844 Tithe Apportionment of Merton (Local
History Notes 12), which does not name the Yaxleys, but their home could probably be identified if we can
discover the names of neighbours listed in the census.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 6
Friday 3 July at 2.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum. Six present.
Peter Hopkins had received an email enquiry from someone living in one of 18 ‘wooden’ houses (180-218,
except 208/210) on the Merton side of Bishopsford Road, who was puzzled that, though visible on an aerial
map from1948, they don’t appear on the 1951 OS map. It was suggested that the houses may have been
classified at the time as temporary. There might be information in the council minutes of the period. Bill
Rudd recalled temporary housing at Morden Green
David Haunton had had an email enquiry as to where V1 flying bombs fell in Mitcham. At The National
Archives he found records of 44, only to discover that Sarah Gould at the Heritage & Local Studies Centre
had a map clearly showing 46. So back to TNA … He promises a future article, incorporating anecdotes
from his correspondent. Madeline Healey recalled that in 1946 her grandfather had received just £800, the
value of the land only, as compensation for his Morden house, destroyed by a bomb.
David had also been spending time on the 16th-century inventory of Morden’s grand house of the time,
Growtes, and in the process had discovered the true identities of the fairy and the gnome (an article for a
Judith Goodman had been sent photocopies of interesting transport-related images. Shannon Corner used
to flood quite often, which presented a problem for London United Tramways, whose trams ran through
there en route from Kingston to Wimbledon and beyond. Their trams could not be driven through deep water
in case water entered the traction motors. One photo was of two tramcars coupled, to avoid this problem.
The traction motors were loaded inside the lower deck of the leading car, and the ‘trailer’ carried the
Another picture showed a horse-drawn cart
from Carters Tested Seeds Ltd outside Raynes
She also reported an account in the Annual
Review of the Art Fund of the acquisition by
the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby,
of a watercolour of a Tahiti view, painted by
William Hodges, official artist on Cook’s second
voyage. It was reported that the picture had
been inherited by John Leach Bennett, calico
printer of Merton Abbey, who was Cook’s
widow’s residuary legatee. It then passed down
through the family, until recently sold at
Christie’s. There is much more about Bennett
and Elizabeth Cook in Coal and Calico.
Bill Rudd had brought along a small part of his remarkable archive relating to his project of visiting, by
bicycle, and photographing, all the monastic sites whose names have been given to roads in the St Helier
Estate. Such an undertaking would not have been possible, he said, without the Youth Hostel Association,
which was founded in Germany in 1908 by Richard Schirrmann. Bill showed us photos, postcards and
annual membership cards that record where and when he stayed at hostels over the years.
Peter Hopkins is still attempting to identify the location of properties in medieval Morden, and has been
focusing on the area around the parish church. Although by the 16th century the only building in occupation
in this area was the predecessor to the George Inn, depicted next to the
church on the ‘plott’ or plan of Morden drawn in 1553, there were a
number of crofts here belonging to tenements which had their homesteads
in Lower Morden. Peter has identified seven or eight such crofts, each
of one or two acres, and he wondered whether they had been the sites of
the homes of the eight villein families recorded in the Domesday survey.
By 1225 there were 17 villein holdings, mostly based in Lower Morden. The crofts, which occupied the
frontage of the Epsom road between the present entrance to Morden Park car park and the bridge over the
East Pyl Brook, might have originally been aligned to Stane Street, which crossed the park at this point.
Next workshops: Fridays 16 October and 27 November at 2.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum.
All are welcome.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 7
A DISCOVERY AT GODALMING
As we learned at Godalming Museum, architect Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) and Arts and Crafts garden
designer Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) are important to the area. There are several Lutyens houses not far
away, including Munstead Wood, which he designed for Jekyll. The museum has photocopies of many of
Jekyll’s garden designs – the originals are now housed at an American university. However, when the curator
told us that they had some of her working notebooks in their collection, I though it worth asking whether there
was anything relating to the garden at 29 Mostyn Road, Merton Park.
It is not certain how it came about that this house, Greystones, designed in 1913 by Merton Park architect J
Sydney Brocklesby, for his friend, Mitcham paint manufacturer George Hugh Hadfield, was graced with a
Jekyll-designed garden, but Brocklesby certainly knew Jekyll, and is known to have visited her at Munstead
In any case, curator Alison Pattison, after consulting her computer, was able to tell us that they had indeed a
notebook with details of the plants Gertrude Jekyll had chosen and purchased for Mr Hadfield’s garden. It was
exciting to see the lists of plants, with quantities and prices, in Jekyll’s own handwriting. There are seven pages
altogether, in one of her standard small notebooks, and they itemise, as we would expect from Jekyll, plants
mainly in the cottage garden tradition.
The first two pages of Gertrude Jekyll’s planting notes for 29 Mostyn Road, Merton Park,
reproduced by kind permission of Godalming Museum
For a new booklet he is writing, Clive Whichelow is looking for information, memories or pictures of Wimbledon
pubs (not the village, just the town). Please contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org or at 4 Charnwood
Avenue SW19 3EJ.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 8
LIONEL GREEN takes a look (with Merton in mind) at
LIONEL GREEN takes a look (with Merton in mind) at
Protestant countries of Germany and the Netherlands.
William Cure (d.1579) arrived in 1541, and Geraert Janssen (d.1612) in 1567. Both came from Amsterdam, and
they introduced a new style of furnishings and church tombs. Janssen became known as ‘the Hollander’, and
soon changed his name to Garret, and then Gerard, Johnson. He married an English woman, and lived in
Southwark, near the Globe theatre, in the parish of St Thomas the Apostle. The Cure and Janssen families both
established monumental yards in Southwark. This was because they were not members of the Guild of Masons
and so could not work in the City.
They brought in new materials, as well as designs, but continued to use some traditional stone, such as that from
Caen (a limestone), and alabaster (gypsum) from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. New stone included marble
from Sienna, black marble, called ‘touchstone’, and a red stone known as ‘rance’. Purbeck ‘marble’ was now
out of fashion. They freely used gilding and colour on architectural features.
The Gothic style of monument had given way to wreaths, often encircling sculptured scenes. Effigies of husband
and wife were contained within semi-circular arches. By placing them kneeling opposite one another, often
flanking a prayer-desk, they are depicted in a symmetrical and pleasing way, and the dress of the time suited
this. Costumes give an invaluable record of an interesting period of English history, although the fashion for
wearing a ruff was brief, and at its height from 1570 to 1580.
The effigies are flanked by Corinthian columns which support an entablature decorated with matching marble
segments. The panels in the plinth below the columns are usually in green-veined serpentine. Between the
plinths are small kneeling figures of their children, which give a human touch to the monument.
The principal coat of arms is surmounted with an arabesque design. The inscription tablet below is on a dark
crystalline limestone imported from Belgium, which polishes well. This style became the typical English monument
for 70 years. In the 1590s Gerard Johnson was offering ‘exact portraitures’ of the dead.
We are familiar with the example of the monument of Gregory Lovell (1522-1597) in the parish church of St
Mary, Merton. There is a similar monument in the cathedral church of St Nicholas, Newcastle. This is to
William Hall (1568-1631), who was mayor of Newcastle in 1624. Mrs K Esdaile (d.1950), an expert on this
style, felt that this monument was designed by Nicholas Johnson, son of Gerard.1 It was not erected until after
1633, and hence is much later than the monument in Merton church. Could ours have been designed by Gerard?
It is certainly a very early example of the style.
1. H L Hicks in Archaeologia
Aeliana 4 ser.16 (1939)
‘Renaissance monuments in
the Cathedral Church …’
left: The Lovell Monument
in Merton Church
right: The Hall Monument
in Newcastle Cathedral
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 9
DAVID HAUNTON concludes his tale of Merton’s racing motorist with:
DAVID HAUNTON concludes his tale of Merton’s racing motorist with:
It’s a clue, isn’t it ? But is it a blatant one ?
I wonder if there was any connection between Lancelot ‘Lance’ Palmer of Palmer’s Garage, Tooting, established
1904, and Arthur Palmer of Palmer’s Confectioners, Merton, established 1910. Was Lancelot a cousin, and
did he provide the initial finance for 14 Merton Park Parade ? The two businesses were situated less than two
miles apart along a main road. Lancelot was born in 1884, to George James Palmer, master builder. In 1920 his
business occupied nos.183-199 Tooting High Street, but by 1928 his premises were reduced to nos.191-195
where he ran a ‘motor spirit service station’ until at least 1934.1 Lancelot lived at 190 Mellison Road, Tooting,
from at least 1911 until 1934, initially with his father George and mother Caroline, eventually alone.
In later life Jean Reville claimed much that was untrue about the part he played in the
beginnings of midget car speedway – the most important part of his life, where he had
a genuine claim to fame – expanding his role to the extent that one could say he was
recalling a fantasy life of his own imagination.
Perhaps he was shocked that, after two years of prominence, from being a very big
fish in the small English pond (he was British champion in 1935) he became just
another driver in the increasingly well-organised and technically advanced Australian
midget car racing scene. Though, as Derek Bridgett remarks, ‘One often finds that
ex-speedway riders exaggerate and get faster and better with age!’2
Jean Reville (WimbledonBoro’ News 4 May 1934)
Among the things Jean Reville claimed in the 1960s were:
He was not born in Britain. This fantasy trades on his adopted name, and started early – he is already
‘Eric Jean Reville’ when getting married in May 1928, while in the official programme for Easter Monday
1935, he is listed as ‘of France’. He may have visited or even raced in France or Belgium – a newspaper
report mentions his ‘big continental reputation’,3 though I have found no evidence yet in French racing
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 10
His mother died when he was young, and his father re-married. This tale seems to have adapted elements
of his wife Daisy’s family history, not his own. His parents were still alive, together in Puckeridge, in 1928,
having then been married 35 years, whereas Daisy’s immediate family seems to have disappeared by the
time she was 12.
He had raced at Brooklands race track and had a workshop and driving school there. Alas, Brooklands
Museum can reveal no trace of Palmer or Reville among the recorded renters of lock-up shops there
(though the records are incomplete), and the curator has never heard of midget cars racing on the circuit.
Perhaps this hints at acquaintance with Lancelot Palmer (‘aeroplane engineer’ in his 1920 advert) who
may well have had dealings with aircraft firms at Brooklands airfield in 1914-1918.
He introduced midget car racing to England in 1932. The date more probably marks his entry to dirt-track
racing, well before midgets.
He entered 354 races (and won 300). This might just be true – if we count four seasons (1932-1935) of
racing in all types of cars. It allows about 90 races a year, about four or five per week over a 20-week
season. The curiously exact ‘354’ smacks of private log-books, (with an eye on future publicity ?), while
‘300’ might imply he had only the most recent one to consult (and exaggerate).
He built a vastly improved Flying Gnat in summer 1935, which was not one of the three Gnats he took to
Australia, ‘through a shipping mix-up’. There was no mention of the name in the contemporary press,
though The Light Car did report his plan for a car with two 500cc engines in May 1935. Fellow driver
Ralph Secretan confirmed that Reville’s mechanic Ted Andrews ‘laid out and built the first four-wheel
drive [midget]’ but this ‘never actually competed’.4 I presume that had such a car been built, Reville
would have advertised it widely in publicity photographs. Possibly the Flying Gnat was this new version,
under construction, and Reville later convinced himself that it had been completed.
The firm had a secret test track ‘up at Furneau, north of London’. This is presumably Furneaux Pelham,
a few miles up the Great North Road from Ralph Secretan’s home in Gloucester Place near Regent’s
Park. However, the local pronunciation is ‘Furnix’, not ‘Furnow’, Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies
have no record of a track there, and enquiry to the very active Stevenage and District Motor Cycle Club
produced a deafening silence. Presumably Jean knew Furneaux Pelham from his youth, as it is only four
miles from Puckeridge, where he was born. He may also have known the Rye House Stadium in Hoddesdon,
Hertfordshire, which opened in 1934 for speedway training.
All Palmer-Reville business records and experimental machines were destroyed by a bomb during the
War. This is my specialist subject, and I cannot find any bomb near enough to be responsible. This claim
may have been inspired by the fact that such a disaster did befall the Skirrow family, who built excellent
midget racers in England 1935-1939.
Jean later recalled his ‘brilliant mechanic Edouard Specq’, but there is no mention of the name other than
in Reville’s notes, written 30 years after the events. I suggest this is Ted (ie. Edward) Andrews in
disguise: the mechanic who polished every speck of dust from the racing cars was dubbed ‘Ted the
Speck’, and this got playfully Frenchified into ‘Edouard Specq’.
(10) Jean set up a company with Sir Henry Buckland to manufacture and promote midget racing cars.
1930s Sir Henry was the moving spirit and General Manager of the Crystal Palace complex, so of course
Jean Reville had dealings with him when setting up his 1934 meetings. Would such a shrewd businessman
have backed a small firm like Palmer-Reville without any real resources ?
There is also an Internet rumour (11) that Reville went to the United States in 1928, and started the midget car
racing scene in Sacramento in 1933. This must be false, as emigration sailing records show that Jean (or Eric)
Reville (or Revell) did not leave England by sea in the period 1925 to 1934, and it is most unlikely that he had the
money to leave by air.
My thanks to the enthusiastic and indefatigable volunteers who staff the Epsom and Ewell Local and Family
History Centre at Bourne Hall in Ewell, to Derek Bridgett, author of Midget Car Speedway (Tempus, 2006)
for yet more information, to Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, to Surrey History Centre, and of course
to John Williams, midget-hunter extraordinaire.
1 When Wandsworth Library’s holding of local directories runs out.
2 Letter to author 5 March 2009
3 News Chronicle 12 May 1934
4 R E P Secretan ‘Midget Racing in England’ National Auto Racing News 24 Feb 1938 [An American weekly; now National Speed Sport News.]
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 11
BEA OLIVER pays tribute to
MORDEN WOMEN’S INSTITUTE – CELEBRATING 90 YEARS
BEA OLIVER pays tribute to
MORDEN WOMEN’S INSTITUTE – CELEBRATING 90 YEARS
The following is a history of our WI written by a past president in about the
1980s. I think it gives a good idea of the background of our 90 years.
“In 1897 the first Women’s Institute was formed at Stoney Creek, Ontario,
and in 1915 the first Women’s Institute was opened in September in Anglesey,
“When the Morden Women’s Institute was founded in 1919, Morden was a small rural village, consisting of the
17th-century parish church, the parish hall, an inn, a number of cottages and a few larger houses and, until the
present century, Morden Park was the centre of the tiny village.
“Morden Park House, set in 185 acres of parkland, was owned by Mr Hatfeild, who had already acquired from
the Garth family, Morden Hall as a permanent residence for himself and his family. Following a strike in 1922 at
his snuff mills and factory, he closed them down and then took an increasing interest in public work, and he
organised outings and parties for the village children.
“After a four-year war there were many hardships in the village and as there were no radios, televisions, and
very little transport, there were few ways in which they could improve their lives. There were the feasts, treats
and sports days in the park for the children, and when the Royal procession passed through the village on its
way to the races everyone turned out to cheer.
“It was also in 1919 that the Lines brothers bought a 20-acre site and established the Triang toys and Meccano
factory, which was the beginning of the modern industrial estate. More work was available for the village
people and then major changes began to take place. When the underground was extended to Morden in 1926,
which was the year of the general strike, there were dramatic changes. Land and property developers moved
into the district, and only after compulsory purchase orders by the London County Council, were the Hatfeild
estates broken up to enable the St Helier Housing Estate to be built. It was then that Morden lost its village
“When Mr Hatfeild died in 1940 he left the whole of his estate to the National Trust. Within two years the Trust
had let most of the buildings including the Hall, but some of the grounds were retained as public parks. More
space was needed and in 1945 the Urban District Council acquired on favourable terms the 185-acre Morden
Park Estate. Eighty acres were sold to the LCC for school playing fields and there were 15 acres for civic
developments which provided a large swimming pool, a children’s playground and the recently completed
buildings of the Merton Technical College.
“It was in 1919, while Morden was still a rural village, and as developments were
just beginning, that the Morden Women’s Institute was founded by Miss Bailey,
who was the President for nine years. There were 29 Institutes in the Surrey
County, and Morden is the oldest institute in the North Heathlands Group.
“In the small village, the number of members varied between 40 to 58, but there
was also a separate junior branch. At first the meetings were held fortnightly, but
as the numbers dwindled, the juniors united with the older members, and the
meetings were held monthly.
“The subscription was two shillings for the year, but as this caused hardship to
some members, they were allowed to pay it in two instalments. Children over
five years old could attend the meetings but had to pay a visitor’s fee of two
“When meetings were held in the Parish Hall, two and sixpence was paid for the use of the hall, but when the
meetings were occasionally held in the men’s club in London Road only two shillings was charged for the use
of the club room. During the summer months, the meetings were held out in the open in the garden of Miss
Bailey, the founder.
Cutting the cake 2009
Miss Bailey, founder ofMorden’s WI
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 12
“In the early months tea was free, two shillings was taken out of the funds to pay the expenses, but later a
charge of two pence was made for a cup of tea and a bun. To increase their funds, members were asked to
contribute a cup and saucer, and when they had a sufficient number, they hired them out at a charge of sixpence
a dozen. All breakages had to be paid for. Three trays at eight pence each were brought so that tea could be
taken to the members, and these were paid out of the funds.
“On the marriage of a member or the birth of a child, each member contributed two pence towards a present.
Monthly contributions were paid towards a charabanc outing in the summer to Brighton, Bognor, Hastings or
the Guildford Agricultural show, one of these outings cost three shillings and ten pence, and that included a
gratuity for the driver. Each year in August, the members held a children’s day in the park. Races and competitions
were held, and prizes were given and a very good tea was provided. The members were entertained by the
children who danced round the Maypole.
“In 1923 the members decided to start a fund with a view to purchase a building
in which to hold their meetings. Money was put away each month from various
fundraising activities, but unfortunately as some of the records are missing we
shall never know why we have not got a hall of our own.
“The following year, 1924, it was suggested that a banner for the Institute should be
made as a co-operative effort. The style and subject matter for the proposed banner
was under discussion for some years before they came to a decision. An old barn,
over 200 years old, in the grounds of the home of Miss Bailey, the founder of the
Morden WI was suggested. When a picture of the barn appeared in the paper, Mr
Hatfeild, who took an interest in all the village activities, did not think it was suitable,
and eventually the barn at Peacock farm was chosen as the centrepiece.
“Mrs Brooks and Mrs Flint went all the way to Goodge Street in London to
purchase the silks to embroider the banner, and the cost was four pounds four
shillings and six pence.
“Advice and help with the design was given by the Royal School of Needlework. The Banner was completed
in 1931 under the leadership of Mrs Flint and all the members were involved in the embroidering and the
completion of the Morden Women’s Institute Banner.
“Some of the skills of past and present members of this Institute can be seen if you examine the cloth which
adorns the Presidents table at each monthly meeting. Hours of time and thought were given to the designing,
embroidering and making of this treasured cloth which is always admired by visitors, and for which there is no
history in the record books.
“From its beginning, the Institute gave to its members the opportunity to work together to improve the quality of
rural life, and with talks and demonstrations to provide a wide variety of leisure and educational activities.
“Talks were given on Domestic Economy and Hygiene in the home. First Aid was discussed and demonstrated by
a local doctor and nurse, and a demonstration of Poultice making was given. With rabbits plentiful in the country,
they enjoyed learning how to skin them, how to cure the skins and how to make warm gloves for the winter.
“Classes were held to teach how to renovate doormats, how to re-cane chairs, how to re-foot socks and how
to re-cover sun shades.
“Discussions were very popular and the subjects were very varied. There was one on Marriage and Divorce,
another on “Our elder girls”, but the most popular ones were on “How to keep well”, and the “care of gardens,
plants and window boxes”.
“Classes were well attended and they covered cookery, rug making, embroidery, lace making, glove making,
dressmaking, and upholstery.
“Competitions were varied. For the “Best Darn” there was a record number of entries. Crochet and knitted
articles always had many entries, but for the best-laundered tablecloth and, on another occasion, the best
trimmed hat or bonnet there was an overwhelming response. Almost every member entered for the “home
made gift for Xmas” competition, but few entered for the best dyed faded article competition.
“On occasions the members entertained themselves by reciting, by singing or dancing to the gramophone. Once
when the speaker was unable to attend, a member brought a jazz band and they danced and sang.
“There was always a good produce table at each meeting, which helped to swell the funds, and when they held
whist drives and dances, their husbands and friends were invited. The community life was improved, and
opportunities at their Institute meeting to learn and improve their own skills and talents were appreciated.”
Morden WI banner
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 13
CYRIL MAIDMENT has discovered more photographs of
THE WALL OF MERTON PRIORY
CYRIL MAIDMENT has discovered more photographs of
THE WALL OF MERTON PRIORY
The map shows where she
stood to take the photographs.
Fortunately there is a good
selection of photographs of
the wall, and many can be
seen in Lionel Green’s book
A Priory Revealed pp 62-63.
Most of these sections no
The two that are still with us
are in Station Road, and on the
west bank of the Pickle on
National Trust land that can be
viewed, in the shrubbery, from
the Priory Retail Park (Currys
and PC World). It is this
section that Evelyn Jowett
photographed, and a modern
view, 2007, is included
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 14
Photograph of the wall of Merton
Priory taken in 2007, same section
as 3 but from the other side
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 15
PETER HOPKINS comes to the defence of
THE ‘GRASPING’ MERTON PRIORY
PETER HOPKINS comes to the defence of
THE ‘GRASPING’ MERTON PRIORY
Green’s book, HISTORIC CLAPHAM in volume 219 (June 2008). The reviewer writes:’
In around 1190 the advowson [of Clapham church] fell to the grasping Merton Abbey, who milked it for all it
was worth – the monks of Merton Abbey grew fat and their sins have now found them out when the archaeologists
reported that their skeletons suffered from DISH – a skeletal deformity caused by over eating. Following the
martyrdom of Thomas Becket, the monks succeeded in diverting the new pilgrim route so that it ran past their
church; but they took the profits and neglected the church, so that in the 18th century it had to be pulled down
and a new church built.’
I requested a copy from Morden Library, through the excellent Inter-Library Loan system, and was delighted to
discover that they had bought a copy for the library. The words are the reviewer’s, but the sentiment is clearly
shared with the author. He goes on to say that the priors of Merton were absentee rectors of Clapham, appropriating
the tithes and appointing vicars, most of whom were inadequate for the job.
But the facts do not support such an indictment. Although Merton priory was not averse to exploiting all their
properties, including the churches that had been appropriated to them, this was not the case in Clapham, where
their right of advowson merely entitled them to appoint the parish priest, from whom they took a pension of £1
a year, equivalent to about a tenth of his income from tithes and other sources. The canons did not receive the
tithes, they were not responsible for the upkeep of the building, and they did not appoint vicars – Clapham
remains a rectory to the present day.
I was embarrassed to see that I had been quoted as a source for information in an earlier chapter, so wrote to
the author, pointing out his error. He replied that, although there was no explicitevidence that Merton appropriated
the tithes, he felt there was sufficient implicit evidence to support his case! As there is explicit evidence for all
the churches that Merton priory did appropriate, this seems a poor argument, especially as there is plenty of
explicit evidence that Clapham church was never appropriated by Merton or any other religious house.
BOOK REVIEW – TUDOR ROSE
Our President, Lionel Green, has told us in the past about Rose Hickman, daughter of wealthy Tudor merchant
William Lock, who wrote her memoirs in 1610, at the age of 85. Though based in London, the family held a
number of properties in Merton, and Rose spent part of her childhood here to escape the plague. The main part
of these memoirs were published in May 1982 in the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, and
Lionel summarised them in his series of articles on the Lock family in our own Bulletin between September
1996 and March 1998 (119, 121, 123, 123).
Now novelist Sue Allan, who also spent her childhood in Merton, has based her
latest novel on Rose’s story, as recounted in her memoirs and other contemporary
documents, albeit with the novelist’s privilege of filling in the ‘missing threads’
from her own imagination. In Tudor Rose, Sue tells a fascinating story of a family
secretly reading banned Protestant literature during the reign of Henry VIII, facing
imprisonment for sheltering fellow-believers during Mary’s persecutions, later joining
other Protestants in exile on the Continent, and then, in Elizabeth’s reign, struggling
to maintain their Puritan beliefs against the demands of the established church.
Sue has also published a companion volume to her novel, Lady Rose Hickman –
Her Life and Family, recounting the facts on which the novel is based, which is
delightfully illustrated by portraits of Rose and her family, mostly at Gainsborough
Old Hall in Lincolnshire, where Rose spend the last 17 years of her life.
Tudor Rose (ISBN 978 1 906070 09 0) costs £9.98 including postage, and Lady
Rose Hickman (ISBN 978 1 906070 10 6) £11.49, both from Domtom Publishing,
Edward House, Marchants Way, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 8QY.
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.
website: www.mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk email: email@example.comPrinted by Peter Hopkins
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 171 – SEPTEMBER 2009 – PAGE 16