Bulletin 200

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December 2016 – Bulletin 200
Liberty Yule-tide Gifts 1929-1930 – David Haunton
A List of Commemorative Plantings – various contributors
‘My Grandfather was Nelson’s Garden Boy’ – Gill Humphries
WW2 Private Air-Raid Shelters – David Haunton
and much more

Membership: via Hon. Secretary
Membership: via Hon. Secretary
VICE PRESIDENT: Judith Goodman
CHAIR: Keith Penny

Liberty Character Dolls (see p.8)

Programme December 2016 – April 2017 2
Committee Members 2016-2017 3
Visit to the Royal Courts of Justice 3
‘History of Crystal Palace’ 5
Libert Yule-tide Gifts 1929-1930 – David Haunton 8
Local History Workshops:
19 August: Morden men, WW1 burials, WW2 British Restaurant tokens, Parnall Aircraft,
LBM PROWs and views, WW2 shelters, Merton spy, Kingston Road 6
30 September: Population statistics, Eagle House, Settlement, WW2 tokens again, WW2 shelter,
Terri Carol, Merton Dovehouse and Lovell family, Cheam potters 10
A List of Commemorative Plantings – various contributors 12
‘My Grandfather was Nelson’s Garden Boy’ – Gill Humphries 13
WW2 Private Air-Raid Shelters – David Haunton 15
Two New Publications from MHS 16

Saturday 10 December 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Vanished People of the Wandle – the Pre-history of South West London’
An illustrated talk by Jon Cotton, former Curator at the Museum of London
Saturday 14 January 2017 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Recent Researches’
Illustrated talks by various members of the Society
Saturday 11 February 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Thames Road Bridges’
An illustrated talk by Richard Fitch of Carshalton and District HA Society
Thursday 23 February 12 for 12.30pm Annual Lunch
at Taste Restaurant, South Thames College: Merton Campus, London Road, Morden SM4 5QX
See enclosed form
Saturday 11 March 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Artists, Antiquaries and Collectors:
Illustrations of Surrey collected by Robert Barclay of Bury Hill Dorking c.1800’
An illustrated talk by Julian Pooley, of Surrey History Centre
Saturday 8 April 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Mills of the Wandle’
talk by Mick Taylor of The Wandle Industrial Museum
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.
Saturday 10 December 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Vanished People of the Wandle – the Pre-history of South West London’
An illustrated talk by Jon Cotton, former Curator at the Museum of London
Saturday 14 January 2017 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Recent Researches’
Illustrated talks by various members of the Society
Saturday 11 February 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Thames Road Bridges’
An illustrated talk by Richard Fitch of Carshalton and District HA Society
Thursday 23 February 12 for 12.30pm Annual Lunch
at Taste Restaurant, South Thames College: Merton Campus, London Road, Morden SM4 5QX
See enclosed form
Saturday 11 March 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Artists, Antiquaries and Collectors:
Illustrations of Surrey collected by Robert Barclay of Bury Hill Dorking c.1800’
An illustrated talk by Julian Pooley, of Surrey History Centre
Saturday 8 April 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Mills of the Wandle’
talk by Mick Taylor of The Wandle Industrial Museum
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.

We have now reached the 200th issue of our publication. From three stencilled typescript pages in 1965 we have
expanded to 16 pages and frequent colour illustrations. As a not too extravagant celebration, a colour spread
graces our centre pages. The Editor welcomes contributions about any subject with a local connection, whether
they discuss Anglo-Saxon noblemen or today’s pharmacists, archaeological digs or WW2 bombs. He would
also welcome volunteers to take notes for a Meeting or Visit Report. Onwards to our third century!

It is with deep regret that we announce the recent death of our Vice President, friend and colleague Eric Montague,
at the age of 92. He wrote extensively, particularly on Mitcham, joined our Society in 1965, and served with
distinction on our Committee for many years. A fuller appreciation will appear in the March Bulletin.


Subscriptions for 2016-17 are now overdue. Please note that this will be the last issue to reach you if we do not
receive your payment before the March Bulletin. A membership form was enclosed with the September Bulletin.
Current rates are: Individual member £10, Additional member in same household £3

Student member £1, Overseas member £15
Cheques are payable to Merton Historical Society and should be sent with completed forms to our
Membership Secretary.


Society emails: Members are reminded that the Society now offers an information service to email users,
including reminders of Society meetings and visits, and announcements of other events of interest of which notice
arrives between issues of the Bulletin. To use this service, please send an email to info@mertonhistoricalsociety.
org.uk. Send another if you wish to cancel.


On the morning of 15 September we passed through security at Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) to meet our tour
guide, Pat Rowe, a Court Usher who has worked in the RCJ for close on 30 years. She briefed us in Chancellor’s
Court, where we sat on the counsel benches. These face the judge, senior counsel in the front row and juniors
behind them. If solicitors are present they sit in the next row back.

The Building For most of the 19th century the
civil courts were spread around London and the
Government wished to amalgamate them on one site.
Cheap land was required in the centre of London.
A site of 5.2 acres (much of it owned by Middlesex
County Council) containing 350 dwellings for 3500
people, located on the north side of The Strand, just
outside the City, was compulsorily purchased in the
mid-1870s. The tenants were evicted and the houses

A competition was announced to design 12 courtrooms
and their associated offices. Eleven architects
submitted designs and a relatively unknown architect, George Edmund Street, was chosen. His design is Gothic

Revival in style, based upon a large medieval style hall with the courts around it on the upper floor. There is a

separate entrance for judges, and separate access to each courtroom for them. Westminster Hall, the original
location of the major courts, may have been an inspiration. Bull of Southampton was chosen as builder and
work started in 1879. No fewer than 35 million Portland stone blocks were brought in by river and presumably

made the final part of their journey on carts. During the construction, more land was compulsorily purchased

Photos: David Luff


and the plan was changed from 12 to 19 courtrooms. Total land cost was £1,450,000 and the construction costs
were £600,000. Each courtroom was designed by a different sub-architect, but all except one are of the same
size. The exception is the Lord Chancellor’s Court, which is twice the size of the others.

Apparently, during construction the stonemasons went on strike. To break the strike, the firm brought in

East European stonemasons. This was clearly not a popular move locally, so, for their own security, the East
Europeans lived in the basement of the partially constructed building. As a pastime, when not working, they
carved decorations on four of the 20 or so columns down there, the others remaining undecorated. Elsewhere,

there is a plain column decorating a wall, but it is cut off a couple of feet above the floor. The architect designed

it that way so that no one could say that the building was perfect – ‘as only God can produce perfection’. Sadly,
George Edmund Street died before construction was completed. Queen Victoria opened the new building on
4 December 1882.

The building size has been considerably increased since then. AWest Wing was built in 1910 to accommodate the
increasing number of divorce proceedings, the Queen’s Building was opened in the 1968 to contain 12 Family
Courts, and the 11-storey Thomas More building was opened in 1990 and houses Bankruptcy & Companies
Courts. More recently, the Rolls Building in Fetter Lane has been occupied. Amazingly, the RCJ now comprise
176 courtrooms and there are 180 judges appointed. It is one of the largest court complexes in Europe.

The 21st century appears to have hit the courtrooms. Those that we saw in the original building are typical
Victorian panelled rooms with built-in bookcases full of thick legal tomes, but all courts are wired with digital
sound recording equipment that is on continuously, so that shorthand writers are not needed. Each seat has a
socket for a laptop computer. Even the judge brings a laptop to record his/her notes, search for precedents and
from which to read their considered judgement. The books in the bookcases are rarely used nowadays.

The Courts. There are a number of different groups of courts within the building, each with its own administrative
system, its own judges and its own listing of cases.

There are two Courts of Appeal. The
Court of Criminal Appeal is headed
by the Lord Chief Justice. It considers
appeals to increase or decrease the length
of sentences and miscarriages of justice.
Prior to 2003,Appeal Court judges could
set a prisoner free but since the passing
of the Double Jeopardy Act in 2003, they
must send the case back to a Crown Court
for a re-trial if there is any doubt as to
the earlier verdict. The Court of Civil
Appeal is headed by the Master of the
Rolls and the appeals are always based
upon interpretation of a point of law.
With permission, an appeal against a judgement of the Civil Appeal Court may be made to the Supreme Court,
sitting in the old Middlesex County Council building in Parliament Square.

The High Court has three divisions. The Chancery Division deals with bankruptcy, insolvency, wills, contracts
and other financial matters. The Queen’s Bench Division, split into Admiralty and Commercial, deals with
medical and accident claims and libel cases and their associated claims for damages. Libel cases are the only
cases in the whole Civil Court system where a jury is used (to determine damages upon direction of the judge).
Since 2013, the laws of libel now cover social media.

The Family Division deals with divorce, child custody, adoption and wards of court. In this Court none of the
participants wear formal robes, so as not to intimidate the many children who appear in the court. Appeals from
any division of the High Court go to the Court of Civil Appeal.

In our tour most courts were unoccupied, but we did see some in session. The public are admitted to all of the

courts except those in the Family Division or if the case involves national security matters.
On our way out, we passed through a small museum showing models in court robes appropriate to their rank.
The more senior the judge, the longer their wigs hang down each side of their face – hence the term “big-wig”
for a senior person.

Our sincere thanks to Bea Oliver for organising this visit.

Tony Scott



On Saturday 8 November a modest company gathered to hear Michael Gilbert’s extremely well-illustrated talk

on the origin, construction, contents, movement and fate of the Palace.
The Origin was due to three people: Prince Albert, who wished to promote British and Imperial science and
industry, Henry Cole, an industrialist who suggested the idea of a Great Exhibition in London, and Joseph
Paxton, who designed and built the Palace in which to hold the Exhibition.

Cole received a Royal warrant in 1848, set up committees and rules and requested tenders for the building.

The rules specified that the building could only be temporary, that it was to be situated on an eight-acre site in

fashionable Hyde Park, and that it would open on 1 May 1851. All 233 designs submitted were rejected, after
which, on 22 June 1850, I K Brunel submitted one that included all the best bits of the rejects, requiring some
ten million bricks – not very temporary!

Paxton was, among many rôles, an experienced gardener, who
had designed and built a very large conservatory for the Duke of
Devonshire. Musing during a meeting of the Midland Railway
Board, he sketched, on a piece of blotting paper (which has been
preserved! right) a design for a building of glass and cast iron, similar
to his conservatory. This was published in the Illustrated London
News under the heading ‘Crystal Palace’ in July 1850. Paxton was
instantly awarded the contract, having already signed huge contracts

for iron work and glass (presumably with crossed fingers).

Construction got under way immediately
and furiously. Trees on the site had to
be removed, but four were spared, to
decorate the interior of the Palace. Paxton
added a transept (that he called a ‘transit’)
to accommodate them. The completed
building was 1848 feet long inside, while
the 900,000 panes of glass had needed
2500 people to put into place (left). There
were several glass fountains. Considerable

attention had been paid to detail: for example, the floorboards had gaps between them to allow air circulation

from the basement, and all passageways were wide enough for an invalid carriage, or a lady in a crinoline, to
move along. Goods for exhibition began to arrive in March 1851, and a grand opening ceremony occurred, as

specified, on 1 May 1851, with 40,000 people present.

The Contents were to show the vast range of products of Britain and her Empire – at least 100,000 items of art
and machinery were on display. The interior was divided into compartments, allocated to trades or countries.

India showed a stuffed (African) elephant, but the USA had insufficient goods to fill their area. The bays

themselves were elaborately decorated in a variety of schemes – Greek, Roman, Egyptian, etc., some having
mosaics of tiny tesserae. (Michael had examples of these.) Normal entry price was one shilling, encouraging
some six million visitors to view the Exhibition and Palace before the show closed on 15 October 1851. Prince

Albert directed that the £130,000 profit should be used to buy the land on which would be built his projected

South Kensington Museums.
One year later, the Palace was still there, but was shortly moved bodily to a 200-acre site at Penge Place in
Sydenham. The building was extended, water towers added at each end to supply the many fountains in the
grounds, and two more transits added. It re-opened on 10 June 1854, as a place for a permanent art exhibition,
for which plaster casts were made of masterpieces all over Europe. An exhibition of statues of British monarchs
(some now in the Houses of Parliament) competed with concrete models of dinosaurs (most still there), band

concerts, three restaurants and sporting contests. Such events continued until 30 November 1936, when a fire
started under floorboards where a heating duct had cracked. It was first noticed at 20.05; a BBC outside broadcast
from 21.00 gave huge publicity, but despite all the efforts of the fire brigades, ‘Crystal Palace’burnt to the ground.

The only bits to survive were a café and a gents’ toilet, and the water towers, demolished in 1941 for iron scrap.




Friday 19 August 2016: Six present – David Haunton in the Chair.

Peter Hopkins apologised for misleading members at the visit to St Lawrence’s church Morden in 2013,when
he misidentified the Morden-born sculptor responsible for what has been described as ‘the finest monument
of the Baroque in England’. Peter promised a more accurate account in a future Bulletin.
Peter had been in email correspondence about another notable man, buried in St Lawrence churchyard,
though resident just over the parish boundary in North Cheam. Augustus William Louis Schermuly invented
a ship-to-shore rocket line and the pistol rocket life-saving apparatus. Peter had been able to consult Bill

Rudd’s extensive research files to answer this enquiry, and also to discover the truth about the sculptor.

Keith Penny remarked on a comment made at the Society’s recent visit to Frederick W Paine in Kingston that,
towards the end of WW1, undertakers experienced difficulties in conducting their business. This matched his
own researches in Mitcham, where the local authority reported coffins being laid on the surface of low-lying
ground at Streatham Park Cemetery in September 1918 and covered with soil from nearby graves. That
same year two grave diggers seeking exemption from call-up reported that they had been responsible for 287

interments there in July alone. This seems too early to have been a result of the influenza epidemic, which in

Mitcham saw 33 deaths in October and 30 in November. Joyce Bellamy wondered if the earlier high mortality

figures related to severely wounded servicemen dying soon after they had returned to this country.
Keith noted two other items reported in local newspapers. During the influenza epidemic, Mitcham Council

and volunteers distributed supplies of disinfectant, soup and Bovril to affected households. In 1919 it was
announced that Mitcham would receive one captured German machine gun and its ammunition belt as
trophies. We wondered what had happened to them – perhaps melted down for the war effort in 1939?

On the subject of WW2, Keith had accompanied Mick
Taylor on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Vestry Hall
Mitcham. One discovery in the loft was a box of full rolls
of tickets (for adult main course and sweet course) and
tokens (white for child, black for beverages) used at British
Restaurants in Mitcham (right, full-size), which has now
been entrusted to Keith on the Society’s behalf. This led to
discussion on the location of the restaurants (one operated
in St Olave’s church hall) and how the tickets and tokens
were used. Can any readers enlighten us?

Keith also enquired as to the location of the Wimbledon
Police Courts in the early 1900s – Queens Road? And he
had noticed new green plaques identifying war grave sites
and wondered how these were obtained.

David Luff had been googling Parnall Aircraft Ltd, who had moved to a vacant plot on the Liberty’s site
after their Bristol factory was bombed in WW2, manufacturing aircraft components. He had been told by
their architect that 14 sites had been considered, but has now discovered that their HQ had long been in
Tolworth, conveniently close to the Merton Abbey site. He has also discovered that 65 electronics staff,
made redundant by Parnall after the War, set up in business, originally to produce hearing aids, later turning
their hand to model engineering. David is also investigating Parnall’s links with Frazer-Nash, who produced
mobile gun turrets for aircraft. They also had premises at Liberty’s and at some stage merged with Parnall.
Joyce Bellamy has long been impressed by Merton Borough’s many signposted (and numbered) Public
Rights of Way (PROW). She was especially delighted that the PROW along the ancient Fieldgate Lane
(near the former gasworks), and the formerly derelict land alongside it, have been incorporated into a
community orchard and garden including a wildflower meadow, an amenity lawn and raised beds for soft

fruits, vegetables, herbs and roses. She was pleased to see that another historic PROW, Church Path, leading
from opposite the parish church to London Road, has recently been tidied, with overhanging trees trimmed

and the path swept. There are hopes that Cold Blows PROW will benefit if the current Heritage Lottery bid

for The Canons goes ahead. And the new Wandle Valley Path, now virtually complete, is a welcome addition
to routes in south-west London. (It is a recreational innovation, not a statutory right of way.)
Joyce also commented on local viewpoints and vistas, now being studied in the context of the Wandle Valley

Regional Park. Although Mitcham is too low-lying to command magnificent views such as can be seen from

Norwood or Streatham Common, there are some vantage points – the Sea Cadets Hall was designed to give a


view across Three Kings Piece, and the veranda of the Cricket Pavilion has excellent sightlines over Cricket
Green (another of the Registered Greens). Joyce particularly likes the view from the top of the multi-storey
car park near Morrisons, and wishes that the many sites visible from there could be marked in some way.

She had recently been surprised to discover an Ordnance Survey benchmark on the corner of the old Barclays
building – and lamented that printed OS maps will soon be a thing of the past.

Madeline Healey had known that her father, a bricklayer who had worked for various local building firms
including Crouch, Selley and Gosling, had built air raid shelters during WW2, and had assumed these were the
Anderson shelters erected in gardens. Recently, however, her niece had told her that, during her GCSE studies
on WW2, she had long conversations with Madeline’s father, and that he had in fact built community shelters
all over London, and had even worked on the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall. Madeline reflected sadly on
all those unasked questions that would have added to her knowledge – a feeling that many of us share.
Madeline has recently received from her cousin in Ireland plans and architects drawings relating to the land
that her great-grandmother Sarah Madeline and her husband Abram Clark acquired to build houses in Crown
Road and Queens Road, Morden, opposite the Civic Centre. She has not yet had a chance to examine them
thoroughly, but promised to bring them at a later date. She has already shown us sales particulars and plans
from the sale of G E Hatfeild’s estate in 1946 which includes houses connected to her family.

David Haunton has received from Joyce Bellamy a list of five memorial plantings in Mitcham, to which he
has added two in Merton Park. Madeline mentioned that a plane tree opposite the former Tate Almshouses
was planted in memory of her grandfather (see p.12). Have we missed any? Are there any in Morden?

At the last workshop Judy Goodman handed Dave a file on Merton’s multiple spy and conman known as

‘Henry Alexander’, ‘Colonel Lopez’, etc. Born in Australia, he applied in 1918 for a badge for his services
as a ‘civilian armourer’ with the ‘WAF Forces’ in 1897/8. Not Western Australia, but the West African Field
Force, which in 1900 combined with the Royal Nigerian Constabulary Companies to form the West African

Frontier Force. With 1000 men and six Maxim machine guns, they attempted to fend off French infiltration

of the area between the Niger and the Nile. (In 1917 Henry was noted as an expert on machine guns.) In 1899
he travelled steerage to Buenos Aires on the RMS Magdalena – mentioned by Kipling in Just So Stories

(1902). He died in Worcester Park and Dave checked with Paines if they had a record of his burial; they did

not, but suggested he might be in the Jewish cemetery at Golders Green.
In the last Bulletin, Paul Featherstone mentioned Seaman’s The Chemist in Kingston Road, Merton. Dave
was surprised to discover that there were two pharmacies almost opposite each other, presumably because
the road divided the communities. Seaman’s occupied a new building on the south of the road from 1911
until 2016, when it moved across the road – and across the railway – to face the Nelson Health Centre. No
doubt it was the building of the Nelson Hospital in 1911 that had encouraged its setting up. On the north
side of the road was Coopers, founded in 1887 in 1 Commerce Terrace, later 93 Kingston Road and now

183. It closed in 1956. Meanwhile another pharmacy had been opened in 1938 opposite Wimbledon Chase
Station and called The Chase Chemist. By 1992 it was Mount Elgon Pharmacy, and in 2015 moved into the
Nelson Health Centre. Dave is still trying to find what it was called between 1950 and 1992. He was also

intrigued that a property in the middle of a terrace should be number one! It turns out that c.1881 Fininley

Builders started building the first four shops in the terrace – called Fininley Terrace – adjoining their own

larger premises, then added four more beyond their premises – as shown in Dave’s modern photograph
below. These were swiftly followed by a further three, all seven called Commerce Terrace. At some stage
before 1887 two more shops were added adjoining the latter – though apparently not by Fininleys.

Peter Hopkins



Judy Goodman brought a copy of this catalogue to a Workshop in January 2016 (Bulletin 197), and December

seems a suitable time to list some of its contents. Since the date of publication in 1929, inflation means that we

should multiply the prices by 50 to get a rough idea of what they would be today. This catalogue is not for the
poor. You may recall that in Dorothy L Sayers’ Murder must Advertise (1933) Lord Peter Wimsey, masquerading

as an office worker, has a salary of £4 a week.

In the catalogue, Liberty & Co Ltd represent
themselves as ‘designers and makers of artistic
wares and fabrics’, of ‘Regent St London, W1,
and 3 Boulevard des Capucines, Paris’. There is
frequent mention of ‘specimens of hand-printing
from Liberty & Co’s own works at Merton Abbey’.

Prices are given in pre-1971 denominations, where
12d = 1s (12 old pence = one shilling) and 20s = £1.
In this article we follow the convention of the time
by writing ‘s/d’ for prices lower than one pound,
and ‘£.s.d’ for higher prices. The curious convention
of reckoning in guineas still held occasionally,
where 1 guinea = £1.1.0, particularly for the more
expensive items.

Liberty Clothing included silk grenadine scarves
(right), 70 by 20in, in brown, green or blue, at
£1.7.6 each, with woollen scarves and hand-printed
silk scarves between £1.3.9 and £4.14.6. Shawls
in ‘Liberty colourings’ (opposite, foot) were either
£2.17.6 or £5.15.6. Silk embroidered kimonos came
at £4.0.0 for a particular design, while others could
cost up to £30.0.0. On the other hand, silk dressing

gowns for men were only five guineas, and hand-

printed silk ties and handkerchiefs between 3/11
and a guinea. Ladies jumpers (opposite, top) came
in hand-printed fabrics at £3.9.6.

The Jewellery range

was quite extensive.

It included precious

stones set in platinum

and 18ct white gold rings at four, six or eight guineas, but ‘silver jewellery set with

stones’ cost only one to three guineas. Earrings were definitely expensive: sapphire
and diamond sets cost £23.10.0, fire opal sets up to £25, while jade sets would

cost you between three guineas and £39.10.0 (the highest price in this catalogue).
Presumably the ‘precious’ has been deliberately
omitted from the description of ‘stone necklaces’
(left) in carnelian, topaz, amethyst or jasper, £1.5.0
to six guineas. ‘Pearl and stone’ necklaces (right)
featured strings of tiny pearls with larger turquoise,

fire opals, amethyst or topaz suspended from them,
at five to eight guineas. Mere ‘bead neckchains’

were mostly less than £1.
Ladies’ Accessories included fans and scent sachets at 1/6 to 15/6, and a handbag
for £1.1.0

Motor rugs came in ten different colourings (eight reversible) at about five guineas,

with heavier ones available at eight guineas.
Toys were represented by a range of stuff and plush animals, 8-12 inches high, at
prices between 1/11 and 10/6, while ‘character dolls’ (front cover) came in bright
and varied colours, and different sizes.


Everything else – a vast range – could be classed
as Household fripperies. There were tea cosies
and pin cushions (up to a guinea), cushions, table
runners and hand tooled leather work (from £1 to
four guineas) and calendars (8d to 6/6). A curious
fad for ‘old chinese embroidery panelled in leather’
was met by vanity cases, bookmarks, purses, book
racks ( left ),
Treasury note
cases(!), match
cases(!) and so
forth, from 5/6

to 21/-, with
larger pieces of ‘old chinese embroidery’ for
cushions, etc, at £1.5.0 to ten guineas. You
could also buy hand-painted parchment paper,
japanese hand-stencilled cotton crape (sic), and
lots of cushions and table covers and pouffes.
Craftsmanship was featured in wood (little boxes
and bowls 1/6 to 4/6); in ‘scotch’ glass (bowls,
vases, lamps, 10/6 to £2.17.6) and in painted
porcelain (a polar bear at 1/6, a kingfisher with
a much more elaborate paint scheme at 13/6).
There were wrought iron lanterns, japanese dwarf
trees and miniature gardens, and bronze garden
ornaments (storks and toads).

But the only stuff I would have bought was the powder
blue ware from Moorcroft at 1/3 to 8/9 per piece (some
examples below).




Friday 30 Sep 2016: Five present – Peter Hopkins in the Chair

Keith Penny had found a surprise local history resource on the Borough Council website, http://www.
merton.gov.uk/community-living/statistics/censushistory.htm – a table of populations of the component
parts of the borough as recorded in censuses up to 1961. Those present noticed some of the large leaps in
population in Merton 1901–11 (housing in the Raynes Park area) and 1921–31 (new industry around the
Kingston By-Pass, as well as new housing), and in Morden 1931–51 (housing following the Underground
opening in 1926).
Further analysis can be found at http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/, a site that also provides extracts from
local surveys or topographical descriptions. For Mitcham the site quotes from John Marius Wilson’s Imperial
Gazetteer of England and Wales c.1870: buildings mentioned included the Eagle House Lunatic Asylum.
The transactions that brought Eagle House into Poor Law control are detailed in Mitcham Histories 14, p.7.
Peter wondered if there had been some confusion between St George in the East and St George, Southwark,
both of which are mentioned. According to Wilson, there were 51 inmates at the 1861 Census, though now
not all the sheets are extant, at least not on Ancestry. In charge was William Budd, a discharged sergeant and

Chelsea Pensioner; inmates were from assorted trades, but several occupations were marked ‘N[ot].K[nown]’,

presumably because the persons concerned did not themselves know, or could not explain.

Dave Haunton had found in a Genealogists Magazine from 1992, an entry in a Wimbledon register referring
to a baptism in Merton Church 30 June 1723. The baby was born in Merton but the parents were travellers.
Justice Meriton physically prevented them from having the baby baptised one Sunday, so that she could not
claim settlement later under the Poor Law. However, she was baptised quietly a few days later, by the same
vicar, who was in charge of both churches. It is unclear exactly where this occurred.
Dave had contacted the Museum of Design in Plastic regarding the British Restaurant tokens that Keith had
been given. The museum didn’t have any examples of such tokens, so Dave and Keith had sent some to
them. In the 1942 directive from the Ministry of Food he had found rules for the production of the tokens,
to replace paper tokens. There was to be a variety of colours to represent different courses. Our local ones
were white, black and brown (a third type we belatedly found) and did not comply with the rules. Dave was

trying to find out where they could have been made. Lines Bros was one candidate.

Gay Usher’s deeds for her house in Monkleigh Road include papers dated 1940 showing a Mr Jeeves
obtaining a loan of £40 from the council to build an air raid shelter (see p.15 and detail below). Keith and
Rosemary knew of examples of these in neighbouring gardens. Rosemary’s neighbour had just had theirs
demolished and she was glad that she had been away at the time (because of the continual noise).
. Judith Goodman has always kept items of interest from local newspapers. She recently came across a
cutting from the Wimbledon Guardian dated 19 March 2002. It was an obituary for Terri Carol, 25 May
1914 to 31 January 2002, a music hall performer, who died aged 87. She was a paper tearer and bridged
the gap between television variety and the re-emergence of the variety theatre, and became a symbol of the
resurrected Hackney Empire. She always referred to people as sweetie or darling and stunned audiences old
and new with her skill. The article states that she always appeared ‘coiffured and magnificently gowned’.
The paper tearing was accompanied by a patter delivered as asides, one of which was ‘give me a bit more
pension and I wouldn’t have to do this bloody thing’. Out of a flurry of paper she would produce ships, palm
trees, lace doilies and steering wheels, sometimes involving audience participation. Her performance ended
with her 30ft-tall paper ladder.


She was the daughter of a music hall paper tearer and was born Ivy Rosina Victoria Morse, in a Mitcham
funeral parlour. She was educated at a convent school until the age of nine. Her father taught her the paper
tearing art and took her on a world tour with Sir Harry Lauder. By the age of 12 she had circumnavigated the
world twice. She played in Toyko, and did seven shows a day at Radio City New York. Her career peaked
in wartime and she was described by the Daily Mirror as the pluckiest girl in showbusiness. She performed
with her baby in a crib, in the care of a stagehand in the wings. She performed with Buster Keaton, Carmen
Miranda, Phil Silvers, Lena Horne, Max Miller and Laurel and Hardy. At one time she lived in Park Lane with

a maid. Terri was married 3 times and her final marriage ended in the mid-1950s, about the same time as the

decline of the music hall. She worked for a short time in the civil service Ancient Monuments department.
After a short disastrous visit to one of her daughters in South Africa she returned to London penniless and
moved into sheltered housing in Croydon. When the Hackney Empire was reopened in the 1980 she appeared
in The Good Old Days and following that appeared on Wogan, Friday Night Live, Barrymore, the Generation
Game and the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal. She toured the variety circuit in London and went back
to Japan to appear on TV. She performed for the Eurythmics in Nice and at Tina Turner’s 50th birthday party.

Terri retired officially aged 80 when arthritis made it too difficult for her to tear paper. At the time of her

death she was still planning to perform at the reopening of the Empire’s main auditorium.

Peter Hopkins had photographed the early 18th-century memorials in St Lawrence church because he
wondered if they could have been by Morden-born sculptor Richard Crutcher, who produced the famous
Clayton memorial at Bletchingley. He had taken close ups of the cherub’s heads. It was decided that they
were typical of the period and without a signature could not be attributed to that sculptor. (An article is
Peter had visited TNA and looked at a 1579 lease of a moated dovehouse at Merton, which he hoped would
prove to be a precursor of Nelson’s Merton Place. He had previously found 17th-century records of the
dovehouse. It had enough detail to convince Peter that Merton Place was built within the old dovehouse
moat. The lease E367/1030 was to Dorothy Lovell, recently widowed second wife of Sir Gregory Lovell,
Elizabeth I’s ‘cofferer’ or household treasurer.

Lovell had obtained a lease of Merton priory’s precinct by marriage to his first wife and it was subsequently
renewed several times. On his death an efficient county surveyor discovered that Lovell had been occupying

some additional small properties on the periphery of the precinct estate, for which no rent had been paid.
The document included details of these additional lands.

The location of this moated property on former roadside waste south of the High Street perfectly fits that

of Merton Place, formerly called Moat House Farm. Peter had already traced the descent of the property to
Rowland Wilson, whose grandson is known to have sold the site on which the Moat House Farm was to be

built, but he held several properties in the area, so this is final proof.

A decade ago Peter had suggested that Dorothy Lovell married three times and ended her days as Dorothy
Crosse, whose 1623 Will refers to Merton Abbey. Peter downloaded her Will and discovered that he had
been correct. She left bequests to her Lovell sons and grandsons and asked for burial ‘in a tomb already
prepared for me at Martin Abbey’. She is included on the Lovell monument in St Mary’s Merton Park. As both
Dorothy Lovell and Dorothy Crosse she had been indicted for recusancy and in her will she commended her
‘soule into the hands of God my maker hoping by the merits, death and passion of Jesus Christ my Saviour,
and at the intercession of the glorious company of Angells and Saints in heaven to be made partaker of life
everlasting’. Such intercession of the saints would have been unacceptable during the reign of Elizabeth,
but presumably the situation had changed by 1623.

A couple of workshops ago Peter had mentioned being asked by archaeologist Steve Nelson about the
references to Walter Potter and other Cheam potters in Morden’s medieval records, for a forthcoming
article in SyAC . In the current volume, Clive Orton has an article on the discoveries at Whitehall Cheam
and acknowledges our contributions about these potters. John Pile, who is one of the SyAC editors, is trying
to identify whether these potters lived in East or West Cheam. The Morden records say East Cheam, the
estate in Cheam held by the archbishop of Canterbury, but while Peter was at TNA he looked at some court
rolls catalogued as West Cheam and he spotted references to Walter Potter there. Although these court rolls
only call the estate ‘Cheam’ they include other manors belonging to Christ Church Canterbury, including
Merstham, so it must be West Cheam. Probably the potters held properties within both manors.

Rosemary Turner
Dates of next Workshops: Fridays 13 January, 3 March 2017
2.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum. All are welcome.


A collaborative effort has resulted in

Joyce Bellamy was surprised and a little shocked to find that Merton Planning Department did not know of the

Dunblane Memorial Tree (see Bulletin 198), and set out to discover and publicise what other commemorative
plantings the Borough holds.

Joyce Bellamy found:
The Dunblane Memorial Tree is located on the edge of the pavement in a small grassed area on the south side
of the junction where Upper Green West meets Western Road, Raleigh Gardens, London Road and Holborn
Way. It is a thriving Rowan (Mountain Ash, Sorbus aucuparia), protected by a wire guard, and carries a plaque
saying ‘In memory of the tragedy of Dunblane from the families of Bond and Liberty Schools’. A few months

ago, on the twentieth anniversary of the shooting in 1996, some floral tributes appeared, tied to the wire guard.

The Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Roses are planted in a raised bed at ‘Jubilee Corner’, near the junction
of London Road and Cricket Green (road), close to the Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Water Trough. There is
no special signage on the rose bed.

An Oak tree (Quercus sp.) is located in the centre of a mini-roundabout at the junction of the Park Place access
drive and Commonside West. A plaque states ‘Planted by the Mayor of Merton, Councillor Slim Flegg, on 26th
November 1992 in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
II to the Throne’.

The Native Black Poplar adjacent to Three Kings Pond is protected by a tree guard. A plaque explains that this
‘Black Poplar (Populus Nigra Betulifolia) planted in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the
Queen in 2012. Similar trees, generously donated by Roger Jefcoate CBE have been planted in every London

One of a series of Olive trees (Olea europaea) planted in the grounds of the Canons in anticipation of climate
change has a plaque recording that it was ‘Planted by the Worshipful the Mayor of Merton, Councillor Geraldine
Stanford, in commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade – May 2007. “The Past we
Inherit, the Future we Build”’

Madeline Healey recalls:
A London Plane tree (Platanus x hispanica) was planted c.1963 in memory of her grandfather William Williams
(bailiff of Morden Hall) in front of the Mary Tate Almshouses on Cricket Green, Mitcham. Unsigned memorials
to her family in Morden Hall Park include two Small-leaved Lime trees (Tilia cordata) for ‘Jack and Doll’

Williams near the Stable Block, a Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in the lawn in front of the Hall, again for
her grandfather, while a pink Horse Chestnut and a Copper Beech for other family members have both now gone.
The John Innes Society (Desé Child, David Cowie, Alison Cousins, Judy Goodman) contribute:
A fine Swamp Cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) was planted in memory of

Jill Hutchins, a former John Innes Committee member, in the Church Lane
Playing Field. The isolated tree straight ahead of the gate, already standing 20
feet high, it is the second attempt at planting (c.2000), as the first failed. This
one is a bit more robust (right).

A Magnolia tree (Magnolia ‘Yellow Lantern’) in John Innes Park, a few yards
west of the pond, was planted in memory of Lyn Clayton. He was a founder of
John Innes Society and for a long period a Committee member. A plaque gives
the horticultural details and the following inscription:

‘In loving memory of / LYN CLAYTON / 1939-2012 / We have planted this
tree in honour of you / for all that you did and all that you knew. / Each leaf
represents a person you have met / Friendships developed and promises kept’

John Innes Roses were planted by the Society in a circular bed in the south
west corner of John Innes Park to commemorate the park itself. A relatively
large plaque is inscribed ‘This rose bed is planted with the John Innes rose /
developed by Peter Beales Roses and kindly presented / by the John Innes Centre
in Norwich to mark the / centenary of the opening of John Innes Park / The rose
bed was unveiled on 1 August 2009 by Karin Forbes, Deputy Mayor of Merton ‘

The rose bed also holds a small carved wooden plaque inscribed ‘IN MEMORIAM / JOAN BILK / 1933-2010’.
Two circular Flower Beds, about half-way down the length of Kendor Gardens, were dedicated in July 2014 to
the memory of Police Sergeant Ian Harman, our local ‘bobby’. They are planted with various perennials, among
which Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantia) predominates. A small plaque in one of the beds reads ‘In Memory of
/ P S Ian Harman / Planting by / The John Innes Society’


Ted Higgins OBE, decided to mark his 100th birthday by arranging for a planting. ‘Ted’s Trees’ are the twelve
new trees planted in 2015 in the John Innes Recreation Ground, to screen Rutlish School. The row comprises
four Japanese Cherries (Prunus ‘Shirotae’), four Cypress Oaks (Quercus fastigiata) and then another four
Japanese Cherries.

The large Purple Beech tree (Fagus sylvatica, probably ‘Dawyk Purple’) in the middle of St Mary’s Churchyard
was planted for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Hazel Abbott weighs in with:
The Cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella autumnalis ‘Alba’) in St Mary’s Churchyard, is not protected by a guard;
its plaque reads ‘To Celebrate / The Diamond Jubilee / H.M. Queen Elizabeth II / 2012’.

David Haunton notes:
Two adjacent Rose trees (Rosa sp.) (neither protected by a guard) within circular flower beds near the entrance
to John Innes Park, planted twelve months apart. The plaque for the first reads:

‘Holocaust Memorial Day / January 25th 2004 / In memory of all victims of genocide, / atrocities and crimes

while that for the second records:
‘London Borough of Merton / HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL SERVICE / 30th January 2005 / In memory of all
victims of genocide, / atrocities and crimes against humanity / REMEMBERING THE PAST / REMEMBERING

And a nearly defunct Rose in a circular bed near the western end of the sunken area of Mostyn Gardens, where a
worn inscription records ‘Rose Planted by / Mayor of Merton / Cllr Linda Kirby / To mark the 50th Anniversary
/ of U.N. Universal Declaration / of Human Rights / 10th Dec. 1998’

GILL HUMFREY looks at a family legend

‘My grandfather was Nelson’s garden boy’. This was my grandmother’s confident assertion every time I talked
to her about our family history. It was a puzzle. I knew of no gardeners among us and anyway our family was

firmly rooted in Surrey and surely Nelson came from Norfolk? I checked my grandmother’s grandparents – a
half-Italian manservant and a Kingston washerwoman on her mother’s side; on her father’s side an ordinary

working class couple born and bred in Surrey – Henry Ladd and Emma Cribb. True, Henry was a gardener of
sorts, but he was born in 1803, far too late for him to have worked for Nelson anywhere.

Many years passed and then I
made a breakthrough. A distant
cousin, researching his own
family in Surrey and knowing
of my interest, sent me a copy
of Philip Rathbone’s booklet
Paradise Merton (1973). This
showed that Nelson’s home, on
land, for the last few years of
his life had been in Surrey, at
Merton Place. Even better, on
the front cover of the booklet
was a picture of the house
and grounds, showing Lady
Hamilton in conversation with
the gardener – whose name
was Cribb! (right)1

The same cousin sent me a quotation from Chamberlain’s Reminiscences of old Merton (1925) showing that

Cribb’s first name was Francis. If only he turned out to be Emma’s father the puzzle was solved.
A visit to the then Surrey Record Office at Kingston confirmed the relationship. The family first appeared in the

Wimbledon parish records in 1764 with the baptism of Francis, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Cribb. Seven
more children followed. A generation later two more couples raised their families in the same area. The nine
children of Thomas and Ann were baptised at Merton between 1797 and 1808. The ten children of Francis and
Hannah/Anne were baptised between 1787 and 1808, two at Merton and the rest at Wimbledon. The Cribbs


appear regularly in the Surrey Land Tax records for 1780 – 1832, especially in Merton and Wimbledon. The
names used in both families, in particular Thomas, Francis and Elizabeth, make it very probable that they were
all descendants of Thomas and Elizabeth and that Thomas junior and Francis were brothers, Thomas having been
born before the family arrived in the area. The 1841 census shows that both men were gardeners and suggests
that Thomas was a year or two older than Francis.

I had a further stroke of luck when I met the then secretary of the Nelson Society. She showed me pages from
the Hamilton and Nelson Papers giving the weekly accounts of the Merton household in 1802 and 1803. These
record regular payments for vegetables to ‘Mr Cribb’. My friend also gave me a copy of Carola Oman’s excellent
biography of Nelson2 in which the head gardener at Merton is referred to as ‘Thomas Cribb’ and no mention is
made of the supply of vegetables! The author tells the story of Nelson’s conversation with his head gardener
shortly before the departure for Trafalgar, in which he encouraged ‘Thomas Cribb’ to call his expected baby
either Horatio or Emma. However Thomas called his daughter Mary and it was Francis whose baby was named

Emma; both infants were baptised in November 1805.

Nelson’s gardener, ‘Cribb’, turned out to be well documented, as you would expect with an ancestor connected
to famous people or events, though obviously the information is presented from the point of view of the famous

person not the ancestor! It emerged that ‘Cribb’ was an important person at Merton Place, officially head-

gardener, but effectively works manager with a large staff to support him in carrying out the improvements to

the estate planned by Lady Hamilton. However there was some confusion about his first name and it became

clear that no-one had realised that there were two Cribbs connected with the Nelson/Hamilton household at
Merton. Was it really likely that head gardener Cribb, fully occupied with extensive work on the Merton Place
grounds, would have had time to double as a market gardener? It seems that it was Canon Jagger, the vicar of

Merton, who first gave rise to the confusion over names in his 1926 booklet Lord Nelson’s Home and Life at
Merton. Considering only his own parish records he assigned the name Thomas to Cribb. Had he looked at the
Wimbledon records as well he might have decided differently. It is now certain that, as shown by JG in Notes
on Nelson’s Gardener (Bulletin 155, Sept 2005), Nelson’s gardener was Francis Cribb, my direct ancestor.

Interestingly, the employed workman, Francis Cribb, was never dignified by a title, whereas his brother, Thomas,

the self-employed tradesman, who supplied Merton Place with vegetables, is always referred to in the household

accounts as ‘Mr Cribb’.
Sadly, Francis, who had commanded a very good salary while working at Merton Place, died in Croydon
Workhouse in 1850 and was buried in Morden on 6 March. He survived his brother Thomas by eight years.
His fortunes must have begun to decline after Nelson’s death. Lady Hamilton sold Merton Place in 1808 and

it was put on the market again in 1815. The house then remained empty until the final sale of the estate and

demolition of the house in 1823. Francis’s employment probably ceased long before then. His wife Hannah
died in Morden in 1827. There are entries in the Morden 1838 tithe apportionment map showing Francis Crib
(sic) as tenant of two small gardens and John Crib, almost certainly his son, renting two plots each with house,
garden and greenhouse. Francis probably had some support from John as he grew older but the younger man
died in February 1850, very shortly before his father, which could explain why 83-year-old Francis ended his
life in the workhouse.

The wider family had already spread to neighbouring parishes and there were several gardeners among them.
The tithe apportionment maps, Morden 1838, Merton 1844 and Mitcham 1846, supplement the census returns
and the Land Tax records. Francis’s son, John, was a market gardener in Morden and after John’s death in 1850
his widow Susannah, assisted by their son John, carried on the business. Francis’s daughter Emma lived in

Merton with her jobbing gardener husband, Henry Ladd; his sons, Francis and William, both rented gardens in

Merton. William also occupied land in Mitcham. Thomas’s son Francis set up as a gardener in Lambeth. And it
seems that the name Cribb continued to be associated with market gardeners in the Merton area for many years.
Finally, the advent of the internet has made it much easier to begin to establish the origins of the family. It seems
almost certain that they came from the village of Drayton in Somerset and were of yeoman stock. If I am right, the

original Cribb couple, Thomas and Elizabeth, were married there in 1759 and their first two children, Elizabeth

(1760) and Thomas (1762) were born in Drayton before the family moved to Surrey. Elizabeth’s father was one
Francis Kerry which could explain the frequent use of the name Francis in succeeding generations, especially
if an inheritance from him had perhaps helped to establish the family in Surrey. Why did they move? Had they
been gardeners in Somerset? Questions still to be answered. But the moral of this story is:

Spread the word about your interests to all who will listen, and always pay heed to Grandma.

DH adds: This picture is by William Angus, Merton Place in Surry, the Seat of Admiral Lord Nelson (1804), engraved after a watercolour
by Edward Hawke Locker, for a series of prints The Seats of Nobility (1787-c.1815). It was printed in black and white. Alas,

the identifications of the people in the picture are figments of Rathbone’s imagination, being generic figures of the sort that artists

of the time inserted in their pictures to give scale to buildings and monuments.
2 Nelson by Carola Oman, published by Hodder & Stoughton (1946, 1954) and The Reprint Society (1950)



When member Gay Usher inspected the deeds to her house, recently returned as her mortgage was paid off, she
discovered an agreement between the Urban District of Merton and Morden and Mr Harold Jeeves, a previous
occupant, for a loan of £40 to cover the provision of an Air-raid Shelter. He was charged interest at 4¼%, with

the first of 40 quarterly instalments of £1.4s.9d, rather cruelly, being due on 25th December 1940.

This presented an interesting question – why did Mr Jeeves need the money? Anderson air-raid shelters were
supplied free to households whose income was less than £250 per annum, while higher earners paid a top-
up fee of only £7-£10. The 1939 Civil Defence Act allowed local authorities to lend sums to residents ‘upon
suitable security’ for building their own permanent air-raid shelters. (The Andersons were classed as temporary
structures.) This is what Mr Jeeves chose to do. He had to go through a lot of hoops to get there. He had to have
suitable plans drawn up, then he could apply for a loan, get the plans passed by the Borough Surveyor, have the

shelter built, get the building certified by the Borough Surveyor as built according to the plans, and not from
inferior materials (or mortar that was too weak), and then get his application for a loan finally approved, and
the money paid to him. Which he presumably handed on fairly swiftly to the builder, who had been waiting all

this time. The Surveyor took his job seriously – one firm was barred from future construction for poor work and
misrepresentation (of their influence within the Council). Mr Jeeves and his wife had moved into the house as

soon as it was built. Their street, Monkleigh Road, is listed in the 1933 Kelly’s Directory, but with no occupied
houses in it, while he appears as a resident in the 1934 Directory, compiled in autumn 1933, along with about

40 others of the first new occupiers.
The security Mr Jeeves offered was looked at by the Council when he first applied – in his case it was essentially
a mortgage (perhaps a second one) on his house. He had a responsible job as a junior Registrar (certified to
register births and deaths, but not yet qualified to solemnise marriages) and presumably had been satisfactorily

paying off any previous mortgage on the house. In other words, he was a fairly substantial citizen, probably

earning as much as £9 a week or more. The interest rate on the loan was fixed for the full period – later applicants
benefited from a lower rate of 4%, as the Council followed the rate payable on Treasury Bonds, which dropped

in mid-December 1940. He was one of some 400 residents of Merton and Morden Urban District who opted to
build their own shelter. This is not many out of about 22,000 properties in the District, so presumably represents
the ‘aspiring upper crust’ of the population. His loan of £40 is in the middle of the range usually granted by the
Council, which was generally £25-£45, though one poor chap was allowed only £12, repayable over only three
years, while another was allowed £82, repayable over ten years.

On 25 October 1939 the Council agreed to offer loans, and to publicise this in the press and public notices. By

20 December they had received the first three applications, for £20 or £30 each. By 14 May 1940 only a further

four applications had arrived. After Dunkirk, as bombs began falling over southern England, the pace quickened:
in the period up to 19 June there were two applications per week. From then until 16 September there were 18
or 19 per week, but, as the full ‘Blitz’ developed, the rate dropped to 12 per week until 13 November, and to
seven per week until 12 December. Thereafter there were only one or two per week until 12 February 1941,
after which there appear to have been no further applications.

According to National and Council regulations, Mr Jeeves’ shelter will have been a free-standing rectangular

surface shelter, not dug in at all, or leaning against the house, built with brick walls between a concrete floor

and a concrete roof. Such structures were not allowed to be built across the building line, so were not permitted

in front gardens. Gay has identified a very likely site within her small back garden, a three-inch thick concrete

slab, 5ft 6in wide by 8ft long, just a few steps from her kitchen door.
Having heard about this, member Vernon ‘Phil’ Phillips volunteered that he still has a private air-raid shelter in his
back garden, his half of a double one to serve two houses, and has kindly allowed us to photograph and measure
it (overleaf ). It has 14in-thick brick walls (ie. a brick and a half), which according to Home Guard literature of

the time ‘is sufficient protection against small arms – pistol, rifle, and machine-gun – fire’. Useful nowadays.

The dividing wall between Phil’s half and his neighbour’s also appears to be 14in thick. When Phil’s son made

the hole for the window (there were no windows originally) he was surprised to find that the brickwork was
reinforced with mild steel rods, which added considerably to the difficulty of the job. The roof is a reinforced

concrete slab, six inches thick, with a downward lip of about two inches deep all round the outside. It slopes
down slightly away from the house. There is not much space inside: width is 5ft 6in, length is 6ft exactly. A
narrow doorway, 22 inches wide, is set centrally in the wall facing the house.

Roger Thomas, of the Pillbox Study Group, Historic England, has kindly supplied reproductions of a Home

Office publication (of May 1939) giving directions and recommended plans for constructing single, double

and quadruple ‘domestic surface shelters’. Phil’s double shelter is slightly different from that recommended,


as his doorway is central, rather
than to one side. Roger has
also supplied some detailed
drawings on ‘How to reinforce
brickwork’ with vertically-
placed metal bars, and has

clarified that local authorities

were issued with either
Anderson shelters, or with
Stanton shelters, an alternative
and not very common type.
All the authorities now in the
London Borough of Merton
were issued with Andersons.

Does anyone else have an air-
raid shelter lurking in their


Not studies of Phil’s rather nice Cotoneaster, but a general picture of the shelter (note narrow door), with a detail of slope of roof


National Maritime Museum: now open
From humble origins, Emma Hamilton rose to
national and international fame as a model, performer
and interpreter of neo-classical fashion. Within the
public mind, however, she is often remembered
simply as the mistress of Admiral Lord Nelson. This
landmark exhibition recovers Emma from myth and
misrepresentation, and reveals her to be an active and
influential historical actor in her own right: one of
the greatest female lives of her era.


In Moated Sites in Merton, Mitcham and Morden Peter Hopkins examines the evidence
for nine local sites where the present or former existence of a medieval moat has been
suggested. This 48-page A5 booklet has 30 maps and illustrations, and sells at £1.90 (£1.50
to members) plus 55p postage.

‘On the Wandle’ is a reprint from the May 1889 edition of The English
Illustrated Magazine of an illustrated article by the American artist
Dewey Bates (1851–1898). It also includes extensively researched
technical and biographical notes by David and Katharina Haunton. We

are grateful to Judith Goodman for making a copy of the magazine available for scanning.
This 32-page A5 booklet reproduces the author’s 11 original drawings, and sells at £1.25
(£1.00 to members) plus 55p postage.

Buy your copies at a lecture or order from Publications Secretary Peter Hopkins or ring
Peter to arrange collection (see contact details on p.3).

Letters and contributions for the Bulletin should be sent to the Hon. Editor,
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

Printed by Peter Hopkins

reprinted from
The English Illustrated Magazine
May 1889
with introduction, technical and biographical notes