September 1995 – Bulletin 115
The Wandle Industrial Museum – P D Harris
Lord Monson’s Schooldays – E N Montague
and much more
PRESIDENT: The Viscountess Hanworth. F.S.A
VICE PRESIDENT: Mr. Arthur Turner
BULLETIN NO. 115 SEPTEMBER 1995
FORTHCOMING PROGRAMME 1995
Friday 15th September 8.00 pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre 100 Years of the National Trust
Evelyn Jowett Memorial Lecture
Friday 20th October 8.00 pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre The Work of the Surrey Record
Julian Pooley will be referring to records relating to Merton Borough
Saturday 4th November 2.30 pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre AGM followed by Quiz Saturday
16th December 2.30 pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
The Charterhouse of Shene – John Cloake of Richmond Historical Society
(Park in Morden Hall National Trust Garden Centre Car Park
and follow the path across the bridge and through the gateway)
Meetings are on Monday evenings at 8.00 in Small Hall, St. Leonards Church Hall:
16th October The Mysterious Death of Charlie Bravo Nicholas Reed
6th November Local History Research Group – A Project on Lavender Audrey Thomas
20th November The Art of William Morris Judy Goodman
The last two speakers will be known to members and it is hoped our Society
will be well represented at these meetings. 118 bus route passes the church.
Kingston-upon-Thames Archaeological Society
At the Lower Hall, Friends Meeting House, Eden Street: Tuesday
3rd October – 8.00 pm – In the Steps of the Crusaders – From Venice to the Holy Land
ON A SAD NOTE
ARTHUR JOHN MARSON (JACK) BAILEY, B.Sc., F.R. Pharms., F.R.I.C.
It is with sadness that we learnt from Jess Bailey that Jack, who had been a member of the
for 44 years, passed away on the 15th June after a brief illness.
Jack’s great contribution to our knowledge of the history of our area, and Mitcham in
has been in the field of family history research. A member of the East Surrey Family History
Society, he took an active part in the recording of inscriptions in Mitcham parish churchyard,
results of which have now been published and will be of immense use to future historians. His
investigations into the background of Sir Ambrose Crowley, the 18th century ironmaster whose
monument is to be seen in the baptistry of Mitcham church will, it is intended, be incorporated
into a monograph to be offered to the Society for publication. Jack’s detailed research into
history of the family of James Moore has also produced new and fascinating information about
one of the outstanding characters of Mitcham. It is hoped that this, too, will eventually be
brought together and made available as a token of gratitude and appreciation of Jack’s work.
A service was held at the North East Surrey Crematorium on Friday June 23rd and Eric Trim
attended on behalf of the Society, and conveyed condolences to Jess Bailey. Music for the
included the 23rd Psalm and God be in my head. The Revd. John Shepherd, M.A. officiated. Mrs
Bailey asked for all to be thanked who had sent letters and cards.
A letter dated 8th June from Ken Brooks informed the Society of the death earlier this year of
wife after a long fight against cancer. Both Ken and Rita have been members of the Society
the early 1970s.
From 1976 to 1986 they were joint Visits Secretaries and usually arranged 5 or 6 trips each
Spring/Summer. As mentioned by Miss Mould in the previous Bulletin, these were very popular.
The trips ceased in 1986 as it was no longer possible to muster enough people to fill a coach.
A letter has been sent by the Secretary expressing our sadness at Rita’s passing.
Yet another notification of the death of a member. Mr Rodriques died earlier this year. He and
his wife Marjorie have been members for 16 years. We offer our deepest sympathy to Marjorie.
It was good to see her on the visit to Painshill Park, and to know that she is still taking an
in the Society.
AND ON A HAPPIER NOTE
The Hon. Secretary received this letter from Miss Mould, dated 29th June, thanking us for
remembering her 90th birthday.
Dear Fellow-members of MHS,
Thank you all for the magnificent flowers and the book-token! I was quite overwhelmed when I
opened the door and found the man standing there ‘behind the flowers’. They are still in very
good fettle. I was able to decide on the book I intend to buy. It was reviewed in the Guardian
the 22nd and seemed put there specially. It is ‘Emerson: The Mind on Fire’ by Robert D
which I shall order from Waterstones, and look forward to reading, an opportunity to savour
literary America of the nineteenth century.
It was lovely to find all the signatures of fellow members of MHS on the card. Thank you to who
arranged that. The flowers will fade but the card with all the signatures will remain to remind
of many happy associations with MHS.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 2
45th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
SNUFF MILL ENVIRONMENTAL CENTRE, MORDEN HALL PARK SATURDAY 4th NOVEMBER 1995 at 2.30 pm. AGENDA
1 Apologies for absence
2 Minutes of the last AGM held on 5th November 1994
3 Matters arising therefrom
4 Chairman’s Report
5 Membership Secretary’s Report
6 Treasurer’s Report; reception and approval of the financial statement for the year, copies of
which will be available at the meeting
Election of Officers for the coming year:
b Vice Chairman
c Hon. Secretary
d Hon. Treasurer
e Hon. Auditor(s)
8 Election of a Committee for the coming year
9 Motions of which due notice has been given
10 Any other business
NOMINATIONS for Officers and Committee members should be given to the Hon. Secretary
14 days before the AGM, though additional nominations may be received at the AGM with the
consent of members. Three Committee members have to stand down this year under the 3 year
rule, so please consider standing for election.
MOTIONS for the AGM must be sent to the Hon. Secretary in writing at least 14 days before
THE COMMITTEE feel that it is time to appoint a second Vice-President, alongside Arthur
Turner, to fill the position left vacant by the death of Miss E M Jowett five years ago. The
Committee’s unanimous choice is Lionel Green, a founder member of the Society. Despite moving
to North Holmwood, and being very active with the Dorking Museum, Lionel is still a regular
attender at MHS meetings, and continues his researches into Merton Priory. His lecture two
years ago on the First Hundred Years of Merton Priory was very well received.
THE TREASURER wishes to remind members that the new subscription rates agreed at the
last AGM apply from 1st October 1995:Single
Additional Member of same household £3
Student Member £1
A renewal form is enclosed with this edition of the Bulletin. From this year, we also have the
option of a Banker’s Standing Order. Please return renewal forms to the Membership Secretary or
he will accept subscriptions at the October and November meetings.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 3
A WALK THROUGH THE WATERMEADS
Some 22 members and 8 visitors met at 7.30 pm on 26th May for a walk through the Watermeads
led by Eric Montague, standing in for Paul Rutter, who was unable to make it. I understand from
Irene Bain that weatherwise it was a very pleasant evening. The walk went past a cascade of
water and followed ground that Irene said was new to her, although she had often spent time
there with her children when young. Eventually the party arrived on the industrial estate and
followed another route back to the gate and main road of the start. A very hearty vote of
THE GREEN FAIR
Sunday 25th June was a bright sunny day, and Madeline Healey, Eric Trim and David Luff set up
the stand, helped later by Margaret Carr and Marjorie Ledgerton. Publications were for sale as
usual, but a total of £5 was the outcome. A display of herbs with illustrations, uses and cures
realised another £4. The Treasure Hunt continued from the Carnival, and tickets to the value of
£22.60 were sold that day. The £10 prize, deducted from this sum, was won by a small girl
Simone. She and four friends had each bought a ticket and agreed that if one of their tickets
they would share the prize. There were five very happy little girls who made their way home.
The Lavender Lady, made by Madeline Healey, was won by Miss Helen Litchfield.
Thanks must be given to Wandle Industrial Museum for the loan of tables, etc. for the above
and the Carnival.
INDEXING OF BULLETINS
I must make amends for an omission in the paragraph about this in an earlier Bulletin. Eric
continued the initial work set up by Audrey Thomas when this was started. She is responsible
the original index but as time went by, of course, more subjects were added.
Abject apologies, Audrey!!
PAINSHILL PARK Top left: The Abbey in Autumn Top right: Grotto Bridge Bottom right: The Chinese
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 4
On 17th June, 29 members made their way by various means to Painshill Park, Cobham, Surrey.
This visit was a follow-up to the talk given to the Society on January 28th by Mrs Maina
of the Painshill Park Trust.
The weather was anything but kind, and so nine members elected to use the minibus, while the
rest of the group set off on foot. After a brief history of the Park, from its inception in
1738 by the
then owner Charles Hamilton, through many vicissitudes until 1981 when the Trust was set up by
local enthusiasts, the two groups followed planned routes, with stops at the many interesting
features for a potted history. From the lakeside we went past the amphitheatre with its many
varied shrubs and deciduous plants. From here we had a view of a “most elegant Gothic temple”
(Sir John Parnell’s journal). The temple looked as if it were made of stone, but in reality was
made of wood, plastered over to resemble stone.
Further on, a vineyard has been planted on the site of a former vineyard. It is hoped that wine
be produced in 2 or 3 years time. Tiles were produced further on round the lake, and to hide a
brick kiln, Hamilton built a “ruined” Abbey. After viewing the Chinese bridge, we crossed to
Grotto Island, where we made for the Grotto itself – a most amazing construction of holey stone
and in course of renovation. The cave is entered by a dark winding passage until at last you
a large chamber, with basins and niches which will have water trickling through, and with
stalactites hanging from the roof, ingeniously constructed from wood and canvas.
Back to the bus and a visit to the Mausoleum, the floor of which, according to Horace Walpole,
was like “painted oilcloth”, and getting a glimpse across the lush countryside of the huge
waterwheel, built in 1730 to provide water for the cascade.
Unfortunately we were not able to see the Hermitage, the Temple of Bacchus and the Gothic
Tower, but our final surprise was the view of the Turkish Tent on the hill – newly restored,
opened only the day before by HRH the Prince of Wales, the Patron of the Trust.
Our tour concluded with a welcome cup of tea in the Visitor’s Centre.
Our thanks are due to our excellent guides and for the very warm welcome we received from the
staff. And thanks also to the members who kindly transported those without cars to Painshill.
was, in spite of the rain, a very enjoyable and interesting afternoon.
A vote of thanks must be extended to our indefatigable Secretary, Sheila Harris, who made all
arrangements, including all the transport arrangements, and had to contend with cancellations
and all manner of emergencies.
It was interesting to find out that the Society had visited Painshill before, in April 1984
by the Brooks) and Joan Page not only went on the 1984 trip but on this one too. She remembers
it was a perfectly awful rain swept afternoon too!! She is amazed at the difference in the
and feels that an enormous amount of work has been done in the ten years between visits. On the
original visit the whole area still looked neglected although not overgrown, and its present
appearance owes a lot to the trust and its supporters.
Painshill Park is open to the public on Sundays only from April to October.
Admission: Adults £3.50 OAPs and Students £3.00
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 5
VISIT TO CHEAM
On Saturday 15 July members and friends visited the old village of Cheam. Between the clay to
the north and the chalk to the south runs a narrow outcrop of Thanet sands, beneath which is
was) a good water supply. Here is the site of a 10th- century Saxon settlement, and here stands
all that remains of Cheam’s medieval parish churches – the chancel, known as the Lumley chapel.
The dedication to St Dunstan of successive churches – the present one dates from the 1860s
from a visit by Dunstan (who died in 988), when Archbishop of Canterbury. The chapel’s
custodian, John Davison, told us that the chapel is used for two services each year – on 2nd
November for All Souls., and on Low Sunday. Otherwise it is open by arrangement (tel: 0181
We heard that there was probably a wooden church here first, followed by a flint and sandstone
structure of, probably, the 12th century. Blocked arches can still be seen in the surviving
John, later Baron, Lumley, who inherited Nonsuch Palace from his father-in-law the Earl of
Arundel, and died early in the 17th century, appropriated the chancel as his private chapel and
built three handsome monuments. His first wife, Jane Fitzalan, lies beneath a marble-topped
tomb, decorated with carved alabaster panels of mourning figures against fanciful architectural
views, suggesting Nonsuch. His second wife, Elizabeth d’Arcy, is commemorated in a monument
made before her death. Her recumbent form, in alabaster, is surrounded by slate tiles carved
with the Lumley heraldic popinjay.
Lumley’s own monument, also completed in his lifetime, is a massive affair, with black columns
framing an imposing inscription, and plenty of heraldic ornament. Much in evidence is the
motto: MURUS AENEUS SANA CONSCIENTIA (.a sound conscience is a wall of bronze.).
Lumley was responsible too for the fine barrel-vaulted ceiling of 1594; decorative plaster
and swags of fruit add to the chapel’s sumptuous effect.
All the other monuments were originally in the body of the earlier churches. A particularly
interesting brass palimpsest * of 1542, commemorating the Fromonde family, has kneeling figures
on one side of a panel, and a saint and decorations on the other. A range of monuments from the
17th to the 19th century illustrates the changing tastes of the period, with columns of many
styles, draped and undraped urns, and a fine selection of lettering. Many of the monuments are
connected with the manors of Cheam, and some of the names were familiar to our Mitcham and
Morden experts as having owned land in our own area.
Across the road from the churchyard stands the house called Whitehall, now owned by the
London Borough of Sutton and open to the public for 17 years. As the second part of our visit
we were given an excellent guided tour, in two groups, by curator Pat Jackson. (Tea and cakes
were consumed at two sittings meanwhile.) Excavations in the garden have revealed the presence
of an earlier building, as well as a great deal of Cheam pottery, but the oldest part of the
house dates from 1500 and consisted then of three rooms at ground level, with a fixed ladder to
the upper floor, and a smoke bay. Chimneys were built around 1550, a porch and small room
above added at the front, and a newel staircase tower at the back. The early residents have not
been identified, but it is assumed that they were prosperous, as the rooms are of good size,
relatively high ceilings. The original earth flooring was later replaced with brick.
In the middle of the 17th century John Aldrich, founder of Cheam School, is believed to have
lived here, though there is no evidence that he ever taught in this building. This was when the
back extension was added, nearly doubling the depth of the house.
From the mid-18th century until its purchase by the Borough Whitehall was occupied by the
Killick family. By the date of their arrival the windows were glazed and the fine sashcord
installed. The Killicks were responsible for weatherboarding the house, and in the 19th century
added the kitchen extension, with bathroom above (the present .parlour. had been the early
kitchen). The Killick Society takes a continuing interest in the house.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 6
At several places in the house visitors can see details of the building methods used, including
early wattle-and-daub beneath the weatherboarding, the bracing timbers, and the chalk blocks
used, with flints, for some of the walls. It is conjectured that one such block, carved with a
fleur-de-lys may have come from Merton Priory. Roof tiles are each secured with two wooden pegs.
The foundations are chalk blocks.
Some of the furniture has been lent by the V & A, and there is a .Nonsuch. chest on loan from
Bourne Hall museum. One room is being equipped as a Victorian kitchen, and other rooms are
used for permanent and temporary exhibitions. Whitehall has 10,000 visitors each year,
many school parties. One room has been furnished as a late 19th-century schoolmaster’s study-
bedroom, for the association with Cheam School was renewed when some of the masters lodged
here. The school, now Cheam / Hawtreys, still maintains friendly links with the house, though it
had moved to Berkshire long before the Prince of Wales became a pupil at his father’s old
A pupil’s bed and desk from the 1930s is on display. William Gilpin, headmaster of Cheam from
1752 to 1777 and an ardent proponent of the Picturesque, was satirised in a series of drawings
Rowlandson and verses by William Combe, of which Whitehall has an amusing collection, many
of them reproduced on ceramics.
The garden, once much larger, contains a 600-year-old well dug 65 feet down through the sands
to the chalk below.
This was a most interesting visit, and we were fortunate to have such well-informed and
guides as John Davison and Pat Jackson.
* In this context a monumental brass that has been turned and re-engraved on the reverse.
Green pointed out that there was also a brass palimpsest at Cobham. Richard le Strange in
Monumental Brasses (1972) mentions other local ones at Ewell, Sanderstead, Thorpe and Walton-
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 7
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
The meeting on Friday 23rd June 1995 was the very best so far, and should not have been missed
by anyone. Bill Rudd was elected as chairman for the session, and proved an excellent chairman.
Peter Hopkins showed a copy, from Kenneth Ross’s “A History of Malden”, of a map of Malden,
dated 1627, belonging to Merton College, Oxford. It showed fields which had once been the
lands of Merton Priory, attached to their ‘Hobbaldes’ property in Lower Morden, straddling the
parish boundaries and the Hundred boundaries of Brixton, Kingston and Wallington.
Judy Goodman produced a Portrait and Memoir, from the European Magazine she had borrowed
from the London Library, showing Abraham Goldsmid, who had entertained the Prince of Wales,
later George IV, at Morden Lodge.
Peter and Sheila Harris had had a visit to the General Manager of Whitelys at their present
in Daventry, and received documents and photographs of the workplace at Ravensbury Mill, over
the last century. Some small products were displayed, including a skipping rope with ball-
races in the handles. Whitelys had used their trade name FLEXEN extensively.
Sheila read a request from a Mrs P Stanley for information about the Wandle Park swimming
bath. Madeline Healey recalled that she had a photograph of her mother, as a schoolgirl, at the
swimming bath. Mum hated the cold and the mosquitos. People agreed to send any available
information or recollections to Sheila.
Bill Sole ruminated about the architect of the 1770 Hanford Row, West Side Common, Wimbledon,
with its mansard roof and double slope of pantiles.
Bill Rudd had had prints made from blocks stored in our archives, of the Lyric Players, dating
back obviously to around 1930.
C E Sole
The meeting on Friday 4th August was under the chairmanship of Peter Harris.
Bill Sole expressed his concern over the fate of yet another listed building; this time the
Hart, Mitcham. A fire had damaged the rear extension of the main building. He was opposed to
a change of name. He then went on to explain, with illustrations, the various characteristics
waterwheels v turbines.
Marjorie Ledgerton had visited the Greater London Record Office, Northampton Road, EC1,
and was very impressed by the amount of research material available to local and family
Bill Rudd presented his update of the Rutter Family genealogy (rediscovered at long last!),
explaining the several branches, and with particular reference to those who were involved with
the family snuff and tobacco firm.
Peter Hopkins presented the second stage of his study of medieval land ownership and occupation
with the Merton Priory’s West Barnes estate, having looked at Lower Morden at the last meeting.
Judy Goodman had visited Carlisle and had made a particular study of the former priory of
Augustinian Canons, now the Cathedral Church. It remains a very fine building and has a most
Sheila Harris had received another letter of enquiry, this time on Women and their role in the
Great War. Following Peter and Sheila’s visit to Whitely’s mentioned above, additional records
had been received which will be exhibited when the Wandle Industrial Museum is established at
the Ravensbury Mill.
Peter Harris had visited Sherborne where he had been given samples from the silk farm, formerly
at Lullingstone, Kent. Sherborne Castle had connections with Sir Walter Raleigh (pronounced
there as Rawleigh).
The next Workshops will be on Fridays 29th September and 17th November, from 7.30 pm at the
Wandle Industrial Museum by the Vestry Hall, Mitcham. Do come and join us.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 8
THE WANDLE INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM
The Wandle Industrial Museum was founded in 1982 by two Merton schoolteachers and a
community worker with the London Borough of Merton. The idea was to promote the heritage
of the River Wandle and in particular the work of Arthur Liberty and William Morris, two of our
most revered residents of Merton.
The project was originally sponsored by the Manpower Services Commission Scheme, who
provided staff from the long-term unemployed. They developed many of the excellent displays
now on show and in our collections.
The Museum offers a wide range of services both to the local public and especially to our
Workshops are run for classes at all ages numbering up to thirty in a class, on the textile
and they actually participate in Block Printing using the Liberty Blocks of which the Museum
now has quite a collection. The Museum offers conducted walks along the river for school
parties and local Societies and other groups who request it. Help is also provided for students
research projects and dissertations, and information is found for anybody who asks for it.
After the M.S.C. Scheme came to an end the Museum led a precarious existence and moved to
several premises throughout the Borough on short term basis, eventually finishing up at the
present site in the Annexe building to The Vestry Hall at Mitcham, which was opened to the
public in 1990. The Museum then applied to the London Borough of Merton for grant support.
This small grant enabled them to employ a part-time administrator.
In 1994, the Museum joined with Merton Council and Fairclough Homes to plan for the Museum
to move to a more appropriate base at the historic Ravensbury Mill. The refurbishment of the
Mill and its environs has gathered apace, and the opening of the new Museum is now tentatively
planned for December 1995, or possibly later – the Spring of 1996 is a more feasible date.
The Trustees and Management Committee are looking forward to a new era with relish but it is
also a daunting prospect financially. It is estimated that we need £15,000 to open it to the
To this end we have now formulated a fund raising committee. Work has already started in
approaching local businesses for sponsorship for various projects for which a PR package has
been produced. We have a new volunteer fund raiser who will be making application to various
Grant Giving Trusts, including the National Heritage Lottery. Now that the Museum has gained
Provisional Registration from the Museums and Galleries Commission, it is now eligible to apply
for grants from other sources.
The Museum is also in process of preparing a Business Plan for the next three years, with help
a Business Advisor from “Business in the Arts”. The Museum is also fortunate in having Mr
Simon Lace (Curator of Richmond Museum) who has been assigned to the Museum as our
Museum staff have recently visited the renovated Ravensbury Mill to see exactly what the
developers have provided. The work carried out by Fairclough Homes was of an extremely high
standard under the watchful eye of English Heritage. Subsequently now the Grade II listed
building has been removed from the lists of buildings at risk.
The Museum team now has the task of painting all the internal walls and floors and varnishing
interior woodwork. For this, the Museum needs a band of volunteer workers and it is hoped they
can involve the Merton Community Service Unit with this task.
The refurbishment of the water-wheels will be a long term project for which much funding will
have to be sought after.
When the new Museum is finally opened to the public it will need a considerable band of
workers to man the exhibition rooms. It is hoped that the Museum can be opened two or three
days a week for which people could join a rota scheme for stewarding. If anybody is interested
please contact us at the Museum on 0181 – 648 0127.
Peter Harris – Trustee/Director, Wandle Industrial Museum
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 9
LORD MONSON’S SCHOOLDAYS
The great pleasure of local history research lies not only in the discovery of something which
casts a new light on a period of local history, but also the opportunity it sometimes affords
being able to help the family historian in piecing together the story of his or her forebears.
Lord Monson’s reminiscences of his schooldays at the Revd. Richard Roberts’ Academy at Mitcham
between 1804 and 1809 are an example of such “gems” which occasionally await re-discovery,
and it was almost with incredulity that I first came across the manuscript whilst working
the local history collection at Mitcham Library in the late 1960’s.
William John Monson (1797-1862), born at Negapatam in the East Indies, was the only son of
William Monson (1760-1807) and Anne Debonnaire. William Monson senior served in India
between 1780 and 1806, attaining the rank of Lt. Col. in the 76th regiment of infantry. He
entered Parliament as member for Lincoln in 1806, but died at Bath the following year. William
John Monson attended Eton and Christ Church, matriculating in 1814 at the age of 17, was a
student at Lincolns Inn in 1817, obtained his B.A. in 1817 and his M.A. in 1820. He became
Baron Monson in 1841.
As an account of life in a preparatory boarding school during the Napoleonic Wars the
“Reminiscences” are fascinating reading in themselves. They also contain many small details of
contemporary life in Mitcham which are not recorded elsewhere. Possibly of greater interest to
a wider readership, however, they contain numerous delightful vignettes of Monson’s
amongst whom were boys like Phillip and Edward Pusey, the latter to become the great theologian
Dr. Pusey, Edward Stanley who, as Lord Derby, was Prime Minister in 1851 and again in 1858,
Lord Thomas Cecil and his brother the Marquis of Exeter, and Robert Eden, who succeeded to
the peerage to become the third Baron Aukland, and was Bishop of Bath and Wells from 1854 to
Monson’s “Reminiscences of Mitcham” are handwritten on laid paper, watermarked
“W.M. Hodgkinson & Co. 1853”, cover over fifty pages of foolscap, and are bound in one volume.
From the author’s remarks at the end of the book it is clear that his reminiscences were
1858, after visiting Mitcham with Lady Monson on the 4th May that year. The manuscript was
completed four years later, shortly before his death.
Mrs. Elizabeth Crisp of our Society commenced transcribing the manuscript in the early 1970’s,
and a typescript copy was completed in 1894. A copy of this was deposited with the local
librarian at Mitcham, and in September 1987 a further copy, interleafed with photocopies of
various plans and sketches of the school made in the 1840’s and 50’s, was supplied to Emma Lady
Monson, who until then had been unaware of the manuscript’s existence. A set of notes, with
short biographical details of the persons mentioned in the “Reminiscences”, has just been
E N Montague
UPDATE TO THE LENDING LIST
The following items have now been added to the lending list, available from Tony Scott:
The Bourne Society Bulletin No. 160
LAMAS Newsletter May 1995
Surrey Archaeological Society Bulletin 291 and 292
Surrey Local History Council Newsletter April 1995
KUTAS Newsletter May 1995
Painshill News Spring 1995
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 10
COLOUR HOUSE THEATRE
I have watched with more than a little interest the transformation of the former Colour House
the Liberty silk printing works to what is now the Colour House Theatre. Now that the
transformation is complete, members may like to know what it has to offer.
I made one of my periodical visits to the Merton Abbey Mills on Saturday 29th July, and, having
met some of the players in costume, decided to ‘give it a go’.
The Colour House is very nicely laid out; the form of lighting, the free-standing seats, and
controls set up in a gallery above the entrance. The stage and surrounding walls are painted
black. For the performance the props are minimal leaving the players to hold the audience
“Short Shakes” is a series of short extracts from Shakespeare, scenes from A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, Comedy of Errors, Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, and Romeo and Juliet. The
show is non-stop, each scene broken by a blackout. I thought it extremely well done and the
players are very enthusiastic. The Colour House Theatre has brought an otherwise neglected
industrial building back to life. I can thoroughly recommend it.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 11
FROM OUR POSTBAG
Eric Montague responded to a letter from Mrs P.B. Robins regarding the Arthur Family in Mitcham,
and we now welcome Mrs Robins as a member.
Monty has also answered an enquiry from the Society of Friends in Sutton re the Pitt Family.
We have also received a letter from Dame Angela Rumbold enquiring about Jim Bryant of Mitcham
and “Cleaver work”. No information seems to be available. If anyone can help please contact
We have also received an enquiry about the history and previous owners of White Cottage,
Morden Hall. Please contact Hon. Editor if you can help.
An appeal from Bygone Films has also come our way:
Fresh from the launch of her first video Bygone Richmond upon Thames Borough,
former fashion buyer, Anita Bowerman is appealing to residents living in South West
London of all postal address codes SW1 to SW20 which includes Merton Borough
for old cine film that could be tucked away in attics and cupboards.
Rare footage such as the daily sights pre 1980s, Royal visits, the war years, celebrations,
sports, fashions, transport, industry, local events, the town centres are needed to
make a 55 minute video called Bygone South West London, the first in a series of
programmes featuring the Capital.
Anita, 32, who worked for Libertys and House of Fraser switched from a fashion to
film career last year. She is looking forward to piecing together this area of London’s
past on film. “History was captured on cine film”, she says, “I want to bring to life
those glorious moments from South West London’s past for the enjoyment of everyone
today. I need old cine films of formats 8mm, super 8mm, 16mm, the rarer 9.5mm and
even 35mm to make this 55 minute historic video”.
Contributors whose film footage is selected to make this historic video will receive
free of charge a VHS copy of their relevant cine films and a copy of the final video.
Readers are assured that the film will be looked after carefully and returned in its
“I am hoping the general public and perhaps business organisations will help me
locate film that hasn’t seen the light of day for years. During my hunt for film of
Bygone Richmond, I uncovered some 40 hours of cine material which I then edited
down, researched and wrote a script. Some of this footage is extremely rare and is
brought to life on the video …. watch evocative images of:- the transport, buildings
and fashions on a drive through Twickenham’s streets in 1926; Winston Churchill
waving his homburg hat arriving on Richmond Green in 1945 before the General
Election and a raging fire which swept through the Grandstand at Richmond Horse
Show in 1957 and much more besides.”
For the South West London project, Anita has already found footage of Putney Boat
Race 1961, rare colour film of Queen Mary in Wandsworth 1937 and Wimbledon
Tennis in the 1920s.
So, if anyone has any old cine film that may be suitable, please contact Anita urgently
Letters and contributions for the bulletin should be sent to the Hon. Editor.
The views expressed in this Bulletin are those of the contributors concerned and not
necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 115 – SEPTEMBER 1995 – PAGE 12