Memories of Lower Morden

Local History Notes 11: by Lilian Grumbridge

Lilian was born in one of the ‘New Cottages’ in Lower Morden Lane in 1915, and lived there until her marriage, when she moved to her present home in nearby Hillcross Avenue. Her memories of life in this tiny rural area, with its three farms, contrasts with life in the area today.

Photographs and postcards are also reproduced, together with an extract from the 1933 25″ Ordnance Survey map with annotations by Bill Rudd.


Review by Margaret Carr in MHS Bulletin 118 (Jun 1996)


MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
LOCAL HISTORY NOTES -11
Memories of Lower Morden
By Lilian Grumbridge – 1990
LOCAL HISTORY NOTES -11
Memories of Lower Morden
By Lilian Grumbridge – 1990
I have lived in Morden ever since I was born here in 1915. What was Morden like in those early
days? Picture a very quiet, sleepy, peaceful village. The tiny cottage in Lower Morden Lane
where I was born, was one of eight, called “New Cottages” which were built in 1907. My parents
rented it for the sum of 5 shillings per week. There was no electricity or gas, our lighting was oil
lamps downstairs, and candlelight upstairs.

The tiny kitchen boasted three cupboards on the outside wall, one of which housed the coal that
fed the open range which was our only means of warmth and cooking facilities. In the corner of
the kitchen was a brick built copper, which once a week was filled with water, and the fire lit. From
out in the back garden my parents would bring in a long tin bath, which was put in front of the
kitchen range. The water was transferred in saucepans to the bath, and one by one my sister and
three brothers were bathed. The last one to be given the bath had an extra cuddle for waiting
patiently. This event we looked forward to, as on other nights we were stood in the old butler’s
sink for our ablutions.

Our large garden overlooked open fields, front and back, and I spent many happy hours there with
my family and friends.

Children living in Lower Morden Lane 1st December 1920, photographed outside Morden School.
Lilian, aged 5, is second from the left in the front row. Her eldest brother and sister are second and
third from the right in the back row, one twin brother is standing third from left in the second to back
row, the other is sitting fourth from left in the second row from the front.

The dawn chorus of the birds heralded each new day, the ducks on the pond had a language of
their own, the cows padded their way twice daily past our little house to the fields from the dairy
farm, providing milk for the local inhabitants.

Lower Morden Farm, home of Mr & Mrs Marden, then Mr & Mrs Woodland, later replaced by Hatfeild School

Of the three farms in our road, the site of one is now a Baptist Church, another has given place
to a school, and the third has become a Garden Centre.

Kennels Farm, Lower Morden Lane, was a piggery. It has now been replaced by the Assembly Rooms and
Morden Park Baptist Church (Hanson’s Library Postcard)

The only traffic to pass our door was an occasional funeral cortege, which in those days was
solemnly drawn by two, or sometimes four, beautiful shining black horses, down the lane which
led to what was then Battersea Cemetery.

My schooldays were spent at Morden Council School, which was built in 1910, having outgrown
the old school built in 1731 which is now Morden Parish Hall.

Morden School – Class 7 – November 1926

Sundays were always reserved for attendance at St. Lawrence parish church, opposite the school.
The highlight of summer was the Sunday School Outing to the sea by charabanc, so called in the
early years.

Another very happy occasion was when, once a year, Morden School pupils were allowed the
privilege of going to Morden Hall Park, the home of Gilliat Hatfeild, the local squire. We were
taken, in punts, on the River Wandle, which still runs through the estate – now National Trust
property. On leaving, after tea had been served from the Marquee, we were each given a bun and
an orange to take home.

Another treat was watching, with great interest, racegoers passing by the end of our lane as they
travelled in their finery, in open deck buses, to and from the Derby at Epsom, whilst others, not
so fortunate, walked the five miles each way.

So, what of Morden now? So much has changed. The hill we climbed as children is now part
of Hillcross Avenue, boasting over 400 houses, in one of which I have lived with my husband for
over 50 years. A bus route passes our door leading through to Morden’s shopping and new civic
centre and tube station at the end of the Northern Line.

A far cry from bygone days. Time marches on.

View across the fields in 1926, with Bow Lane and Morden Park boundary, now Hillcross Avenue.

The Rick Yard, Lower Morden Farm in 1929, now replaced by Hatfeild School.
The line of the present Hillcross Avenue is in the background.
Lilian is shown here aged 13½.

Lower Morden Lane from the corner of Elm Road and Epsom Road, Sutton
(Stonecot Library Postcard)

Residents of Lower Morden 1927 – from Register of the Electors (W J Rudd)

BURGOYNE, Ada & Sidney Thomas Superintendent’s House, Battersea Cemetery

EVANS, Alfred George & Sarah Jane
(of 11, Freke Road, Battersea, SW.11)

BURRAGE, Edgar Edward, Helen Kate & Gordon Ewart

BRIGHT, George, Kate & Alfred Edwin

LAMBERT, Alfred Joseph

GROVE, Harriet Whitelaw & Sidney William Leopold

GROVE, Stanley Septimus

LAWSON, Elizabeth, LEMON, George & HOWLETT, Harold Robert

LAMBERT, Ernest

LATIMER, Henry William & Jane

WELLDON, Dennis & Francis

BONNEWELL, Charles William & Esther

SARGANT, May Alice & Walter Garfield

VINCENT, Ellen & William

REED, Jane Olive & Leolin

AYLING, Kate & William

MARDEN, Frederick & Mabel

HUNT, Catherine & Walter Salisbury &

GORDON, Robert John & Margaret Ann

LAMBERT, Ernest

BATTEN, Walter Edward & Nellie Esther

BRIGHT, Constance Grace & Frederick George

SEARLE, Frances & George

EDGAR, Ellen Martha & Reginald George

GREENWOOD, Ernest Joseph
(of “Warwick House”, Chestnut Road, Merton, SW.20)

Two haywains being
pulled by tractor
eastward along Lower
Morden Lane, towards
what is now Cardinal
Avenue

Stonemasons Yard

Kennels Farm
1, Beverley Cottages
2, Beverley Cottages
8, New Cottages
7, New Cottages
6, New Cottages
5, New Cottages
4, New Cottages
3, New Cottages
2, New Cottages
1, New Cottages
4, The Farm Cottages *
3, The Farm Cottages *
1, The Farm Cottages *
Lower Morden Farm

5, The Green
4, The Green
3, The Green
2, The Green
1, The Green
Peacock Farm
Land

* later called Bishop’s Cottages
No. 2 was presumably vacant

Extract from 1933 OS 25″ Map Extract from 1933 OS 25″ Map

The Stile, Lower Morden Lane, with the footpath leading to Epsom Road opposite Rutland Parade
(Hanson’s Library Postcard)

The view from New Cottages, Lower Morden Lane, looking towards what is now
Cardinal Avenue, with Tudor Drive in the background.
The large tree on the right continued to grow on the green in Cardinal Avenue until recent years.

ISBN 1 903899 34 6
Published by Merton Historical Society – April 1996
Further information on Merton Historical Society can be obtained from the Society’s website at
www.mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk , or from
Merton Library & Heritage Service, Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, Surrey. SM4 5DX