Bulletin 170

Download Bulletin 170

June 2009 Bulletin 170
What’s the Connection? (Mitcham photos) P J Hopkins
Morden Parks Sales Announcement C Toase, J A Goodman
Jean Reville – Part 2 D Haunton
Wandle Trout Spotted J A Goodman
The Search for Nelson’s Staircase R Jewers
and much more

Merton Park footbridge at Corfe Castle, Dorset
photo: Richard Goodman Feb 2009 (see p.6)

Programme June-September 2

‘Recent Excavations at Bermondsey Abbey’ 3
‘Archaeology in London Over the Centuries’ 4
‘Merton Park 100 Years Ago’ 5

Local History Workshop: Morden town centre; artists Vincent Lines and G A Wallis; Rose
Hickman; a Derby Day bus; vintage photos; medieval Morden; interesting emails 7
What’s the Connection? – Peter Hopkins 8
Morden Park Sales Announcement – Charles Toase and Judith Goodman 9
Jean Reville: Merton’s Racing Motorist, Part 2 – David Haunton 10
Wandle Trout Spotted – Judith Goodman 13
The Search for Nelson’s Staircase – Rosemary Jewers 14


Tuesday 16 June 11.30am The Musical Museum, Brentford

We have booked a guided tour, which will cost £6.50 per person.

For details and to book a place ring 020 8540 6656.

Saturday 4 July
Coach trip to Sheffield Park Gardens and Batemans arranged by Pat and Ray Kilsby.

Information and booking details were in the March Bulletin.
Ring 020 8405 0909 to check availability of places.

Thursday 6 August 2.00pm
Visit to Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street WC2, near Charing Cross station.

£7 (£5 concessions). Ring 020 8540 6656 for details and booking.

Thursday 10 September 2.00pm Merton Park walk, led by Clive Whichelow

This event will be part of Merton’s Festival for the Over Fifties. Booking details later.


Janet Morris, of the Friends of Mitcham Common, has produced a set of posters about the Common, which will
be on display at the Mitcham Carnival on 13 June, in the Conservators’ tent.

Wandle Industrial Museum are launching their new exhibition, Lost Mills of the Wandle, on 13 June at The
Vestry Hall Annexe, London Road, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 3UD. Tel: 020 8648 0127. More details on their
website www.wandle.org


The Heritage Centre has moved from The Canons to the second floor of Morden Library, where the Local
Studies collection is housed. The new address is:

Merton Heritage & Local Studies Centre

2ndfloor, Morden Library,Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX

tel: 020 8545 3239

email: heritage.centre@merton.gov.uk local.studies@merton.gov.uk

The advantages of the move include better access from other parts of the Borough; longer opening hours; and
the convenience of having materials at one site. A range of displays, events and activities is planned. The new
centre has opened with a reprise of their popular exhibition Through the Eyes of Child, which will continue
until 18 July.

Sarah Gould and her team are good friends to this Society, and we wish them well in their new home.


This year is the centenary of the birth of artist Vincent Lines, who drew so many interesting local scenes in the late
1920s and early 1930s. Readers will remember articles about him and his work in the Bulletins of last September
and December, written by Katharina and David Haunton.

The Wimbledon Society Museum, at 22 Ridgway, has a number of his original drawings and is putting on an exhibition
of them which will run from 20 June to 28 February. Free admission. Saturdays/Sundays 2.30 to 5pm. An accompanying
booklet, with all 52 of the Society’s drawings, plus the original newspaper articles, will cost £9.99.



At our meeting at the Snuffmill Centre on 28 February Alistair Douglas, Senior Archaeologist of Pre-Construct
Archaeology Ltd, outlined the difficulties of excavating underground whilst countless building piles were being
driven in close by.

This was the scene portrayed when a huge complex was being built at
Bermondsey Square, in southeast London, on the site of the abbey. The precinct
has been declared a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and strict conditions had
to be met by the developer for siting the piles, to avoid any archaeological
evidence. Work continued from 1998 to 2007, and a total of 160 trenches
were opened. Alistair had brought many excellent slides of the excavations,
which clearly showed the difficulties under which the diggers worked.

St Saviour’s abbey was first founded in 1082 by Alwin Child, a citizen of
London, but the monks did not arrive until 1089, when William Rufus gave
the manor of Bermondsey to the brethren, who were followers of the Cluniac
order. The chosen site was opposite the White Tower recently built on the
north side of the river. The monastic church when built would have been a
significant feature for boats approaching London from the Thames estuary.
A suitable dock constructed on the south bank enabled stone and other
materials to be delivered to the abbey site.

Material from every period was found, and the earliest
stonework was below the Norman walls of the church, and
may have been part of a Saxon minster. A large part of the
south wall of the nave was revealed, with the base of a
southwest tower at the west end of the church. A part of the
south transept and the northeastern corner of the cloister could
also be identified.

The finds were varied and interesting, and one long piece of
Caen stone may have been a corbel with the features of a
man on the end. Other stones bore defaced features of men,
and graffiti.

Subsequent to the Reformation the site came into the possession of Sir Thomas Pope, who founded Trinity
College, Oxford, in 1555. He built a mansion called Bermondsey House, and used the south wall of the church
as the north wall of his house. Thus the nave interior was destroyed, and removed to form the front garden.
Immediately south of the wall there was an entrance corridor east-west, with rooms off. Below, within the
mansion, were cellars, and at the east was a post-monastic well.

Graves of monks were found further east, and the spinal remains of some revealed extra bone tissue resulting
in a deformity known as DISH (disseminated idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis). DISH was first identified from
canons buried at Merton priory.

Later graves uncovered were probably those of dissenters, buried away from the parish church.
Our speaker then answered many questions from the audience, always fully, and received justifiable applause.

Lionel Green

Photographs by Strephon Duckering of Pre-Construct Archaeology


This letter appeared in the January 2009 edition of Current Archaeology, in response to the article on Merton

Priory in the previous edition, reported in our last Bulletin:

“I wonder why the article about Merton Priory (CA 225) should assume that the ring engraved with the motto ‘I

want to love none but you’ must have belonged to ‘a lay visitor’. Religious sisters commonly receive a ring on the

occasion of their profession of lifelong vows, and while this is not, now, so common among male religious communities,

it would have been more so in the past.

“The Dominican Congregation of Sisters, to which I belong, customarily have a motto of their own choice engraved

inside their profession ring; the Foundress of this particular Congregation, Margaret Mary Hallahan 1802-1868,

chose for her motto ‘God Alone’ – remarkably close to the one engraved on the Merton Abbey ring.”

Sr. M Cecily Boulding, OP Stone, Staffordshire



Nathalie Cohen gave her talk at Raynes Park Library hall on 28 March the subtitle ‘Digging London’s Past:
a History of Discovery’, and her subject was both the development of archaeology into a rigorous discipline
and the story of discoveries illuminating London’s history.

She started with John Stow and his A Survay[sic] of London. The first edition, published in 1598, described
the city in great detail, but the second, in 1603, added ‘divers rare notes of Antiquity’. Stow sought out and
recorded stories and legends relating to the streets and buildings.

In 1665 Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary that on a visit to a dock at Blackwall he was interested to see a

long-buried plantation of nut-trees revealed beneath the mud.
In those days, as now, destruction and rebuilding often uncovered older features. A number of Wren’s
churches sit on top of very early foundations, and Wren himself recorded many ancient fragments, including
Roman fabric beneath St Paul’s.

The 18th century saw the rise of the gentleman antiquary – classically educated, with time and money to
spare, and great enthusiasm for recording and theorising about ancient relics. The Society of Antiquaries
was founded in 1707, and its members were active all over the country. London was not spared. William
Stukeley, perhaps the best known of them all, investigated a tumulus at Kenwood and a detached belfry at
Westminster Abbey.

The massive increase in construction in the19th century brought a boom in archaeology, for instance, the
discovery of a medieval undercroft during the demolition of old London Bridge. Collecting and recording
were very informal processes, by later standards, with antiquaries buying, or rejecting, items from the workmen
on the sites. Many objects also were found in or by the Thames, such as the Battersea shield (in the British
Museum), but provenance was often a problem with these. One collector in Brentford was known to pay
well, so Brentford became recorded as a hot spot for finds.

The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) was founded in 1855, and the Guildhall Museum
opened in 1867 as part of the Guildhall Library. Public interest in archaeology was growing, and when the
Bucklersbury mosaic was discovered and displayed in 1869 there were 30,000 visitors.

Nathalie commented that on the whole the archaeology of the City churches has been under-researched.
However LAMAS did a study, with good drawings and photographs, of the remains of St Michael Bassishaw
after it was demolished in 1899. Shockingly, to 21st-century ideas, from 1700 to 1939 there was a planned
programme of demolition of ‘superfluous’ City churches. The last to be lost in this way was All Hallows
Gracechurch in Lombard Street. Shortly afterwards, of course, enemy action would reveal much more of the
archaeology of London, though little could be done to investigate it at the time.

Meanwhile the London Museum had been established at Kensington Palace in 1912, with the brief of illustrating
the social history of London, except the City, from the earliest times. Distinguished archaeologists connected
with it included Sir Mortimer Wheeler and Professor William F Grimes. The latter, with his wife Audrey
Williams, visited and supervised more than 70 sites during his time there. Academics did not themselves go in
for digging at the time. That was still done by the labourers, and as a result many of them became very
knowledgeable indeed.

At the Guildhall Museum the director Quinton Waddington did not see it as part of his brief to visit sites at all.
Nathalie commented that a lack of proper funding was, and still is, a perennial problem for London archaeology.
This fact, together with the different philosophies of the two principal museums, meant that many opportunities
were lost. Not until 1975 did what seems like common sense prevail, and the London and Guildhall Museums
amalgamate as the Museum of London, in purpose-built premises in the Barbican development, which opened

to the public in the following year. The Museum of London Archaeological Service (MoLAS) was set up
later as part of the Museum’s brief.
Most archaeology in London now is ‘rescue’ archaeology. When a site is to be redeveloped an agreement is

reached (usually hard fought) with the developer for excavations to be carried out for a limited period. Since
1990, when Planning Policy Guidance 16: Archaeology and Planning (PPG16) came into force, the
emphasis is on the preservation in situ of important remains. Today MoLAS no longer has the monopoly of
London sites, as all investigations have to go out to tender.

Nathalie amused her audience by pointing out how unpractically archaeologists dressed until quite recently.
While top hats, dress coats and a cane, for pointing(!), were standard 19th-century garb, it was surprising to
be reminded that hard hats are a very recent feature at digs.


She ended her talk with a selection
of highlights in London
archaeological discovery. They
included a Neolithic axe at the
Olympic site; a woman’s skeleton
in a high status coffin at
Spitalfields; the Roman
amphitheatre at the Guildhall; a
Roman ship at County Hall; a
leather ‘bikini’ brief from a well
in Queen Street; Saxon graves at
St Martin-in-the-Fields; the
discovery of Lundenwic in the
Strand/Aldwych area (Aldwych =
‘old wic’); the temple of Mithras
in Queen Victoria Street (already
moved once, and soon perhaps to
be moved again); and medieval
skates made of bones, which were strapped onto the wearer’s shoes.

She ended her talk with a selection
of highlights in London
archaeological discovery. They
included a Neolithic axe at the
Olympic site; a woman’s skeleton
in a high status coffin at
Spitalfields; the Roman
amphitheatre at the Guildhall; a
Roman ship at County Hall; a
leather ‘bikini’ brief from a well
in Queen Street; Saxon graves at
St Martin-in-the-Fields; the
discovery of Lundenwic in the
Strand/Aldwych area (Aldwych =
‘old wic’); the temple of Mithras
in Queen Victoria Street (already
moved once, and soon perhaps to
be moved again); and medieval
skates made of bones, which were strapped onto the wearer’s shoes.

Judith Goodman


For his very large audience at Merton Park Primary School David Roe began his talk on 25 April by defining
Merton Park. The Conservation Area and broader Area of Benefit extend from Kingston Road, south to
Crown Lane and London Road, not forgetting the Wilton Crescent Conservation Area, across the parish boundary
in Wimbledon, but equally once part of John Innes’s development area. And, though by 1909 Innes had been
dead for five years, his influence lived on. He had come to Merton in the late 1860s, with money in his pocket
from property development in the City, and had bought up several hundred acres of land, with a view to
establishing an architecturally attractive suburb, with a mixture of dwellings in a leafy setting.

David proceeded to take us on an illustrated tour of Edwardian Merton Park, beginning, to the east of the
tramlines, with the Manor Club, a working-men’s club founded by Innes, and the Masonic Hall, now Merton
Public Hall, another Innes initiative. A weatherboard cottage laundry and the old Rutlish School buildings
have vanished, as has the long footbridge which crossed both lines out of Merton Park, though part of that
has been re-erected for a preserved railway at Corfe Castle, Dorset. The original tall signal box for the old
railway line has gone (as has its successor). Adjacent to it, the old White Hart looked rather more attractive
than today’s drab post-war re-build. We were shown a couple of the very large elm trees that once stood in
Kingston Road, as well as the plane trees of Dorset Road, which, even 100 years ago, were already a fine
sight. The cattle of Innes’s Morden Hall Farm grazed in the fields towards Morden, and milk was delivered
to each house from a dairy hand-cart.
We glimpsed Poplar Road, when it was
indeed lined with poplars, before David
took us back to Kingston Road, and the
handsome 18th-century Spring House,
which was lost in the 1930s. Further west,
and the 1898 rebuild of the Leather Bottle
faces the 1907 Merton Park Parade of
shops. A hundred years ago the Rush was
a picturesque community of cottages and
tiny businesses, all to be swept away, most
of them by the Nelson Hospital, and the
final few, on the ‘island’, by sanitary


Further west were, and are, the ‘Polytechnic Estate’ shops of 1903-4, between Merton Hall Road and Quintin
Avenue. On the south side of Kingston Road stood a large family house, Blakesley, whose site is now the hospital
car-park. Another large house, that of Broadwater or Baker’s End Farm, stood where the Co-op is now.

Further west were, and are, the ‘Polytechnic Estate’ shops of 1903-4, between Merton Hall Road and Quintin
Avenue. On the south side of Kingston Road stood a large family house, Blakesley, whose site is now the hospital
car-park. Another large house, that of Broadwater or Baker’s End Farm, stood where the Co-op is now.

House, converted for him from a farmhouse to a gentleman’s residence, and now forming part of Rutlish School.
In Church Path 100 years ago stood the picturesque old thatched Sutton’s Cottages, demolished in the 1950s.
They were on the site of today’s parish office. Old Church House, opposite St Mary’s church, was still
standing, but empty and looking rather sad. Newly installed in the church were four two-light windows
commemorating John Innes. They had been made at the Morris works at Merton Abbey to designs by
Burne-Jones and (John) Henry Dearle.

Innes’s tomb in the churchyard had been designed by (John) Sydney Brocklesby, a young local architect.
David showed slides of a number of Brocklesby’s houses, including charming Youell Cottage in Watery Lane,
imposing Mostyn Lodge at 17 Mostyn Road and the north-facing terrace of cottages in the Church Lane

Exactly 100 years ago John
Innes Park was formally
opened. It had been Innes’s
private grounds, and its layout
was adapted by Brocklesby, who
added the charming little
bandstand and picturesque
public conveniences. There
was a pond, a fernery, grass
tennis courts, a bowling green
and an ‘adults’ enclosure’.

David mentioned some of the
prominent residents of the time:
the vicarCanon Jagger; Edward
Pillinger, long-serving headmaster
and organist; the painter Frederic
Shields at Long Lodge; and the Suffragette Rose Lamartine Yates of Dorset Hall, who spent a month in
prison for ‘obstructing’ the police as part of a women’s deputation to Westminster. Her son Paul was only eight
months old at the time.

John Innes’s will had been a surprise to everyone, but, despite some controversy, by 1909 all was set for the
opening of a Horticultural Institution named after him, to occupy his Manor House and adjoining fields. The
first director was to be Dr William Bateson, a pioneer in genetics, and indeed the coiner of that term. The
Institution soon gained a world-wide reputation, which it still maintains in its modern guise as the John Innes
Centre at Norwich. Ironically, however, to most people the name John Innes means only a range of loam-based
composts. The Institution devised the formulae for these while still at Merton Park, and, to help amateur
gardeners in particular, made them freely available to all.

David’s dry sense of humour meant that his audience was amused as well as instructed, and this was a most
absorbing afternoon.

Judith Goodman

Merton Park footbridge. Photo: Richard Goodman Feb 2009


The John Innes Society has arranged that David Roe
will repeat his talk on Merton Park 100 years ago on
Wednesday 1 July at 8pm, at Merton Park Primary
School (entrance from Erridge Road). It is hoped that
those people who had to be turned away on 25 April
will be able to attend, as well as others who were not
able to be present.



Friday 13 March 2009. 6 present – Peter Hopkins in the chair

……….Bill Rudd has been quizzed by a geography student about changes to Morden shopping centre. He recalled
that this began with Morden Station. A parade of shops was first built on either side of the station (still
railway property) and only some years later did the LCC build shops on the opposite side of London Road.
Morden was a flourishing centre until the mid-1960s, when shops started to close down. Bill suspects that
this was when the initial long leases fell in and were not renewed.

……….David Haunton visited the Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, Bloomsbury, where he was delighted to
locate Vincent Lines’s name carved on the frieze of members’ names, flanked by Osbert Lancaster and
David Low, two other men admitted in 1951.
David has also discovered more about the Palmer and Reville racing car families, revealing several errors in
Part 1 of his article. See Part 2 on page 10.
In a museum in Frankfurt, David’s wife Katharina had spotted a painting by George Augustus Wallis, born
in ‘Merton bei London 1770′. This artist spent much of his time in Italy, Germany and Spain during the
Napoleonic War period. An article should be forthcoming.

……….Lionel Green has been invited to the book launch of Tudor Rose by Sue Allan, a novel about Rose
Hickman (the daughter of William Locke), because he answered so many of the author’s questions. Sue
Allan has also written Lady Rose Hickman: her life and family, which is a more factual biography.

At the previous Workshop
Judy had asked if anyone
could identify the location
of this photograph of an
Epsom Racecourse bus
parked near Morden
Station. Lionel tentatively
identified the street where
the bus is parked as
Mossville Gardens [Judy
has since checked, and it
is not Mossville Gardens]:
can anyone make a better
suggestion ?

……….Cyril Maidment showed some historic photos of All Saints church in Wimbledon (dwarfed by its vicarage)
and the Mission Hall in Rodney Place. He has found photos taken by Evelyn Jowett in 1973, showing a long
stretch of Merton Priory precinct wall within the Board Mills factory. Well hidden by undergrowth, this still
survives on National Trust land. [These will be reproduced in the next Bulletin.]

……….Peter Hopkins’s project on Medieval Morden proceeds apace: with 14000 entries on the spreadsheet, he
has almost finished coding every reference to property transfers, so he can follow through each property’s
history. Gaps in the records mean some links are missing, and inconsistencies in naming of properties and
previous holders complicate the next task, which is to rationalise the list of separate properties (150 at
present, but this is too many…).

Peter wrote to Marvin Colker, the editor of the Latin texts on the foundation of Merton Priory that we
propose to translate, who replied assuring us that he knows of no English translation, and to go ahead.

……….Website Peter reported several emails, particularly noting those from Romy Conroy, who sent photos of
her great grandfather’s shop, the café next to the Parish Hall in Central Road, Morden, from Jane Bond,
who sent photos of Mitcham buildings [see page 8], and from Rosemary Jewers whose family once owned
Brinton Hall in Norfolk, which it appears contains the staircase from Nelson’s home at Merton Place –
Brinton Hall was being remodelled in 1823, when Merton Place was demolished, and she has tracked down
an advert from The Times for the sale of the staircase, paving slabs, etc. [see page14].
David Haunton

Next Workshops: Friday 3 July and Friday 14 August 2009, both at 2:30 at the Wandle Industrial
Museum. All are welcome.



We recently received these copies of
Mitcham photographs from Mrs Jane
Bond who lives in Bodmin, Cornwall.

The photograph on the right shows 475
London Road, Mitcham – one of the
cottages adjoining the Grove Mill above
Mitcham Bridge – around 1916. The
link between the photographs is the two
men on the riverbank. The man on the
left, in the long coat and carrying a
walking stick, is Peter Dale (18441923),
who ran theFountainbeerhouse
in Merton Lane (now Western Road),
Mitcham, from around 1867 to at least
1891. The photograph below left shows
the Fountain in the 1880s.
Later he transferred to The Gardeners’ Arms, London Road,

Mitcham, shown right in the 1920s/1930s.
His brother, James, was the miller at Grove Mill for most of the
second part of the 19th century, and lived in one of the cottages,
475, 477 or 479.

Mrs Bond also sent this detail from the Fountain,

which shows its name more clearly.
The final photograph shows the Swan Inn, London
Road, Mitcham, in the 1930s, when it was being run
by one of Peter Dale’s sons.

We are grateful to Mrs Bond for giving us these
photographs, copied from her own originals. She has
also donated copies to Merton Local Studies Centre.

Peter Hopkins



CHARLES TOASE has turned up this interesting advertisement from page 15 of The Times for 5
April 1873:

The Morden-park Estate, Surrey.– A Highly important and valuable Freehold Estate, situate in the parishes of
Morden, Merton, Malden, and Sutton, about half a mile from the Morden Station1 on the Croydon and Wimbledon
Railway, two miles from the Wimbledon Station on the South-Western Railway, with the unusual advantage of
close proximity to the stations at Raynes-park, Worcester-park, Sutton, Carshalton, and Mitcham (the farthest
being only three miles distant), and 10 miles by road from either Whitehall or Cornhill. It comprises a capital family
mansion,2 with stabling and offices, beautifully placed on high ground, commanding very extensive and diversified
views, and surrounded by an undulating park and pleasure grounds, adorned with fine forest and other timber and
extensive shrubbery walks, with an ornamental entrance-lodge and carriage approach from the high road from
London to Epsom. A superior residence distinguished as Morden-house,3 with gardens, pleasure grounds, and
land. A residence, pleasure grounds, offices, and land, called Hill-house,4 several ornamental villa residences,
some let, and others fit for immediate occupation, the compact farms known as Morden-park,5 Peacock,6 and
Hobalds,7 with first-rate homesteads, numerous small occupations, and accommodation lands, an attractive building
estate called Raynes-park, with its adjacent beautifully timbered land, through the centre of which a new 40-feet
road8 has recently been made at great cost, completely opening up the Morden-park Estate, and leading direct
from Lower Morden to the railway station, whereby important and extensive building frontages have been secured,
and several other eligible sites commanding fine views developed for the erection of residences; a valuable brickyard,
now in full work, with every modern appliance, and an almost unlimited supply of brick earth of a superior quality;9
the Crown Inn and premises, now doing a capital trade; newly erected shops and dwelling-houses, plots of building
land, and about 60 cottages, some of an ornamental character, together forming nearly the entire village of Lower
Morden, the whole estate extending over about 1,250 acres, almost in a ring fence. The mansion, park &c. (about
28 acres), are at present in occupation of General Sir Wm. Baker,10 and the remainder, with the exception of about
80 acres of land, several villa residences, and the brickyard, are let to highly respectable tenants, the whole
producing and of the value of nearly £6,000 per annum. This important property is bounded and intersected by
excellent roads, with frontages of several miles in extent, a large portion of which is immediately available for
building purposes. The land is nearly all pipe-drained; ornamental belts of plantations, reaching upwards of two
miles, have been judiciously planted, and other great improvements made within the last few years regardless of
cost; and the estate altogether, whether as a residential domain in its entirety, or for subdivision for profitable
speculation, presents features of attraction and interest rarely to be met with within so short a distance from the

MESSRS. NORTON, TRIST, WATNEY, and Co. are instructed by the OWNER to offer the above PROPERTY
for SALE, at the Mart, early in June next, unless an acceptable offer should previously be made for the whole…

Now the Morden Road Tramlink stop, which is in fact, of
course, in Merton.
2 .
Morden Park house, built in 1770 by John Ewart, merchant
and distiller of Thames Street, London. The estate at that
date consisted of 156 acres (63ha), and Ewart had it on a
99-year lease, from Michaelmas 1768, from Richard Garth,
the lord of the manor. The estate was greatly added to
over the years.
Morden House was in London Road close to where Morden
South station now stands.
The site of Hill House is now occupied by the Haig Homes,
in Epsom Road.
Morden Park Farm house stood near the ‘mansion’ house.
Peacock Farm was in Lower Morden Lane. One of its
buildings survives, in the garden centre.
Hobalds Farm was in Lower Morden. Morden Cemetery
and the North East Surrey Crematorium occupy the site.
Grand Drive Morden Park in 1873, East View, from the prints accompanying the
The brickworks occupied 24 acres (10ha) just to the west sales particulars. Copyright of Surrey History Service
of today’s Garth Road, on Morden Common, which lay
between the track known as Green Lane (not the road of the same name) and Stonecot Hill.
10. Major-General Sir William Erskine Baker KCB. Served with the Royal (Bengal) Engineers and as Military Secretary at the India Office.
Member of the Council of India.
Sources and further reading:

Peter Hopkins Discovering the Past: Lower Morden & Morden Park (1999 revised 2000) St Martin’s Church, Morden
Peter Hopkins and William Rudd Morden Park (2002) Merton Library Service
Evelyn Jowett Lost Common Lands 1 – Morden Common (1974) reprinted 1991 by Merton Historical Society as Local History Note 4
Surrey History Centre, Woking, has a copy of the sales brochure, acquisition number: SHC K/85/379-380


DAVID HAUNTON (much assisted by John Williams in Brisbane) continues

DAVID HAUNTON (much assisted by John Williams in Brisbane) continues

Part 1 began by saying that ‘this is a work in progress’. Progress has been made, so
there are some changes. We now know that Jean Reville was born Eric John Revell
on 24 October 1899 in Puckeridge, a small village in Hertfordshire. He was the son of
James Joslen [sic] Revell, a carman (driver of a horse and cart), and Emma Cecilia,
née Barker, and had left Puckeridge by 1922, presumably for London.

Brother Dennis was not younger, but five years older than Jean. A draper’s assistant
in 1911, after a spell in the wartime Army (Bedfordshire Regiment), he married Grace
Johnson in 1920, and they ran a stationer’s shop in High Street, Puckeridge 19221933.
Then they joined Jean and Daisy in Merton Park Parade, and changed the
spelling of their name to Reville. Dennis became part of the Palmer-Reville operation;

Jean Reville (WimbledonBoro’ News 4 May 1934)

he acted as a ‘Steward appointed for the Meeting’ for the Easter 1934 meeting at
Crystal Palace (Jean was ‘Track Manager’), and continued the Merton Park garage
operation for two or three years after Jean left England.

Arthur Thomas Palmer was rather older than I thought. He was born in 1876 in Rotherhithe, and so was 34
when he moved into a confectionery shop at 82 Kingston Road, Merton, in 1910. Four years later he moved
again, to 3 Merton Park Parade. He and his wife Elizabeth Jane seem to have had no children, but Daisy
Florence Epsom, their niece, was already living with them in 1911, aged 12 (which explains the ‘Epsom otherwise
Palmer’ on her marriage lines). There is no trace of her parents Annie and Arthur (milk carrier of Lewisham
in 1901), nor her older twin siblings, also Arthur and Annie, in those parts of the 1911 Census available to date.

Jean Reville and Daisy had two children, Arthur Eric
(June 1930) and Margaret Ann (August 1932),1 so
Daisy would have had good reason not to accompany
Jean to Australia. There would thus have been eight
rather than six Palmers and Revilles who moved into
the double shop premises in Ewell in 1935, with Arthur
Palmer now 58. When he retired, it was Daisy who
continued the Ewell business, ‘trading as A T Palmer’.
Dennis and Grace Reville stayed with her until they
died, in 1952 and 1958 respectively. Jean’s daughter
Margaret Reville left in 1954. Jean’s son Arthur
Reville had married another Margaret in 1952, and
the couple remained with Daisy until she retired, aged
60, in 1959. The business was then continued by a
Mr and Mrs Derry, still trading under the ‘A T
Palmer’ name.

above: D(aisy) F(lorence) Reville trading in
The Courtier, newsletter of the Ewell Court
Ward Resident’s Association, No.76
July-Aug 1958

left: Shop-front, from
The Courtier No.85 Jan-Feb 1960

Both courtesy of
Surrey Libraries


England Snippets

England Snippets

weddings, in 1928 and 1929, as a garage proprietor in 1932, and eventually as a racing motorist in 1935.
On 12 May 1934 Jean Reville was one of the attractions at the first midget car race meeting at Belle Vue
Stadium in Manchester. This was not too successful, as ‘the track was too narrow for three cars abreast’.2
Intriguingly, pre-event publicity3 included a photo of another car racing past Jean’s, which is lying on its side,
with Jean standing beside it; evidently a previous occasion.

6 April 1935: the programme
for the Easter Monday meeting
at Crystal Palace shows that at
least six Palmer Specials had
been built and survived to race
that day. The publicity machine
is evident – there is a Special
Challenge Match Race
between Jean Reville in the
Gnat, ‘First appearance on any
Speedway’, and Jimmy Hanley
‘the famous Gaumont British
film artist of Little Friend’ (a
recently-released film). Hanley
was a child star, only 16 at the
time. He had presumably met
Reville while working at Merton
Park Film Studios, just across
the road from the Merton Park
Parade premises. What 16year-
old boy could resist ?

One possible explanation of
Jean Reville’s failure to return
to England after the Australian
trip has now been rebutted: a
search of the bankruptcy
petitions to Kingston County
Court for 1934-1936 found no
reference to him.4 So we have
to ponder further.

‘Bud Stanley’, the third of the British drivers who raced in Australia,5 has now been unmasked by inspection of
the passenger list of the SS Orsova. This was the pseudonym of Stanley Edgar Budd (ho ho), born in Wimbledon
in 1910 to George Budd, jobbing gardener, and his wife Harriet. The family were living at 60 Haydon’s Road in
1911, less than a mile from Merton Park Parade, and moved to Oatlands Road, Burgh Heath, some time before
1934. Between 1897 and 1900 they were in Ware, Hertfordshire, a town only seven miles from Puckeridge.
Did the Budds know the Revells back then ?


1936: Contrary to my statement in Part 1, Jean Reville seems not to have raced in Australia after the
somewhat intermittent season for which he was engaged, and in which he enjoyed only patchy success. At
the end of the season, he landed in hospital with an injured hand and arm, perhaps exacerbating the injury
received at Crystal Palace in 1934 (see below). All three Gnats that he had taken with him to Australia were
sold in March 1936.7

An Australian neighbour of the elderly Jean Reville recalled that he was an entertaining and persuasive
talker, who could sell you anything. However, a junior-school friend of his Australian son Bruce recalled Jean
as full of talk about his great past, but commented ‘no-one believed him’. Some of his claims will be examined
in Part 3. His persuasive abilities were tested in another field, when he stood (but was not elected) as a
Group B candidate for Queensland in the Australian Federal elections in November 1958, and again in 1972.

Part of the programme at Crystal Palace, Easter Monday 1935


A Race Meeting

A Race Meeting

Midget Cars in Collision
Wimbledon Drivers’ Thrilling Race

A large crowd at Crystal Palace Speedway on Saturday saw Victor Gillow beat Jean Reville, the Wimbledon racing motorist,
in the first heats of the British Individual Midget Car Dirt Track Championship, organised by the Speedway Racing Drivers
Club, Merton Park Parade, Wimbledon. There were, as usual, thrills and spills in every race, although all the drivers concerned
luckily escaped unhurt. The standard of racing was particularly good with fast times and close finishes being the order of the
evening. The main attraction was the first heats of the British Individual Championships, in which the first two contenders
were Victor Gillow and Jean Reville. These two drivers met each other in three 4-lap races, each run off from a rolling start.
They proved the two fastest drivers throughout the meeting.

In Heat 1 Reville and Gillow entered the first bend side by side at over 45 mph and for a lap they were practically locked
together until Reville gained a slight lead coming out of the Paddock bend, and held it to the finish, winning by ten yards in
the excellent time of 95 seconds. Before the commencement of Heat 2 Gillow took the precaution of changing over to rough-
tread tyres, owing to the treacherous nature of the track. From the inside position and with slightly better acceleration off the
mark, Gillow was into the first bend some distance ahead of Reville, who nothing daunted kept his foot down for the remainder
of the race. In spite of the fact that he twice over-slid and hit the fence, Reville succeeded in slightly reducing Gillow’s lead.
However, the latter eventually won by 12 yards in 94.4 seconds.

Spoiled by Mishap

In Heat 3 both cars were smartly off the mark and into the first bend together. What promised to be the most exciting of the
heats was spoilt through Reville getting an eyeful of cinders while crossing behind Gillow to the inside position. With a clear
track, Gillow then proceeded to give what was probably his finest display of spectacular driving on the Crystal Palace track,
winning by about 15 yards in the record time of 94.2 seconds.

In the second semi-final of the Crystal Palace scratch race, Jean Reville (Palmer Special) emerged from a tremendous cloud of
dust with Leon Marett (Palmer Special) also of Wimbledon, hot on his heels, while Hagborg and Pat Regan were fighting a
separate battle for third place some considerable distance in the rear. For three whole laps Reville and Marett thundered round
with only inches separating their cars, until Reville struck a bump on entering the Paddock bend, which caused his car to leap
quite two feet in the air, colliding with Marett’s car as it came to earth again. With a terrific wrench on the steering wheel Reville
coolly averted what might have been a nasty accident by broad-siding his car completely off the track. He was, however,
travelling at such a speed that that it took the whole length of the football pitch to bring the car to a standstill. It was then
found that the steering of Reville’s car was … badly damaged, and in addition, a badly sprained wrist would not permit him to
compete again in the meeting. The race was finally won by Marett, with Pat Regan second, in 99 seconds.

Gillow again scored in the final with Hagborg second, Pat Regan third and Marett last. The absence of Reville robbed the race
of much of its interest, as the spectators were eagerly anticipating another Reville-Gillow duel. Gillow won by 40 yards in 96
seconds. This Saturday there will be record attempts and match races.

1 And, by report, another boy, though I have not found him.
2 Brief report in Manchester Guardian 14 May 1934.
3 Published in News Chronicle , Northern edition, 10 or 11 May 1934.
4 Letter from Surrey History Centre to author, 1 May 2009
5 He is mentioned as ‘[one] of our best-known exponents’ in Wimbledon Boro’ News 6 September 1935, but apparently never raced again after

the Australian trip.
6 Most of this section is due to John Williams of Brisbane, in talks and e-mails January to April 2009.
7 John Williams supplies the definitions of midget car racing in Australia, where the sport continued strongly. ‘Early midgets’ raced between

1914 and 1918/19. In the 1930s, the English press referred to all small racing cars as midgets, but aficionados distinguish between converted

road cars (light cars or cycle-cars, ‘not real midgets’) and ‘modern midgets’, which are purpose-built and conform to a set of size and engine

capacity regulations which sound very similar to those Jean Reville claimed to have established with his Speedway Racing Drivers Club. Also,

some early 1930s races in England were run clockwise – for purists true midgets have always raced counter-clockwise.

Wimbledon Stadium, shortly after opening
(Wimbledon Boro’ News 9 March 1934)



Sixteen years ago – it was in the Bulletin for March 1993 – a reference by Eric Montague to Izaak Walton’s
description of the Wandle trout as ‘having spots like tortoises’ reminded me that, though I had seen it quoted before
I had never located this picturesque expression in The Compleat Angler. To make sure, I read it again. And there
were definitely no tortoise-spotted trout. No Wandle even.

In two short pieces in Bulletins 106 and 109 I related my discovery that Edward Walford in his Greater London
(1883-4) refers to this description of the trout, and places it in a note to Walton’s text. But in which edition? Walford
did not say. The Compleat Anglerhas never been out of print, and has gone into, almost, countless editions. In the
British Library I checked the notes in those of 1653, 1815, 1823, 1836 and 1902 (my own copy is from 1935). No
tortoise spots. However I did discover that the 1815 edition, with notes by Sir John Hawkins, has a note to Chapter
XVII that reads: ‘That which Walton calls the straw-worm or ruff-coat … is the most common of any, and is found
in … the Wandle, which runs through Carshalton in Surrey. In 1759 I took one of the insects … which had been
found in the River Wandle …’ So Hawkins knew the Wandle. That was something – but not enough.

However, Charles Toase noticed my reference to this puzzle in the workshop report in the last Bulletin, and

brought the power of the internet to bear on the problem. He writes:
‘Some editions of The Compleat Angler have been digitised and put, in full, online. The principal service that has
done this is Eighteenth Century Collections Online, which has eight editions. The advantage of this service, apart
from being able to read rare books at home, is that they can be searched, thus providing a wonderful source for
rare quotations.

‘However when I looked for Wandle trout it wasn’t there in any of the editions.
‘There was, though, an earlier source called the Gutenberg Project. This relies on volunteers keyboarding the texts

of books, and doesn’t reproduce the actual pages; it also looks rather a mess, but it so happens that it chose a
different edition of Walton, and it was the one we have been seeking, with notes by Sir John Hawkins.
‘Hawkins[‘s notes were used] for several editions; our trout does

not appear in all of them – only in those edited by James Rennie.

‘The one I have seen at the British Library, dated 1833, pressmark
7907.b.23, has on page 90 [third paragraph of Chapter V]:
“Piscator. Nay, Brother, you shall not stay so long; for, look you,

here’s a Trout* will fill six reasonable bellies.”

‘[footnote] *This is the Wandle variety of trout with marked spots like a tortoise.”’
(The same note appears in the edition of 1835.)
So the words are definitely not those of Walton, but were written by Sir John Hawkins (1719-1789), and selected,

long after the latter’s death, by James Rennie, a Scots-born naturalist, one of whose interests was angling. Hawkins
was a lawyer and magistrate, devoted to music and literature, a friend, editor, and executor of Dr Johnson, and it
appears that he knew the Wandle, even if it was only at the Carshalton end.

All enthusiasts of the Wandle should be grateful to Charles Toase for hunting down this elusive quotation.

Judith Goodman


Our 28th Local History Note is A Walk around Merton
Rush in the early 20th century, conducted by Cyril
Maidment and Peter Hopkins. Cyril has collected
photographs and views of all the old buildings that stood
on the site of the Nelson Hospital and nearby, identifying
the viewpoint of each one. Peter has gone through the
manorial court rolls to trace the history of each holding
from the late 15th century to the 19th. Also included are
a Vincent Lines article from a 1929 edition of Wimbledon
Boro’ News, information from the 1891 and 1901
Censuses and local directories, as well as several maps.

The book is of 36 A4 pages, and costs £2.50 (£2 to
members), plus 80p postage & packing. It is available
from our Publications Secretary, Peter Hopkins, 57
Templecombe Way, Morden, Surrey SM4 4JF, or phone
Peter on 020 8543 8471 to arrange collection.

‘Old Cottages, Merton Rush’Watercolour by Madeline Graham Barker 1929, reproduced bycourtesy of Wimbledon Society Museum of Local History


ROSEMARY JEWERS has been engaged in

ROSEMARY JEWERS has been engaged in

My story begins almost six decades ago, when I was a child. My father John Brereton, a farmer living at Little
Massingham, Norfolk, mentioned to me several times that he had been told a Nelson staircase had been installed in
a former family house – Brinton Hall, Norfolk. I absorbed the information, but at that age did not appreciate the

Many years later I heard that Brinton Hall was to be open to the public for one day. So, on 16 April 2008, my cousin
Michael Sandford and I drove to Norfolk. The present owners of the Hall, Jeremy and Esmé Bagnall-Oakeley,
greeted us and immediately noticed my interest in their staircase. When I related my father’s story they looked
surprised and said that Jeremy’s mother had heard this same story from her parents, when the Breretons had sold
Brinton Hall to them in 1922-3.

Because of its close proximity to Brinton I first thought the Nelson staircase had originated from Nelson’s childhood
home, the now demolished rectory at Burnham Thorps. It soon appeared that this was unlikely, as Merton Place
was a much stronger contender.

Over the years Merton Place had been improved and extended by Sir Richard Hotham and possibly later by Charles
Greaves. Nelson bought it following the death of Greaves, and engravings of Merton at that time show that the
height of the original building was three storeys. The additional buildings attached to it had only two, but the overall
height was almost the same. The grand staircase was in the original building, and therefore would give access to
three floors.

We felt it necessary to photograph every joint, cut, wedge, tread, riser, and landing at Brinton. This was a great help,
because when we obtained a copy of the ground floor plan of Merton Place, drawn by architect Thomas Chawner
in 1805 it showed the stairs to the first floor were in three sections, separated by large landings.

When Brinton Hall was remodelled in 1822 the
staircase had also been joined together in three places
to make the first long flight. Also at Brinton there
are further cuts, joins and modifications to make it
all fit. Floor panels on the half landing then connected
the first and second flights. We thought it quite likely
that the smaller second flight and more floor panels
seen at Brinton could have come from the remaining
flights of the Merton staircase, as could any treads
and risers that might have been damaged when the
staircase was dismantled.

Having studied the staircase measurements carefully,
my husband Tony, using a computer, redrew part of
Chawner’s plan to scale. He then superimposed a
highlighted rectangle exactly to the proportions of a
Brinton 1.395m x 312mm stair tread onto a stair
drawn on the plan. This was a very good match. He
then conducted an interesting experiment. He knew,
from the 1815 sale details, that Merton Place’s
‘withdrawing room’ measured 23ft x 24ft. He copied
this rectangle five times, making 6.98m, which is
just under 23ft. By adding another 30mm to the
rectangles it takes it to just under 24ft. When
superimposing these joined rectangles onto the plan
the results are extremely close to the known sizes
of the Merton withdrawing room (see Fig.2). Tony
decided to redraw Chawner’s plan because our
copy showed the texture of the plan’s paper.
Redrawing produced a sharper and cleaner image.

Fig.1 The first flight of the staircase at Brinton Hall


Advertisements from The Times 10 September 1821 (left)
and 9 November 1821 (above)
Advertisements from The Times 10 September 1821 (left)
and 9 November 1821 (above)
The first publicised the sale at Merton Place, on ‘Wednesday, Sept. 19, and the following day, at 12’. It detailed
building materials and fixtures, including ‘a real wainscot staircase complete, dado and wainscotting’.

In November Mr Grimault, the same auctioneer, advertised another sale at Merton Place, offering ‘About 250,000
very good sound Bricks, cleaned and stacked’. This confirmed that Merton Place was demolished in 1821, and
probably was not standing when the first sale took place, because of the mammoth task of removing, cleaning and
stacking the huge number of bricks.

So, if Brinton has the Merton staircase (and any other items bought at the sale) how could it have been transported

to Norfolk in 1821?
Road conditions were poor at that time, so they would almost certainly have used the nearby Surrey Iron Railway,
the first public railway for the transportation of goods. Horses pulled the wagons along the track, which led from
Croydon to Wandsworth, where the Thames flowed.

At the same time two Brereton cousins, Robert and Randle, were shipowners, moving goods between London and
Blakeney. They could easily have transported the staircase by sea to Blakeney, and then on to Brinton by road, six
miles away.

Having measured the Brinton staircase carefully in January we faced the task of analysing and calculating to see if

it could have originated from Nelson’s home at Merton Place.
I then went back to my notes, and realised just how many coincidental factors there were, relating to Merton Place
and Brinton Hall:

The Nelson staircase story has been passed down through five generations of Breretons.
The same story has been passed down through three generations to the present owners of Brinton Hall.
Through marriage, the Brereton family connection with Merton Place went back to Charles Greaves, who
owned Merton Place until his death, when it was sold to Nelson. The network of wealthy relatives, some holding
high office in London, would have known about the demolition of Merton Place, and the 1821 sale. They would
have passed on the information to the Breretons at Brinton, because they would have known about the rebuilding
there. Of course the Breretons could have also read the Times advertisement.
The Merton staircase was sold in 1821 – Brinton Hall was remodelled in 1822.
In the opinion of an expert, Brinton’s staircase could date between 1760 and 1770. These dates coincide with
improvements made by the earlier owner of Merton, Sir Richard Hotham, before it was sold to Charles Greaves.
The size of the treads on the Brinton staircase match Merton’s, and are to the proportions shown on Chawner’s
plan of 1805.
The floor panels shown on the landings of Chawner’s plan match the size of those set into the half-landing of the
Brinton staircase.
The total number of joins, and the number of treads, banisters and panelling of the first flight of the Brinton
staircase match the Merton ground floor staircase plan.
The Brinton staircase is made of oak. When an attempt was made to sell Merton Place in 1815 the sale
particulars referred to the staircase being of oak.
10.The staircases at Merton and Brinton are both described as ‘wainscot’.

11. The size of the treads on the Merton plan and the Brinton staircase match. Using the size of the tread as a known
factor we have confirmed the size of some of Merton’s rooms as stated in the 1815 sale particulars, and the
result is surprisingly close to those dimensions.

The owners of Brinton Hall think there could be more fixtures from Merton Place in the house – glass doors,

windows, and the large number of Portland stone slabs in the hall floor.
With so many matching factors we feel that it is highly probable that the staircase from Merton Place is now in
Brinton Hall. However, this is an ongoing investigation and we are still seeking proof positive for a bill of lading,
bill of sale or any other indisputable evidence that will propel this research forward. We hope that someone may
have knowledge or information that could contribute to the data gathered so far.


My great-great-grandfather Charles Brereton was born at Brinton Hall and married Frances Wilson. His father
and brother were living at Brinton Hall when it
was being remodelled in 1822. Frances
Wilson’s father Joseph was a wealthy London
silk merchant, as was a cousin Samuel Wilson,
who was also an alderman, then sheriff, which
led to his becoming Lord Mayor of London in

Joseph Wilson had another cousin, William
Wilson, who was also a silk merchant.
William’s daughter Sophia married the Revd
Richard Greaves, who was the son of Charles
Greaves, who owned Merton Place before
Nelson bought it.*

Michael Sandford and Tony Jewers have
collaborated with me on the staircase project.
Their co-operation and help have been

My thanks to Mr and Mrs Bagnall-Oakeley,

owners of Brinton Hall.
Brinton Hall open days:

Staircase information and updates:
Direct email: rosemaryandtony@gmail.com
email: nelsonstaircase@brereton.org.uk


Thomas Chawner’s 1805 floor plan, at Merton
Local Studies Centre, redrawn with permission.
Photograph and drawing copyright Tony Jewers
1815 sale particulars at Surrey History Centre

Fig.2 Re-drawn to scale from Chawner’s plan. Brinton’s stair tread size
Peter Hopkins A History of Lord Nelson’s confirms the known measurements of the ‘withdrawing room’.
Merton Place(1998) Merton Historical Society
Malcolm Harrison Unravelling the Threads: a Guide to the Wilsons of Stenson …
The Times 10 September 1821, 9 November 1821

* Editor’s note: there is more about the Wilson and Greaves families in J E M Latham Search for a New Eden (1999) Associated
University Presses.
[This article also appears, with five illustrations in colour and a black-and-white photo of Brinton Hall, in the current edition of
The Nelson Dispatch, Volume 10 part 2 April 2009.]
Letters and contributions for the Bulletin should be sent to the Hon. Editor.
The views expressed in thisBulletin are those of the contributors concerned
and not necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.

website: www.mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk email: mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.ukPrinted by Peter Hopkins