Bulletin 195

Download Bulletin 195

September 2015 – Bulletin 195
Ode to the River Wandle – Rosemary Turner
Stability after Change? The London Borough of Merton is 50 years old – Tony Scott & David Haunton
Death, Disease and Damnation – Rosemary Turner
The Society Store – Keith Penny
Anthony Toto, Tudor Artist and Lessee of the Manor of Ravensbury (2) – Peter Hopkins
and much more

VICE PRESIDENTS: Eric Montague, Judith Goodman
CHAIR: Keith Penny


Figges Marsh flower display in 1965 – the first year of the London Borough of Merton (see p.10) – photo by Peter Bruton

Programme September – December 2015 2
‘Britain’s WW2 Air-Raid Warning System’ 3
Visit to the Parliamentary Archives 5
Visit to The British Library 6
Local History Workshop:

Friday 26 June 2015: Stored spade; Drewitt shelter memorial; WW1 objectors and strike;
Smith family; Spital estate mansion; Dewey Bates; Roman coin; Mitcham Fair; H M Ellis 7
Ode to the River Wandle – Rosemary Turner 8
Stability after Change? The London Borough of Merton is 50 years old

– Tony Scott & David Haunton 10
Death, Disease and Damnation – Rosemary Turner 11
The Society Store – Keith Penny 12
Anthony Toto, Tudor Artist and Lessee of the Manor of Ravensbury – Peter Hopkins 13

Wednesday 23 September 1.45 for 2.00pm Southside House, 3-4 Woodhayes Road, SW19 4RE
Tour of the House
£9 per head. We join a public tour. Book with Bea Oliver.
The house is next to King’s College School. Buses: 93 to Rose & Crown stop, or 200 to Edge Hill.
Saturday 10 October 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘England’s Immigrants – aliens in Southwark & Surrey 1330-1550’
Illustrated talk by historian Dr Andrea Ruddick
Saturday 14 November 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
AGM followed by ‘Merton and Cinema’
Illustrated talk by Sarah Gould
Saturday 12 December 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Persevering with Father Thames’
Illustrated talk by antiquary and collector Bob Wells
Visitors are welcome to attend our talks. Entry £2.
Christ Church Hall is next to the church, in Christchurch Road, 250m from Colliers Wood
Underground station. Limited parking at the hall, but plenty in nearby streets or at the Tandem
Centre, 200m south. Buses 152, 200 and 470 pass the door.
Wednesday 23 September 1.45 for 2.00pm Southside House, 3-4 Woodhayes Road, SW19 4RE
Tour of the House
£9 per head. We join a public tour. Book with Bea Oliver.
The house is next to King’s College School. Buses: 93 to Rose & Crown stop, or 200 to Edge Hill.
Saturday 10 October 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘England’s Immigrants – aliens in Southwark & Surrey 1330-1550’
Illustrated talk by historian Dr Andrea Ruddick
Saturday 14 November 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
AGM followed by ‘Merton and Cinema’
Illustrated talk by Sarah Gould
Saturday 12 December 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Persevering with Father Thames’
Illustrated talk by antiquary and collector Bob Wells
Visitors are welcome to attend our talks. Entry £2.
Christ Church Hall is next to the church, in Christchurch Road, 250m from Colliers Wood
Underground station. Limited parking at the hall, but plenty in nearby streets or at the Tandem
Centre, 200m south. Buses 152, 200 and 470 pass the door.

The Society has for many years had a free independent examination of its annual accounts by a representative
of Merton Voluntary Services Council. They can no longer do this, so we are now looking for a member of
the Society, or somebody they know, to undertake this role on a voluntary basis. An independent examination

is much simpler than an audit. No accountancy qualifications or experience are necessary, but a knowledge of
bookkeeping is helpful, or at least an absence of fear in dealing with financial records that are lists of items of

income and expenditure. An Independent Examiner (IE) cannot be a member of the Committee.
Once a year, the task involves a meeting with myself, where I will explain the accounts, and leave with the IE
the account book, supporting documents (bank statements, invoices, etc.), the cheque book and paying in book.
About one day’s work is required to inspect them. The IE then meets me again, to resolve queries, and if he/

she is satisfied that there is no evidence of missing accounting records, nor of the accounts failing to comply

with the records, he/she signs the statement of accounts, already signed by myself, which are presented at the
AGM (this year on November 14).
We need help ! If anybody is interested, or knows a likely helper, please contact :

David Roe (Treasurer)


A membership renewal form is enclosed with this Bulletin. Only paid-up members may vote at the AGM.

Membership fees remain at £10 for one person, £3 for each further person at the same address, £1 for students.
Please note that we accept standing orders to pay subscriptions, as an alternative to cheques or cash. If you
already pay by standing order, you only need to complete the enclosed standing order form if making changes.



On Saturday 11 April Gordon Dennington, chairman of Lewisham Local History Society, fascinated a large
audience with the results of his considerable researches, which seem to be unique.


The population was warned of impending attack by
the sound of sirens. These were designed to give two
clearly-different audible signals: the ‘Warning’ or ‘Alert’

– a rising and falling wail, giving butterflies to a young
listener, and the ‘All Clear’ – a steady tone.
Sirens were controlled by the Metropolitan Police, so
naturally were located on the roofs of Police Stations,
or other property owned by police. Subsidiary ones were
placed on 30-35 foot poles (wood or metal), close to a
blue Police Box, connected to a master control in the

station. Almost all sirens stayed in place after WW2, and
were only removed in 1992, at the end of the Cold War.
The Alert was never sounded after the war, so all the
recordings now available are of Wartime sounds, none
of which were professionally recorded. The design was
intended to be heard at least as far as one mile distant,
indoors, but obviously could be heard further away in
open country – up to four miles in Gordon’s experience.

Sirens were made by Gents at their Faraday Works in Temple Road, Leicester. Physically, each siren comprised
a hefty cylinder, with a 4hp electric motor in the centre (half the power of the average car at the time) spinning
two rotors at 2800rpm. One rotor produced a note of A-major, and the other produced C-Major. The combination
of these two notes had been found experimentally to be the most effective (ie. quickest) at catching the human
attention. To produce the warbling of the Alert, the siren acted on an eight-second cycle, with the power switched

on for five seconds, and then off for three. Initially the Warning sounded for three minutes, soon shortened to

two minutes, and later still reduced to 60 seconds.
The police sirens were backed up by factory sirens or steam hooters – most factories had such to announce tea-
breaks and clocking-off times. The Alert was given by interval blasts on the hooter. Because of this use, factories
were banned from using their hooters for any reason other than an air raid. Factory hooters were eventually
replaced by the spread of police sirens.


Radar detection of attacking aircraft was used to warn civilians as well as the RAF. However, early radar only

looked out to sea, and could not detect low flying raiders. Inland, there were some 1400 Observer Corps (OC)

posts all over the UK, who reported every aircraft they noticed. Three or four posts were linked in a sector,
who could all hear each other’s reports and correct them if necessary. The sector centre then reported to a local
OC Centre, where that sector’s reports were collated with those from other sectors, and summarised to an RAF
operations room by telephone. The RAF operations rooms had several controllers to scramble and guide RAF

fighter squadrons, and one Warning Officer to alert civilians.

Initially quite small, an OC Centre was organised in much the same way as an RAF Ops room, with a plotting
table and senior observers above the table, with headsets for outbound information. The country was divided
into OC areas, the busiest being 19 Centre at Bromley, covering the approaches to London from northeast
round to southwest. It dealt with information from about 12 sectors, of which the nearest to Merton was the
Claygate – Clandon – New Malden one.


By 1944, the OC Centres, each with a Warning Officer, were responsible for warning civilians. Indeed, Bromley
had sole responsibility for plotting V-1 approaches. The system became so efficient that the time from the first

observation of a V-1 to issuing a Warning and sirens sounding could be as short as 19 seconds.
A Warning District (WD) was a geographical area which was to be alerted, and possibly sirens sounded. The
area was constrained by the GPO telephone system – each WD could only have one phone exchange. In London,
warnings were normally issued to a whole Groups of WDs (eg. Central London, London Croydon, London


South). The magazine Practical Mechanics for November 1941 contained a whole-page diagram of the warning
system, which omitted all mention of Radar – a subtle form of propaganda by dis-information. It is often alleged
that the principles thus published were rapidly adopted in all German-occupied countries.

Photos from “Time to remember – standing alone 1940” – reel 3 (1941)


The ultimate intention of the Warning was to save lives, and it did do so. It is estimated that public warnings
saved perhaps three times as many civilian lives as the 67,100 that were lost – a total of more than 200,000
deaths avoided. Gordon gave some dramatic examples of consequences of a failure to warn.

It was policy not to issue a public warning for a ‘single-aircraft raid’, to save wasted production time in all the
factories in a single warning area. This still applied in 1944, until the V-1s were in use – each one of course
being a ‘single-aircraft raid’. The V-2 threat: the missiles were impossible to intercept, but British radar could
detect their launches in Holland. A Pyrotechnic Warning was devised which would have given two minutes

warning, but the radar data was not sufficiently reliable. So V-2 warnings were never issued.

Gordon was heartily congratulated on his talk, which stimulated an awful lot of memories from members.



As no volunteer for the position appeared, two busy members of the Committee have kindly agreed to split the
duties between them. Rosemary Turner takes over dealing with members’ personal details and membership fees,
while David Luff will man the welcoming desk at our meetings, and keep the ‘safety list’ of persons in the hall.

OPEN HOUSE WEEKEND 19 and 20 September:
St Mary’s Church, Merton Park, is celebrating its 900 years with guided talks, a Churchyard Trail, a recital
on Sunday on the new organ (if it is ready!) and the opening of an exhibition by local artists, ‘In the Spirit
of Place’. The exhibition continues Monday 21 – Friday 25 (mornings) and Saturday 26 – Sunday 27


On 21 May ten Members met for a visit to the Parliamentary Archives at the Palace of Westminster. We entered
the Palace at Black Rod’s Garden entrance, and were introduced to our guide Claire Batley, one of the Archivists.

We were taken to the second floor, by lift. On this floor we looked down an octagonal opening to the ground
floor, where preparations for the State Opening of Parliament were in hand. This opening is primarily for the
movement of large objects from floor to floor.

Bea Oliver
Claire gave us a very informative and interesting history of the Archives. The documentation of the business of
the Houses of Parliament had been kept in part of the Palace of Westminster since the 15th century. Most of the
older documents are from the workings of the House of Lords, as a great percentage of the archival material of

the House of Commons was destroyed in the fire of 1834. We were then taken into the Archives where there
were floor to ceiling shelves of hand written parchments, in rolls of various sizes, containing the historic work

of this House. We were told that from the 1850s the documentation of the work of Parliament was printed and
kept flat. It is also now computerised, and anyone wishing to see any of the collection can do so online. The
work of conservation of documents and other items was explained.

We were then taken to the eighth floor, luckily by lift – there are over 500 very winding steps to the top of the

Victoria Tower, which in an emergency one would have to use. Here we were given a slide show of some of the
many and diverse items in the collection. Items which members had asked to see were on display with other
examples of interest. Many questions were asked and answered on what we had seen, and thanks were given
to Claire Batley for a most enjoyable, interesting, informative and worthwhile tour.

The Archives are open to anyone who is interested in the history and workings of our Mother of Parliaments.

Bea Oliver


During the summer, Committee members have given talks to Mitcham Library coffee morning, to Wimbledon
U3A (who have requested another talk), to Wimbledon Library coffee afternoon, and to the West Barnes Library
talks group. The U3A talk was very well attended, the others less so. Other talks are planned (as eg. below).
Rosemary Turner represented the Society at the Mitcham on the Green event, patronised by the Mayor. See
also p.11.

Tony Scott will give a talk Discover Mitcham on Wednesday 17 September at 11:00–12:30
at Mitcham Library.
Booking required: ask a member of staff or call 020 8274 5745

On 23 July, members enjoyed a tour of the Library led by Andy
Macdonald, who has been a member of staff for 31 years. We
started in the courtyard, at the large bronze statue of Isaac
Newton, based on the drawing by William Blake. Designed by
Eduardo Paolozzi, the face is a self portrait, like all of his work.
Andy then took us round numerous public and backstage rooms
via corridors, lifts and stairs, with a continuous commentary.

The site used to be the Somers Town rail yard. The architect,

Colin St John Wilson, first sketched a design in 1962; building

stopped in 1997. The design was in three phases, but when the
cost reached £500 million, the project was halted, so the second
and third phases were never built. Some minor parts are still unfinished (ceilings etc). The building contains ten
million bricks carefully matched in colour to the St Pancras Hotel and Station next door; the Welsh slates on the
roof exhausted the single mine they came from. The books are stored on underground stacks, in a basement eight
storeys deep (the biggest hole in London, where spaceship scenes in Alien
were filmed during construction). To
make maximum use of stack space, books are stored by size, using the BL’s own ID number – there is no hint
of Dewey or ISBN. Much of the collection is now stored in the Boston Spa extension, including the newspaper
originals (until recently at Colindale); but photographic copies of these are held in London.

The British Library (BL) began as part of the British Museum (which itself originated in 1753), but separated
from the Museum in 1972. The four founders of the collection were: Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Joseph Banks and
Thomas Grenville, all of whom donated their collections, and Sir Hans Sloane, who sold his 71,000 books, and
his curiosities collection, to the nation for £20,000 –– and also discovered the recipe for milk chocolate.

The BL is one of six Legal Deposit Libraries (with Aberystwyth, Edinburgh, Belfast, Oxford and Cambridge).

A copy of every book published in the country has to be lodged with each of these. The definition of ‘book’

includes newspapers, comics and sales catalogues, and any other printed item that is intended for sale, as well
as all university theses for doctorates. Rare British books are occasionally bought, the Library usually having
to bid in the market.

Some 8000 items are received per day, making this one of the two largest libraries in the world; the Library of
Congress may be larger, but no-one is sure. The BL does hold the world’s second biggest pornography collection

– beaten by the Vatican! The BL also holds a stamp collection (and the machine on which Penny Blacks were
printed). This began with Thomas Keay Tapling, MP, who collected almost every stamp in the world up to 1890,
and donated them to the Library. The stamp collection has since depended on other donations, the BL never
having spent a penny on stamps. Much of this collection is freely on view. There is also a sound archive of
records on both shellac and vinyl (which may be heard in a sound booth actually being played, as being more
accurate than a digital recording).
The King’s Collection comprises those books bought by George III with his own money (ie. not the taxpayers’),
given by George IV on condition that they be kept together, on display, and that people could consult them.

It is now held in a special glass enclosure, with filtered air, five stacks high. The backs of all the volumes are

visible to visitors, but the books may only be handled by a few designated persons. The entrance is guarded by
a marble bust of King George (who famously lost America) ‘recovered from America’. By contrast, outside the
map reading room, with its double size desks, is the Klencke Atlas. This was a 1660 gift to Charles II by a group
of Dutch merchants. It is physically the largest book in the world, and attempted to summarise all geographical
knowledge of the time in 41 maps.

The BL is of course a library, where anyone may register as a reader, on tendering separate proofs of name and
address, and your reading list. The catalogues are available online and items can be ordered online from home;
useful as items from Boston Spa take two days to arrive: London-held items are delivered in one hour. There
are eleven reading rooms with a total of 1400 seats; behind the scenes, your order is picked and sent to your
reading room on a tray via a system of roller conveyors. Astonishingly, 50% of the collection may be borrowed,
though none of the items held in London may be taken away.

Our final look was at the BL’s ‘200 Treasures’ exhibition, with free public access. This includes Beowulf (singed),

two copies of Magna Carta, the Codex Sinaiticus (the oldest known bible, from the fourth century), Caxton’s
Chaucer, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the St Cuthbert Gospel. Many items have been bought at auction at high
prices. One could easily spend a couple of hours just in this room. A visit is recommended. DH


Friday 26 June 2015: Six present – Rosemary Turner in the chair

David Luff had some photographs of our moving the contents of the MHS store
from Lower Morden to Gap Road. One puzzling and undocumented item is this
fire-engine-red painted spade, mounted on a black clip-board (right). Any ideas ?

Keith Penny had seen in Garth Road Depot the stone memorial tablet removed
from the now-demolished Drewitt public shelter on Mitcham Green. It is in good
condition, and Keith will ask Sarah Gould to draw it to the notice of the Mitcham
Green regeneration team.
Keith had found a newspaper report of the 1916 public examination of a Mitcham
conscientious objector, with an extensive discussion of morals between the Bench
and the appellant. In 1916 appellants’ names were withheld, but later they were
usually published. Keith had also found an account of a successful strike by male
tram-drivers against the employment of two women drivers – female conductors
were tolerated – so there were no female drivers in London during WW1.

Peter Hopkins had been sent details of a Captain John Smith, related to the Smiths of Merton Abbey, who
merited a 12-page entry in an 1830 multi-volume Royal Naval Biography, whereas Admiral Isaac Smith
barely managed two pages. He was also sent an account of a battle that presumably included a later Smith
who served aboard the destroyer HMS Acasta in Admiral Hood’s 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron [at Jutland].
At SHC Peter had found a Notice for sale or lease of ‘a house and lands in Morden and Carshalton’, dating
between 1660 and 1680. The description of the mansion started, most unusually, with the cellar and continued
with its 35 rooms as well as the normal brewhouse, bakery, etc, which made Peter wonder if it the cellar
was a medieval undercroft. No identity was given, but the 140 acres around the house probably indicate that
it was the Spital estate in Morden, formerly belonging to Merton priory. An inn and associated land also
mentioned probably formed the Carshalton land. Much discussion ensued about monastic hospitals/hospices cum-
guest houses, but it is not clear if Merton priory had such an establishment in Morden, or merely land

to finance one elsewhere.

David Haunton had previously mis-identified the benefactor of Dewey Bates. The correct lady was Charlotte
Sophia Beer, who left him a legacy of £150 (say £12-15,000 today). Evidently an admirer of his work, she

left his ‘painting in the Dining room of myself and servant’ to her executrix.
Dewey’s 1884 painting of ‘Two Sisters’ was listed on a website as of Grace Emily Blundell and Winifred
Mary Blundell. This was incomplete, as their full surname was Blundell-Maple. Their father eventually
became Sir John Blundell-Maple, Bart, MP, who was known as the (Maples) ‘Furniture King’. When he
died in 1903 he was one of the richest men in Britain. So Dewey was moving in up-and-coming circles.

A Roman coin found in the MHS store is a sestertius of the Emperor Domitian, minted in 87AD. Made of
brass, it would have had a value of about £50. Assumed to have come from one of the Society digs, it was
very worn, and may have been lost near Stane Street some time around 100-120AD.

Alan Hutchings (by email) remembered the tall red and white poles (see June Bulletin p.1) being present at
Mitcham Fair, post-War until it ended. They were always around the outside attractions such as swing-boats
and coconut shy; he thought they were intended as a sort of public warning of danger areas.
Judy Goodman had some more information on H M Ellis (see p.8). He was a qualified surveyor and valuer
(FSI, or Fellow of the Surveyors Institution), and possibly an architect. He served on Surrey County Council
for the Merton Division, principally concerning himself with educational matters, and on Merton parish
council, but resigned when it became an Urban District (see p.10). He was also the Surveyor for Wandsworth
and Wimbledon licensing authorities. His house ‘Meadholm’ still stands in Blenheim Road, off Grand Drive,
and had been briefly the first clubhouse for Raynes Park Golf Club.

Rosemary Turner had even more about Mr Ellis, including two citations for leadership while laying train
tracks under shellfire, during service with a Labour Battalion in WW1. She has photographed the six houses
he owned in Wandle Road, which still bear their original names (overleaf).

David Haunton

Dates of next Workshops: Fridays 25 September and 6 November at 2.30pm
At Wandle Industrial Museum. All are welcome.
(No Workshop in December)


ROSEMARY TURNER tells us more about her

Some time ago I discovered amongst my husband’s things a photocopy of a drawn map of the river Wandle.
The top part of the map covering Wandsworth had been missed off the photocopy. I made enquiries at various
meetings and archives to see if anyone recognised it, but no-one did. It was signed at the bottom ‘H M Ellis

(Ink et Del) Dec 10’ and around the border was a poem. I Googled the name and the first line of the poem and

got nothing.
The only landmarks mentioned on the map are in Merton (Wandle Park, Mill Pond, etc), with a note in Ravensbury
Park ‘An acquired strip’. This is the land purchased by Captain Bidder, on which he built his house, mentioned
in the 1910 Valuation. It suddenly occurred to me that as the map is dated 1910 maybe H M Ellis is mentioned
in those records, so I checked my Morden transcription and found a ‘Herbert Moules [sic] Ellis’, address given

as 9 Wallbrook, EC. He owned six houses in Wandle Road, Nos 1-6, named Riverward (below), Meadowlands,
Woodside, Broadlands, Longmead and Maybank.
I found that the houses are still in existence

and have retained their names. In the 1910

Valuation the houses are described in

unpunctuated field note books as ‘Semi

detached 3 beds boxroom bathroom
… 2 sitting rooms kitchen scullery’,
with ‘Outside: Coals WC … garden not
planted’ and ‘House not papered nor
finished painting’… ‘prob not erected
upon 30.4.1909 as not incl in 1909
assessment’. The entry however shows
Miss Mary Parton of 33 Church Rd,
Wimbledon, holding a 99-year lease on
all six houses from 1908. Three of the
houses were leased for three years from
1909 or 1910 to various tenants.

By much Googling and a jog from Charles Toase I found that this gentleman’s name was actually Herbert
Moates Ellis, born in 1864 in the Richmond area to Frederick Startridge Ellis (publisher of the Kelmscott Press
and much else, and close friend of William Morris) and Caroline Moates. He was an architect and surveyor,
and in The Collection of Letters of William Morris Vol III 1889-1892 he is referred to as a partner in the firm
of Withall and Ellis, based in the City. In the London Gazette the firm was noted as architects, surveyors,
auctioneers, valuers and estate agents. As well as addresses in London, the London Gazette mentions him living
at several local places, including Meadholm, Blenheim Road, in Raynes Park (1906-7 and 1911) and Beverley
Wood, Coombe (1916). He bought Garbrand Hall, Ewell (later Bourne Hall), in May 1925, but when he died in
1930, aged 65, his will gave his address as Ouzelwood, Ewell. He seems to have married twice. The National
Archives show that he was a temporary captain in the Labour Corps 1914-22 and the London Gazette details
two acts of conspicuous gallantry.

Further Googling, of the first line of the poem around the edges, identified it as The Tide River, one of the Songs
from The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, who wrote it in 1862, at Eversley, Hampshire, where he had been
Rector until 1859. It is written in two lines along each of the long sides of the map, from the bottom upwards;
the missing words let us estimate that we have only about 60% of the map.

Charles Toase adds: THE TIDE RIVER (from The Water-Babies)
Herbert Moates Ellis was the author of Bygone Wimbledon Clear and cool, clear and cool,
and Merton (1906, Trim). He was a surveyor, so most likely By laughing shallow, and dreaming pool;
to have produced a map, and he claimed to own twelve Cool and clear, cool and clear,
acres in Surrey and twenty elsewhere, which fits with the By shining shingle, and foaming weir;
ownership mentioned. The Mary Parton who leased the Under the crag where the ouzel sings,
Wandle Road houses was active in numerous good works, And the ivied wall where the church-bell rings,
including being Secretary of the Wandle Open Spaces Undefiled, for the undefiled;
Committee that led to the National Trust involvement. Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child.

Photo: Rosemary Turner


Dank and foul, dank and foul,
By the smoky town in its murky cowl;
Foul and dank, foul and dank,
By wharf and sewer and slimy bank;
Darker and darker the farther I go,
Baser and baser the richer I grow;
Who dare sport with the sin-defiled?
Shrink from me, turn from me, mother and child.

Strong and free, strong and free,
The floodgates are open, away to the sea.
Free and strong, free and strong,
Cleansing my streams as I hurry along
To the golden sands, and the leaping bar,
And the taintless tide that awaits me afar,
As I lose myself in the infinite main,
Like a soul that has sinned and is pardoned again.
Undefiled, for the undefiled;
Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child.


TONY SCOTT and DAVID HAUNTON ponder if we have

In this year when the Borough celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is interesting to describe the varied organisational
paths by which our four original parishes became the single entity of the London Borough of Merton (LBM).
Remarkably, the fifty years since the LBM was established have been the longest period when no organisational
change was inflicted on our area. Internal changes are another matter.

For a long time before the mid-19th century, local government such as highways, care of the poor and any health
and hygiene control that existed, was the responsibility of Parish Councils. In the mid-18th century, national
legislation established Turnpike trusts to maintain the major roads in return for charging a toll. In 1838 parishes

were combined by national legislation into Unions to make care of the poor more efficient.

In London, serious health and hygiene problems brought about the establishment in 1855 of the Metropolitan
Board of Works, which was to build an interceptor sewer system across London, removing some responsibilities

from the affected parishes. The first Chief Engineer of the Board of Works, of course, was Joseph Bazalgette,

who lived in Morden before moving to Wimbledon.
School Boards were established by the Elementary Education Act 1870 and had the power to build and run

schools where there were insufficient voluntary school places. It was recognised that London was more than

a collection of isolated parishes and the School Board for London was established to cover the whole area of

the Metropolitan Board of Works.
In 1888 the Local Government Act took land from Surrey, Kent and Middlesex and set up the London County
Council (LCC) as a county with subordinate boroughs. The LCC was to take over the functions of the Board
of Works, and commenced its activities on 1st April 1889. (The LCC’s remit was later extended to other areas,
such as in 1904, when it took over the responsibility for education in London.)

At this point, in 1889, the three parishes of Mitcham, Merton and Morden were situated in the County of Surrey
(none in the County of London), and run by local independent Vestries with the next tier of control being Surrey
County Council. However, in 1866 under the powers of the Local Government Act of 1858, Wimbledon had
become a Local Government District (or civil parish) in its own right, governed by a local board of 15 members.

The Local Government Act of 1894 reconstituted Wimbledon as an Urban District, while Mitcham, Merton and
Morden parishes were all taken into the newly-established Rural District of Croydon. Then in 1898, by a Local
Government Board Order, part of the civil parish of Merton was added to the civil parish and urban district of
Wimbledon. Wimbledon was shortly afterwards incorporated as a Municipal Borough, with its charter being
granted 24 July 1905. The new Borough was governed by a mayor, six aldermen and eighteen councillors. Three
years later Wimbledon applied to become a County Borough (a term introduced in1889 to refer to a borough
outside county council control) but was refused.

Merton was removed from Croydon Rural District on becoming an Urban District of Surrey in 1907. Morden
parish did not become an Urban District in its own right, but in 1913 was removed from Croydon and added to
Merton to form the Merton and Morden Urban District of Surrey.

Mitcham became an Urban District in 1915, when all Rural Districts were abolished. The town was elevated to
the status of a Municipal Borough on 19 September 1934, the Charter Mayor being 84-year-old Robert Chart,
a local benefactor.

Thus in early 1965, our area comprised two Boroughs and an Urban District. The Local Government Act of
1963, with an implementation date of 1 April 1965, established Greater London as a county, to be run by the
Greater London Council (GLC). The Act also abolished the County of London, the LCC and Middlesex, took
further land from Surrey, Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire, and combined smaller units into the London Boroughs
that we know today. The London Borough of Merton was established by amalgamating Merton and Morden,
Mitcham and Wimbledon. Following a dispute between Wimbledon and Mitcham over the new borough’s name,
Merton was chosen as an acceptable compromise.

The target population for each new borough was 150,000 – 200,000. Those within the old LCC area were to
be known as Inner London Boroughs, all others as Outer London Boroughs. For all of the last half-century,
LBM (along with the other Outer London Boroughs) has been responsible for its own education services, while
Inner London Boroughs were not responsible for education until the demise of the Inner London Education
Authority in 1990.

The administrative centre of the Borough of Mitcham was the Vestry Hall at the Cricket Green, and that of the


Borough of Wimbledon was the Town Hall beside Wimbledon Station (now the front of Centre Court). Merton

and Morden occupied Council Offices at 116-118 Kingston Road, supplemented in the early 1940s by Morden

Hall, where Council meetings were held after mid-1942. Initially, these buildings were used for the new LBM

offices. The Wimbledon Council Chamber was used for Council meetings, the Vestry Hall, Mitcham, was used
for Public Health, the Borough Engineer used offices in Morden Hall, Planning was in Park Place, Mitcham,
Housing used Mitcham Court and its annexe, and Education used offices over Morden Underground Station.
There was a great desire to bring all of these offices together in one building and when Crown House became

vacant in 1984 a decision was made to re-locate all of the Council departments there, which took place in 1985.

The first Mayor of LBM was Alderman Cyril Marsh. The only Mayor to have served more than once is Slim
Flegg, OBE (1992-3 and 1996-7). Of the first fifteen Mayors (elected 1965-1979), only one was female, while
of the most recent fifteen (elected 2001-2015) no fewer than nine have been female; Councillor David Chung,

our present Mayor, was born in Guyana, while his predecessor, Councillor Agatha Akyigyina was born in Ghana:
interesting indications that LBM is undoubtedly changing. We are stable but happily not static.

ROSEMARY TURNER reports on our participation in

This was the theme of the Surrey Local History Symposium held on 2 May at Ashtead Memorial Hall, attended
by Peter Hopkins, Rosemary Turner and Bea Oliver. There were talks throughout the day on related subjects
covering different periods.

Societies were invited to have a display relating to the theme and MHS decided to take a table, for the first time.

Peter gathered together data from his Medieval researches, an article by Eric Montague and information from
the Merton Priory dig. Dave Haunton looked up census entries on Ancestry to add information to the panels.
Our display comprised panels on The Black Death in Morden, Cholera In Mitcham, and DISH in Merton Priory
skeletons. Peter had also produced leaflets on the Black Death and Cholera that people could take away, which

proved very popular.
The presentations are judged and the winner receives the Gravett Award. Points are given for different aspects
of the display; the judges also asked questions. When the time arrived for the award to be given, we were very
pleased and surprised to hear that we had won. The judges explained why they had chosen us. They liked the
way that the display had been laid out and that the print was easy to read. They noted the wide number of sources
used and that the material came from several people. They were impressed that the display included a piece
from each of the areas covered by the Society – Morden, Mitcham and Merton.

Peter went up to receive the certificate which was only right as he had put the display together. I was just the

chauffeur, photographer and glamorous assistant.



As mentioned in the ‘Extra News’ item sent with the last Bulletin, Merton Borough Council decided to demolish

the premises used by the Society for the storage of objects and papers. Through the good offices of Kevin Hawkes

of MBC a new site, at Gap Road Cemetery, has been found, and the Society’s possessions were moved there
in mid-June. It is not yet clear what charge the Council may wish to levy for the use of the new store. Because
of earlier uncertainty about what, if any, accommodation might be offered by the Council, the Committee
met and decided to review the Society’s holdings. Several archaeological items have been sent to the London
Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC) and the Merton Priory Trust; some items relevant to
Wimbledon have gone to that museum; some items not relevant to the area are either going to other collections

or will be sold. Some items that were neither of local significance nor in good condition were taken for recycling.

The review will continue. I should like to thank those Committee members who were able to assist with the
sorting and the removal to Gap Road.

Keith Penny

Photo: David Luff,
who was also one
of the workers

The Society now offers an information service to email users. This will include reminders of Society meetings
and visits, and announcements of other events of local history interest of which notice arrives between issues
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Story Days.

To start receiving this service, please send an email to info@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk. Send another if
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Your email address will not be used for any other purpose or disclosed to a third party.
Historical queries and any general questions or comments on the activities of the Society should be sent to
mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk, and articles for the Bulletin to editor@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk.

Desmond Bazley
It is with deep regret that we announce the recent death of our colleague Desmond Bazley, after a long
illness. A long-time member of MHS, he contributed to the early years of the photographic project, and
served on our Committee for many years, quietly, but always alert to ask the probing question that no-one
else had thought of. We will miss him. DH

PETER HOPKINS concludes his account of

Henry VIII had married his sixth, and last, wife, Katherine Parr, on 12 July 1543, and Toto’s name has been
suggested as designer and perhaps painter of two (or three) sets of paintings in oil on canvas, now at Loseley
Park in Surrey, which include her emblem – a maiden’s head rising from a Tudor rose – and the initials KP and

HR, and Henry’s emblems, including Tudor rose, portcullis and fleur-de-lis. These heraldic devices are mostly

found in 18 small canvases some 30x45cm, now mounted within the wooden panelling lining the Great Hall
at Loseley, and were probably cut from slightly larger hatchments and escutcheons used in processions and
other celebrations, like those at Jane Seymour’s funeral.32 The photographs below appeared in Country Life
25 May 1935.33

The larger panels, 127x45cm, mostly depict pagan deities, but
include two of the Christian Virtues (so perhaps originally two
separate sets).34 The two printed right passed into the ownership
of John Paul Getty and were sold after his death.35 Though
traditionally reputed to have come from Nonsuch palace, they
are now thought to have been produced to decorate temporary
banqueting houses – the builder of the present mansion at Loseley
was executor to Sir Thomas Cawarden, Master of the Revels and
Tents, who met his death in 1559. Carwarden’s correspondence
and accounts survive among the Loseley Manuscripts now divided
between Surrey History Centre and the Folger Shakespeare Library
in Washington DC.

No accounts giving details of expenditure for Katherine’s wedding
celebrations have come to light, so it is not known whether the
Loseley panels were produced for that occasion or later, following
Toto’s promotion. However, accounts survive of Henry’s funeral
four years later when, as serjeant-painter, Toto had to design the
decoration of the hearse and to supervise the painting of all heraldic
emblems in the traditional manner.36 He was similarly involved
in the coronation of Edward VI in 1547 and in Edward’s funeral
in 1553.37

Between 27 June and 2 August 1551 a ‘Bancketting Howse’ was erected in Hyde Park for the visit of the French
ambassador. £30 15d was paid to 35 named ‘payntowrs woorkyng under Anthony Totto sargyant paynter’,
including 53s 4d to Toto ‘gevyn in reward towardes his paynes and charges in the setting forwarde of all the
payntors woorke apparteynyng to the said bancketing howse’, while 11 painters under John Ledys painted
‘furnytore’ at a further £7 14s 10d. Toto was also repaid £13 7s 5d ‘for money by hym layde owte’ for materials

– all described with details of weight and unit price!38
Although not of the same scale or splendour as the structures created by Toto’s predecessor John Brown for
the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, the ambassador would have been suitably impressed on 28 July when,
according to the king’s diary, ‘Mons. le mareschal cam to diner to Hide parke, where there was a fair hous made
for him, and he saw the cursing [coursing] there’.39


The accounts relating to the Hyde Park banqueting house also include the expenses of the Office of the Tents

in repairing, airing and transporting the king’s tents and hales [temporary stabling for horses], which had been

taken to, and brought back from, Berwick, Scotland and Calais, and were to be set up at Hyde Park ‘for offices

for bankett there and for the woorkemen to woorke in them and to lodge in them’.40

Four documents from the Loseley Manuscripts originated from the Office of the Tents, and relate to items

painted by Toto and delivered by him in July 1544 ‘for th’use of the kynges highnes Tentes & pavilions, the
kyng fynding canvas & bucram for all the hadchementes & penselles [pennants]’. These detail the quantities
and variety of the items delivered, listed by size and decoration,41 and include a price list,42 and a ‘corrected’
account of quantities received and the amounts due to Toto, as summarised below, totalling more than £173:43

34 hadchementes 1 ell [45in] square king’s arms + beasts crowned, the garter & king’s ‘words’ in fine gold & colours @ 30s
33 hatchementes 1 yard square like above but without beasts like above £1
20 hadchementes ¾-yard square like above without beasts like above 10s 6d
20 hadchementes ½-yard square the Rose with H&R, crowned in partie gold & colours 3s 4d
20 hadchementes ½-yard square H&R only, crowned in partie gold & colours 3s 4d
20 hadchementes ½-yard square flowre deluce [fleur de lis] with H&R, crowned in partie gold & colours 3s 4d
20 hadchementes ½-yard square portculyes [portcullis] with H&R, crowned in partie gold & colours 3s 4d
41 hadchementes ½-yard square the Rose crowned with H&R, in colours 2s 0d
54 hadchementes ½-yard square H&R only, crowned in colours 2s 0d
52 hadchementes ½-yard square fleur de lis, crowned in colours 2s 0d
56 hadchementes ½-yard square portcullis, crowned in colours 2s 0d
128 penselles ½-yard x ¾-yard the king’s badge on bucram in colours 1s 4d
200 pottes 10 inches long for lodgings & stables painted grene & whyte 8d
9 pottes 16 inches long for lodgings & stables painted grene & whyte 8d
190 vanes [fanes] 6 inches square paynted with king’s badge in fine gold & colours 3s 0d
30 vanes 8in &9in square paynted with king’s armes & badge in fine gold & colours 3s 4d

He had already been paid £42 13s 8d in
cash and surplus materials, and it was
no doubt part payment for these items
that is acknowledged in a receipt dated
31 May 1544 and signed by ‘Antony
Totto’ for £20 paid to him for ‘paynting
of hatchements, armes & badges of the
kynge to be sett upon his highnes tentes
and pavilions’ (detail below).44

This receipt is likely to be unique, as
it has on the dorse a pencil or ‘black
chalk’ drawing of a rearing horse –
probably the only surviving sketch by
Toto, albeit very faint and obscured by
bleeding through from the writing on
the recto (detail right). Images reproduced by permission of the More-Molyneux family and Surrey History Centre

But it was not only the decorating of temporary accommodation that fell to the serjeant-painter. Royal palaces
provided plenty of opportunities for the installation of heraldic devices – in particular, the badges and arms
of the queen had to be altered for each new bride! And other decorations were required, both indoors and out,
even on the roofs which were embellished by painting and gilding and the addition of heraldic beasts of painted
stone or wood.45 It is probably in this light that one must view Vasari’s comment that Toto ‘served [the king of
England] in architecture, erecting, in particular, his principal palace’,46 which seems to indicate that Toto was


the principal architect of Nonsuch palace, begun in 1538. It is more likely that he helped with its decoration. As
serjeant-painter Toto ‘would undoubtably be concerned with both utilitarian and decorative painting at Nonsuch,
but there is unfortunately no documentary evidence whatever to connect him with the Palace’.47

The responsibility for banqueting houses and tents was a function of the Revels Office, and there is even more

information regarding Toto’s role in the royal revels during the reign of Edward VI. In 1544 the post of Master

of the Office of the Masks and Revels was granted to Sir Thomas Carwarden for life. The ‘masks’were masques,

not face masks which were known as ‘vezars’ or ‘hedpeces’, and the main task was to produce costumes and

props for the courtiers taking part in these revels.
In 1547/8 a ‘Rewarde’ of £1 was paid ‘To Anthony Totto Sergeant paynter for his paynes & diligens drawnyng
patrons [patterns] and other necessaries during the whiles thies maskes were a makyng’, and in February 1550/1,
£1 was paid to ‘Anthony Totte for diuers his attendance in the Revelles for drawinge & devisinge for painters
& other’.48 It is clear that Toto was mainly the designer, though he would turn his hand to whatever might be
needed, especially for the more detailed work or that using expensive materials, as revealed in later accounts.
Toto was also responsible for supplying special materials, being paid 2s 3d at Christmas 1552/3 ‘for saffron
and gum arabic by him at sondry tymes prouided and bought to dropp cloth of siluer for the bodies of a maske
of women xvd and for Synoper blak for ye like purpose xijd’. More common materials were purchased from
the ‘grosers’. The theme that year was the ‘Tryumphe of Cupide’.49 Toto also worked alongside the Master of
the Revels in sketching out the Master’s ideas for approval before they were turned into reality by his team of
painters. In January/February 1552/3 Toto received £2 ‘for his paynes and attendaunce the seide paynters and
theyre adooe in tracynge and setting owt workes and patrons to them by all the same tyme theyr woorkes lasted’,
and a further £1 ‘for certen patrons by him drawen after the Masters device for maskes and other percelles of
the premisses in paper for syte & shewe of the forme in colours before the woorkemanshipp began’.50

Another aspect of the serjeant-painter’s role was in painting ships – not illustrations such as those on the famous
1546 Anthony Roll, but the banners and streamers and other decorations shown in those illustrations (overleaf).51
In March 1555, following Toto’s death, a debt of £235 3s due to him from Henry VIII was still outstanding ‘for
colours and the painting of certain ships’.52 The Exchequer frequently delayed payment of large sums due to
craftsmen, often for many years.

£235 3s was a considerable amount, and it might be assumed that this was a debt that had gradually accumulated
over several years. However, the naval aspect of the serjeant-painter’s work involved large sums. On 17 December

1511, £142 4s 6d had been paid to Henry VIII’s first serjeant-painter, ‘John Browne, of London … for painting
and staining banners and streamers’ for his ill-fated vice-flagship The Mary Rose and The Peter Pounde Garnade,
the materials for which – ‘tukes, bokerams, Brussels cloth and chamletes, to make streamers and banners’ – had
been purchased from ‘Willm. Botrye, of London, mercer’ for a further £50 19s 2d.53 On 2 June 1514 £112 19s
8d was paid for six streamers, 100 penselles and 50 banners ‘painted, made for the King’s new ship by Vinsent
Vulp, painter … delivered to the King’s ship called the Henry Grace de Due’ also known as the Great Harry.54

It would appear that the failure of Henry VIII’s finance departments to pay for naval contracts forced Toto to

pledge his leasehold lands to a London grocer, Robert Walles, who had been supplying him with the various
ingredients for his paints. In 1552, when Walles threatened to foreclose on the debt, Toto assigned the lease to
John Hopkins, who settled Walles’ debt and others – a total of £210 12s – leaving Toto with some £140. Toto’s
son, Anthony junior, later tried to reclaim the estate from Hopkins’ son Richard, without success.55

Toto also left a daughter, the Elianora Totte who was admitted in April 1549 to a number of Ravensbury copyhold
properties granted by Toto and his wife Ellen to William Glasier on 5 December 1547 in trust ‘to the intent it
should be … surrendered and conveyed over unto the use of one Ellen Toto their daughter or such person as she
should marry’.56 Elianora and her husband Lewes Wylliams surrendered them in December 1559.57 Wylliams
had worked under Toto at Hampton Court in 1530 in ‘new payntyng and guyltyng of certan antique heds brought
from Grenwytche to Hanworthe at the Kynges comaundment and new garnyshyng of the same’, being paid 9d
a day, while Toto received 12d.58 With Elianora’s surrender in 1559, and Anthony junior’s failure to reclaim
the lease of the manor from Richard Hopkins, the Toto family’s links with Ravensbury came to an end, though
the burial of an ‘Anthonio Totoe Italian’ at St Giles Cripplegate on 3 January 1619/20, presumably a grandson,
reveals that the family remained in London.59 Toto’s artistic work has also vanished over the centuries, apart from
the sketch of the horse mentioned above, and perhaps the paintings on canvas at Loseley. But his reputation as a
painter is preserved in Vasari’s writings and in royal accounts and other records, as is his reputation as a litigious
landlord, through the mass of judicial documents from the court of Star Chamber. One question still remains
unanswered – was the conflict between Toto and the Mitcham parishioners the result of their xenophobia or
of his artistic temperament exacerbated by concerns over mounting debt, or perhaps a combination of these?


32 The Archives of the Duke of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle, DNP: MS 467, ff.46-47: Third Report of the Royal
Commission on Historical Manuscripts (1872) p.113; Erna Auerbach Tudor Artists (1954) p.56

33 Surrey History Centre (SHC) 728.8 LOS p: Christopher Hussey ‘Loseley Park, Surrey’ in Country Life (1935) I p.546

34 Edward Croft-Murray Decorative Painting in England 1537-1837 I (1962) pp.18, 87-8, 164-5; II (1970) p.313

35 Bendor Grosvenor ‘A rare Tudor survival’ in Art History News 15 March 2012, http://arthistorynews.com/

36 Erna Auerbach op cit pp.56-7, 145 citing TNA LC 2/2 ff.8-9, 63

37 Erna Auerbach op cit pp.78-9, 145 citing TNA LC 2/3 f.120, LC 2/4 (1) f.25; Edward’s coronation celebrations are
described in great detail in John Gough Nichols (ed) Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth I (1857) pp.cclxxviii–
ccciii, citing College of Arms I.7 f.32 and I.18 f.74

38 SHC Z/407/1 (MSLb.21): microfilm of Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC

39 John Gough Nichols (1857) op cit pp.335

40 SHC Z/407/1 (MSLb.21): microfilm of Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC
41 SHC Z/407/2 (MSLb.261): microfilm of Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC

42 SHC LM/1892/1
43 SHC LM/1892/2
44 SHC LM/1893
45 Erna Auerbach op cit pp.13-14
46 Vasari op cit 6, pp.191
47 John Dent The Quest for Nonsuch (paperback 1981, reprinted 1988) p.50
48 Albert Feuillerat Documents relating to the Revels at Court in the time of King Edward VI and Queen Mary (The Loseley

Manuscripts) (1914) p.55

49 ibid p.109

50 ibid pp.131-2

51 Pepys Library 2991, BL Add MS 22047: C S Knighton & D M Loades The Anthony Roll of Henry VIII’s Navy (2000)

52 TNA C 66/884 mm.21-22: Calendar of Patent Rolls, Philip and Mary II, p.75; Erna Auerbach op cit p.93

53 Letters and Papers 1 (1920), pp.1485-1503 entry 3608 iii, citing T.R. Misc. Books, 1, f.29. R.O

54 Letters and Papers 1: 1509-1514 (1920), pp.1285-1297 entry 2967, citing BL Stowe MS 146 f.124

55 TNA REQ 2/166 (183) mm.1-2; the argument is summed up in TNA REQ 2/6 (123)

56 BL Add Ch 23643 5r-7r; BL Add Ch 23643 3r-4r; SHC 320/1/13 p.9; SHC 643/2/3

57 SHC 2163/4/1, 320/1/13 p.8

58 Erna Auerbach op cit p.92, citing TNA E 36/241 p.110

59 Mary Edmond ‘Limners and Picture Makers’ in The Volume of the Walpole Society 47 (1978-1980) p.190 n.10, citing
Guildhall MS 6419/2


Letters and contributions for the Bulletin should be sent to the Hon. Editor,
Mr David Haunton by email to editor@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk.
The views expressed in this Bulletin are those

of the contributors concerned and not necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.

website: www.mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk email: mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk

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