September 2018 – Bulletin 207
Betty Beal, Some Documents – David Haunton
Windsor Floors Ltd – Neil Hepple
The East Window at St Lawrence Church, Morden – Peter Hopkins
and much more
BULLETIN No. 207 SEPTEMBER 2018
The White House, Motspur Park. Anyone we know? (see p.12)
Programme September 2018 – January 2019 2
‘Merton’s VCs’ 3
The Wandle Mills Walk (Part 2) 4
Visit to Ham House 5
Local History Workshops:
1 June: Pitter Gauge firm; development of the Canons; Liberty print workers; Vestry Hall;
Surrey schools; John Gent postcards; Merton Park professionals; Mitcham Grove finds
13 July: MR stone; Gilbert translation; Mitcham mortgages; Havelock Ellis; Copperfield’s closes
Merton Heritage Discovery Day – 12 May 2018 9
In Memoriam: Sheila Gallagher and Alan Crocker 9
An enquiry we may not have helped 9
Betty Beal, Some Documents – David Haunton
What did I find in my garden?
Help Wanted (3): Windsor Floors Ltd 14
The East Window at St Lawrence Church, Morden – Peter Hopkins
PROGRAMME SEPTEMBER 2018 – JANUARY 2019
Saturday 13 October 2018 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, Merton
‘Update on the Chapter House’
An illustrated talk by John Hawks
Please note the change to our advertised programme
Saturday 10 November 2018 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, Merton
AGM followed by
‘The History of Ely’s Store’
An illustrated talk by Michael Norman Smith
Saturday 8 December 2018 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, Merton
An illustrated talk by Dr Chris Abbott
Saturday 12 January 2019 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, Merton
Members’ Meeting – short talks by several members
Note also our Local History Workshops at Wandle Industrial Museum, London Road
2.30pm on Fridays 19 October, 30 November. All Members are welcome
St James’ Church Hall is in
Martin Way, next to the church
(officially in Beaford Grove).
Buses 164 and 413 stop in
Martin Way (in both directions)
The church has a tiny car
park, but parking in adjacent
streets is free.
Visitors are welcome to attend our talks. Entry £2.
A membership renewal form is included with this Bulletin. Only paid-up members may vote at the AGM.
From 1 October 2018 rates are:
Single membership £12 Additional member of same household £5
Full-time student £5 Overseas members £15
If you already pay by Standing Order, please ignore this reminder.
The AGM agenda is also enclosed.
MHS is bound by the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Please see the MHS website
regarding how this concerns your personal data.
TALKS FOR JANUARY
Members are invited to contribute short presentations (10-20 minutes) on a local history subject to the meeting
on 12 January. Talks can be with or without slides, and don’t need to be full of facts – personal interest and
enthusiasm are just as valuable. If you have something to offer, but aren’t sure how to go about it, please get
in touch with Bea Oliver or Keith Penny. If you don’t feel up to speaking in person, you can provide the script
and ask someone else to talk for you. We should like to publish the list of talks in advance, so that members
can see the titles in the December issue of the Bulletin.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 2
Asmallish turnout on a Spring day listened to Sarah Gould deliver a plentifully illustrated talk on the history of
the Victoria Cross and on the lives (and often the deaths) of those men with Merton connections who have been
awarded this highest award by the British Crown for valour. Sarah explained that much of the research had been
done in connection with the Heritage Service’s project Carved in Stone. The demand for a medal came out of
William Russell’s reporting of the Crimean War. The design and production was entrusted to the firm of Charles
Hancock, jewellers to the Crown, and Queen Victoria both took an active interest in the design and chose the
inscription ‘For Valour’. Since 1856 up to the present day some 1,355 medals have been produced, using metal
from captured Russian and, later, Chinese guns. King Edward VII began the awarding of posthumous medals
in 1902, and thus 411 crosses were awarded during the Great War of 1914-8.
Of the total number, Sarah had found fifteen men with Merton connections of birth, residence or burial. The
earliest was Philip Salkeld, who attended the Army college in Edge Hill, Wimbledon, and won his medal in
1857 during an assault on the Kashmir Gate, Delhi, during the Indian Mutiny. Fenton Aylmer, a product of
Woolwich Royal Military Academy, saved the life of a soldier while engaged in bridge construction in 1886-7 in
the Black Mountains of India (now in Bhutan). Later he lived in Wimbledon and died following a road accident
in 1935. African colonial wars accounted for medals to Mark Bell, in charge of a working party in the Ashanti
war of 1874, and Henry Lysons (a grandson of the topographical writer), born at Morden Lodge and fighting in
the Zulu wars in 1879, after education at Wellington and Sandhurst. Gustavus Coulson lived in Denmark Hill,
Wimbledon, and rescued a comrade from enemy fire in the South African wars.
In the First World War Maurice Dease, another product of the college in Wimbledon, was an early casualty
at Mons; Gerald O’Sullivan lived for some time in Wimbledon and was killed at Gallipoli; Lt Col Henry
Greenwood gained his VC at Ovillers in 1918 and survived to live years later in Wimbledon. Several of Sarah’s
illustrations were from coloured cigarette cards – series were produced of gallant soldiers, who increasingly
included Other Ranks (Douglas Belcher) and officers who had risen from the ranks (William Boulter, George
Cates and William White). The only naval award was to Arthur Harrison, a rugby player of high standard from
Durham Road, Wimbledon; he died in action during the raid on Zeebrugge in 1918.
Two RAF pilots earned the award in World War II, Ian Bazalgette (a relative of the Victorian civil engineer)
over France and one, Arthur Scarf, in a hopeless fightback against the Japanese in Malaya.
Several of these men are commemorated in the borough
today, George Cates by a memorial plaque at the
Parkside memorial (and the market gardener’s son,
William White, will be honoured in Mitcham later this
year) and John (‘Jack’) Dimmer by a plaque inside
in Longthornton. The Chairman had admitted in his
introduction to the talk to some disgruntlement when
local suggestions for road names on the estate were all
ignored and this unknown name appeared. Jack Dimmer
(right) lived at various addresses in Wimbledon and
attended Rutlish School, where he acquired skills that
were useful later on, as well as a liking for the Cadet
Corps. He too rose from the ranks, a rare thing in his
regiment (the King’s Royal Rifle Corps), and resistance
to such a thing had to be overruled by Lord Haldane.
The details of his Army careercan be read in full on the
Carved in Stone website:hewon his VCatFirstYpres in
1914 and went on to fly aircraft in Salonika. He modestly
declined the offer of the Freedom of Wimbledon, and,
while convalescing at Southend, he deterred residents
angry after a
Zeppelin raid from
Sarah read out many of the citations, which led several of those present to a sombre recollection of their own
good fortune, as well as an admiration for young men who did extraordinary things.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 3
THE WANDLE MILLS WALK (PART 2)
On Thursday 7 May, Mick Taylor met a group of ten members and visitors by the entrance to the Watermeads
in London Road, for a continuation of last year’s Wandle mills walk. As we viewed the sites of mills, Mick
showed us pictures of the mills as they had been, which was very helpful, especially when there was nothing
visible remaining on the site.
Only 25 yards from the London Road bridge were the sites of Richard Glover’s snuff mill and paper mill, built
in the 1780s. Called ‘the deserted mill’in On the Wandle (1889), the snuff mill building, closed after Richard
Glover’s bankruptcy in 1846, survived to 1924, whilst the paper mill closed at an unknown date, though it is
recalled by the ‘Paper Mill Cut’within the Watermeads. Mick explained that making cuts to supply water to
mills, and thereby effectively
widening the river, often led to disputes or litigation, because of the decreased
flow for other river users.
Beyond the Tooting and Mitcham Football Ground, on the opposite bank, had lain the Willow Calico Works,
established around 1593/4. It remained a print works until the 1870s when it was taken over and turned into a
pig and watercress farm. The bleaching channels from the calico works were utilised to grow the watercress. On
the way towards Mill Green were two leather mills that discharged foul waste into the river. One, the Deeds mill,
began as a logwood mill. New housing overlooks the site of the Beddington Corner Calico Works, gone by 1871.
The walk entered a small industrial estate where, to the slight
bemusement of workers there, Mick showed us the mill house called
‘Riverside’, of early- to mid-19th-century date and listed Grade II.
(detail, right) At Goat Bridge there had been three mills, for corn,
dyes (later drugs) and leather, onefromas early as 1644. Two channels
formed Culvers Island, on which stood The Culvers, a calico works
from the early 1700s until the 1840s, first established by an unknown
whitster (bleacher) and mostly leased by the Reynolds family. Aleather
mill from 1894, it closed in 1927 and was taken over by the Mullard
Radio Valve Company until 1994, when the present housing estate
was built. From Culvers Avenue to Hackbridge Road was the largest
bleaching field along the river, around 50 acres (20 hectares).
After seeing the confluence of the Croydon and Carshalton sources of the river Wandle, we passed Shepley
Mill, named after the owner from 1819; one of the mill buildings still remains and can be seen in Killburns Mill
Close, off London Road. After the entrance to Wilderness Island, managed by London Wildlife Trust, we saw
Strawberry Lodge, constructed in 1685, and one of Carshalton’s oldest buildings. The owner, Josias Dewye,
produced gunpowder, reputedly of poor quality, at Hackbridge. At Butter Hill there used to be a cloth mill and
a calico printing works, and on the west bank south of Butter Hill bridge from 1782 there was a snuff mill,
though later it processed madder (for dyeing) and parchment. Still standing, it is probably the oldest industrial
building in Carshalton. Not so fortunate was the Lower Mill, demolished in 1995; it ended up with an internal
waterwheel yet retained its external wheel. The paper mill building lasted until 1991.
recreation ground is the
(detail, right), for which in 1780 John Smeaton
designed new wheels – two low breast-shot ones,
and two overshot wheels of his own invention.
Mick pointed out the mill pond, an essential part in
the management of the flow of water to the wheel,
From the Italianate Leoni Bridge we saw the last
mill site, in the High Street at Carshalton, the site
now occupied by the Coach and Horses pub. After
a group photograph several participants adjourned
to Honeywood for refreshments, after a walk full of
reflections on the past and present of the Wandle,
not least the quality and quantity of the water; today’s clarity contrasted with the refuse from leather-making
processes, and Mick suggested that modern water companies extracted so much water upstream that the river
no longer had the force that once enabled it to be such an industrial powerhouse.
For more information, see Peter McGow’snoteson the Wandle Industrial Museum website, http://www.wandle.
org/mills/millsindex.html. Keith Penny & Mick Taylor, photos David Luff
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 4
VISIT TO HAM HOUSE
On Wednesday 18 July, our own Charlotte Morrison conducted a party round this interesting residence. Built
1608-1610 (a date announced by widely spaced figures on the front door) by naval captain Thomas Vavasour,
it is formal, symmetrical and a typically Jacobean H-shaped design. Modified inside in the 1630s in the latest
French style by William Murray and extended in the 1670s by Murray’s daughter Elizabeth and her second
husband, the politician John Maitland, Earl of Lauderdale, it has remained remarkably untouched since. The
property is now in the care of the National Trust, with whom Charlotte is a volunteer guide.
started in front of the formal entrance on the north side, facing the Thames. The front of the
house and the curved side walls to the forecourt feature many niches, within which are lead busts of a fine
series of ‘noble Romans'(incongruously incorporating both Charles I and Charles II), originally painted white.
The original stone mullions were replaced in the 1740s by the much more fashionable sash windows, while
the brick front wall was replaced by railings, to display the full façade. (The large Coade Stone statue of Old
Father Thames was added during the early nineteenth century.)
On the east side of the house, Charlotte pointed out the contrast between the materials and techniques used for
the 1672 extensions (fine Portland stone, brickwork in Flemish bond) and the original construction (Reigate
stone, English bond). We admired the beautiful south front, with its mid-section raised to three storeys and
incorporating the first-floor Queen’s Apartments (built in the hope of a visit by Queen Catherine of Braganza
– but she never came) and the two-storey outer extensions. The whole scheme cost the equivalent of about £10
By contrast, the west side was the service side with a small(but busy at the time) courtyard, with dairy, bakery,
brewery, laundry, ice-house and a very long orangery within easy reach, and the stables some distance away.
The still-room is unusual, being inside the house, and featuring a tiled floor, presumably because a lady of the
house herself took an interest in the distillation of medicinal and flavouring herbs.
In the basement were the servants’quarters and the vaulted beer cellar; but how the barrels got in is a mystery,
as the existing doorways are too narrow and there is no sign of a slope in. The kitchen has a huge table (5 two-
inch thick planks, 24 feet long) which must have been constructed within the room as the house was built. Real
carpentry! Most unusually for the 17th century, there was a bathroom, with a Dutch bath, used by Elizabeth
Lauderdale, now containing a reproduction bath (circular, vertical wooden sides, three feet high), and next door
was a room with a day-bed upon which she could recover after the exhausting business of bathing.
Moving to the formal rooms upstairs, the Great Hall lies immediately behind the front door, with statues of
William Murray and his wife. At one end, they built a large and showy spiral staircase ornamented with much
carving and large candle-holders on the newel posts, leading towards the State Apartment, and into the Round
Gallery of the Great Hall, converted from a room. The central space of the original floor was removed, leaving
an area around which guests could circulate, and allowing much more light into the lower part of the Hall.
The house was built as a show-piece, to display the fortune and taste of the owners, and as such has many
rooms with similar decoration, which I found difficult to distinguish from each other. The decoration is mostly
composed of ornate heavy mouldings and gilding, and wooden panelling which has darkened with age, perhaps
giving a gloomier view nowadays than originally. Ceilings usually feature some moulding, but the rooms most
designed to impress are lightened by ceiling paintings by Italian artists such as Verrio.
The astonishing range and number of objects accumulated by the Murrays and Lauderdales include many
tapestries and a considerable
library of books. The Long Gallery holds several Chinese lacquered cabinets,
which were intended to be placed on the floor of Chinese houses, but are here displayed on heavy 17th-century
stands. The Music Room features a large contemporary (ie. 17th-century) Indian carpet, still showing its bright
colours. The Duchess’s Private Closet is much more domestic, though of course the tea-pot and cups were
then in the latest style. Large paintings are everywhere, many being portraits by Peter Lely (the Duchess was a
patron). Interestingly, the range of ground-floor rooms on the south side of the house was originally allocated
between one suite for the Duchess (on the east) and one for the Duke (on the west), but at some point the two
swapped bedrooms, while retaining the others in their own suite. An indication of most friendly terms between
husband and wife?
But this was still a life lived in public – everywhere there are ‘jib-doors'(disguised and flush with the wall,
giving onto separate passages for access by servants), so privacy was by no means assured. However, you
could always admire the extensive formal gardens on three sides of the house (themselves well worth a visit).
At the end of our tour, Charlotte was roundly thanked, with applause, for a most knowledgeable and entertaining
introduction to Ham House.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 5
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOP
Friday 1 June 2018 – seven present, Peter Hopkins in the chair.
. Norma Cox had tried to trace something of the Pitter Gauge and Precision Tool Co, of which George
Blay had been Managing Director. The firm was making slip gauges in 1914, at a factory in Woolwich;
other premises were in Leatherhead, but no further details
seem to be available in books such as Glenys
Crocker’s Surrey’s Industrial Past and Peter Tarplee’s A
Guide to the Industrial History of the Mole Valley
District. Furthermore, Leatherhead Museum and the Proceedings of the Leatherhead and District LHS had
no information. When Norma visited the site, called King’s Court, it did seem to be an industrial area, rather
than offices, but she wonders if any secrecy had to do with wartime contracts.
She has written a paper on Wimbledon village pharmacies in the Victorian age. This has been expanded and
information about trade directories added by Dr Stuart Anderson, co-author, which may be read on http://
Norma was troubled that her full name and private address was printed in another publication; we suggested
that in future she gives an affiliation such as ‘c/o Merton Historical Society’at the Bulletin editor’s address,
which is in the public domain.
. We welcomed Hannah Shimko, Public Engagement Officer for the HLF development of The Canons
(building and area), who discussed with us the current proposals, both physical and for future use, and was
assured of MHS assistance on historical points (and proof-reading!) once she has ‘read all the literature
on The Canons’
(ie. mostly Mitcham Histories), which she thought ‘may well take her some time’. An
archaeological dig on the lawn, to look for pre-Canons buildings, is scheduled for August, and Hannah will
keep us updated on progress. She noted two serious Health and Safety points on disabled access, raised by
David Luff, that the architects may not have considered.
. David Luff has been attempting to trace the names of his former work colleagues at the Liberty print works
in Merton Abbey for his forthcoming book Design to Dress, as his memory after some forty-plus years cannot
be relied on. Fortunately David does have documents for the works in his possession, including a TGWU
minute book, which has a complete list of every one working there on 11 December 1975, due to a union /
management meeting on that day. Other sources include a TGWU members’payments book and the names
recorded on photographs taken at the time. David instancedfrom the minutes book problems over the equal
pay and safety Acts when these became law in the early 1970s; he also mentioned a very serious event that
occurred in October 1975 where he suspects there may have been some form of a cover-up (more details of
this in a much later book). He also confirmed that back then TGWU members were actually referred to as
brothers and sisters. Times have changed.
. Keith Penny had been examining the Minute Book of the 1890s of Mitcham Parish Church. Entries showed
that the present Vestry Hall was an afterthought; the initial proposal in 1880 was for a one-storey building,
to contain a hall, muniment closet (for the safe storage of documents) and fire engine room. Funds were
available from the Poor Law Board after the Vestries Act of 1850 that authorised new buildings for Vestry
meetings, to avoid the need to use the buildings of the established Church of England. Financial issues
delayed progress, and when the proposal surfaced again in 1884 it was for the present building facing the
Cricket Green, at three times
the cost of the 1880 one. Finance was by Government loan, the sale of two
cottages at Figges Marsh and the Lighting Rate that would pay for the engine house. George Parker Bidder,
Churchwarden, made an interest-free loan of £300 to cover the deficit, to be repaid by hiring out two of the
ground floor offices. In the Minute Book Keith had noticed a Charity Commission review of Mitcham’s
endowed charities, which he thought would be worth further investigation.
After a conversation at the Merton Heritage
Discovery Day about Surrey History Centre’s First
World War project Keith had asked himself what
signs there now were of Surrey County Council’s
administration of Merton. His answer was
‘schools’: the Council became responsible for the
construction of all schools within the county after
the 1902 Education Act. The majority, if not all, of
the schools built were from the practice of Jarvis
and Richards, whose office was in Westminster.
Keithshowedhis ownphotos ofsomesingle-storey
elementary schools (right:
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 6
School 1906) and two-storey schoolsfor
older pupils (right: Cranmer (Mitcham
Girls) School 1929). The latter often
have a central gable, rusticated corners
ways to the pupils’
toilets. They were
disliked by modern historians
architecture for being ‘Queen Anne’
and thus not inventive or progressive,
but they were highly practical and well
designed, being also, in the words of one
. Rosemary Turner had passed Mick Taylor a link to St Saviour’s Church, Raynes Park. They are recording
their war memorial and they have details of names that are no longer readable.
She was given an article on William Rutlish, the embroiderer to Charles II, from Parish Matters, the parish
magazine of St Mary, Merton. As none of the vestments made by William are in existence, the vicar who
wrote the article recommended a visit to the Charles II exhibition at the Queen’s Galleries. Unfortunately it
is a collection of paintings owned by Charles, and the only piece with possible embroidery was on a bust.
She had been given a Lidar (‘light detection and ranging’) scan of Morden Recreation Ground, including
the woodland which may house the foundations of the mansion house of the Hoare family (itself containing
the medieval house originallyon the site). Alas it shows insufficient detail in the area. Rosemary wondered
if she can get a close up just of the woodland.
Rosemary had been invited by CNHSS (Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society) to inspect the post
cards associated with Merton (10), Morden (22) and Mitcham (69) in the John Gent collection, left to them
in a legacy. Most are undated, but some can be given an ante quem date by their postmark. Many views
depict the Wandle or Mitcham
Common (most unidentified at present), but a few show named views such
as the Buck’s Head pub (with a Hoare’s Brewery sign), and Chart’s shop. Most were from photographs, but
a few were reproductions of water-colour paintings – againfeaturing the Wandle and the Common. One of
the artists was AWHead, about whom Rosemary has been unable to find any information. One card showed
The Green and the Curved Rapier, a pub which Eric Montague called the Lord Napier, or Roaring Cow!
. Dave Haunton had been looking at the Merton Park area in the 1931 Kelly’s Directory, and was struck by the
qualifications publically announced by residents. These include the obviously professional people (doctors,
dentists, solicitors and ministers) but also unexpected ones such as surveyors and insurance specialists. Three
individuals give a degree (BA, BSc, MA) with no profession, so are proclaiming their right to vote for the
University seats in parliament, as well as possessing a local vote (see Bulletin 206, p.15). The Captain and
the Major are out-ranked by two Colonels. One of these, Edmund Locock Hughes (1880-1945), possessed
an OBE and a DSO and had no fewer than four Mentions in Dispatches from service with Canadian troops
in France during WW1, as well as the Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus from the king of Italy for serving
as base commandant of Taranto for a period in 1918. In 1931 he was the Librarian of the Royal United
Services Institute, engaged in writing a Catalogue of their historical holdings. (So one of us?) Throughout
the period 1936-1944 he was in correspondence with Basil Liddell Hart, the influential Army theorist.
. Peter Hopkins had recently given David Bird, former
British Surrey, a copy of our recent report on the Short
Batsworth excavation. At the same time he mentioned
our archaeological items, including those found during the
Mitcham Grove excavations that David directed in 1974/5.
David hasnowarranged for these itemsto be studied by the
Surrey Medieval Pottery Group, with a view to publication
of afullarchaeologicalreport.Peter showed us (onKeith’s
laptop) photos of a small selection of the finds -unwashed,
unsorted, unloved -ranging from medieval to 19th-century
items (right: Cheamware jug – 14th-century??).
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 7
Friday 13 July 2018 Four present – Dave Haunton in the chair.
. Peter Hopkins showed illustrations from an email the Society had received (see p.13). They showed a stone,
discovered in a garden, engraved ‘M R’, initials that were presumed to indicate Merton Rectory, since the
site was indeedthat of the former Rectory. We discussed what such a stone might have been for; it could not
have been to mark a carriage entry, since the site of the stone was in the back garden of the present property,
which would have been the paddock, not the front entrance.Opinions varied on the quality of the engraving.
Peter read extracts from his draft introduction to the Society’s forthcoming publication of a translation of
documents concerning Gilbert and the founding of Merton priory. Several queries about details were raised,
relating to the nature of the king’s grant and to the value of the initial endowment -was it especially generous,
or in line with contemporary practice? Was Merton in itself a valuable vill? There was some discussion of
how to interpret the writer’s description of Gilbert’s generosity, which seemed to exist alongside his dislike
of excessive displays of wealth.
. Keith Penny had remarked in an earlier workshop that
comparison of the attitudes of the local authorities towards the
immense growth of private housing in the latter part of the 1920s
would be worthwhile. Mitcham Urban District Council agreed after
very little discussion, and even though few other authorities had
done so, to make use of the provisions in the 1923 Housing Act
to advance money up to 85% of a property price of £800 to help
private borrowers to buy their own houses. The terms offered would
be better than those offered by a building society. One councillor
disagreed, because he did not see how such a scheme would benefit
the ‘working man’; otherwise approval was unanimous. Keith also
showed some plans provided by Government committee in 1920
to guide local authorities who wanted to build for rent. The outline
elevations showed the sort of garden village style to be seen on the
LCC estates at Norbury: two sizes were offered, parlour (right)
and non-parlour. Room sizes compared favourably with privately
builthouses lived in by some of thosepresentatthe workshop, and
modern plumbing both in scullery and bathrooms was obligatory.
. Judith Goodman revealed more of her reading of Havelock Ellis’s autobiography. After he had attended
the de Chastelaine school in Merton, his mother searched for a weekly boarding place. After rejecting an
ill-ventilated establishment in Mitcham, mother and son settled on The Poplars, sited in a former workhouse
building in Lavender Avenue, North Mitcham. The house and the headmaster in Ellis’s time, Albert Grover, are
described in Mitcham Histories, Volume 2;according to Ellis theeducation was adequateif notdistinguished,
and he found that among Mr Grover’s eccentricities was a dislike of Charles Darwin that showed itself in
the writing of near-obscene anti-Darwin doggerel. At home for the weekends, Ellis attended Merton Parish
Church and was stirred by the preaching there of Revd Erck, whom he described as ‘a lion in the pulpit’.
. Dave Haunton had noticed an oval plate attached to the bridge where Morden Road
crosses the Tramlink track, and hoped it indicated a resurgence of his ‘miles and
chains’notices. Alas not, it merely contained some form of technical designation
(right), though the notice below does refer to ‘Trains’ and not ‘Trams’.
After nearly 20 years, Joe
Thubron was reluctantly closing Copperfield’s in
Hartfield Road, the only second-hand bookshop for miles around, notable for its
annual ‘punch and nibbles’Sunday in early December. The interior sales space
had been extended several times, and the resulting steps and doorways could
result in unwary customers becoming completely lost. One of his closing notices
demonstrates Joe’s dry sense of humour – ‘Shop Early for Christmas’!
Finally, Dave showed some items from a package he had received, relating to Betty Beal of Morden (19272014),
from one of her nephews in Canada. These include a diary for 1940 (when she was 12), and notes
about her time in Valve Section, Engineering Division, BBC, at The White House in Motspur Park. These
will be offered to Surrey History Centre, but first we have an article about Betty’s life in this issue (see p.10).
Dates of next Workshops: Fridays 19 October, 30 November.
2.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum. All are welcome.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 8
MERTON HERITAGE DISCOVERY DAY – 12 MAY 2018
For this, by now traditional, event, MHS occupied our by now traditional corner site on the second floor of Crown
House – which became very warm as time went on. In the heat of the afternoon, we were very grateful for the
tea/coffee/juice/water supplied by Sarah Gould’s team of volunteers (free in theory, but most customers gave a
small donation by way of thanks). Our stand featured our monitor screen, displaying a sequence of photographs
and occasional adverts for publications, and a pin-board of photos and postcards compiled by David Luff. Both
attracted much attention and comment for the entire afternoon. As at previous Discovery Days, at least one of
us was talking to a visitor at any one moment. Sarah reported that there were 1780 visitors this year, not quite
as many as last year, but still enough to make for a worthwhile and successful event. Our limited selection of
publications achieved useful sales (more than £45), and we even managed to recruit a new member. However,
we completely forgot to take any photographs.
We were saddened to hear of the death of long-time member, Sheila Gallagher. Although for many years
severely crippled, she continued her historical researches almost to the end. She was an active member of
East Surrey Family History Society, and was particularly
interested in transcribing records concerning past
residents of Merton, Mitcham and Morden. Her many contributions to our own Local History Workshops can
be found on our website by typing “Sheila Gallagher” into the Search box or by using this quick link: http://
mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk/?s=%22Sheila+Gallagher%22]. Sheila was always generous with her research,
wanting to share it with fellow-enthusiasts. She graciously deposited in our archives copies of several unpublished
transcripts of local interest produced for ESFHS, which have already proved useful. She will be missed by
family, friends and the general community of local and family historians.
We were also sorry to learn of the death of Alan Crocker, for many years a stalwart of Surrey Archaeological
Society and Surrey Industrial History Group. His most important contribution to the local history of our area was
his 1994 study of the paper-making industry in Merton and Morden, in the third of a series of articles published
in Surrey History titled ‘The Paper Mills of Surrey’.
AN ENQUIRY WE MAY NOT HAVE HELPED
Perhaps the oddest enquiry we have had! On 9 June 2018 Lorna Stone, an Assistant Producer with HDP
Productions, emailed: ‘We are producing a television documentary entitled Afterlife: during the discussions
the subject of Past Lives came up and on-camera our presenter Jayne underwent Past Life Regression. Some
information came forth which none of us were expecting and we wondered if you may be able to shed light?
‘Jayne lives in Shropshire but during the regression she spoke of a place called “Mitcham House” or “Mitcham
Hall” which she described as a large Georgian building, white in colour, with a lake in the grounds. She said it
was her home, and that she had turned it into a school or home for children in the mid-1700s. She also felt her
name was Anna, or that Anna was important. We would very much like to know if any of this rings true. Any
help would be very much appreciated.’
After much learned discussion, Keith Penny replied for us all: Mitcham had quite a few gentry houses in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and of course not everything is known about them, and we can’t be sure
that Jayne has provided exactly the right information. ‘Georgian’, for example, covers a wide range or ideas
about architectural style. We don’t know, either, whether the ‘regression’is straightforwardly chronological?
Can it cover more than one period of time, even different centuries? Anyway:
Mitcham Hall (at the corner Barons Grove/London Road) had an L-shaped water feature, and an elderly lady
named Ann was living there in 1841, so possibly also there at an earlier date. The style of the building was late
C17 rather than Georgian, and added to in the C19. There is no sign that it was white. There was a school there,
but not until the 1890s. Mitcham House, near the present Raleigh Gardens, had a school in the 1780s/1790s,
but nothing is known of its appearance, and it did not have a conspicuous water feature. Mitcham Grove at
Ravensbury had water and was possibly white stucco in finish, and could be seen as Georgian, but it was occupied
by a succession of known individuals, and there is no suggestion of a school or orphanage.
All the information comes from the Mitcham Histories, Volumes 4, 7 & 10, by E N Montague, © MHS.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 9
BETTY BEAL – SOME DOCUMENTS
Betty Eileen Beal (1927-2014) lived and worked for most of her life within the London Borough of Merton.
In 2018 Robin Barfoot, her nephew and the last interested family member, offered MHS a small collection of
documents associated with Betty, with the hope that ‘someone somewhere’might be interested in preserving
some or all of them. We publish here the main outline of her life story, using those documents, augmented with
information from Robin. We intend to offer the whole collection to Surrey History Centre.
TheMerton Church Calendar for April 1894 lists the baptism of Betty’s mother, Ethel Lane, though why Betty
should have preserved part (pp.75-94) of an undated (c.1895?) but very Victorian issue of The Church Monthly
is unknown. Perhaps the writer of one of the stories was related or known to a Beal or a Lane? AWar Savings
Card with four National War Savings stamps belonging to Albert H Beal of 11 Morden Road, Merton, (below)
seems to have been opened in the early 1920s for her brother Albert Henry (always known as Robert, Bob or
Nobby!), born in 1920. Presumably the writing is that of her father. No.11 was re-numbered no.5 some time
after 1926, when South Wimbledon station was being built.
Betty was the youngest of five siblings – George (called John) who married May Light in 1935, Elsie who
married George Barfoot in 1936, ‘Robert'(see above) who may have married Sally in Ireland in 1940, and Joan
(married 1941) – and they also had a stepsister, Edith Beal. Robin Barfoot relates that Betty grew up with her
parents, Ethel and George, at 5 Morden Road, next to South Wimbledon Underground station, in one of a pair
of old farm cottages (long since demolished) made of wood. The cottages had no electricity and the downstairs
was lit by gas. Upstairs it was lit with candles. There were some remains of a pump and a well in the garden,
long since defunct. If Robin remembers correctly the loo was outside. Betty’s father (Robin’s grandfather) in
his early days used to drag a coffee stall up to Wimbledon Station to sell snack food. There is a picture of it in
a small book about Merton and Morden called Throw Out Your Mouldies (Manpower Services Commission,
1984). You can just see the top of the coffee stall in Picture 16 on p.11 (which, confusingly, shows the site of
SouthWimbledon Station just before construction began).
With Robin’s father off fighting in North Africa, his mother Elsie took her family to live at the cottage. They
were there for about three years but visited it later up to the 1950s when his grandmother finally moved to Tudor
Drive in Morden. Robin’s grandfather recalled how, early in WW2, if he had been sitting up in bed he would
have been hit by a stray bullet from a plane strafing the area.
Aschool report for the year ending 29 July 1936 (when Betty is only nine!) from Merton Abbey Council School
says sheis ‘averygoodworker’,beingsixthinclass F(III),whichcontains 44children.Fromhere,Bettymoved
up to Merton C of E Girls Central School, from where she kept complimentary termly reports for July 1938
(15th out of 44), February (top of the class), July 1939 (top), and Easter 1940 (top again).
Betty kept a diary for 1940: she turned 13 on 22 April. This was in Charles Letts’s School-Girl’s Diary, an
imposing volume with a stamped leather cover and no fewer than 58 pages of useful knowledge (including
French, German and Latin verbs) (opposite, top). School events – tests, exams, results, wireless talks, air-raid
practices – are frequent, though mournfully on 14 May ‘Had to go to school as Whitsun holidays have been
cancelled’. However on Saturday 25 May ‘Did not have to go to school this morning’, confirming other entries
that Betty sometimes did go to school on Saturday mornings. 29 July ‘Started holidays. Have only a week this
year when we generally have month. (Swizzle)’.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 10
The weather features occasionally
(26/27/28 January ‘snowed
heavily’, Monday 29 January ‘did
to go to school
weather was so bad’, 30 ‘still no
school’) as does illness. Far more
often there are mentions of visits
to friends, often staying all night,
of relatives visiting, of shopping
in Wimbledon and Tooting, and
going to the pictures (some 87
films during the year) with Mum
or with friends.
War does not impinge until 16
June ‘went to visit Nob’s
hospitalas heis slightly wounded’,
25 June ‘Had air-raid alarm early
all through it and knew nothing
of it till the 8 o’clock news’, 5
July ‘Heard that Terry Maloney
(R.A.F.) had been killed in action.
Very dreadful news indeed’, 15 August ‘Had air-raid alarm. German bombers bombed Croydon’, 16 August ‘Had
air-raid alarm about 12:30pm. Had air-raid. Bombs dropped on Merton. People killed. Had very narrow escape
ourselves. Very terrible indeed. Never want to experience such a terrible happening again’, 26 August ‘Mum,
Elsie and I were caught in air-raid while walking for bus. Went in shelter in Church Path’. There are numerous
references to warnings and air-raids over the next three months, with only a few details, such as 16 September
‘Bombs dropped very near. One dropped in County School playground. No one hurt’, 26 September ‘Raids
throughout day … Had raid at night. Heard many bombs drop including incendiary’. However, 8 September
‘Learnt this morning that Germany had tried to invade us. Had bath’. Finally, in December there is a succession
of ‘Quite a quiet night’. On 2 January 1941, the family moved to a cottage in Prestatyn in North Wales, and
the diary ends.
Betty’s National Registration ID card (YZMF 338 908) (below) is presumably a replacement, as it was issued on
24 May 1943, and then notes her subsequent changes of address: from 5 Morden Road, to 82 Cambridge Road,
Great Shelford, Cambs, from 1 Aug 1943 to 17 Sep 1943 (evacuation or holiday?), then back to 5 Morden Road,
then to 195 Tudor Drive, Morden, probably in 1949. (Though we also have an envelope, marked ‘On Active
Service’, so presumably in war-time, sent to Miss B Beal at
17 Botsford Road, Raynes Park, London SW20.) An earlier
NationalID card would haverecorded moves to Prestatynand Raynes Park.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 11
Betty kept a string of brief wartime letters, from four different
male correspondents. She had an Airgraph (a reduced
photograph of a one-page letter) from brother-in-law George
Barfoot, Signals Regt, with Christmas greetings (with palm
trees and camels), and also a card for Christmas 1943 when
he was with HM Middle East Forces. Non-family members
included Signalman John L
George, who sent Christmas
1943; one of Betty’s to him, written 3 January
1945 [sic], was returned
to her, stamped ‘It is regretted that
this itemcould not be delivered as the addressee is reported
Prisoner of War’; another of hers to John as a PoW
captured by Allied forces and returned to her; but finally they
get through and John writes from M.-Stammlager VII A, in
pencil and capitals, on 6 January 1944, and on 29 October
(from Stalag IV
G-104) (one in each direction, right) and
again on 26 November 1944. John George is probably the
mentioned in her diary as a friend of her brother
Nobby, as sheaddresses himas ‘Johnny’in both her surviving
letters. More romantically, Betty received an Airgraph from
Gunner APalmer, 57th A/T
[ie. Anti-Tank] Regt, RA, with
of love and kisses, yours
handwriting is indistinct), who also sent a postcard on 16 July 1942, a humorous ‘Springbok Letter Card’with
a South African stamp, while ‘Jack’sent Christmas greetings 1943 ‘At Sea’, and Airgraphs in March and May
1944, c/o District Commissioner, Moshi, Tanganyika. We don’t know anything more of Art (if Art he be) or
Jack. Can anyone help?
Betty kept some random official
documents – a
Savings Books and a few National
Savings stamps of her own (left), a
1944-45 Junior Clothing [ration]
Book (right), and a
Ministry of Food Ration Book. This
last lists Cater Bros (Provisions) Ltd,
22 London Road, Morden, as the
favoured supplier of Fats, Cheese,
Bacon and Sugar, but H D A
608 Kingston Road, Raynes Park,
SW20, as the supplier for Meat.
In 1951 Betty joined Valve Section, Engineering Division, BBC, as secretary to the Section head, at The White
House, Motspur Park, which was also the site of the BBC Sports Ground (see p.1). In June 1955 the BBC Club
held a Summer Festival there, with a large glossy programme (right).
Advertisements inside are for nationally-known products, including
Illustrated magazine, SR toothpaste, Electrolux consumer goods,
Encyclopædia Britannica, and TVsets from Ferguson’s, Marconiphone
and His Master’s Voice, but the only nearly-local firm is C Nielson &
Son, who supply marquees (and awnings, and sails) from East Molesey.
In December 1955, Betty earned a Pitman’s Shorthand Speed certificate
at the rate of 110 words per minute. In March 1956 she passed her (BBC)
Proficiency Test for Junior Secretaries, with marks in the top brackets.
The accompanying letter reveals ‘You will now be designated Secretary …
As you are already Grade B2Wthis re-designation involves no change in
your grade or salary.’In other words, her formal status has at last caught
up with her pay and abilities. She obviously took a continuous interest in
honing her skills, as in February 1963 she passed a Pitman’s Shorthand
four minutes speed test at 100 words per minute ‘with distinction’at an
evening class at Morden Farm Evening Institute.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 12
In March 1975 came the publication of the first (and only?) issue of The White House News.It is a light-hearted
attempt to create a ‘family atmosphere’, and contains the personal attitudes of 29 of the 31 staff of the Valve
Section. Betty Beal is single and ‘over 21’, and has been in Valve Section 24 years. (It is worth noting that
seven people in the Section have been there for 10 years or more, two of them for more than 30 years.) Betty’s
favourite colour is blue, her pet hate snobbery, and her interests lie in music (except ‘pop’), reading, especially
historical novels, and country walks to look at old churches. Her favourite TV
programmes (this is
include Benny Hill, Nana Mouskouri, discussions and documentaries. She would have liked to have been a
musical comedy actress, but now would like to meet a rich man, retire and be happy. The person she would
most like to meet is Dirk Bogarde.
In May 1976, on completion of 25 years service, Betty received a
praising her ‘consistently high standard’of work, and her ‘understanding of
various staff problems'(about which we are told nothing more). Valve Section
was responsible for procurement of valves and semiconductors needed at
transmitting stations. Many of the valves were very large, fragile, technically
advanced and expensive. An obituary in a BBC staff publication tells us that
Betty was not only a secretary, but took care of staff files, correspondence
files covering all the different manufacturers and BBC departments, managed
the 10-line telephone exchange, while (after 1980) assisting in data input for
the new Data General minicomputer. For a few months she also managed
the buying duties of the Section when two members of staff were away
simultaneously. Shehad completed 37 years serviceby thetimetheBBC Valve
Section at Motspur Park closed, so she finally retired in 1988 at the age of 61.
WHAT DID I FIND IN MY GARDEN?
lady wrote to us from Blanchland Road, Morden: ‘I was digging out some ancient stubborn sucker weed
roots over the weekend and unearthed this. I called the Police, who looked and said it was unlikely to be a grave
stone and could be a boundary marker or milestone. …The site of this house and garden was a Rectory c.1885.
… I have dug down about 18 inches now and it’s not moving and even if I do get to the bottom then what? …
Furthermore, if it does turn out to be a grave marker I don’t want to wake anyone up!’
Thestoneis 9 inches (23cm) across, nearly 4 inches
(9cm) thick, and at least 17 inches (42cm) deep.
After discussion, we concluded that the suggestion
that it is a grave stone is most unlikely. The parish
boundary is too far away for it to be a parish boundary
marker. We agree that it is most likely a boundary
marker, as her garden is on the boundary between
the former Rectory grounds and the adjoining field
which belonged to the owner of the building now
occupied by Central Autos, which was for a century
or more a bakery. It may display someone’s initials,
though none of the clergy over the centuries had those initials. We conclude that the MR stands for Morden
Rectory. We wonder if any other such stones survive along the boundary line towards Abbotsbury Road,
Oneof us noted thattheinitials MR areasymbolof theVirgin Mary (Maria Regina
=Mary Queen [of Heaven]),
and wondered if it had religious significance, having been deliberately buried when Catholicism was out of
favour, but its position along the Rectory boundary seems to rule that out.
The Committee were unanimous in recommending that the stone be kept in place if at all possible. We also felt
that the find should be reported to English Heritage so that
it can be included on the Greater London Historic
Environment Record – a database of all archaeological features. Our Chairman has offered to contact English
Heritage with all the information. He has also offered to contact a local professional archaeologist he knows, to
ask for his advice. Adifferent suggestion was to contact Merton Council to investigate the possibility of Local
Listing, which doesn’t provide the same level of protection that National Listing gives, but it would ensure that
future developers are aware of the stone’s existence. Again, our Chairman would be happy to make the initial
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 13
Have we instituted a new occasional series here ?…
HELP WANTED (3) WINDSOR FLOORS LTD
Neil Hepple recently sent us this interesting
depicts his grandfather Charles
Sidney Holyer (at the back, on the left), and Neil
thinks itprobably dates between 1933 and 1937, at
which dateMr Holyer was livingintheGreenwich
area. The occasion for the photo is unknown.
Does anyone know anything about Windsor
Floors Ltd? The firm may have been so named
from being situated in or near Windsor Avenue in
the Colliers Wood area of Mitcham. The houses
there now were only built in the late 1930s, but
the roadway itself seems to have been made up
Windsor Floors Ltd, ‘fireproof flooring manufacturers’at 98 London Road, Mitcham. The telephone number,
Mitcham 3000, must mean the firm had been in operation quite early on.
Fireproof flooring bricks were made of terra-cotta, and were a great saving in strength of materials. The
hollow bricks that surround the workmen in the photo are of two, or even three, different designs. These are
most intriguing, as they seem more suited to walls rather than floors, though they could be specialist items for
conservatories or hot-houses. Or boiler rooms? They may of course be components for the building in the right
background, which seems to be under construction. Were they made and fired on site? If the firm had their
own kilns, Mick Taylor surmises that these could have been situated on some of the land that was previously
occupied by Tamworth Farm.
Neil’s mother has told him the following:
‘Windsor Floors started off in London but gradually spread across the country with a substantial operation in
the North East of England. We think it may have changed it’s name to Windsor Construction after the war and
benefited from the need to build new houses.
‘Her father was asked to go to Newcastle around 1935 to help set up the new operation, where he met her mother.
At this time the company expanded to include building factories and office blocks and her father became a
skilled steel fixer -to such an extent his occupation was reserved in the war and he travelled around the country
repairing runways and essential infrastructure.
‘After the war he returned to Windsor Floors. The boss for a number of years was a Mr Phillips but we do not
know his Christian name. Her father remained with the company for approximately 25 years, when we think
the company stopped trading in the North East.’
Mick Taylor adds:
’98 London Road occupies a large building in the large plot
just south of Crusoe Road (1934 OS map, right). The current
98 London Road looks like a new build and is occupied by
Marsh House Orthodontics. I looked at the address in other
Kelly’s Directories that
cover Mitcham, and
Registers (VR). In the 1932-3 VR the address was occupied
by three families: William, Charlotte and Ruby Lewin, Ernest
and Mabel Philbroke, Frank and Lily Eaton. In the 1934-35
VR only one family is shown and they are at 98A: Philip and
Annie Sharp (I wonder if this couple worked for the firm -‘Mr
Phillips’perhaps?). This would suggest that the firm occupied
98 or the lower floor. There is nothing in the 1933-34 or
1935-36 VRs for the address which would suggest the
occupiers were a business, perhaps Windsor Floors.’
Mick also checked some 1938 issues of the Mitcham Herald
for any advertisements by the company but did not find any.
Companies House, Grace’s Guide and The Times archive have
no record of the firm. Help!
long before that, with gravel extraction happening on both sides of it. However, Kelly’s Directory 1938 lists
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 14
PETER HOPKINS reports on some new discoveries relating to
THE EAST WINDOW AT ST LAWRENCE CHURCH, MORDEN
The churchwarden of St Lawrence has kindly sent me a copy of a recent report on the east window of the church,
which attempts to date the various sections of glass. I knew that the glass in the tracery at the top dated from 1828,
and thatsome repairs had been made to the 17th-century glass, but I was surprised to read that only one section
of the centre panels, containing the Ten Commandments, was original, the rest having been replaced in 1828.
I hadn’t been able to trace any record of the 1828 work, but am now delighted to have discovered the original
invoices andreceipts amongacollectionofdocuments inthechurcharchives depositedatSurreyHistoryCentre:
SHC 2269/10/1 (4) 67 Frith Street Soho Square
Lancelot Chambers Esq
To Thos Wards
For Works done to the Window of the Chancel of Morden Church
To painting on Glass with vitreous colours from Drawings made by Mrs Chambers,
a descending Dove &c in ancient Grey relief – by agreement
To staining the ground of this subject citron colour yellow – by agreement (with Mr Hoare)
To painting 2 other lights of the same Window Heads of Cherubim &c from Drawings also
by Mrs Chambers on similar stained yellow grounds – by agreement
To 4 small pieces of similar painted Glass to fill the tracery of the Stone work on each side the subjects
To making 3 Metal Frames for the large lights and paintg the same 3co. oil paint inside and out
To Packing Cases and packing the Metal Frames & the Glass, labour & use only, the Cases being returned
To Carriage and Turnpikes by a spring van
To 2 men setting and glazing the same lights in the Window at Morden, time and materials
Coach hire of Self and Men outside Fares
Self and 1 man by Coach to Morden to make some alterations in Mr Dimsdale’s Work
To a Workman putting in the 4 small pieces, his time & Coach hire
Re East Window Top Lights Etc
SHC 2269/10/1 (5) London Seper 24th 1828
Received of Launcelot Chambers Esq by payment of Messrs Stevenson & Salt the sum of fifty six pounds thirteen
shillings for Stained Glass Works done for the Window of Morden Church.
£56 13 0
SHC 2269/10/1 (6) G M Hoare Esq, Morden
The Gentlemen Subscribers to Morden Church Window’s Restoration &c
Jo Dimsdale & Co
To 4 Gothic head lights over Moses & Aaron, commandments, &c, new leading & cementing
Restoring 2 figures of Moses & Aaron to their original state, sundry new pieces in Do,
new leading & cementing
1 new light under Do complete, 1 Do part new & sundry repairs, writing Texts, &c
Writing the Commandments as before on 8 large Squares of Glass stain’d yellow, }
20 pieces of Do for borders, 2 new Angel’s heads at Corner, repair hands &c,
new leading & cementing
2 figur’d lights under the Commandments restored as before, new top pieces to Do
(the whole very much damag’d), new leading & cementing
4 pieces of Blue Glass for Angles
Taking out 2 lights containing the Commandments &c & bring Do home
2 men 1 day & carriage for Do.
Do Do remainder of Glass work & carriage to town
Taking the whole down to Morden & fixing Do as before 3 men 1 day
& carriage Do, use of packing cases &c
Mr Dimsdale. West place [?] City road
SHC 2269/10/1 (7)
Received October 11 1828 of L Chambers Esq Sixty five pounds Six Shillings & 8 pence as for Amt delivd for Stain’d
£65 6 8
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 15
suggested in the
church guide, but
Accepting the Utrecht origins, the report author,
Léonie Seliger ACR, Director of Stained Glass
at Canterbury Cathedral, suggested that the poor
balance of light and colour between the new and
old work might have due to the tracery glass having
been painted by someonefar away who hadn’tseen
the original, but that excuse will no longer stand.
We can only be grateful that the church authorities
did not decide to replace all the 17th-century glass!
The original glass containing the Commandments
was removed and transported to London, but
not entirely clear if they were rewritten onto the
original 8 panes of glass or on replacement panes
originals merely being used as templates.
No doubt that will be discovered if and when the
recommended conservation work on the window
is undertaken. Léonie states that fragments of glass
from the tracery are only 1mm thick, which was
normal for late-Georgian work. She also suggests
that the panels below the Commandments depict
Moses and Pharaoh, which seems more likely than
some of the other suggestions noted in my 2011
article in Bulletin 178. She writes, ‘The message
of the window as a whole, taking into account the
scenes in the
tracery, seems to be
consequences of man’s
response to God’s Word,
with the Word quite literally taking centre stage’.
In 2011, I reported that the 17th-century glass was thought to be by Abraham van Linge, and Katharina Mayer
Haunton subsequently passed to me some information about his work. The author of the new report agrees with
though she observes that the faces of Moses and Aaron are not of the same artistic quality as
other work by Abraham, such as the heads of prophets in Lincoln College Chapel, Oxford. This might indicate
that the original faces were damaged by 17th-century Puritan iconoclasts, and were replaced in 1828, along
with the angels’ heads specifically mentioned in the second invoice.
I passed to Katharina a copy of the report and she has now given me even more information, including part of an
essay she had written which has helped answer another of my questions – why was the gothic style of window
retained when the church was modernised by being encased in brick in 1636? The stonework of the windows is
thought to be 17th-century, so I would have expected a contemporary style for the windows. Katharina explains
that there was a Gothic Revival – more commonly described as a Gothic Survival – in the 1630s.
Photograph: Rev Ray Skinner
CHAPTER HOUSE OF MERTON PRIORY REOPENS
Following recent work to add a new glazed frontage facing towards Merton Abbey Mills, the Chapter
House will be open on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September between 11am and 5pm for London
Open House, and thereafter on Sundays only during September and October between 11 and 4.
The foundations of the Chapter House have been much enhanced, and other areas exposed, revealing
more of the layout of the claustral buildings. Much of the stonework and other finds uncovered during the
various excavations are now on display, together with explanatory material. It is certainly worth a visit.
Letters and contributions for the Bulletin should be sent to
email@example.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed by Peter Hopkins
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 207 – SEPTEMBER 2018 – PAGE 16