Bulletin 219

Download Bulletin 219

September 2021 – Bulletin 219
Merton Priory’s Gatehouse and Guesthouse: Part 1 – Katie Hawks
Varnish, paint, shingle: the Hadfield’s firms (part 2) – Hadfield family
Hugh Hadfield, Surrey Cricketer
The political career of Lucy Norman – Michael Norman-Smith
The Trafalgar pub – Clive Whichelow
The art deco factory in Raynes Park – Norma Cox
and much more

CHAIR: Keith Penny

V&A website picture: calyx-x2-colourways-1280 (see p.4).
Message from the Chairman 2
Programme 2
Retirement of Mrs Judith Goodman 3
Remark the year 1951 – David Haunton 3
Merton Priory’s Gatehouse and Guesthouse: Part 1 Katie Hawks 5
Varnish, paint, shingle: the Hadfield’s firms: Part 2 Hadfield family 8
Appendix: Hugh Hadfield, Surrey Cricketer 11
Recent deaths 11
The political career of Lucy Norman – Michael Norman-Smith 12
The Trafalgar pub – Clive Whichelow 13
Virtual Workshop: Whitehall book; Garrett Undertype; WW2 incident memorial; Young’s Factory 13
The art deco factory in Raynes Park: who? when? and potted meat – Norma Cox 15
Book Review: The Sea of Silence 16
Dear Members
Talks at St James’s church hall restart in October! Please come along. The conditions laid down for our
use of the hall are necessarily under continual review, but are at present: those who come to a talk
are asked to use hand sanitiser at the entrance; to wear a face covering; to provide contact details
(only for visitors – members’ details are already with the Society); to observe social distancing. Seats
will be spaced well apart from each other, and windows will be open. At the first meeting there will
be no refreshments, simply so that we can concentrate on getting the other requirements right,
but, later on, cheering cups of tea will be provided. You will be kept informed of any changes in
what we can offer during our season of talks. Sadly, some deaths are noticed in this issue, but we
need to remember that people also join the Society. Welcome to all who have encouraged us by
joining during the last eighteen months. Keith Penny

Saturday 9 October 2.30pm St James’s Church Hall, Merton ‘Textile Connections – Linen, Liberty
and Beyond’ An illustrated talk by textile specialist Fiona McKelvie
Saturday 13 November 2.30pm St James’s Church Hall, Merton Annual General Meeting,
followed by short talks by members
Saturday 11 December 2.30pm St James’s Church Hall, Merton ‘Anthony Sadler and the goings-
on in Mitcham Parish’ An illustrated talk by local historian Dr Edward Legon
Saturday 8 January 2.30pm St James’s Church Hall, Merton ‘William Morris and his Workers at
Merton Abbey’ An illustrated talk by local MOLA archaeologist Dave Saxby
Visitors are welcome to attend our talks. Entry £2.
St James’s Church Hall is in Martin Way, next to the church (officially in Beaford Grove). Buses
164 and 413 stop in Martin Way (in both directions) immediately outside. The church has a
tiny car park, but parking in adjacent streets is free.

Note also our Local History Workshops are still in abeyance. If you would like an invitation,
should they be reinstated, email mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk.

SUBSCRIPTIONS A membership renewal form is included with this Bulletin. Only paid-
up members may vote at the AGM. From 1 October 2021 rates are:
Single membership £12 Additional member of same household £5 Full-time student £5 Overseas members by arrangement with the Membership Secretary If you already pay by Standing Order, please still return the completed renewal form.
The GM agenda is also enclosed, while the minutes of the last AGM and the 2019/20 financial statement were distributed with the March 2021 Bulletin.

On 12 May 2021 Judy Goodman informed our Chairman that she would like to relinquish her
role as Vice President. She has been finding it hard to do all she would like, due to
additional domestic concerns and responsibilities.
Her resignation has been most regretfully accepted by Chairman and Committee, who unite in
thanking Judy for all her past services to the Society over a lengthy period, as Committee
member, Bulletin Editor, Chair and Vice-President, and not least as pains-taking and careful
proof-reader of many (actually most) of the Society publications. We can only give Judy our
thanks and our support and good wishes for the future.
DAVID HAUNTON suggests why we should REMARK THE YEAR 1951
The year is famous for the Festival of Britain. Some six years after the end of the war,
against a continuing background of drab austerity, with rationing, and with bomb sites still
visible in most major towns, the Festival was an attempt to give Britons a feeling of
recovery and progress, and to promote better-quality design in the rebuilding of British
towns and cities. But there were also one or two other events locally.
The Festival (Planning)
[This section of my article is summarised from a long article on Wikipedia and notes
accompanying a few
pictures at https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films/1945to1951/filmpage_bc.htm and
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films/1945to1951/filmpage_fil.htm. The University of
Brighton Design Archives have digitised many of the Design Council’s files relating to the
planning of the festival.]
The idea for a 1951 exhibition was first mooted by the Royal Society of Arts in 1943, to mark
the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition. Planning started in 1947, with Herbert Morrison
in charge. He decided to hold a series of displays about the arts, architecture, science,
technology and industrial design, insisting there be no politics: what was allowed was town
planning, scientific progress, and traditional and modern arts and crafts. The Festival focused
entirely on Britain and its achievements; it was funded chiefly by the government, with a
budget of £12 million.
Morrison appointed a Great Exhibition Centenary Committee, of civil servants, to define the
framework of the Festival and to liaise between government departments and the festival
organisation. In January 1948 Clement
Attlee announced the name ‘Festival of Britain’. In March, a Festival Headquarters was set up,
to lead the Festival Office, a department with its own budget. With this were associated the
Arts Council of Great Britain, the Council of Industrial Design, the British Film Institute and
the National Book League. Government grants were made to the first three. Gerald Barry
was given operational charge: he selected the next rank of managers, giving preference to
young architects and designers who had collaborated on exhibitions for the wartime Ministry
of Information. Hugh Casson (aged 38) was appointed Director of Architecture for the
Festival, to appoint other young architects to design its buildings to showcase the principles
of urban design that would feature in the post-war rebuilding of London. In December 1948
a design by graphic artist Abram Games was selected from twelve submissions for a ‘Festival
Symbol’ (right).

Though the Festival’s centrepiece was the South Bank Exhibition, there were other displays
elsewhere. The Festival Pleasure Gardens were set up in Battersea, an Exhibition of Industrial
Power in Glasgow showed heavy engineering, and Architecture was presented in a newly-
built neighbourhood, the Lansbury Estate in Poplar. Books and more science were displayed
in South Kensington, while linen technology and science in agriculture were exhibited in
‘Farm and Factory’ in Belfast. There was a Festival of British Films in London and a
travelling exhibition of industrial design, which was planned to visit Merton and Morden,
among many other places.
The Merton & Morden Historical Society
Locally, Merton & Morden Urban District Council set up a committee in 1950 to organise
events to celebrate the Festival.
For the winter of 1950-1, the Workers Education Association (WEA) planned a series of
lectures by Mrs J Saynor on local history. This brought together a band of like-minded
people who were made aware of the rich

heritage we enjoy, and, at the conclusion of the series of talks, wished to continue the
studies. Stimulated by support from several Councillors, and encouraged by the Clerk of the
Council, in by far the most important event of the year, The Merton and Morden Historical
Society was founded on Wednesday 28 February 1951. Councillor Talbot was elected
Chairman, with Cllr Reeves as Vice-Chairman. The WEA evening class provided our first
Secretary, Miss Jowett, and our Treasurer, Mr Cobbett. The Committee included our tutor,
Mrs Saynor, a student (one Lionel Green), and Cllr Warren.
On 1 March 1951, Dr Sheppard Frere gave the first talk to the Society, about the mound in
Morden Park, which he had inspected. He felt that it could well be a burial mound before
being made into a garden feature, but only an archaeological dig would determine its age.
Merton & Morden’s first Local History Book
Early in the year, the District Librarian, Miss Evelyn M Jowett, was asked to produce a history
of the district. In an astonishing feat of concentrated research and effort, she wrote (and
the Council arranged publication for) An Illustrated History of Merton and Morden, before
the Festival actually opened on 4 May 1951.
Festival of Britain (South Bank)
The main site of the Festival was constructed on a 27-acre area on the South Bank, which
had been left untouched since being bombed in the war. The site was chosen after various
Royal parks and other areas had been eliminated as too far away or too difficult to
acquire. Divided by Hungerford Bridge and railway line, each side of the South Bank had a
central building – downstream the Royal Festival Hall and upstream the Dome of Discovery –
around which the story of Britain’s land, history, and culture was revealed in a sequence of
22 themed pavilions. Various architectural practices produced these pavilions, portraying ‘The
Land of Britain’ upstream and ‘The People of Britain’ downstream.
The Dome was the largest dome in the world at the time, standing 93 feet tall with a
diameter of 365 feet. It held exhibitions on the theme of discovery in areas classified as the
New World, the Polar regions, the Sea, the Sky and Outer Space. Nearby was the Skylon, a
300-feet tall, breathtaking, iconic and futuristic-looking structure, lit from within at night.
This was an unusual, vertical, cigar-shaped tower supported by cables that gave the
impression that it was floating above the ground. [Though not to my sceptical 11-year-old
eyes. DH] One of the most popular attractions was the Telekinema, a 400-seat state-of-the-
art cinema operated by the British Film Institute, with the technology to screen both films
(including 3D films) and large screen television. Equally popular was the Far Tottering and
Oyster Creek Branch Railway, a madcap train ride in the Festival Pleasure Gardens in
Battersea Park, designed by Rowland Emett, the cartoonist and constructor of whimsical
kinetic sculpture. (A large panel from this survives and is now on display in the National
Railway Museum, York.)
Recently, ie. some 70 years later, a BBC programme ‘The 1951 Festival of Britain: Brave New
World’ featured some surviving personnel. Their memories included the emphasis on ‘colour,
building, design, innovation and Fun’: one chap even had to complete a contract for a ‘life
size unicorn’. Another recalled that on 4 May, before the doors were opened for the first
time, some artists were still working on their exhibits up to the last minute, but were
‘turfed out by the cleaners at five o’clock in the morning’ – into the rain, which fell steadily
all day. However, the Festival lights were on after sunset, and people were free to wander,
both great contrasts to wartime’s darkness and its necessarily authoritarian regime. The
colourful designs of wallpaper (p.1), fabrics and ceramics dazzled visitors, who, with no
experience of television, had little exposure to such images. The public toilets were widely
marvelled at for the first appearance in Britain of soft toilet paper.
The Festival closed on 30 September 1951, having been visited by nearly 8.5 million people. It
had been a success and turned over a profit as well as being extremely popular. Most of
the buildings, including the Dome of Discovery and the Skylon, were demolished within a
year, but the Telekinema became home to the National Film Theatre and was not
demolished until 1957, when the National Film Theatre moved to the site it still occupies at
the South Bank Centre. The only remaining feature is the Royal Festival Hall, now a Grade I
listed building, the first post-war building to become so protected.
In Bulletin 136, Lionel Green wrote: ‘The first AGM took place on 2 November 1951 (well
before the first anniversary) with 42 members present. Income consisted of 58 subscriptions
at 2/6d (12½p) = £7.5s.0d, and expenditure on paper and postage was £3.8s.2d, leaving cash
in hand of £3.16s.10d. The treasurer said that he thought we could afford to buy a spade
to begin a dig in Morden Park. After the business meeting Lionel Green gave an illustrated
lecture on the Priory site, using an epidiascope.’

KATIE HAWKS begins a serious investigation of
Henry VIII had Merton Priory razed to the ground in 1538 for use as building materials for his
palace of Nonsuch. Thanks to excavations between 1920 and 1990, we know quite a lot
about the Priory’s church and cloisters, but there have been few and limited opportunities to
dig up its auxiliary and peripheral buildings. This essay looks at the evidence for such
buildings and discusses possible locations and details.
There would have been quite a number of outer buildings: gatehouses, guesthouses, an
almonry, workshops, agricultural buildings, chaplains’ lodgings and ‘corrody-ville’, dwellings for
the retired rich or servants of the monastery or king. Where they all were has to be a
series of educated guesses using information about other monasteries and maps, pictorial
and documentary evidence – and the small bits of physical evidence that remain. Some of
these buildings survived Merton’s dissolution: the mill, for example, and, in some form or
another, the infirmary hall, parts of the chapter house and perhaps the aisled hall.1 Another
building survived: in 1680, an advert in the Protestant (domestick) Intelligence, or, News
both from city and country, described it as having
several large Rooms, with Orchards, Gardens, Fish-ponds, Dove-house, Stabling, Coach-house,
Brew- house, Wood-House, and other Out-housing, with a very fine Chapple, with many
other necessary Conveniences, as a fine River just by the House, which house will be Lett
either Furnished or unfurnished, as you shall please, as also what Pasture Land shall be
required, all being incompassed with a Stone-Wall.

This was probably Abbey House, marked with a cross denoting ‘antiquities’ on the 1894
Ordnance Survey map (above), and finally demolished in 1914. Abbey House has long been
held to have been the priory’s guesthouse. Accommodating guests of all sorts was one of a
monastery’s reasons for existence, and the guesthouse, or guest complex, was an important
part of the monastery. Another important building was the gatehouse. Although parts of the
precinct wall still exist, and we can trace the entire perimeter with some certainty, we have
no evidence about where the gatehouse was – or gatehouses, since there might well have
been more than one. In order to locate the gatehouse, we need to consider general
principles and observations about monastic gatehouses as well as any evidence we can
muster about exits and entrances at Merton Priory.
The Priory Gatehouse
Gatehouses were important to monasteries for several reasons. They regulated who came in
and went out of the monastery. They were the monastery’s face to the world and so an
expression of the dignity, piety, or grandeur of the house. They could also double as
guesthouses, exchequers and meeting rooms; even as abbot’s lodgings. They frequently
abutted the almonry, the monastic charity house, giving food, shelter and medicine to the
sick and indigent. There are still monastic-style gatehouses in daily use in Oxford, Cambridge
and Durham: college gatehouses are now called porters’ lodges, but they still regulate entrances and exits
and still impose the college’s presence on the locality.
Gatehouses came in many forms both within the same period and during the several centuries
of monasteries’ lives. The earliest monastic gatehouses date from the 12th century, and
tend to be pitched-roof buildings, such as that at Hereford or Gloucester.2 These were
placed to the west of the church, so that you would emerge from the gatehouse to look
directly at the glorious west end of the monastic church. During the 13th and particularly
the 14th centuries, gatehouses angled perpendicular to the west front (‘cross-placed’)
became fashionable. The 14th century also brought a fashion for quasi-military buildings
(with crenellations) – from the enormous one at Thornton Abbey to the much more modest
one at Tewkesbury.
There is no physical evidence (yet) about the location of Merton’s gatehouse(s), but there are
mentions of at least one in the 13th and 14th centuries, and a hint of one before that:
Ralph the Doorkeeper was granted half a virgate of land in 1167 x 1177. In 1281, William
de St. Faith (‘of the Convent’) was ‘to dwell at the pinnulate gate or elsewhere, as directed,
and to serve the Convent in all things’. William’s corrody was generous, which suggests that
his was a superior sort of service. In 1310, Henry Hocclegh was appointed to keep the
Great Gate, and to live in the chamber attached, with a canon’s rations and a servant (who
would be on duty when Henry was elsewhere). Henry was to be excused from agricultural
duties, presumably because he was to be at the gate.3 These two men could have been
canons but were more probably servants. In June 1240, the sheriff of Surrey had royal
orders ‘to cause a fair strong cross to be erected at the cross-roads outside the gate of
Mereton towards Carshalton in memory of W. late earl of Warenne.’4 There is no obvious
road in the vicinity of the precinct that fits this description, although Peter Hopkins has
pointed out that the priory held a property in Morden, known as le Spytel, which extended
to the Carshalton boundary at what is now the roundabout at Rose Hill. Wrythe Lane leads
directly from here to Carshalton. Could this be the cross-roads in question?
Maps of the area provide possible pointers to the gatehouse, but stop very short of suggesting
answers. John Rocque’s maps of 1745 (left) and 1765 (below) are the earliest of a scale to
be useful. They show a road (now Abbey Road) coming south from the Kingston road and
turning eastwards into what was High Path (now Station Road). Soon after the turn into
High Path, the road narrows considerably. The map of 1805 (below) concurs with Rocque’s
shape, but shows it in finer detail, with a nice
curve at the end where it narrows. Working on a common 2:1 for the proportions, the width
of the gatehouse would have been about 36 feet, and its length, therefore, around 72 feet,
just over a chain – a substantial building. Cleeve Abbey’s gatehouse is around 25 x 50 feet;
shorter, but similar proportions.5 If we use another common proportion, the golden section,
the gatehouse could have been much squarer, at 36 x 58 feet. (The abbot’s gatehouse at
Peterborough uses this.) If we assume the gatehouse to be 13th-century, what the ‘pynnules’
of the 1281 reference mean are open to interpretation – Heales translated it as ‘principal
gate’, but it’s actually a gate with pinnacles, parapets or battlements. Battlements made
their way into church architecture during the 14th century, but the earliest surviving example
is the abbot’s gatehouse at Peterborough, from the 13th century.6 The Peterborough abbot’s
gatehouse might be a good model for ours, but that is purely speculative. An archaeological
dig preliminary to building flats on Station Road has uncovered decorated stonework in the
vicinity of where we think the gatehouse was, and we await further news.
Abbey Gatehouse
Alfred Heales marked a gatehouse at the north end of the precinct, next to Kingston Road /
Merton High Street. His mark seems to be in the west corner, but it is unclear what his
evidence was for this supposition. Perhaps he meant to mark what was then called Abbey
House or Abbey Gatehouse. The Merton Photo Archive describes various photographs as
Abbey House (also known as Gatehouse) was built in the early 18th century on the site of
Merton Priory on the south side of Merton High Street. The house was owned by Rear-
Admiral Isaac Smith, who sailed with Captain Cook on the Endeavour in 1768.
Several of these photographs are, however, of Abbey House, and the photos need untangling!
To avoid confusion
here, we will call this house Abbey Gatehouse. It is described in the 1802 survey (revised in
1805) as A substantial Brick-built Dwelling House consisting of a Kitchen, Pantry, Cellars,
Hall, 3 Parlours, Drawing Room, 4 best Bedrooms & 4 Servants’Rooms – in good repair –
occupied by Mr. HalfhideSenr. This is now in the Occupation of Mr. Smith, who has
expended a very considerable Sum of Money in substantive reparations Pointing, Roofing &c.
since the commencement of his Leases.7
This was clearly a large house, whose back was grander than its front. The rear view (far
right)8 was taken around the time that the house was demolished. Architecturally, it is a
jumble. It has Georgian sashes, but it is clearly an alteration of an existing building. To its
left is a single-storey building; a new extension, single-storey, is to its right. The two-arched
veranda leads to a doorway which E. M. Jowett described as an earlier gatehouse
structure;9 the wonk of the door frames suggests considerable scribing-in by carpenters. The
front-side photograph c.1900 (above left)10 shows the building nestling between a wall to
our right (which agrees with the structure in the front view) and another building, which
apparently was demolished after c.1900, but before 1906 (when the whole site was
demolished) and replaced by the single-storey extension. This building, no.116 on the 1805
map and shown on the 1894 map, looks older, and the tree growing out of it suggests
disrepair. It could be the weatherboarded wash-house that is described in the 1802/5 survey.

In 2000, David Saxby and his MOLAS colleagues dug the Abbey Gatehouse area, and found that
Abbey Gatehouse was a folly, not a monastic remain. Although it was on the precinct wall,
its oldest part could not have predated the 16th century, as it was built on top of a 15th-
century tile kiln.11 The Abbey Gatehouse was not the priory gatehouse. A path directly
south, skirting an ornamental lake, led to another fine gate folly (right).12 This is a curious
mixture of brick and flint, and suggests Gothick fancy. The crenellations and gate arch are
no older than 1800; the bricks below look thinner and could be older; the bond is English rather than Flemish, which may suggest a pre-seventeenth-century
date, but English bond survived later on garden walls than it did on buildings. The mixture
of brick and flint is unlikely to be before the 16th century. This gatehouse folly seems to be
where on the 1805 and 1894 maps (see pages 6 and
5) a gateway is marked. Whether this gateway was pre-or post-Dissolution is difficult to say. It
is, however, on the north side of Station Road, which used to be High Path: on the south
side is another arch – or, rather, a replica of the one that was there, as the council lost
the original. Ignoring the weird Jacobethan capping, this arch (left)13 is medieval. Even
before the ground level rose, it was not a large gate – a gate suitable for pedestrians, but
not for riders. These two gateways take us back to High Path, already suggested as the
main entrance to the Priory. They lie between our putative great gatehouse and the west
end of the Priory. The southern gate leads directly to what was Abbey House.
to be continued …
1 P. Miller & D. Saxby, The Augustinian Priory of St Mary Merton, Surrey (London, 2007),
pp.158-9, 162-4.
2 R. L. Rowell, ‘The Archaeology of Late Monastic Hospitality’ (unpublished PhD., York, 2000),
3 Heales, Records of Merton Priory (Oxford, 1898), pp.24, 164 (thanks to the Bodleian’s
Andrew Dunning for his help on transcribing and translating ‘ad portam pynnule’); 204.
4 Liberate Rolls vol.1, p.474, for June 17 1240.
5 https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/MP/CLE0005.
6 Rowell, p.68.
7 Lambeth Archives Minet Library Survey 1802 S.505 S.R.128
8 https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/collections/buildings/houses/26925-merton-high-street-gate-
9 E. M. Jowett, A History of Merton & Morden (1951) p.92.
10 https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/collections/buildings/34834-gate-house-merton-high-street?
11 D. Saxby, ‘A 15th-century tile kiln and the 18th century ‘Abbey Gate House’ excavated at
Furnitureland, Merton’, Surrey Archaeological Collections 94 (2008), pp.311-320.
12 https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/collections/buildings/architectural-features/34839-route-
leading-to-gate-housemerton- high-street
13 https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/collections/buildings/architectural-features/30707-merton-
Acknowledgement: ‘Merton Memories’ photographs are the copyright of the London Borough
of Merton, to whom we are grateful for permission to reproduce them. It will be evident
that this article benefits greatly from the picture collection of Merton Heritage and Local
Studies. More historic images can be viewed at https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk

Based on a Hadfield family history, kindly supplied by Mr Peter Edward Hadfield: further
information added by DH is shown in [square brackets].
Hadfields (Merton) Ltd (continued)
[The second World War reached Hadfields just after midnight on 19 July 1944. The ARP report
notes that a V-1 flying bomb struck the factory in Western Road, causing ‘blast and fire
damage to bridge and steel-framed buildings with laboratories, transport shed, paint storage
warehouse and Lissen [sic] type steel huts’. The local papers add that the intense blaze
threatened nearby council houses, but the NFS (National Fire Service) prevented the fire
from spreading, and had it under control within an hour.
[In 1947 the Institute of Mechanical Engineers visited Hadfields, presumably having been invited
to inspect the laboratories, rebuilt after the 1944 bomb damage. The Institute recorded
‘These works are devoted essentially to the production of high class paints for decorative
and for specialized industrial use, including transport finishes. The main paint shop is
designed to facilitate a steady flow of medium-size batches in a wide variety of colours.
Ball mill production [occurs] in a second paint shop; and other departments produce water
paints of various types, especially emulsion paints, cellulose lacquers, and the most modern
synthetic enamels. The laboratories … ensure suitability of the products for specific
purposes, and are responsible for development and testing of paint media and varnishes,
including insulating varnishes.’
[In 1948 the company published a 28-page souvenir brochure (right) on the opening of the new laboratories building, to emphasise the variety of scientific work undertaken within them, including the formulation, trial production, and evaluation of consistency, coverage
and weather-resistance (below) of new products.
Paint samples undergoing longterm exposure to the weather
[A delivery lorry appears in one picture (right) bearing the legend HE.O.LIN / ENAMEL & PAINT
on the side. The name may refer to a Hadfield trademark or advertisement wording, but
Google knows it not. Does anyone recognise it?
The brochure also notes that ‘in recent years’ Hadfield manufacturing units had been established in Paris, Dublin and Brussels.
[According to the London Gazette, on 27 July 1954 Hadfields (Merton) finally got round to
entering on the Land Registry their ownership of the land and premises at Phipps Bridge,
Merton, Surrey, and on the west side of Western Road, Mitcham, Surrey.
[Both sites were still listed in Mitcham Borough Council’s list of factories in July 1963, but in
1969 the UK paint manufacturing business and trade name ‘Hadfield’, with the fox trademark
(does anyone have a copy of this? or an old tin displaying it?), was sold to Bestobell Paints
Ltd, and the company’s name changed to G H Successors (Merton) Ltd. In 1970, the land
west of Phipps Bridge Road, Merton, Surrey, was registered by ‘G H Successors (Merton) Ltd
(formerly Hadfields (Merton) Ltd.)’, and the Western Road premises were apparently
demolished soon afterwards. However, The Times reported on 18 March 1972 that ‘Land
and House Property Corporation has made an agreed offer to purchase for cash the entire
equity of a private company, G H Successors (Merton), at a total cost of about £950,000.
This company owns factories in South London which are let to produce £79,500 per annum.’
Job ads that appeared in local papers in 1972-3 showed the company name as Carson /
Hadfields, as it was Bestobell’s paint subsidiary, Carson-Paripam, that had been merged with
Hadfields. On 31 Dec 1979 the company name was changed to Bestobell Paints Limited and
again on 31 Dec


1981 to Bestobell Paints and Chemicals Limited. In 1981, G H Successors noted that a
Liquidator had been appointed; the company was voluntarily wound up on 16 September
Sand, Shingle, Engineering
It may well be that Hugh Hadfield (right) was entranced by J S Brocklesby. They had similar
traits; they were about the same age, both were gifted academically (Brocklesby had won a
scholarship to Tiffins School). Both were good sportsmen (both playing cricket to a high
standard) and entrepreneurial. They came from similar backgrounds, with money in the
extended families. They moved in the same circles, and both had young children. Brocklesby
had not served in the forces in the war because he suffered from arthritis, though he had
been asked by the War Office to run an operation which manufactured gun carriages and
howitzer wheels with conscripted labour at a Derbyshire quarry. As well as his architectural
practice, he had a track record of property development both in Derbyshire and in the
Merton area, so he had demonstrated an eye for opportunity.

Brocklesby owned the land behind his house (Long Lodge) in his own right, and he knew it had
sand and gravel, which was in demand for the building boom that was beginning in the
outer suburbs. He needed to find someone willing to seize that opportunity alongside him.
Hugh could do that. He also had assets which could capitalize the project. Perhaps the idea
of digging a natural resource from the ground, grading it, and selling it on, with just one
partner, seemed a much simpler concept to Hugh than the complexities of the varnish and
paint trade within a wider family structure. He jumped ship.
In December 1920, Hugh mortgaged his house, Greystones, in order to fund excavation
equipment, and lorries to make deliveries from the exploitation of the mineral resources in
the grounds of Long Lodge. In 1921, Merton Sand & Gravel Pits Ltd was founded by Hugh
and Brocklesby.
The initial capitalisation did not, however, prove sufficient to ensure enough output to make a
profit. Brocklesby could not invest more, so in December 1921 Hugh took out a second
mortgage against Greystones. This too proved to be insufficient, and in 1922 Hugh was
persuaded to sell Greystones to provide even more capital. There was sufficient room in the
house at Long Lodge to accommodate the Brocklesby architectural practice, the Brocklesby
family (John Sydney, Clara Helen – known as Nellie – and sons Hugh, Richard and Edward),
and the Hadfield family alongside (Hugh, Jean, and children George, Margaret, Peter and
Jean), so Hugh moved the family into Long Lodge, where they stayed for the next five
years, until 1927.
Meanwhile, the additional capitalisation proved a success, Merton Sand & Gravel Pits Ltd
prospered, and became profitable. The gravel at Long Lodge was exhausted by around 1925,
and the partners extended their operation to part of the land at Nelson’s Fields in Merton
[this was roughly the area now between Merantun Way and Merton High Street, bounded
by Morden Road and the Wandle].
Brocklesby, like Hugh, had an inventive mind, and he designed a gravel digging machine and a
suction pump amongst other inventions whilst enthused by the gravel works. His mercurial
mind, however, began to wander, and his attention started to focus on new and more
exciting projects. He built 92 garages on the dug-out workings at Long Lodge. These were
in great demand because motor cars were becoming popular, and Edwardian houses were
not designed to accommodate them. He hired a mechanic to service the cars for his garage
clients, and sold them petrol. He travelled extensively and dealt in antiques. He neglected
his architectural practice. His health began to fail, as his arthritis worsened.
This situation could not go on forever, and Hugh took action. In 1927, he formed his own
company, Sand & Shingle Limited, at Staines Road, Hounslow. The family moved out of
Long Lodge, and moved into their own home at ‘Palermo’, Albany Road, Kingston upon
Thames. This was a timely move, as in 1930 Brocklesby scandalised society: he left his wife,
family and Long Lodge, and moved abroad with his mistress.

Sand & Shingle Ltd prospered, and more and more tracts of land were bought, some
speculatively, and exploited, backfilled and sold on. Regular dividends were paid to family
members. [In 1930 the firm bought an example of the unusual Garrett Undertype Wagon, a
heavy lorry. Two more were bought in 1932 (all three were later transferred to the Merton
Engineering Company Ltd).] In 1932 the firm moved to Faggs Road, Feltham, where its
offices remained. [The Gazette records that in March 1984 a liquidator was appointed for
Sand & Shingle Limited, whose business was stated to be ‘Sand and Gravel Extraction and
Quarrying’, with a registered office at Hertz Service Centre, Central Way, Faggs Road,
Feltham, Middlesex: the firm was officially wound up on 17 January 1989.]
Meanwhile Merton Sand & Gravel Pits Ltd continued its existence, but moved from excavation
to producing equipment for doing so. Its name was changed to Merton Engineering
Company Ltd [in the early 1930s, during which the firm acquired another seven Garrett
Undertype Wagons, all second-hand from Middlesex companies. (The fact that ten of these
six-ton vehicles were in use indicates just how substantial an enterprise this was.) One of
the firm’s equipment designs was an excavator, based on a Fordson tractor, with a bucket
or loader at the front, and a narrow backhoe at the rear (rather like a JCB). In 1952,
Engineering magazine mentioned a ‘Loader for mechanical trimming of bulk cargo (eg. sugar)
in ships’available from Merton Engineering Co Ltd, and a user in Australia. In March 1954
Civil Engineering reviewed the Merton Over-loader, ‘a new type of high-level discharge
loader’. A selection of photographs of some of their machines can be found on website
https///tractors.fandom.com/ wiki/Merton_Engineering_Co._Limited/, which includes the three
which we have stolen here (right). Noting that one advert is in Italian (‘caricatore’ =
‘loader’), and refers to the firm’s agent in Turin, we should not be surprised that, in 1967,
Merton Engineering Co of Feltham, Middlesex, was granted the prestigious Queen’s Award to
Industry ‘for export achievement’. Shortly afterwards, in 1968, it was acquired by Hymac Ltd,
which made hydraulic excavators and cranes. This business was part of Powell Duffryn, who
also owned Whitlock Bros, another backhoe manufacturer. It is evident that the ‘Merton’
brand was well-regarded in the world of loaders, shovels and backhoes, as for some time
thereafter, the loading shovel models were marketed as Whitlock-Merton types under the
Hymac division of Powell Duffryn.]
Hugh continued with his practise of taking out patents; between 1924 and 1932 he published
ten, with subjects including the treatment of house refuse, methods for using coke
contaminated with vegetable matter, brick making, treatment of sewage sludge, colouring
building materials, improvements in tennis court surfaces, and the construction of artificial
sporting surfaces. In 1935 he commissioned the design of a new house, ‘Wetherall’, 3
Neville Avenue, New Malden, but died before its completion. He died of lung cancer on 30
November 1935. His estate was valued at £22,630 13s 2d (around £1.62 million at 2020
Hugh’s elder son, George Samuel (born 1910) joined Sand & Shingle on his father’s death. He
worked as Director of both Sand & Shingle and Merton Engineering Co Ltd for his entire
career. His younger brother Peter McClelland (born 1916), on demob from the Royal Army
Service Corps after World War 2, joined Hadfields (Merton) Ltd, where he stayed until its
demise in 1969. He then joined George Samuel at Sand & Shingle and Merton Engineering
Co Ltd until retirement. It seems that both firms were ‘Hadfield’s’ to the end.


APPENDIX Hugh Hadfield, Surrey Cricketer
Hugh went to Sutton Park School, run by an Ernest Duerr DeClifford in Worcester Gardens,
very close to home. He showed great promise at cricket, having been encouraged by his
father to be an accurate bowler by sometimes placing a penny on the two outer stumps
and a sixpence on the middle as prizes! Hugh ended up as captain of the school’s cricket
Hugh’s cricket career took off when he was selected to play for Surrey in 1902. He started in
the Second Eleven, and then played for the First Team in the 1903 and 1904 seasons.
Perhaps it was because of Hugh’s responsibilities in running the family firm that he only
played five matches for Surrey in his career, none in 1905. Hugh was documented as being
a right-arm medium pace bowler, and a right-hand batsman. His debut outing was with
Surrey vs London County at The Oval on 13-15th April 1903, when snow delayed play by ten
minutes on the first day. London County won the toss, decided to bat and in their first
innings were all out for 267. Surrey replied with a first innings total of 385, in which GHH
(George Hugh Hadfield) scored 10, having bowled 19 overs, 4 maidens, for 63 runs, 2
wickets. In their second innings London County were all out for 183, while Surrey scored 67
for 2, winning the match by 8 wickets. GHH did not bat, but he did bowl 26 overs, 3
maidens, for 61 runs, 4 wickets, among which W G Grace was bowled by GHH, caught by T
W Hayward, for 81 runs, after 180 minutes, when the score was 167 for six. Hugh was
awarded a bat signed by the great man as a memento. He obviously impressed W G,
because he was invited to play in his own team, W G Grace’s XI in 1906. First Class Cricket
was still an amateur sport at the time. Hugh had become friendly with the architect John
Sydney Brocklesby. They both played cricket for Sutton and for Surrey, although Brocklesby
was not quite at Hugh’s standard; he played for ‘the Gentlemen of Surrey’, and had had a
short stint in Surrey Seconds, but was dropped after an incident when he turned up late for
a match. In one match in 1908 Hugh and Brocklesby were playing for Sutton against W G
Grace’s London County side. To quote a Sutton newspaper of 31 July 1908 ‘Without any
addition to the score, Hadfield was out in a curious way. He drove Grace for a couple, but
before the second run was completed the veteran appealed loudly for a wicket, on the
grounds that Hadfield had hit his bails off. They were then seen to be on the ground and
although nobody seemed to know how they got there, after an excited and somewhat
imperative demand from the ‘old un’, the umpire gave ‘out’. Apparently Brocklesby took W
G Grace to task after the match over the ‘hit wicket’ incident on behalf of his friend.’
We regret to record the recent death of Mary Hart, a practical supporter of both Wandle
Industrial Museum and the Merton Priory Trust for many years. She worked tirelessly to
raise awareness of local heritage, and her knowledge and enthusiasm, and fabulous catering,
were legendary. Her talks, block printing sessions and collection of scarves, fabrics and
blocks, helped to engage generations of local youngsters with the history of the Wandle. A
celebration of Mary’s life is planned for 18 September in Merton Priory Chapter House; our
condolences to her husband, Society member Nicholas.
We also regret having to record the death of Charles Toase, a Society member for many
years. A longstanding reference librarian at Wimbledon, he wrote a number of books and
articles about reference library work and methodology. A quiet and unassuming man, his
particular interest was the history of Wimbledon; he gave much support to both the
Wimbledon Society and its museum. As Bulletin Editor, I was always pleased to receive an
email from Charles, commenting on and extending references in the most recent issue.
Typically, these would start with a compliment, always followed, of course, by ‘However, …’
after which his careful accuracy and equally careful politeness ensured a raising of my
standards. His failing eyesight demanded emails in large print, but this never deterred the
scholar from making a contribution. A researcher and recorder to his fingertips, Charles also
recorded his own distress, nearly amounting to annoyance, at his publishers having decided
to remove all the bibliographic references from his most recent book, An A-Z of Wimbledon.
We must also note the death of Paul Sowan, librarian and archivist at the Croydon Natural
History and Scientific Society (CNHSS). He specialised in subterranean history, discovering,
writing and speaking about caves and tunnels throughout the local area, whether they
originated naturally, or as industrial mines or air- raid shelters. He particularly enjoyed
investigating odd questions, such as ‘Why the Oxted Tunnel is Curved’.


This account represents both local and, in a way, national social history. It concerns
information which has recently resurfaced about my grandmother, née Ethel Peck, born in
1877. Her background is notable: her father Henry was a chemist, and a member of the
British Empire Shakespeare Society, while her mother ran a toy shop in Regent Street and
made wax dolls, some of which are now in the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood.
Ethel Frances Lucy Peck trained as a teacher at one of the early Froebel Schools (well before
the opening of the College in Roehampton in 1921) and became a governess, later marrying
Frank Norman, a civil servant. Initially they lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb, but later
moved to Manor Road, Merton Park. Frank helped arrange refugee evacuation from Belgium
during the First World War, for which he was subsequently appointed Commander of the
(Belgian) Order of Leopold II and also awarded the commemorative medal of King Albert.
He was further honoured by George V with an OBE – at the investiture, he related, King
George stood on a dais but Grandpa could still see the top of his head.
The success of the campaign for women’s suffrage is now relevant. The Representation of the
People Act, passed on 6 February 1918, allowed all adult men, and women of at least 31
years or possessing property, to vote. An omission in that Act was corrected by the passing
on 21 November 1918 of The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act. This is the shortest
UK statute – at 27 operative words, it reads: ‘A woman shall not be disqualified by sex or
marriage from being elected to or sitting or voting as a Member of the Commons House of
Parliament’. Shortly after, in the General Election of 14 December 1918, it is noteworthy
that Nancy Astor was successful as the first woman to enter Parliament.
At the time of the local elections in 1919, Granny had two young children, which might have
been enough for many to manage. However, my forebear, a diminutive 5-footer compared
to her 6-foot-plus husband, was made of strong stuff. She determined to stand as a
candidate in the Merton and Morden Urban District Council elections, in Park Ward, which
covered the street in which she lived. (The other two wards were Abbey and Morden.) Ethel
was a pioneer – no woman had previously stood locally. She felt she could bring her
experience of being a wife and mother to the rôle. Many seats in this election were
unopposed, and her sole opponent was a 65-year-old sitting Councillor, Isaac Mawson Brash,
an accountant for a shipping company, who at the time lived in Sheridan Road.
The day for an election was only standardised as Thursday in the 1930s – this election was
held on Monday 8 April 1919 and the result was printed in the Boro’ News of Saturday 12
April. The count began at 9.30, results announced by Mr Mountfield, the Returning Officer,
shortly after 10pm. Ethel had been supported by 34 constituents out of 258 who had voted,
one quarter of the total electorate. The paper observes that the election was ‘totally devoid
of exciting incident’. However, Mrs Norman was ‘the first woman to take the field’. I do
not know more as to whether they had hustings, or the process of those times in
canvassing. Others may want to investigate where and when a female Councillor first
succeeded in Merton district.
Lucy went on to live in a number of Wimbledon roads, Thornton Hill, Mansel Road,
Lansdowne Road, and ultimately The Grange. She was creative, wrote poetry and painted
pictures. She accompanied her husband to the West Indies during the Second World War,
where she was involved in Jamaica with Save the Children and Education Committee work.
Frank was invited by the Government to assist with Labour issues. After their return to
England Lucy was a member of many organisations, including the local branch of the United
Nations Association of which she was Secretary. She used to organise the annual fête which
for many years took place in the grounds of Lincoln House on Parkside, home of the
Seligman family.
However, her ambitions to be a Council member were as far as is known at present, not
continued. She lived to a ripe old age, fondly remembered and well appreciated by many.

CLIVE WHICHELOW marks and mourns the closure of : THE TRAFALGAR PUB
At the end of May 2021 Merton lost another piece of history when the Trafalgar public house
in High Path closed down. It had been there since at least 1868, when it was being run by
William Prince and when some locals may have remembered Lord Nelson leaving Merton in
1805 to fight the Battle of Trafalgar.
The pub was one of the last in the parish of Merton with a Nelson-related name. The Emma
Hamilton in Kingston Road closed a few years ago, and the Victory in Collier’s Wood
inexplicably changed its name to the Charles Holden in 2005 – the bi-centenary of the
Battle. (Holden was an English architect best known for designing many London Underground
stations.) Now the last remaining pub in the area with a name linked to the Admiral is the
Nelson Arms in Merton High Street, located near the site of the entrance lodge to Lord
Nelson’s estate.
There had been several other pubs near the Trafalgar, all now gone: the Princess Royal in
Abbey Road, whose sign showed a ship (which may have been a mistaken link with Nelson),
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, also in Abbey Road, and the Nag’s Head and the Grove in Morden
Road. There had also been another short-lived pub called the Mermaid in Morden Road,
though its exact location was not recorded in local directories. Just a short distance away,
the Dog and Partridge in Morden Road was a victim of the High Path estate development.
Somehow, the Trafalgar outlived all these nearby competitors and survived various upheavals.
It had survived two world wars, a slum clearance programme in the 1950s and the building
of the High Path estate in the 1970s. A wall at the side of the pub in Pincott Road is all
that remains of the other buildings that preceded the development of the estate. Somehow
it was always a surprise to see the Trafalgar there in the midst of high- rise blocks, looking
slightly out of place. It was Merton’s smallest pub and its last free house. In the 1868
street directory its location is given as ‘The Rookery’, a term which denotes cramped
housing in a poor area. As late as 1890 the pub still had only a beer and cider licence, so
was unable to sell spirits (though it is doubtful the locals would have been able to afford
them anyway).
At one time the Trafalgar had the nickname ‘The Threepenny Hop’ which dated back to the
time the railway passed by on the way to Merton Abbey station. It is said that workmen
returning home would jump off the train, hop over the fence and order a threepenny pint.
The pub commemorated this in recent years by naming one of its beers ‘The Threepenny
Hop’. Until 1906 the pub was only half the small size it is today when the extension was
built at the eastern end. In recent years the pub was a popular live music venue and a
favourite of real ale drinkers. It is a great shame to see it go; however, many locals will
retain fond memories of it.
Some of this information is taken from Pubs of Merton (Past & Present) by Clive Whichelow
Whitehall Book: Rosemary Turner was given this book (below) some time ago as a drawing
book, but cannot remember the source. It is bound in plain blue cloth with gold titles on
the spine, and measures about 7.5ins by 5.5ins. (Rosemary put the title into Google and got
offers of information about Russian plans!) A lively (email) discussion ensued; possibilities
included the Tudor house called Whitehall in Cheam, in the London Borough of Sutton (ie.
LBS), a 25th anniversary of a ‘Friends of …’ group, and a 25 km (or miles) running or
cycling race starting from Whitehall in London. Then we found that Book Papers Limited
was briefly (31 Dec 1981 – 07 Jan 1983, ie. effectively 1982) one of several trading names
of MacNaughten Publishing Papers Limited, so presumably 1982 was when the order for the
book was placed, implying a 25-year anniversary from 1957/8. This was a red herring or
blind alley, as we then found an obituary in the Old King’s Club Newsletter for alumni of
King’s College School, Wimbledon. No.87, Oct 1995, noted that, on leaving school, Frank
Cook had begun work in the paper trade, with Reed and Smith Ltd, and then, in 1961,
setupon his ownas ‘Book PapersLtd’in Pall Mall,supplying paperand binding materialsto the
bookbinding trade. The firm also published a single book, St. Mary’s first hundred years,
1863-1963: A history of Plaistow Parish Church by W. Angus MacFarlane (1963) ‘Published by
Book Papers Ltd for St Mary’s’.
So Rosemary’s book is a Trade Sample from the firm’s range, from which to order, with its
name and specification written on the cover. ‘Whitehall’ is presumably the style, and ’25’
one of several variations of size or shape available. (Note that Whitehall is not a million
miles from Pall Mall, with the firm’s offices.)
The ’35×45 105LBS’ allows all customers to appreciate the weight of the paper. In 1963,
Imperial and American publishers bought their paper by the weight of one ream (500 sheets)
for a particular size. There were many particular sizes, measured in inches, such as
‘Watercolour’@ 22x30ins or ‘Charcoal’@ 25x38ins. Here, one ream of our book’s paper
weighs 105 lbs, for, in this case, a paper size of 35x45ins. For different paper sizes, ratio
your area up or down from that. Now the ingenious thing is that 35x45ins is almost exactly
one square metre. So Continental buyers could find the weight of the paper in their system
by a simple division, 105 lbs / 500 sheets = 0.21 lbs/sq m, and then converting to grams by
multiplying by 454 = 95 gm/ sq m. This is a weight slightly heavier than standard computer
print-out paper (80 gm/sq m).
The book was given to Rosemary as a sketch pad, and may well have been a sample carried
around by a commercial traveller. When the firm folded, this became scrap and was useful
for a drawing book.
Garrett Undertype Wagon For transport buffs: this Wagon, mentioned in our Hadfield Firms
article (p.10), was a steam-powered lorry with an unusual semi-cylindrical cab, solid rubber
tyres and a chain drive to the rear wheels. In production from 1921 to 1932, it was
available with either a flat bed body, or with a tipping body (right). Most models were
designed to carry a six-ton load, but later ones could shift eight tons. The design is the
subject of an endearingly obsessive website at https//www.steamwagon.com/index.php/
garrett-2/surviving-garrett-undertypes (from which our photo is taken). This has a list of all
307 examples known, together with their first owner, date purchased and subsequent
owners, where known. Does anyone have a photograph of one in use by Sand & Shingle
Limited or by Merton Engineering Company Ltd ? ? Sheila Harris tells us that in 1940 her
friend Brenda Telander witnessed a terrifying event on Kempton Park racecourse. Aged 10
years old, she was returning home from the shops with 1lb of sausages for her mother,
when there was a tremendous roar and a loud explosion behind her. Two planes crashed on
the grass close behind her; one blowing up on impact and the second, and its pilot and his
parachute, landing a few feet from her. Both pilots died; Brenda was comforted by a
Warden and sent home with her sausages. Many years later, she recounted this story to
Brian Gates, her boss at the British Heart Foundation charity shop at 11 Wimbledon Hill
Road, where she was a volunteer. He was inspired by this tale and, with the help of the
Jockey Club, money was raised to erect a memorial plaque to the two pilots. In 2015, some
75 years after the event, Brenda unveiled the plaque before many invited guests, later
watching the races from the Royal Box, and presenting the prize to the owners of the
winning horse of the first race.
The pilots were Peter Carter (English) and Jan Borowski (Polish). Peter Carter came from
Croydon: he kept a diary of his time in the RAF, and many photographs of his time with
302 (Polish) Squadron, RAF. Brian Gates has now published a book on the two, Peter – One
of the Forgotten Few ( ISBN 978-1-8381732-0-3, £12-99 from the author via the BHF charity
Young Accumulator Factory: the company name is barely visible in the photo on p.11 of
Bulletin 217, so here are two enlarged details, from either side of the Odeon cinema in the
picture, each showing the name. MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 219 –

NORMA COX has fun detecting
I spoke to the Members Meeting on 11 January 2020 about the industrial history of four west
Merton factory sites near Shannon Corner on the Kingston bypass, reported in Bulletin 214,
p.4. I knew of the iconic Art Deco factory in the area, but not who built or occupied it.
Recently, however, I happened upon the ‘Wimbledon Reborn’Facebook site,1 which had a
photograph of theA3, devoid of traffic, but showing the Art Deco factory on Bushey Road.
Two participants on the site had commented on the photograph and remarked that the
factory was Seniors, and it was there in the 1950s. Disappointingly there was no further
information on the website.
I remembered the name of Seniors and searched online for it. I found two short film clips
depicting Seniors products: one a cartoon advert of a young girl with a squeaky voice
enjoying her 6d. jar of Seniors paste (right)2, while the second had two young children
whooping with delight at the thought of their Seniors Steak and Kidney dinner
(left).3 The company offered twenty different fish and meat pastes, as well as many other
products, both savoury and sweet. Incidentally, although the company was J H Senior & Co
Ltd, all their advertising used ‘Seniors’, without an apostrophe. I had previously noted,
marked on maps from 1935-1975,4 the Potted Meat and Fish Paste factory at the Bushey
Works on Bushey Road, but not associated the name of Seniors with it.

To clarify when Seniors arrived on Bushey Road, I contacted Sarah Gould at the Local Studies
Centre: she kindly supplied details which showed that in 1933 J H Senior & Co Ltd, meat
and fish paste manufacturer, lay next to British Salmson Aero Engines, at or next to Thomas
Coleman of 65 Bushey Road. Furthermore, J H Seniors (Holdings) were listed in the London
Post Office Directory from 1933 until 1967, but were no longer there in 1969, while the
Seniors company was taken over by Nurdin and Peacock in 1959.5 A book about that firm6
had a copy of an etching of the Art Deco building, adorned with the name of Seniors on
the clock tower and on the factory’s front, which also featured large ‘Meat Paste’ and ‘Fish
Paste’ legends (above). Thus we may be fairly sure that J H Senior commissioned and were
the first occupants of the Art Deco building.
The book gives further information: Seniors factory at Bushey Road was on a two and a half
acre site, offering plenty of room later for the construction of warehouses and offices for
Nurdin and Peacock. There was the added benefit of a working food factory. Nurdin and
Peacock moved in during 1960 and Seniors continued working under that company for eight
years, until the Seniors factory building was needed for a Cash and Carry business. William
Underwood, an American company, bought Seniors, as they needed a British company to
market their Red Devil Products. After several months Seniors were merged with Shippams
of Chichester, fish paste makers, and Seniors as a trade-name disappeared.7 The Art Deco
clock tower later carried the initials ‘N & P’ and the name of Nurdin and Peacock, and
eventually and finally ‘Thales’.
Had this new information about Seniors affected the information about the Art Deco factory
published in the Bulletin? The answer was ‘No’, as the new information enhanced the known
history of the Bushey Road factories. One of the two companies on the Bushey Road site
before Nurdin and Peacock was Napier Aero and Marine Engineering who had ‘the locally
listed Art Deco office building (which) was last occupied by Thales Avionics Ltd’.8 Napier had
purchased the premises of British Salmson which had been founded in Raynes Park in 1929.9
Yet in the Local List of Merton buildings the Art Deco building was stated to have been built
in the 1930s.10 Therefore British Salmson Aero Engines was an established and working
factory before the Art Deco factory was built; this was substantiated by Sarah Gould’s
information showing that the British Salmson Aero Engines site at Raynes Park was next to
the Seniors factory in 1933. Therefore Napier had their company office in the Art Deco
building of Seniors foods while their factory was the former British Salmson works located
beside Seniors. The British Salmson factory was demolished and the site converted to a car-
park in the early 1970s.11 The Art Deco building remained until 2016. Online a satellite
image of the Bushey Road site in 2008 shows a car-park, the Art Deco factory and the new
Decca factory at 88 Bushey Road.12 (The street numbering had altered from that noted in
1933.) Nurdin and Peacock owned the Art Deco factory from 1959 and were still the
owners in 1980. History is always being added to.
1 https://en-gb.facebook.com>groups>permalink 2 www.player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-seniors-
paste-1968-online 3 www.player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-seniors-steak-and-kidney-puddings-
1968-online 4 https://www.old-maps.co.uk (use postcode KT3 4PT (now for B&Q) to view
the site) 5 Pers. comm. Sarah Gould May 2021, quoting Trade Directory 1933 and London
Post Office Directory 1967 6 Nurdin & Peacock Ltd A History 1810-1977 by Katherine Baker
(published by the firm, 1979) 7 Information kindly supplied by Sarah Gould 8
www.npht.org/raynes-park/4579771088 9 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Salmson 10
https://merton.gov.uk/assets/Documents/loc_list_descriptions_sort1.092pdl 11
https://britishsalmson.co.uk/home/british-salmson/company-history 12
The Sea of Silence by Seth Hunter (2021, Hodder Headline) £21-95
This is the seventh of a series of naval tales, set during the French Revolutionary and
Napoleonic Wars. The series, new to me, is written by Society member Paul Bryers, under a
Following the declaration of peace in 1801, our hero, Captain Nathan Peake, Royal Navy, half
American by birth, and now on half-pay, is tasked by the American President, Thomas
Jefferson, to support the leader of the slave revolt against the French on the island of
Hispaniola in the Caribbean. Much insincere diplomacy ensues. Nathan’s previous exploits
include being a spy in Paris for the British government. In fact, he has so much in the way
of previous exploits and acquaintances (who include Lord Nelson, Napoleon Bonaparte, lady
spies and a most untrustworthy ally) that quite a lot of this tale is spent introducing them
to new readers. The ally is believably based on Gilbert Ilmay, a historical ‘unscrupulous
American businessman and spy’ according to Wikipedia.

One of Paul’s strong points is the depth of his historical research, giving us contemporary
place-names and their local familiar shortenings, full naval commands (what orders do you
give to get sail set in a square-rigger?) and some unusual weapons. The descriptions of
naval actions are excellent, quite up to Hornblower and Aubrey standards, while the careful
formal conversations in London (and, yes, Merton) are reminiscent of the stilted speeches in
Jane Austen. Paul has not been served too well by his proof-reader – I noticed several
minor errors, among which I was particularly charmed with the idea that one could use a
chasuble (a priestly vestment) in which to burn fuel to release its anti-mosquito vapour (the
odour of sanctity?).
The dust-jacket is ornamented by a fine spirited painting of a harbour scene with nicely
detailed ships and boats, by Geoffrey Hubard, a Member of the Society of Marine Artists.
MHS is bound by the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Please see the MHS website
regarding how this concerns your personal data.
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