March 2020 – Bulletin 213
King John’s travels before Runnymede – David Haunton
Haydon’s Road: (1) History of the chemist’s shops – Norma Cox
Haydon’s Road: (2) The shops: change over 128 years – Norma Cox
Heath Robinson Museum – Chris Abbott
Shannon Corner flooding 1981 (or was it 1982?) – Mick Taylor & Norma Cox
London Archaeological Fieldwork Summary 2018
and much more
VICE PRESIDENT: Judith Goodman
CHAIR: Keith Penny
BULLETIN No. 213 MARCH 2020
Ornamental detail on the shopfront stall riser of 258 Haydon’s Road – photo by Norma Cox (see p.14)
Programme March 2020-April 2020 2
Report from the Chair 2019 3
Our Local History Workshops 4
‘Merton Park Studios’ – David Haunton 5
Local History Workshops
Friday 18 October 2019: Tandem Bearing Metal; enclosure at Moreton Green;
William Morris by Ford Madox Ford 6
Friday 6 December 2019: vineyards or fishponds at Merton Priory?; Mitcham Grove pottery;
Great North Wood; Raynes Park bus; Lee’s flax mill patents; 1916 tram strikes and female tram staff
London Archaeological Fieldwork Summary 2018 9
King John’s travels before Runnymede – David Haunton
Haydon’s Road: (1) History of the chemist’s shops – Norma Cox
Haydon’s Road: (2) The shops: change over 128 years – Norma Cox
Heath Robinson Museum – Chris Abbott
Shannon Corner flooding 1981 (or was it 1982?) – Mick Taylor & Norma Cox
PROGRAMME MARCH-SEPTEMBER 2020
Saturday 14 March 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, Merton
‘More Than 300 Years of Cricket on the Mitcham Cricket Green’
An illustrated talk by Adrian Gault
Saturday 11 April 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, Merton
‘Wimbledon Salvation Army’
A talk by Richard Smart, an Executive of the Army
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) immediately outside.
The church has a tiny car park, but parking in adjacent streets is free.
No visit is planned for May
Thursday 18 June Annual Lunch (see separate box below)
For Each Visit below:
Please book beforehand via firstname.lastname@example.org. Pay Bea on the day.
Monday 29 June 11.00am A Visit to Watermen’s Hall
16-18 St Mary at Hill, Billingsgate, London EC3R 8EF
Guided tour £15 per person
5 mins walk from Monument Underground Station
Friday 17 July 2.00pm A Walk on Mitcham Common
Melanie Nunzet leads us: we meet at Mitcham Junction Station. No charge.
Thursday 13 August 10.30am A Visit to The Reform Club
104 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5EW
£15 per person We join a guided tour.
Dress code:Gentlemen to wear a collared shirt, no jeans or trainers. Ladies to dress with similar
formality. Between Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross and Green Park Underground stations.
Thursday 10 September 12.15pm A Voyage on Regents Canal
Join a 50min tour from Little Venice to Camden Lock. Adult £12 Senior £9
London Waterbus Co. boats are moored on the south side of Browning’s Pool by the Waterside
café boat, on the towpath directly below Warwick Crescent W2 6NE in Little Venice.
Note also our Local History Workshops at Wandle Industrial Museum, London Road
2.30pm on Fridays 27 March, 15 May and 3 July 2020. All Members are welcome.
Visitors are welcome to attend our talks. Entry £2.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY ANNUAL LUNCH
will be held at Gino’s Restaurant, 6-8 Upper Green East, Mitcham CR4 2PA on Thursday 18 June.
The menu is to be confirmed, but will include a selection of starters, a choice of main dish and a choice
of desserts. Price will be around £25, with drinks extra, to be confirmed.
Those interested should contact email@example.com
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 2
REPORT FROM THE CHAIR 2019
Madam Vice President, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I shall begin this year where I left off last year, with mattersfinancial and with our store of artefacts and papers.
TheCommitteehas considered thematter of subscriptions and whatthey pay for atsomelength. Wedid consider
levying an entrance charge for all attendees at talks (who are a minority of the overall membership), but you
will be pleased
to know that that idea was rejected. Nevertheless, it was still felt wrong to subsidise meetings
from donations and bequests, except in a specific and purposeful way. You will see from your accounts that the
Society has received a most generous donation from a member, and this invited the question of what we in this
historical society are here for. We do have money, far more than is needed to maintain a level of reserves to meet
an emergency, and amassing cash isn’t one of our stated objectives. Some suggestions have been offered, such
as getting research projects completed where voluntary labour is not sufficient, or contributing items that would
improve the Heritage Centre at Morden. We are very much open to further ideas from you, the membership.
I mentioned last year that the Committee was examining the assets of the Society, with a view to passing items
on to other, more suitable, owners, either as gifts or as items for sale. Thus the skeletons that were once in
cupboards and an attic have now gone into the care of the Museum of London; some advertising boards of a
kind no longer proper have gone to the Brands Museum; some bound Railway Magazines, fine examples of
the binder’s craft, but of no local significance, were sold to a specialist dealer; and Stephen Wright is working
at selling Bill Rudd’s collection of postcards, again not ones of local interest.
I have mentioned the work of your Committee, and have to report that Alan Martyn felt bound, for personal
reasons, to stand down from membership. We have benefited from his managing the initial booking of this
hall and from his pertinent questions put to the Chair during meetings. We do have elections later today: new
faces and voices around the table at the Wandle Industrial Museum six times a year would be very welcome.
Meetings are, I think, well run, so that we never exceed two hours. There are even chocolate biscuits. I leave
the accounts to the clear head of the Treasurer and thank her, and the Independent Examiner, for making our
financial position easy to understand and for posing challenging questions about the future use of our money.
Janet also organised last year’s annual lunch and is hoping to manage more of this event via email this year, a
topic to which I shall return.
Another contributor to our AGM is sitting next to me: Rosemary Turner combines the thankless task of taking
minutes with keeping track of our membership records. This latter is not helped by members who still pay at
the old subscription rate or who do not send in a membership form. She remains remarkably patient.
It has been a quiet year for publications: we produced Mr Smith’s recollections of growing up in wartime St
Helier and working in a gentlemen’s outfitters. Earlier we published a first-ever, the translation of the medieval
texts about Gilbert, the founder of Merton Priory. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, and, dare I say so, is written
clearly and elegantly;Gilbertwas not only abenefactor, but a character of someinterest. Wethank Peter Hopkins,
who continues to manage our publications and to update our website.
The programme of talks has been varied and interesting, thanks to the efforts of Bea Oliver. We began with the
history of Ely’s store, which provoked memories from more than one member; Dr Chris Abbott delighted us
again with matters theatrical,
this time the history of puppets; Sarah Gould, who spends some of her days off
at our meetings, talked about suffragettes in Merton, and John Phillips guided us round the villages that were
in and around Sutton. Our speaker for March had to withdraw at short notice, so I gave a slide show based on
the places viewed and passed by while on the 152 bus. Members contributed a varied selection of items to the
January meeting; Charlotte Morrison, perhaps inspired by the street-art phone boxes in Kingston, showed what
a variety of street furniture the GPO gave to us.
Groups of members enjoyed a tour of the Chapter House with John Hawks, the Secret Rivers
Docklands, and the Post Office Museum, complete with a ride on the revived part of the Post Office railway,
an experience that tells you a lot about the conditions in which some of our forebears had to work. Anovelty
this year was the combination of house-history and arboriculture presented at Morden Park by Peter Hopkins
and Dave Lofthouse. If you missed one of these, there are reports in our Bulletin, along with articles on the
medieval and the modern, as well as queries from the public that we hope members will be able to solve. Thanks
go to Dave Haunton, the editor, and to the many contributors -there are never blank pages for want of material.
As ever in May we had our stall at the Heritage Day at Morden Library, an event organised with flawless skill
by Sarah Gould. Some of us met the public, sold books, and (even) recruited a member. We are still asked to
give talks elsewhere: I was asked to make a second appearance at a church supper club in Morden, and David
Luff and Sindy are about to startle a society in Tooting.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 3
We particularly asked all those who were renewing their subscriptions this year to complete a membership form,
so that we could update the details of addresses, both postal and email. We must not keep out-of-date data. The
other purpose of this exercise was to gather as many email addresses as possible, so that the lunch will be easier
to organise and so that we can keep you up to date with any changes to our programme. We are making small
changes to our Data Protection Policy so that it will be clearer, and so that you can opt in by email to a service
of receiving information about the many other local history events on offer in south-west London.
At the start I mentioned what the Society provided for members: the workshops at Wandle Industrial Museum
take place roughly every seven or eight weeks, and are in need of new faces: people bring along bits of local
history that they have been working on, or indeed bring things or photographs that are of interest. There is usually
conversation about items – it’s not a series of lectures – and any member is welcome. So, we shall continue to
do the things, and consider the matters, that I have outlinedin this report, during the coming year, always with
a view to looking to the future success of the Society – which is, I think, where I started.
OUR LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
[This article was requested by the Editor of Local History News,
as representing an ‘unusual activity’
local history society. It was published in their October 2019 edition, and is reprinted here to encourage more
members to attend our workshops. We don’t bite.]
Our workshops are scheduled every seven or eight weeks (dates published in our quarterly Bulletin), in the
back room of a local museum. The room is booked for three hours, but sessions rarely last much beyond two.
Usually 5-12 people attend, with at least three from among our most active researchers. The most important
person present is the one deputed to make notes for a future summary in the Bulletin. She or he is appointed
by the Chair for the day, who takes office because they took (and wrote up) the notes of the previous meeting.
Any member may turn up; we hope they have a contribution or question prepared, but this is not mandatory.
Indeed, one lady sometimes brings items to discuss, but more often has ‘nothing to declare’, and once told us
she had ‘nothing better to do’that afternoon (laughter). However, as she invariably adds a personal memory
for at least one of the subjects discussed, which would otherwise go un-recorded, she is always welcome. You
will gather from this that our meetings are informal and cheerful.
We sit around a large table, and speak in turn (usually without electronic aid). Amember may talk about where
they havegotto in their currentresearch, ask for help if stuck or foreseeing difficulties, reporton aquery submitted
to the Society from an outsider, mention a snippet of information of local content, show an interesting photo
or artwork, criticise a poem, or rehearse briefly a talk they are going to deliver elsewhere. Anyone present may
ask a question, or make a suggestion or an observation. Some contributions are so interesting and sufficiently
lengthy that the Bulletin editor asks for them to be written up as full-scale articles for future publication: they
are then only briefly summarised in the workshop report.
Subjects are eclectic: recent ones have included the conflicting statements in interim reports of the find-spots of
Roman items; whether Morden church was Puritan in the 17th-century; whether its refacing in brick has been
mis-dated by 30 years; the location shown in a 1937 Derby Day photo of buses; how to trace the boundaries of
an 18th-centuryfarm; acquaintances of a 19th-century lady who may be among the first female photographers;
and identifyingthe exact field in which AWLSchermuly ran trials of his Pistol Rocket Life-saving Apparatus.
We have learnt
of poems by Carol Rumens and U AFanthorpe that mention our river Wandle, and seen the
original covers, by an unknown artist, of a 1941 humorous magazine produced by the local Auxiliary Fire Service.
[If you prefer to write an article, we would like it to follow the lines in the House Style Notes on our website.]
MAPPING MERTON: WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
This special exhibition at the Museum of Wimbledon, 22 Ridgway, London SW19 4QN, is open until 8 March,
Saturday 2.30 – 5.00pm, Sunday 12 – 5.00pm. Only two more weekends to run.
wide selection of maps of Surrey is on display, covering several centuries of increasingly accurate map-
making, and developing methods of portraying features, both of the land and of ownership and organisation.
Merton is often shown as lying in Brixton Hundred, sometimes labelled ‘Brixton or Allington'(rather than
Wallington). Astartling number of tributaries of the Wandle is depicted on a map of the County of Surrey of
c.1700 by the appropriately-named Robert Morden, bookseller, publisher and map-maker of London. Some
maps cover Wimbledon alone: our area is represented by the Merton and Morden WW2 Bomb Map, displayed
alongside the Wimbledon one.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 4
‘MERTON PARK STUDIOS’
After the AGM on 9 November, Clive Whichelow spoke about his recent book Lights, Camera, Merton! (see
the Studios. They had emphasised to him how much of a family atmosphere existed, a general studio friendliness
and warmth, partly dueto theneed to educate
the many young people at the start of their
careers. We were recommended to look at the
listings of Talking Pictures TV, Channel 81,
which frequently shows Merton Park films.
The Studios themselves are long gone, but
Old Studio Place, off Henfield Road, SW19,
now has an undistinguished marker (right),
while Long Lodge, the old HQ in Kingston
Road, has to share a blue LBM plaque with
Shields the artist and Brocklesby the architect.
The first films of many subsequently famous actors, directors, producers and writers were made at the Studios.
One such producer was Michael Deely (famous for The Italian Job, Blade Runner, etc.), whose Peter Sellers/
film The Mukkinese Battle Horn of 1956 was the most profitable film he ever made, revenue
being twenty times the cost. Another was J Arthur Rank, who started at Merton and ended up with a chain of
more than 600 cinemas, as well as Pinewood Studios.
And so to the films – during wartime these were mostly propaganda-documentaries with only two comedies to
relievethem. [Clivehas sincetold methatliterally hundreds of documentaries weremadeatMerton Park, so his
book mentionsonly a representative few. Typical titles included: Planned Electrification; Salute To Farmers;
Forgings With Hiduminium; Beyond The Pylons; Simple Electrical Repairs at Home; Grass Drying; Boiling
and Simmering; Domestic Hot Water; Alternating Current and Power Factor; and so on.]
During the 1950s the Studios concentrated on short crime films, notably the Edgar Lustgarten and other crime
series, providing a school for new talent. Though usually conventional (ie. boring) in screen terms, they did
sometimes show some innovation – the last Edgar Wallace has an aerial passing shot (most unusual for those
days). One major film was the 1959 The Horrors of the Black Museum, in colour, with Michael Gough playing
the lead. To support it, the Headless Ghost was written in two weeks and shot in three, and in one survey voted
the worst-ever film. The Criminal of 1960, directed by Joseph Losey, with Stanley Baker, and music by Johnny
Dankworth and Cleo Laine, was set in a prison, the template for many subsequent films.
1961 gave us Konga, the first big feature film. Released internationally (Clive hasa poster in German), it spawned
a novel and 23 episodes of an American comic book series by the Spiderman creator. It featured a giant ape
(plugged by RKO as ‘the biggest thing since King Kong’) and needed some creative staging, such as a model
Big Ben in Croydon High Street. The ape was played by George Burrows, a specialist in gorilla parts, who had
the only ape suit in the country. Alas, another studio borrowed it, had trouble finding another actor of exactly
the same size, and returned it damaged to George, so he could never again play a gorilla.
In 1963 Sparrows Can’t Sing won Barbara Windsor a (pre-Carry On) BAFTA,
and was the first and last film produced by Joan Littlewood, who employed
the Kray twins to keep the public away. The film had a Royal première, a
theme tune by Lionel Bart and needed subtitles in the USA. The 1964 Leather
Boys directed by Sidney J Furie (of The Ipcress File) was one of the first gang
films. The 1966 Invasion
was the only science fiction film from the Studios,
with some inventive photography. Thereafter came a spate of horror films,
such as The Frozen Dead, It, Horror Hospital
(a comedy horror) and Devil’s
Doll where the ventriloquist is the evil one, and his dummy is the goodie.
The facilities and expertise available in Merton Park Studios were used from
timeto timeby many differentcompanies (right). Forexample,theChildren’s
Film Foundation shot films there from 1951 until well into the 1970s, while
McKenna’s Gold was made partly at Merton, and the nude wrestling scene
we see in Women in Love
(everyone’s memory of the film) is not the original
but actually a re-shoot filmed at the Studios.
[3 December: Clive says that his book’s second print run has just been delivered, as the first one has sold out.]
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 5
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
Friday 18 October 2019 – Five present. David Haunton in the Chair
. David Luff
spoke about the proposed development in Station Rd, Colliers Wood, next to part of the priory
wall. The developers are Inglow Scott and residents are concerned about what is being proposed. Peter said
that Geoff Potter had been employed to do a desktop archaeological assessment, and Peter thought that he
would liaise with local groups. MOLA had been informed.
David showed us photos of the effects of the 1968 flood at Libertys factory, which coincided with the receipt
of a new printing machine from Italy, and inevitable watery-consequence jokes. He also had photos of the
railway goods yard in Raynes Park from 1964 and other train photos from the Merton area.
. Peter Hopkins had sent photographs of the finds from Park Place playing field (against the wall of The
Canons) to David Bird, who felt them to be of no archaeological significance.
He had received an email from Portugal from
Daniel PS de Oliveira PhD, Chair of the Mineral
Resources Expert Group of EuroGeoSurveys,
working for the European Union, who wanted
to know about a piece of metal that they
what it was made of. The block bears the
wording ‘The Eyre Smelting Co. Ltd ‘Tandem’
Bearing Metal D E, Merton Abbey, London’
(right). Experts at the Wandle Industrial
Museum opined that it was a ‘non-ferrous
whose exact composition they
later identified as a blend of Tin, Copper and
Antimony. Tony Scott thought it may be a phosphor-bronze alloy, a speciality of the firm, and noted that
they used ‘Eyre Smelting’as a trading name long after the 1925 takeover. Tony also supplied a number of
contemporary references for the history of the firm, for all of which we were enthusiastically thanked..
Peter had received an email from John Pile stating his interest in Christine Pittman’s project on local Roman
sites. John had sent Peter an updated map marked with sites of archaeology and finds.
Peter had decided to do some
research on Moreton Green, which
is a 12.5-acre (five-hectare)
with a patch of old established
woodland at its centre. It is bounded
by Middleton, Muchelney and
Lilleshall Roads and Merevale
Crescent in the Morden section of
the St Helier Estate. (The clumps
of trees between Lilleshall
Llanthony Roads are a modern
replacement.) Thisisall that remains
of a nine-acre band of woodland
that in the 1855 particulars of
sale of Ravensbury Manor was
called ‘part of Great Lane Coppice
(no.31) and Green lane (no.41)’. At
that date it served as the western
boundary of a private manorial park
but looking at contemporary maps
it was in fact the eastern boundary
of a 68-acre (27-hectare) ‘oval’
enclosure, then under arable cultivation (see this annotated detail from a tracing of the Tithe Map of 1838
with contours added from Ordnance Survey maps). The oval measures 600m north to south and the same
east to west but with its northern boundary forming an almost straight line and its southern boundary bulging
out from a pure curve and with an indentation at the centre.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 6
Peter had looked into the contours and geology of the site, LIDAR images and other source references
trying to ascertain its original use and possible reasons for its original name. The earliest known name for
the Ravensbury estate is Ersbury, recorded in 1313, or Arsbury in 1320. The origins of the names Ersbury
and Wicford still remain uncertain as do the origins of the enclosure, so it is time that what little remains
of the site undergoes proper investigation and recording. In 2002 a desk top archaeological assessment of
the adjoining Willows site with its extensive playing fields concluded that it demonstrated a low degree of
archaeological potential for all periods. The site did not lie within an archaeological priority zone. There are
no GLSMR entries from within the site boundaries and only a few for the surrounding area. The consultants
therefore recommended that there was no justification for excavation prior to or monitoring during the
development of housing, thus depriving us of an opportunity to explore one of the few places within the
borough that had escaped 20th-century urbanisation.
. Judy Goodman had been pondering the number of books written
about William Morris (right, © St Bride Printing Co). She found some
passages concerning Morris in Memories and Impressions (Penguin,
1979), an anthology of writings by Ford Madox Ford, who was born
in Merton Park and lived at 245 Kingston Road (the pre-Raphaelite
artist Ford Madox Brown was his grandfather).
The passages included ‘I happened to meet [Morris] in Portland
Place … he had been talking to some members of a ship’s crew …
who were under the impression he was a ship’s captain. This pleased
him very much for it was his ambition to be taken for such. With a
grey beard like the foam of the sea, with grey hair erect and curly
on his forehead, a hooked nose, a florid complexion and clean, clear
eyes, and dressed in a blue serge coat, to meet him could be to meet
a sailor ashore.'(reprinted from Ancient Lights, 1911), and twenty
years later ‘[quarrels between] Socialists and Anarchists …at Kelmscott House …Poor William Morris, with
his enormous mop of white hair, luxuriant white beard and nautical pea-jacket, [presiding] with the air of a
rather melancholy sea-captain on the quarter-deck’ (reprinted from Return to Yesterday, 1931).
We all agreed it would be good to have some new people to try their hand at a bit of research or to come along
for advice on where to start (see also p.4). (This stimulated a new item on our website encouraging members to
write for the Bulletin.) I enjoyed listening to the endeavours of others and was volunteered to do the minutes.
OUR CONVICT SON – LAMAS PRIZE
Our Convict Son: Harold Brewster 1895-1958: A
Merton Objector to Conscription
by Keith Penny was
awarded the LAMAS Book Prize for 2018. There is usually stiff competition for this prize, as LAMAS has
no fewer than 53 Affiliated Societies. We reprint here some comments by Roger Chapman, of the LAMAS
Local History Committee, published in their December Newsletter.
‘This book is much more than a simple life story of Harold
Brewster. The author uses Brewster’s life to explore themes about
Conscientious Objectors and their lives. What reasons did they
give for their pacifism? The ‘religious’or ‘moral’or the ‘political’
beliefs that drove them are discussed. … Brewster
was one of only 350 Anglicans, [who] received little support from
within his own community.
‘This is a well-written story. Extensively referenced with relevant
photographs and illustrations, it is a good illustration of how a local
history casestudycanbetaken and usedtoexplorewiderthemes,in
this case about conscientious objection in war. The four appendices
are used to good effect … there is a detailed list of further reading
to give those who have a taste for the subject something more to
get their teeth into.’
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 7
Friday 6 December 2019 – Six present. Rosemary Turner in the Chair
. Peter Hopkins: Alan Postlethwaite has sent a watermarked photograph of a cluster of cast iron signs protecting
a foot-crossing at Merton Abbey. He took some 2,350 railway photos during the 1950s and 60s, mostly of
Southern Region, which he has donated to the Bluebell Railway Photographic Archive. He sent this photo as
a thank you to MHS for letting him use one of Eric Montague’s slides of factories and the railway at Merton
Abbey to illustrate an article on the railways of the Wandle Valley, to be published in a quarterly magazine
called The Southern Way.
David Bird has sent the report on the pottery finds from the Mitcham Grove excavation which he organised in
1974. We sent him several boxes of material from our archives, which he added to some that he had retained
and others that
he found in store. Archaeologist Steve Nelson and volunteers from Surrey Archaeological
Society have sorted, identified and analysed the collection, which indicates continuous occupation on the
site from 10/11th century (possibly a bit earlier) to 19th. David points out that they only had a few small
trenches so there was probably a lot more stuff around. Aquantity of 17th, 18th or 19th century kiln waste
was found, but we have no record of a local industry, so use as hard core seems most logical, though that
would still need a good explanation. David hopes to write the rest of the report in the New Year. Peter has
sent him some details of medieval land transactions in the area.
Katie Hawkshasstarted her PhDon Merton Priory asa centre of learning and of education, under the direction
of Professor Janet Burton. She sends Peter regular updates on her discoveries, along with a few searching
questions. Recently she was able to identify the family background of the second prior of Merton, Robert
II (article forthcoming). Katie has also found a chronicle entry which might explain why Gilbert Becket
sent young Thomas to Merton rather than to his local Augustinian house of Holy Trinity, Aldgate – a fire
originating at Gilbert’s house had caused widespread damage in the area including Aldgate priory!
Katie suggested a possible error in A
Priory Founded: correspondence with Dr Martin Brett suggested that
Prof Colker’s transcription was not always reliable. His ‘vinarium’we had properly translated as ‘vineyard’,
but the manuscript was more probably ‘vivarium’, meaning ‘fishpond’.
. Rosemary Turner had attended a talk about the Great North Wood at CNHSS
Croydon, given by an officer
of the London Wildlife Trust. Originally the wood extended from Deptford to Selhurst: the present project
Heath, Addiscombe, Herne
Beckenham, and stops just before the Thames. 10 major sites are listed: Beaulieu Heights, Biggin Wood,
Crystal Palace Park, Dulwich Wood, Grangewood Park, New Cross Gate cutting, One Tree Hill, Streatham
Common, Sydenham Hill Wood, and The Lawns Spa Wood. There are also patches in the grounds of private
houses which are not accessible. The Trust is improving woodland sites, for which an HLF grant had been
obtained. Their website
https://www.wildlondon.org.uk/great-north-wood has walks to download, one
following the route of the former Crystal Palace High Level railway line.
The other speaker was Aljos Farjon, who had been recording ancient oaks all over England. Each tree had
to be over a certain girth, some having connections with history and others with legends.
. Dave Haunton had received some comments
on the recent Bulletin: Clive Whichelow’s
book was now on its second print run (see
p.5). Tom Conway corrected the caption of
the bus going through flood water, as being
aroute77A, nota77, becauseof theRaynes
Park destination display, as clearly shown
in Tom’s photo of one parked at York Way,
Kings Cross (right). Dave brought a hand-
drawn map to illustrate the supposed visit of
King John to Merton Priory, which had been
questioned by Professor Nicholas Vincent.
The king more probably travelled from
Winchester to Merdon, now a Southampton
suburb, but then a bishop’s castle (see p.10).
During discussion, the usual supposition
of the poor quality of medieval roads was
questioned. There were not many main roads
apart from former Roman ones.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 8
. David Luff showed areportfromCompass Archaeology concerning PhaseTwo of theHigh Path development.
It made no recommendation for any further assessment and said that there would be no significant effect on
heritage assets. David thought this was inadequate and solely based on the results of the Phase One investigation.
. Judith Goodman had returned to A
Treatise on the Art of Dyeing, by C Land AB Berthollet, a text she had
consulted when preparing Coal and Calico. It mentioned a flax mill owned by James Lee at Merton Abbey.
Lee lived in Middlesex for at least part of his life, and he applied for several patents on machinery used in the
production of flax. Judith showed copies of these patents, obtained from what is now the Intellectual Property
Office; they were very detailed, both in description and in the engineering drawings. Judith suggested that
the copies be offered to the Wandle Industrial Museum.
. Keith Penny: Deterred by the railway strike from visiting The National Archives, Keith returned to some of
his notes aboutthestrikeby tramcrews of theSouth Metropolitan ElectricTramways and Lighting Company
(Southmet) from 7th April to 26th April 1916. The company operated a service from Tooting Junction station
to West Croydon. Industrial unrest did not cease just because of the war in progress; the LCC tramways had
a strike in 1915, after which the management dismissed the strikers and then found itself short of crews, all
of which encouraged the employment of women as conductors. Women were never tram drivers in Greater
London, though other places did employ them, and it was the trialling of two women conductors as drivers
on the Southmet system that caused the 1916 strike. This was also about wages and job security once the
war finished – and it may be that male drivers were fearful that the employment of women would make
them more likely to be conscripted into the Army. Astrike in neighbouring Croydon lasted longer, and after
it the male and female conductors were paid at equal rates. The Southmet manager said that he did not think
women suitable for conducting large open-top cars (such as were used on the Tooting-Croydon route), and
the management then supplied stools on the end platforms and canvas draught screens. The Tramway Workers
Union thought it ‘highly dangerous to put women on the front platform of tramcars … they would have
trouble with the handbrakes’. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner was also against such an innovation.
Perhaps this objection was not wholly sexist: pictures of female tram staff of the period often show women
quite small in stature, and the large cars had seats for 68 people, for which the brake-power was what the
driver could exert on the handbrake. Oddly, a Mr Dalrymple of Glasgow claimed that women could ‘go to
pieces’after the slightest accident, even though the Glasgow system employed female drivers and conductors
who collectively acquired a fearsome reputation.
During discussion David Luff pointed out that until relatively recently buses and trolleybuses had no power-
assisted steering and relied on the driver’s strength. Keith added thathis experience at theNational Tramway
Museum was that cars from northern industrial cities had low headroom in the saloons and shallow treads
on the stairs, suggesting that many of the passengers were smaller than expected nowadays.
Dates of next Workshops: Fridays 27 March, 15 May and 3 July 2020.
2.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum. All are welcome.
LONDON ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELDWORK SUMMARY 2018
Summary and extracts from the London Archaeologist
publication: Little of great interest was found in the
six evaluations and excavations in the London Borough of Merton in 2018. At Cricket Green School, Lower
Ground West, Mitcham, a gravel layer was found to contain some fragments of Tudor pottery and peg roof-tile,
and may represent a path to the medieval Hall Place. At 77 Runnymede, Colliers Wood, eight test pits revealed
only made ground, probably dumped in the 1940s-1950s to provide a level basis for constructing the housing
estate. At 40 Station Road, Colliers Wood, cut water-filled features, probably associated with Merton Priory,
were examined, but produced no dating evidence. However, two 4-foot wide gravel pads were noted, cut into
alluvium, consistent with others found previously at 101 Christchurch Road.These seem to be foundation pads
for a now absent wall belonging to the Priory, which have been dated 1175-1225.
NEW SCIENTIST MAGAZINE
From the humorous Feedback column, 16 February 2019:
Imagine our excitement when we saw the headline ‘Mattelto offer new scientist Barbie line.’Who will
they be modelled on? What accessories will they come with? Perhaps they might carry a New Scientist
mug and tote bag? …It mightbe a smart move for New Scientist to diversify into doll accessories. Sadly,
the ‘product line and content’ comes not via this illustrious organ, but National Geographic.
SINDY, if you’re reading this, let’s talk.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 9
DAVID HAUNTON has been musing over
KING JOHN’S TRAVELS BEFORE RUNNYMEDE
‘KingJohnsealedsafe-conducts forthebarons’journeytoRunnymedeatMertonpriory’has long beenanarticle
of faith locally. However, King John is now believed not to have sealed the documents at Merton priory, but at
Merdon castle in Hampshire. I first heard of this when John Hawks mentioned it casually during our visit to the
priory last summer. Katie Hawks pointed me towards Professor Nicholas Vincent’s website magnacarta.cmp.
uea.ac.uk, which details ‘King John’s Diary & Itinerary’under The Magna Carta Project, and which contains
the first academic mention of John’s visit to Merdon.
Looking at a map, I thought I would explore this a little further. Where was John when? The rather scanty
record is mostly of official documents, showing that the king was at a particular place on a particular date. Only
occasionally are there extra remarks in a chronicle, such as ‘he arrived for Pentecost and stayed three days’.
Usually we do not know when he arrived or how long he stayed, or indeed if he stayed overnight.
For the week of Magna Carta in 1215, the website lists the evidence from the Close Rolls and Patent Rolls, and
the Chronicle of the Election of Hugh, giving the few known points on King John’s travels as:
Sunday 7 June 1215 celebrated Pentecost at Winchester
Monday 8 Jun 1215 documents at Winchester and Merdon (Hampshire)
Tuesday 9 Jun 1215 documents at Odiham (Hampshire) and Windsor
Wednesday 10 Jun 1215 ‘The meadow between Windsor and Staines’
Wednesday 10 to Sunday14 Jun 1215 Windsor
Winchester, Odiham and Windsor contain well-known royal residences, but Merdon is a little different. It was
one of several castles built around 1138 by Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, to support his brother, King
Stephen, during the civil unrest of the Anarchy. It was ‘slighted'(ie. its defensive walls knocked down) early in
the reign of the next king, Henry II, probably before 1156. However, the residential buildings were left intact
as a palatial residence for the Bishops of Winchester.1
How did John travel?
This was not a royal progress, but business travel, so was presumably on horseback,
rather than in a wagon, carriage or cart. There seem to have been no real lightweight vehicles for people in the
13th century; the Fécamp psalter of c.1180 shows a light two-wheeler with the driver seated on the horse between
the shafts, but this is for goods, not people. Perhaps light vehicles for people did not re-appear until after decent
roads and steel
carriage springs did. Roman roads in Britain, though still in use, will have deteriorated in the
six or seven centuries since a sixth-century writer berated bishops for ‘driving furiously in their carriages’.2 No
other roads would have been made-up with any sort of foundation or surface.
The king would not be alone,but would travel in a group of horsemen. I imagine this would include at least a
councillor or two for discussions (not overheard by others while riding), a chancellor’s clerk for writing and
copying [do any of the original documents survive, and are they all in the same hand?], some messengers, some
servants (carrying stuff -regalia, money, wet-weather cloaks, food, drink), and guards for protection and display,
say 20-25 men overall. So we have a group travelling in some loosely formal order, such as guards ahead and
behind, not as an undisciplined gaggle. They would ride good quality horses, not the heavy destrier war-horse,
but the escort would have to keep up with the king, who presumably set the pace.
How fast did John move?
We don’t know typical travelling speeds for the 13th century. Marching speeds
of medieval armies are fairly useless here. The few hundred or thousand men of an army were hard put to do
more than 15 miles per day, with 10 miles much more usual, as things were complicated by the presence of
baggage wagons, organisational difficulties and the need for scouts to report,3 none of which should apply to
King John’s business travel. Similarly, we may discount the daily movements of Elizabeth I or Henry VIII, as
being untypical for our purposes; they tended to travel slowly, with public display as a major consideration.
I looked for parallels of group travel elsewhere. The best I found was in the American ‘Wild West’. In the 1870s
and 1880s the United States Cavalry, toned by experience in the Civil War, had a set of rules of thumb used in
planning future travel. At thatdate this meant travel in a formed group (at least a half-troop of 25-30 men) over
a generally unexplored landscape with very little in the way of traditional trails, and on horses of very varied
capabilities. Planned speed while the horses were walking was 3mph, and while they were trotting was 6mph.4
Experience had shown that these speeds could be maintained for some hours at a time.
While modern racehorses can achieve 30mph for a few minutes,5 they cannot do so for long. So, as a check, I
looked up reports of the legendarily speedy Pony Express of 1860-61, which operated over a 1900-mile route
using relays of horses. They employed light-weight riders, mostly teenagers, encouraged to ride as quickly as
possible, over stages of 75-100 miles each, with a change of horses every 10-15 miles. Though there were
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 10
records of occasional individual performances of high speeds over lengthy stages, the average speed over the
full 1900 miles was about 8mph, equivalent to a horse cantering the entire way. This was clearly exceptional
for distance travel for a lone rider, and gives us a practical maximum for the travel of a royal group in 1215.
King John was born c.1167, so he was about 48 years old in 1215. He would have been tough, accustomed to
riding as exercise (an hour or two a day, hunting when not travelling) but getting on a bit and perhaps beginning
to take thing easier. Though he established fast-travelling royal messengers in 1199,6 he is most unlikely to have
established frequent relay stationscapable of remounting 20-25 men rather than an individual man.7ThusI adopt
the US Cavalry standard and assume that King John and his escort normally travelled at a reasonable 6mph.
apart are these places?
Roads as such were few and far between, but much of the area would
have been familiar from previous use. The exact distances by 13th-century tracks are unknown, so I took the
modern map calculation using current roads, as adding a few twists and turns to the straight line distance.8This
measurement gives the route now believed to have been followed as: from Winchester -5 miles to Merdon -31
miles direct to Odiham – 26 miles to Windsor – 9 miles to Runnymede. (See sketch map.)
So how long was he in the saddle?
I have not added any allowance for short breaks (watering horses, lunch,
breather after a stiff climb, etc.). On 8 June, letters were issued first at Winchester, then at Merdon. I take it this
order isdeduced from the order in which lettershave been copied into the Patent Rolls. The website commentary
speaks of a southward progress interrupted and reversed at Merdon. I am not happy with the idea of a ‘progress’
and would suggest that in fact the visit to Merdon was exactly that – King John rode to Merdon to consult
with someone there, and issued the safe-conducts as a result of that consultation. The distance between the two
places is only five miles, an easy ride of less than one hour. [Was an elderly or bedridden bishop in residence?
Or a visiting baronial envoy? Or herald?]
My initial thought was that John returned to Winchester for the night, but I then considered the length of the ride
necessary to go from Winchester to Odiham and then on to Windsor in one day, 57 miles in total, say 9½ hours
in the saddle. So I now wonder whether John rode to Merdon, issued letters there after consultation, and then
rode to Odiham the same day. The following day, he issued letters at Odiham before setting out for Windsor,
where he transacted further business. This second suggestion would give him two journeys, totalling 36 miles,
on Monday 8 June (1 hour, then 5 hours riding), followed by a single journey of 26 miles on Tuesday 9 June
(4½ hours riding).
The route not taken would have been 65 miles from Winchester to Merton, taking about 11 hours, followed
by 44 miles to Odiham (7 hours) and 26 miles to Windsor (4½ hours), a total of 135 miles in two days.9Surely
this has been queried before now?
The castle was a motte and bailey.The sole upstanding building has been interpreted as a gatehouse but this is disputed.
2 This memory may be from Gildas, De Excidio et Conquestu Brittaniae, c.540AD, but I cannot locate the quote at present.
3 Compare accounts of the marches preceding the Wars of the Roses Battles … of Barnet and Tewkesbury (PW Hammond, 1990), …
of Towton (AW Boardman, 1994) and … of Bosworth (Michael Bennet, 1985) (All Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd)
4 John S Gray, Custer’s Last Campaign (1993, University of Nebraska Press) Senior officers often appointed a junior to map their
passage over previously unmapped ground, noting river crossings and courses, and using a pocket watch for timing the march and
a trailing surveyor’s wheel to measure distance.
5 Dick Francis, champion jockey, passim
6 This is the origin of the service still maintained by today’s Queen’s Messengers, who traditionally travel alone.
I have absolutely no evidence for this statement, save probability and the cost of horses at the time.
This is obviously variable, but in these cases adds 5-10% to the straight-line distance.
On one occasion the champion Pony Express rider claimed to have covered 100 miles in seven hours, (ie. c.14 mph) but he
travelled alone and used relays of fresh horses.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 11
NORMA COX has been researching a street:
(1) HISTORY OF THE HAYDON’S ROAD CHEMIST’S SHOPS
Haydon’s Road in South Wimbledon was developed between 1865 and the early 1900s to provide houses and
a shopping parade for the surrounding area.1Previously Haydon’s Road had been a lane called Haydon’s Lane;
before that it was called Cowdrey’s Lane, a track leading to Cowdrey’s Farm during the Georgian period.2 The
farm on this site was Butler’s Farm3and was first documented in the fifteenth century.
The small shops in Haydon’s Road were built in the Victorian era. The retail area was on the ground floor at the
front of the building and the work-rooms, offices and storage areas were to the rear. Accommodation was on the
first floor. Today many of these shops have closed and the premises have been converted to accommodation.
Fortunately many of the outlines of the shops remain.
The first chemist’s shop in Haydon’s Road in 1892 belonged to Mr George TDobson at 161Haydon’s Road,
which according to Kelly’s Directory
was on the east side of the road and a few doors up from the British Queen
public house at no.151.4 The next chemist recorded at this premises was Mr George Clarke in 1897-8; the
British Queen was still at no.151, with another public house, the Horse and Groom, at no.135 (public houses
were important landmarks).5 In 1899 and 1900 the chemist was Mr J Jones.6 Also in 1900 another chemist’s
shop was listed at 288 Haydon’s Road, called the Red Cross Chemist Co. The next year Mr J Jones was still at
161 Haydon’s Road, but the Red Cross Chemist Co had gone.7From 1902-1909 the Haydon’s Road chemist’s
shop was run by Mr AH Carpenter and the address of the shop was now 177 Haydon’s Road.8
This was not
necessarily a new shop but just a change in the numbering
of Haydon’s Road, for other buildings in the road
had also changed their street number at this time. As seen in the 1906 Trim’s Directory, the British Queen public
house was now listed at no.161, as an ale house, and the Horse and Groom public house was at no.145.8 From
1909-10 Kelly’s Directory
the chemist shop at 177 Haydon’s Road was listed as run by Mr Francis William
Fawkes MPS, Chemist;9
in the1910-1 Kelly’s Directory
Mr Fawkes called himself a Pharmacist and his shop
remained in business, while another chemist’s shop was shown at 278 Haydon’s Road run by Mr WF Ennis &
Co, Chemist.10Mr Ennis’shop was only there for that one year and in 1912-13 the shop at no.278 became Noel’s
Drug store.11Mr Fawkes’business continued up until 1972 as seen in the listings of the Kelly’s Directories until
1936 and after that in the Annual Register of Chemist and Druggists, Pharmaceutical Chemists and Registered
Premises, from 1937-1972.12
The chemists who ran the shops were registered by law as chemists and druggists by the Pharmaceutical Society.
This was mandatory after the 1868 Pharmacy Act, requiring that all chemists and druggists (or pharmacists
as they were later called), had to be examined and registered by the Pharmaceutical Society in order to sell,
dispense and compound poisons and dangerous drugs. There were two examinations, the Minor Examination to
By 1872 all pharmaceutical chemists were required to be members of the Society and by the 1898 Pharmacy
Amendment Act chemists and druggists could also become
members as well as registrants.13
Members of the
Pharmaceutical Society could use the letters MPS after their name.
In 1933 at the same time as Mr Fawkes was conducting his business at 177 Haydon’s Road, another chemist
shop had started at no.278. This new chemist’s shop was run by Mr WWharton who called himself Chemist in
the Kelly’s Directory; the premises had previously been a drug store and was latterly run by Mr Joseph Cobb
up until 1932.14 Mr Wharton’s chemist shop was in business until 1949.
There was another chemist shop in Haydon’s Road from 1937-1942 and this was run by Mr Algernon Belton
Sherren at 331 Haydon’s Road.12
[All data in this paragraph is from this reference.] By 1942 there were just
two chemist shops in Haydon’s Road, these were Mr Francis William Fawkes at no.177 and Mr William
Wharton at no.278, as Mr Sherren’s shop had gone. Mr Wharton was last shown in the 1949 register. In 1950
Mr Allan Evans was the registered pharmacist at 278 Haydon’s Road and Mr Fawkes was still registered at
no.177. These two registered
pharmacies continued up until 1956. In 1957 the shop at 278 Haydon’s Road
was now run by Mr M J Evans; he continued until 1964, but by 1965 there was no registered pharmacy at 278
Haydon’s Road. In 1973 a new chemist shop was seen in the annual registers at 179 Haydon’s Road, called
Ashley Stevens Chemist Ltd. The company was registered at an address at 324 Coldharbour Lane, London
SW9 and the Superintendent was Mr Alan Hughson Law. This pharmacy was there in 1974, but in 1975 it was
renamed AH Law and remained there until 1977. In 1978 the address of AH Law was 177 Haydon’s Road
and by 1979 this pharmacy had gone. It seems strange that the address was 179 Haydon’s Road when number
177 Haydon’s Road was vacant as Mr Fawkes was no longer shown in the Annual Registers of Premises
1972. According to the annual registers there was no pharmacy in Haydon’s Road from 1979-1983. In 1984
Mr N R D Mawani was shown as the pharmacist at 130 Haydon’s Road.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 12
AnNHS advertforHaydon’s Pharmacyontheinternet
states ‘In 1982 Nizar and Shirin Mawani established
the Haydon’s Pharmacy business at 130 Haydon’s
Road and have been in business there ever since’.16
The difference in the date of 1984 given in the annual
register and the date of 1982 stated in the NHS website
may be partially explained by the cut-off time for the
production of registers. N R D Mawani was shown
as the pharmacist at no.130 up until 1993. In 1993
the premises were registered as Rahad Ltd (Haydon’s
Pharmacy) 130 Haydon’s Road and the superintendent
was Mawani N R D. In November 1995 Valjee S H
was registeredas thesuperintendentofRahadLtd.The
companyRahadLtdat130Haydon’s Roadwas shown
in the annual registers up until 2009.12
After 2009 the publication of the annual registers
ceased and in September 2010 the newly formed
took over the
registration of pharmacists and premises from the Royal
Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.13
Pharmacy remains the only pharmacy in Haydon’s
Road today (right); it retains only some of the original
shopfront features, but preserves the Victorian window
My thanks to the Library staff of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 66-68 East Smithfield,
London E1W 1AW, for the use of the library and registers. Photograph by Norma Cox 2019.
3 Milward,R. 1996. Wimbledon Two Hundred Years Ago.The Milward Press, London. p50
4 Kellys Directory of Wimbledon, Merton, Mitcham, Sutton and District. 1892
5 Kelly’s Directory of Wimbledon. 1897-8
6 Trim’s Wimbledon and Merton Directories. 1899 & 1900
Trim’s Wimbledon & Merton Directory. 1901
Trim’s Wimbledon & Merton Directories. 1902-9
Kelly’s Directory of Wimbledon, Merton, Mitcham & Morden. 1909-10
Kelly’s Directories of Wimbledon, Merton, Mitcham & Morden. 1910-11
11 Kelly’s Directories of Wimbledon, Merton, Mitcham & Morden. 1912-13
Annual Registers of Chemists and Druggists, Pharmaceutical Chemists and Registered Premises
1937-2009. The Pharmaceutical Society, London
Kelly’s Directory of Wimbledon & Merton. 1933
Kelly’s Directory of Wimbledon. 1934-1937
NORMA COX continues her examination of Haydon’s Road
(2) THE SHOPS: CHANGE OVER 128 YEARS
I’m always happy to walk down Haydon’s Road in South Wimbledon. This is probably a feeling of nostalgia,
for there is a lot of history to see here. The road is an old route and in the fifteenth century it was a track leading
to Butler’s Farm, later known as Cowdrey’s Farm.1
Today the road is busy with traffic: it runs from Merton
High Street (Stane Street in Roman times), quite close to the Merton priory site, up to the Gap Road/ Durnsford
Road/ Plough Lane cross roads. It was developed between 1865 and the early 1900s to provide houses and a
shopping parade for the surrounding area.2
ManyoftheseVictorianshops havebeenconvertedintoaccommodationbuttheoutlineof theshops has remained.
have their own special nomenclature, including the horizontal fascia,the main location for the
shop name and details of the business, and consoles, which provided a vertical frame for the fascia, for in a row
of shops the consoles separatethe fascias. Pilasters, the long pillars on either side of the shop window, had the
same role as the consoles, to frame the shop front and separate it from its neighbours. The pilasters typically
incorporated a capitalat the top and a plinthat the bottom. The cornice provided an upper frame for the fascia
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 13
and protected it from the weather. Thestall riser was situated under
the shop window and would have helped to protect it from road dirt
and damage. In the convertedshops the stall risers and the window
glass have been removed and the shop windows bricked up, with a
new front door and one or two windows installed. There is one empty
shop at 258 Haydon’s Road which has its window glass intact and
also has thestallriser
is tiled and has two
colourful designs in
blue and gold tile on
either side of a tiled
picture of a cow (left & p.1). There are also empty shops with the
name of the last business still remaining on the fascia, and two
work-places but they are no longer retail shops.
To discover what kind of shops there were in Haydon’s Road over a period of 128 years I used six Kelly’s
to study the years 1891, 1892, 1913-14, 1920, 1940 and 1978. The information for 2019 was
obtained by walking along and observing Haydon’s Road.
From the 1891 Kelly’s Directory
there was a wide range of shops and trades in Haydon’s Road. There were
three greengrocers, seven grocers, two china dealers/retailers, one wardrobe dealer, three dairymen, two paperhangers,
three boot makers, three beer retailers, four butchers, two drapers, two tobacconists, three oilmen,
one hairdresser, three confectioners, and one each for dining-room, haberdasher, baker, fish shop and tailor,
totalling 44 shops. There were also listed the trades of a chimney cleaner, a wood-cutter, two jobbing gardeners,
a nurseryman, a coal and coke merchant, an insurance agent and a home decorator; these last tradesmen may
have offered their services without the need for a shop premises. These businesses remained about the same
in 1892 with the addition of a chemist at no.161. The shops were arranged in short parades, though in 1892
Haydon’s Road was still not fully developed.3
In the 1913-14 Kelly’s Directory
there were many more retail businesses such as a Post Office, an art colour
merchants, ham and beef stores, three corn chandlers (probably because of Merton Mill, a working mill on the
nearby River Wandle), a cat and dog dealer named John Romaine at no.65 Haydon’s Road, a watch-maker, a
second-hand bookseller, a pawnbroker and a carpet planners company. The shop at 258 Haydon’s Road was
a dairy and was run by Mr David AHughes. In total there
were 112 shops. I did not include a business such
as Samuel Thornback & Son, ‘tar paviors'(sic), in the shop count as this business was probably worked from
a builders-yard. The two GPpractices and the dentist were not counted as retail shops, nor were a teacher of
pianoforte and two carpenters, because they worked either from their own homes or at the homes or businesses
of their clients. Motor engineers were not counted in the shop total as their working environment was not a shop.4
In the 1920 Kelly’s Directory
there were 113 shops and this included
the new business of a sign and glass writer. The dairy was still at 258
Haydon’s Road, run by Mr Trevor John, and the pawnbrokers were still
at nos.132-134. The total number of shops does not include businesses
which were not shop premises such as motor engineers, glass silverers,
builders and decorators, GP
practices, dentists and a children’s day
nursery. New businesses included a drug store. There was only one corn
dealer in 1920: he was Arthur Alan Kimber at 251 Haydon’s Road. The
business of John Romaine at no.65 was now stated as purveyor of cats’
meat:this may havebeen meatobtainedfromthecarcasses ofoldhorses.5
The premises are still a shop, but it is much changed (right).
In 1940 there were 114 shops offering a good selection of butchers,
bakers, grocers, greengrocers, fishmongers and two chemists. The corn
chandlers or dealers had returned, making the total now three. The dairy
was still at no.258 and still run by Mr David AHughes. There was still a
pawnbrokers at nos.132-134; however the site, to the right of Haydon’s
Pharmacy, is now accommodation (on facing page). Again some businesses were not counted in the total number
of shops, as mentioned in the 1920 directory discussion.6
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 14
By 1978 Haydon’s Road had some retail businesses which
had become. The total number of shops had reduced to 81,as
follows: seven confectioners, four hairdressers, three each
of printing businesses, plumbing and heating equipment
suppliers, motor or motor-cycle spares, food ‘Take Aways’,
wines & spirit retailers, and green-grocers, and two each
of decorator suppliers, furniture shops (one second-hand),
grocers, provisions, electrical goods suppliers, fish bars,
butchers, launderettes, turf accountants, bakers and car-
hire shops. There were single examples of data processing
services, marine accessories, funeral directors, plan-copier & photocopiers, air-conditioner equipment and
flooring contractors, chemist, television sales, dry cleaner, electronic displays, sheet metal worker, Post Office,
home brewing and wine making shop, model-making materials, glazing contractor, men’s clothing wholesaler,
second-hand car dealer, dairyman, draper, domestic hardware sales, outdoor centre (camping equipment
makers), newsagent, decorators materials and an iron-monger. Not included in the total number of shops was
one coachwork motor engineer, two car service stations, two GP Practices and one children’s nursery.7
Today in 2019 there are the following shops in Haydon’s Road: a motor bike training and clothing shop, a funeral
parlour, a mortgage broker, two large food chain retailers, a fish and chips shop, five fast food ‘Take Aways’
(consisting of three pizza/pasta, one kebab and one Chinese), two barbers, four grocery and wine stores, a Post
Office within a fifth grocery and wine store, a turf accountant, only one hairdresser, a domestic appliances and
repair shop, four accountants, two massage parlours, two builders companies, a printers business, a business
solutions company, a tyre shop, a chemist, two interior design companies, an alarm immobiliser and motorcycle
and car accessory shop, a dry-cleaners and tailors, two door and window glass companies, a dog groomer, two
cafés, a letting agency, two taxi cabs, a car hire business, a care agency and a restaurant, totalling 49 shops. Not
included in the count were one dental laboratory, one dental practice, one day nursery and one car repairs workshop.
The information from the Kelly’s Directories
showed the social changes that had occurred over 128 years of
Haydon’s Road history.In 1891-92 there were only 44 shops, because Haydon’s Road had not been completed,
but the selection of shopswould have met people’sneedswith butchers, grocers, greengrocers, bakersand oilmen.
In 1913-14 the shop total had increased to 112 and there was more variety in the goods on offer. Confectioners
were very popular and Garratt’s garage (not in the shop count) at 163-171 Haydon’s Road showed that people
now drove cars. There were now GPs in the street. In 1920 the total number of shops was 113. There was a new
addition (not in the shop count) of a children’s nursery in Haydon’s Road in 1920. One reason for childcare
may have been that some mothers now had to work as the breadwinner after the First World War. In 1940 there
was a shop total of 114, with a good selection of shops. The total number of shops in Haydon’s Road had not
changed much during the years 1913-14 up to 1940 and business was progressing in 1940 even though Great
Britain was in the first year of WW2.
The number of shops in Haydon’s Road listed in the 1978 Kelly’s Directory
had fallen to 81 and the shops now
showed that the world had changed, with the arrival of technical and electronic business shops. There were still
the traditional food shops but also three ‘Take Away’fast food shops. The pace of life had increased. For 2019
the individual food shops such as grocer, greengrocer, butcher, baker and dairy had been absorbed into the two
large chain food stores, Sainsburys and the Co-op, although there were also five grocery and wine shops and
five fast food shops. The northern end of Haydon’s Road, near the Gap Road/ Durnsford Road/ Plough Lane
cross roads was the most vibrant part of the street. The shops of Haydon’s Road had become specialised with
accountancy firms, business solutions, interior design companies, specialized motor-car accessories and massage
parlours. Shopping was also done on the internet in the 21st century and all of these factors may explain why
there are few shoppers walking along Haydon’s Road today. In addition there are many empty shops and others
which have been converted into accommodation, but it is still a pleasant historic street to walk along.
Photographs by Norma Cox September 2019
Milward R Wimbledon Two Hundred Years Ago (1996, The Milward Press, London) p.50
Kelly’s Directory of Wimbledon, Merton, Mitcham & Sutton 1891 & 1892
Kelly’s Directory of Wimbledon, Merton, Mitcham & Morden 1913-1914
Kelly’s Directory of Wimbledon 1920
Kelly’s Directory of Wimbledon 1940
Kelly’s Directory of London 1978
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 15
HEATH ROBINSON MUSEUM
Dr Chris Abbott recently visited this museum, in Pinner Memorial Park, 50 West End Lane, Pinner HA5 1AE,
not far from Pinner Underground station. Museum is open Thursday – Sunday, 11.00am – 4.00pm.
There is a somewhat surprising link with Merton, in that William Heath Robinson designed several humorous
booklets advertising Connolly’s leather factory. Chris kindly gave us this photo of a display case.
SHANNON CORNER FLOODING 1981 (OR WAS IT 1982?)
Mick Taylor sent us these pictures, but he is not sure of the date. He recalls a deluge of rain and the flood
occurring very suddenly. Norma Cox remarks that one photo (below left) shows the B&Q store within the
Shannon Ltd factory building, before its superstore replacement. Amember recalled that the factory entrance
sloped down from the road and often suffered from flooding during heavy downpours, and that travelling
across Shannon Corner by bus after heavy rain made the bus sway: you felt as if you were on a ship. The other
photo (below right) looks eastwards down Burlington Road, with the Duke of Cambridge
pub on the left and
the Esso Garage on the right.
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MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 213 – MARCH 2020 – PAGE 16