June 2022 – Bulletin 222
Long Thornton, 1926-1939: ‘One of the most charming residential districts’ – Keith Penny
William Morris writes of the ‘Beautiful Wandle’
A portrait of Nelson with his chelengk – Dave Haunton
Coxeter and Son Ltd, anaesthetic apparatus manufacturer – Norma Cox
These we (should not) have lost – David Luff
West Barnes: making sense of a Merton ward’s identity crisis – Edward Dutton
Feedback on the Hadfields – Christine Pittman & Adrian Gault
May Gibbs and Merton – Christine Pittman
and much more
CHAIR: Keith Penny
BULLETIN No. 222 JUNE 2022
Portrait of Nelson, 1799
Courtesy Bonham’s (Fine Art Auctioneers)
Courtesy National Maritime Museum (see p.6).
Programme June-September 2022 2
Long Thornton, 1926-1939: ‘One of the most charming residential districts’ – Keith Penny 3
William Morris writes of the ‘Beautiful Wandle’ 4
‘William Morris and the workers at Merton’ 5
A portrait of Nelson with his chelengk – Dave Haunton 6
‘National Churches Trust’ 7
‘Surrey in The Gentleman’s Magazine’ 8
Coxeter and Son Ltd, anaesthetic apparatus manufacturer – Norma Cox 9
These we (should not) have lost – David Luff 10
West Barnes: making sense of a Merton ward’s identity crisis – Edward Dutton 12
Feedback on the Hadfields – Christine Pittman & Adrian Gault 14
Local History Workshop – January, Zoom – 1921 Census, French tiles, Mitcham Fair 15
May Gibbs and Merton – Christine Pittman 16
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 222 – JUNE 2022 – PAGE 2
PROGRAMME JUNE-SEPTEMBER 2022
For the visits below:
Please book beforehand on firstname.lastname@example.org. Pay Bea on the day.
Monday 13 June 11.00am
A Visit to Watermen’s Hall
16-18 St Mary at Hill, Billingsgate, London EC3R 8EF
Guided tour £15 per person; 5 mins walk from Monument Underground Station
Friday 15 July meet at 2pm
A Walk on Mitcham Common – with Melanie Nunzet
We will meet at Mitcham Junction Bus Stop on Bridge
This is a 1½ hour approx. circular walk 3-4 miles.
Mitcham Golf Club would be happy for us to come in after the walk for food/drink, but
would like to know approx numbers.
Thursday 11 August at 10.30am
A visit to The Reform Club, 104-105 Pall Mall, London SW1 5EW.
The visit is £15 per person.
There is a Dress Code for this visit: Gentlemen are required to wear collared shirts,
no jeans or trainers. Jackets are not required in August. Ladies are required to dress
with similar formality.
Thursday 8 September at 10.30am
A Talk by Margaret Smart at 29 Murray Road, London SW19 4PD
William Morris, the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Architecture Thereof
Possibly £5 per person (Fees to the National Trust)
Please use the side entrance and go through to the garden
(Coffee/tea and biscuits offered. Information panels indoors)
Local History Workshops are restarting:
10 June, 5 August, 30 September, 25 November from 2.30pm
at the Wandle Industrial Museum, next door to the Vestry Hall, Mitcham.
Visitors are welcome to attend our events.
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
APOLOGY We regret that the advertised talk for April 2022 did not take place, as the speaker withdrew from
all their engagements, late in the day. Fortunately, at short notice, Bea Oliver managed to secure the services
of Ms Julia Chandler, MITG, who gave us a lively talk on ‘Florence Nightingale’s London’ (see next issue).
We are pleased that we shall soon restart LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS in the Wandle Industrial
Museum (see dates above). New faces are welcome – these are informal occasions for which you don’t have to
give a talk or presentation. Tell us about your work in progress, or something you have noticed in a newspaper
or magazine, or ask for help in getting round a stumbling block in your current research, or ask how to start a
project that interests you. Or just come along and listen.
I decided to splurge some of our money on EXTRA COLOUR PAGES for this Bulletin, to celebrate 30
issues as editor, ever since I was passed the ‘green eyeshade and chewed cigar’ (Bulletin 120, p.12) by Judy
Goodman, who set us such high standards (and kindly still comments…). The cigar was of course unsmoked
(Health & Safety, dates too numerous, passim), enabling me to chew it from the other end.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 222 – JUNE 2022 – PAGE 3
KEITH PENNY profiles
LONG THORNTON, 1926-1939: ‘One of the most charming residential districts’
At almost the last moment, the speaker we had booked for our 11 December meeting had to cry off, due to
catching Covid-19. Keith swiftly composed this replacement, based mainly on original research undertaken for
his history of pre-war St Olave’s Church, The Church of Blue Columns (2013, St Olave’s Mitcham PCC). His
well-illustrated talk was much appreciated by the more than 30 members and guests who attended.
Nearly forty years ago I moved into a
house similar to one of these. Even now,
I find it hard to give a quick answer
to ‘Where do you live?’, for most of
the Longthornton ward of Merton is
covered by 1920s terraced housing and
is not clearly in Mitcham, Norbury or
Streatham Vale. Until 1926 much of it
had been rather muddy pasture land. The
building initiative came from central
government, after its first attempt to
provide ‘Homes fit for Heroes’ from
public money ended.1 However, the 1923
Conservative government could not simply ignore the housing problem, and so turned to supporting the private
sector. Under the 1923 Housing Act Mitcham UDC paid subsidies of £75 to builders who would erect houses of
less than £600 freehold price, including the subsidy, and offered twenty-year 90% mortgages at (usually) 5¼%
interest. By 1931, when the Council decided to discontinue the operation of the Act, £2¼m had been lent to over
4,000 house purchasers across Mitcham.
Building companies offered small houses with three
bedrooms, two reception rooms, bathroom, kitchenette
and hall. Joseph Owen’s Tamworth Park Construction
Company built over 300 houses; Fulfords Ltd built over
450 and was, with Owen, first in the field at Long Thornton.
Other companies were formed and then dissolved after the
completion of a project. The workmanship of the houses was
The Great Southern Cemetery, Crematorium and Land
Company of 1907 and the Crematorium Company,
incorporated in 1914, bought and sold parcels of land in Long
Thornton, sometimes confusingly selling to each other. Their
directors overlapped and some of these were also directors
of housebuilding companies. Chief among them was Ernest
John Dyer Field, Mayor of Mitcham 1938-41 and an East
Ward Councillor in the 1920s. The Stanford Estate, owners
of much of Hove, sold about one hundred acres that had
previously been known as Lonesome Farm. Fane Bennett-Stanford (1839-1894) had bought the land in 1878,
but the market was then not right for housing development.
The local authorities built a Maternity Centre in Meopham Road, enlarged Lonesome School, and built other
schools (Sherwood Park for younger children, and Rowan Central for 11-15s). There was already a pub (the
Horse and Groom in Manor Road, now demolished), and parades of shops opened. Congregations at St Olave’s
church grew during the 1930s, as did its social activities, and events at the playing field and pavilion of the
Ratepayers (later the Improvement) Association drew up to a thousand people, whilst Streatham Town football
had a brief life at its ground off Hassocks Road.
The population was young, and the number of children found Surrey County Council’s Education Committee
unprepared. Of those who bought homes through Mitcham UDC’s mortgage scheme 76% were reckoned in 1927
to have come from outside Mitcham. Most men (and the mortgage-holders were all men, though some women
were freeholders in their own right) were weekly wage-earners, skilled or semi-skilled manual workers or
above-basic clerks in commerce or finance.
The first residents had three or four difficult years: those in Grove Road had an annual plague of flies that
were feasting on the manure heaps of nearby market gardens; the roads were not made up until the Council
belatedly adopted them. The mud, and the paths made with railway sleepers, drew extraordinary comparisons
– the Giant’s Causeway or the shell-holed roads of Flanders – and parents refused to send children to school
through quagmires of mud.
Road-surfacing and lighting the streets ran on into 1930, but the News and Mercury thought that, once trees had
been planted, Long Thornton would be ‘one of the most charming residential districts within many miles of
London’. Not many of those in the present-day local residents’ group would view this as a credible description,
but that is not the fault of the original residents, who were enthused by owning their first home, in a new
suburb, and by having plenty of community activities. Once the initial problems had been solved, and the
1930s economy had settled, they were contented. But then came 1939 …
1 A summary of that scheme appeared in Bulletin 211, and Mitcham’s response was described in Bulletin 210.
WILLIAM MORRIS WRITES OF THE ‘BEAUTIFUL WANDLE’
We are grateful to a thoughtful but anonymous member of the Sales Monitoring team at the National Archives
for drawing our attention to this letter, which was offered for sale in December 2021 by auctioneers Dreweatts
1759 (‘art, antiques and collectibles’). Covering four hand-written octavo pages, Morris writes to ‘The Rt
Hon G Shaw Lefevre, MP’, from Merton Abbey [Mills], Surrey (‘late 26 Queen Square’), on 16 March 1882,
regarding a bill which would allow for a sinking of a well in Carshalton, causing not only the closure of mills
but also environmental problems.
Dear Mr Lefevre
I venture to write to you about a matter which I daresay you have already heard of, but which
I am sure will interest you, who have worked so hard at trying to preserve a little of the natural
countryman’s pleasure for our town-dwellers. The London & South Western Waterworks have a
bill, which I hear to my astonishment is to come before Committee on Monday next, to enable
them to sink wells at Carshalton, and thus to tap the Wandle at its waters: this would practically
dry it up for the whole of its course, as it has but little surface drainage to feed it.
I must admit, whether it weakens my case or not, that I am personally and pecuniarily interested
in the matter as I have quite recently taken these premises for manufacturing purposes, and the
water power, and use of the pure water of the Wandle are so much a matter of moment to me, that
I could not carry on my business here under the new conditions. But it is really true that I should
feel the loss of the beautiful little river (still beautiful though crowded with mills) more on public
than private grounds. It seems to me monstrous if a Company is to be allowed at one stroke to
do serious injustice to a large body of industrious people (for no compensation to occupiers is
provided in the bill) and also to deprive the neighbourhood of London of one of its most precious
I write to you therefore in complete ignorance of how these things are managed in Parliament to
ask if you can do anything towards opposing the bill.
With many apologies for troubling you in the midst of your serious work
Dear Mr Lefevre
Mr George Shaw-Lefevre, MP (1831-1928) had a long and successful career in Parliament (1863-1895) as
a Liberal politician, occupying many official posts, including at various times Lord of the Admiralty, Post-
Master General and President of the Board of Local Government. He became Baron Eversley in 1906. At
the date of Morris’ letter, he was MP for Reading, and serving as the First Commissioner of Works, showing
a considerable interest in public parks. He was one of the founders (1866) and long-term chairman of the
Commons Preservation Society, which may be what influenced Morris to approach him. The Carshalton bill
failed to become an Act.
‘WILLIAM MORRIS AND THE WORKERS AT MERTON’
On Saturday 8 January 2022, Dave Saxby, an archaeologist with MOLA, much entertained an audience of
some 25 hardy members and guests who braved the foul weather to attend his well-illustrated talk. William
Morris’s first factory was in Queen Square, London, where he began operations in 1878, employing 11 girls
weaving cloth and 2 boys aged 13 as apprentices in a workshop. One of these was William White; both boys
subsequently came to Merton. Morris began looking for larger premises in 1881, placing an advertisement in
the Times on 12 March. His friend William De Morgan inspected the Merton site, reporting it as satisfactory.
This ‘Merton Abbey’ site stood on both sides of the River
Wandle, where it turns to head along Merton High Street. Dave
Saxby had excavated the remains of the workshop in 1992,
exposing firepits from the iron works and an early calico pit.1
The works buildings were first erected in 1752 and modified
in 1805, but Morris basically never changed anything (right,
Peter Harris’ drawing of the works, by kind permission of
Wandle Industrial Museum). He kept on previous employees,
including Edwin Merritt, the caretaker, whose six children all
later worked for him. Charles Harding, a local carpenter, built
a lot of fitments and repaired the buildings where necessary.
We are fortunate in that a 1903 lecture by a Mr Morell on the Morris operation, containing contemporary
photos, has recently been rediscovered.2 The dye house, with stained glass and tapestry workshops above,
occupied one long building, while another such, on the other side of the Wandle, housed the carpet weaving (or
knotting) downstairs and block printing on the first floor. Various outbuildings included a mill house (beside a
mill pond), and the seven acre site also contained a bleaching meadow and a large garden, where workers were
encouraged to grow flowers and vegetables. In fact they all (60-70 men and a few women) had a day allowed
to tend the kitchen gardens. The working conditions and pay were unusually good for the time. Some workers,
particularly dyers, were accommodated at Wandle Bank nos.1-6 (still standing).
In 1881 Morris moved many of his Queen Square artists to Merton, including a number of stained glass
glaziers, of whom George Campfield (the foreman), Thomas Bowman, William Stokes and William Pozzi
were prominent. They carried out many Burne-Jones designs, including the Last Judgement window for
Birmingham; but his designs for St Mary’s, Merton, were made by Walter Henry and Jane Wright. Others who
moved included the dyesters Sam Goodacre and John Smith (who had started as an apprentice in 1876), later
joined in the dye works by Edgar Morris, Frank Kitz and John Diprose. Morris recruited local textile block-
printers William Hillier, the Hill brothers, Henry and George (in 1883), and Thomas Bannister. The weavers at
the Jacquard looms included William Holloway (from Bethnal Green), who encouraged five or six friends to
join, including William and Frederick Chadwick, James Hitchens and Henry Slater, mostly older men from the
Spitalfields area. There was a specialist colour mixer, Thomas Kenyon.
Morris had only begun the weaving of tapestry in 1879; the experienced tapestry weaver J H Dearle had
joined him in 1880, and moved to Merton in 1881. For tapestry work, Morris preferred to recruit young boys,
and to train and educate them, the first two being William Sleath and William Knight, both 14 years old. The
tapestry apprentice boys were accommodated in an 18th-century house (with 16th century foundations) under
a housekeeper, Annie Martin, and provided with a library. One of the books from that library, Prescott’s History
of the Conquest of Peru (1847), a serious tome, has recently been acquired via eBay. In 1885 the boys were
joined by John Martin, the 13-year-old nephew of the housekeeper. In 1891 Morris won the contract for the San
Graal tapestry series, and to work on this he recruited William Haines and George Ellerman, two experienced
tapestry workers, and a number of boys including Walter Taylor, George Priestly, Robert Willis, Jesse Keech
and George Merritt (son of the caretaker). The series was completed in 1894, and a photograph recorded the
In 1882, a number of young girls were recruited as carpet knitters: these included Eliza Merritt, a daughter of
the caretaker, and Diana Penn, Louisa Jane Phipps and Clara Adams, all from Holloway; each of these was
later joined by a younger sister, typically 14-15 years old. The carpet weaving department continued until it
closed in 1912, when the remaining carpet knitters were retrained for tapestry work. Morris set up a school
of handicraft, where the hours were Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm, and Saturday 8am – 1pm. Walter Taylor,
one of the tapestry boys, was a talented water colour artist, and in 1895 asked for time off to attend a course at
Putney College of Art, to be (temporarily) rebuffed by Morris’s comment ‘aren’t there enough flowers in the
garden for you to paint?’. Taylor worked
at Merton until 1909, when he left for a
teaching post at the Beaufoy Institute in
Lambeth. The painting shown right (from
D Saxby video) is by another talented boy
artist, William Knight.
Morris died in 1896, but the business
continued. In 1902 a Tapestry Repair
Shop was opened at 216 Merton Road. By
1903 quite a lot of the original workers
had left, but new ones were engaged. The
firm’s reputation was such that in 1912-
13 five of their weavers were transported
to Edinburgh to produce a tapestry. During WW1 the younger men were called up into the army, while the
older men, perhaps a dozen, carried on. Fortunately, almost all the conscripts survived and came back to
Merton. Many splendid tapestries were woven, notably the Passing of Venus by Percy Sheldrake 1922-26 to a
design by Burne-Jones, and the four St George tapestries commissioned as the war memorial for Eton College.
Today the only fairly local Morris works are the altar cloth and the organ screen (part said to be painted by
Morris himself) in Beddington church. A photo on the Merton Memories website shows the foundations of part
of the William Morris works, possibly the house latterly used as a dormitory for the apprentice boys. The house
was among those destroyed by bombs in 1940. (W H Knight’s painting of ‘Merton High Street’ was retrieved
from the rubble.) The original buildings that remained after the bombing were demolished in the 1940s when
the site was bought by New Merton Board Mills. In the 1980s the Savacentre was built, to house a Sainsbury’s
Supermarket and a Marks and Spencer store.
Dave Saxby is to be congratulated on his unusual feat of discovering and publicising the names of the workers
who produced specific art works in a factory environment (and who would nowadays themselves be termed
artists). I was amused by the serendipity involved in his research – the Morrell lecture notes and photos from
1903 were noted by a passer-by in a small display in a junk shop window, while the book from the initial
Morris library was found on e-Bay.
1 Details can be found in William Morris at Merton, David Saxby (1995), £4.99, a 24-page paperback produced by the Museum of
London Archaeology Service on behalf of the London Borough of Merton, drawing upon the discoveries from the archaeological
excavation at the corner of High Street and Mill Road, Merton.
2 To see many of these photos, with captions, go to our website topic page on ‘William Morris’ and click on the link there to view a
24-minute video by Dave Saxby.
A PORTRAIT OF NELSON WITH HIS CHELENGK
This little portrait (7in by 5in) (see p.1) was commissioned by Nelson in 1799, while he was in Palermo at
the court of the King of the Two Sicilies, together with Sir William and Emma Hamilton. He presented the
drawing, executed in charcoal and sanguine (a chalk, naturally dull red), to his friend Captain Hardy, in whose
family it remained until recently put up for sale at Bonham’s. The only time it had previously been seen in
public was in 1905, when it was lent to Dorset County Museum for an exhibition to mark the centenary of
Nelson is seen in profile, facing left to avoid depicting the injuries to his right eye and arm, while wearing
the Chelengk presented by Sultan Selim III in his bicorn, and displaying his Naval gold medals, the Ottoman
Order of the Crescent and the Order of the Bath. The Sultan created the Order of the Crescent for Nelson in
August 1799, making him its first Knight. The distinctive Chelengk was a plume of more than 300 diamonds, a
military medal highly prized across the Ottoman world. It was presented to Nelson by the Sultan in recognition
of his daring 1798 defeat of the French fleet in the Battle of the Nile, when Egypt was still under the control of
the Ottoman Empire. The 13 separate diamond sprays radiating outwards represent the 13 French ships sunk
in the battle. As the first such decoration ever presented by a Sultan to a non-Muslim, Nelson’s Chelengk was
the subject of great personal pride.
‘NATIONAL CHURCHES TRUST’
On Saturday 12 February 2022, Clare Walker introduced us to the history and aims of the Trust. She is the
current Chief Executive of this national charity, which is dedicated to supporting church buildings of historical,
architectural and community value. It is based at 7 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QB.
The Trust as such dates from 2007, but takes forward the work of the Incorporated Church Building Society,
created in 1818, and the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, formed in 1953. The formal Patron of the Trust
is HM the Queen, while past Trustees constitute a formidable range of talents, including all Archbishops of
Canterbury, all Prime Ministers between 1953 and 1976, Sir John Betjeman, and leading architects, historians
and business leaders.
The Trust offers support, advice and funding to Christian places of worship of all denominations. Funding is
mostly a matter of providing grants for repairs, maintenance and improved facilities (kitchens and toilets),
while advice involves guidance and training on how to care for church buildings. Grants can range from small
(£500) to much larger (£50,000), but do depend on the work not yet being started, and that the applicants
already have raised more than 50% of the funds needed. Inspiring support for the buildings is mostly a matter
of education, publicity, fundraising and advice to public bodies.
Helping to develop ‘church tourism’ is an aim; there are almost 40,000 Christian places of worship in the UK,
most of them being free to enter. And of course ‘some have great cake!’ So the Trust teaches the presenters of
the history of an individual church to publicise the more interesting facets of their building, whether this is a
window, a monument, or a story, to make visiting a church a worthwhile experience. They also publicise the
In the last financial year, the Trust granted a total of £3,500,000 for 32 churches, and generated more than 350
pieces of media coverage. Their campaigning includes the ‘House of Good’, an attempt to measure the social
and economic value provided by the UK’s church buildings, currently estimated at £55 billion annually. The
funding for all their activities comes from varied sources: Trusts and foundations gave £700,000 in 2021; the
remainder came from Friends and donors; legacies (accounting for two grants out of every three); and some
corporate support; none came from government or church authorities.
For more information, and the Friends scheme, see www.nationalchurchestrust.org
Clare recommended Gill Hedley’s book Free Seats for All (2018, Umbria Press, £20)
which documents the ‘boom in church building after Waterloo’. Well indexed and
extensively illustrated in colour, it examines the work of the Incorporated Church
Building Society in encouraging the building, restoration and extension of churches
throughout the 19th century. Personalities (Joshua Watson, William Wilberforce)
and groups (the Clapham Sect, the Hackney Phalanx) abound, many original church
designs are shown in early drawings or paintings, while architects are frequently named
and praised, though not invariably. One cartoon is captioned ‘Providence sends meat,
the Devil sends cooks, Parliament sends funds, But who sends the Architects?…!!!’,
while one MP described John Nash’s All Souls, Langham Place, London, as ‘a flat
candlestick with an extinguisher on it’. Definitely a good and entertaining read. Dave Haunton
BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR LOCAL HISTORY (BALH) – SOME PERKS
MHS is a society member of this Association, which does what it says on the tin – it brings together local
historians on a national scale.
As a ‘society member’, MHS gets:
(a) quarterly magazines which are available for members to borrow at our meetings
(b) email newsletters
(c) details of events organised by BALH, held in person, on line or on a hybrid basis. These events can be found
on the BALH website, which you can view via the Membership page on our own website. As individual
members of a ‘society member’ we can get discounts on some of the events, but each of us will need our
society password to access these discounts.
If you are interested in receiving copies of the email newsletters and/or details of events and our society
password, please email the secretary on email@example.com
‘SURREY IN THE GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE’
On Saturday 12 March 2022, Julian Pooley of Surrey History Centre spoke to 25 members and guests about
this first ever general news ‘magazine’. Begun in 1731 by Edward Cave, it was a monthly compendium (its
name taken from the French for a storehouse), containing a digest of news, mostly British, but sometimes from
abroad. It ran continuously until 1868, with a monthly print run of 10,000 copies, at a price of one shilling per
issue. It was sufficiently popular that some less-wealthy customers formed clubs to share a copy; when all club
members had read an issue, the magazine could be offered for re-sale.
Immediately under the title, the front page (right, from Wikipedia)
featured a print of the owner’s house-cum-office-cum-warehouse
at St John’s Gate, flanked by a list of the London papers consulted
on the left, and the provincial ones on the right. These latter
could, infrequently, include newspapers from as far away as
Barbados. At the bottom of the front page was a notice inviting
contributions, including the phrase ‘Post Paid’, a reminder to
us that in those days the sender paid the cost of postage, and
to intending contributors that The Gentleman’s Magazine could
refuse to accept unpaid letters. This rule was occasionally relaxed
for well-known correspondents, who would then be named and
shamed in the text. The magazine did not contain advertisements,
which were printed only on the wrapper, which was usually discarded, and is in consequence now very rare.
Aimed at the professional classes, Cave’s innovation was to create a monthly digest of news and commentary
on any topic the educated public might be interested in. As well as current news, the range of topics was vast,
including crop prices (gentlemen were expected to farm their estates), lists of bankrupts (to warn gentlemen
against dodgy dealers), poems (in Latin as well as English), philosophy, and letters from correspondents on
any ‘interesting’ subject – one debating stream over several issues discussed where particular animals were
housed in the Ark. Illustrations (engraved plates) could accompany letters from inventors, showing details,
and especially discussions of churches and church architecture. Maps featured (especially of ‘the present seat
of war’ wherever that was at the time) as were views (eg. ‘the roads from Fort Edward to Ticonderoga’), and
sometimes even colour prints.
Original contributions from customers were encouraged; these were often anonymous or signed only with
initials. Some names were faked – successive owner / editors under the pen name ‘Sylvanus Urban’ started
many streams of debate. Contributions to the magazine frequently took the form of letters addressed to ‘Mr.
Urban’. In 1783 the new owner, John Nichols, an innovator, doubled the length of the magazine, and introduced
more scholarly, debating and philosophy streams.
However, the main content was the news, which could cover trials (a major topic), such as the Brownrigg child
abuse and murder case of 1767; and consequent executions at Kensington (there were many highwaymen
all round London; some were hanged others jailed). Health was also a major interest – Bills of Mortality
regularly appeared, used by readers to give warning of possible epidemics – but there were also testimonials
for medicines and cataract operations, and discussion of smallpox and cowpox inoculation. Rabies cases
appeared, including the unusual one of Mrs Hitchins of Mitcham who was infected by a mad cat. Amateur
poetry local to our area included ‘Carshalton Fair’, ‘Croydon Workhouse’ and ‘Birds of Mitcham Bower’.
Epitaphs were quoted – that of Mrs Lackington (buried in St Mary’s, Merton Park, the wife of the bookseller)
quotes the inscription on her tomb. There are individual articles on Surrey churches, that on Mitcham church
by an antiquarian c.1805 being very critical of the architecture. Weather and cloud formations receive regular
reports and notes of unusual events; while domestic occurrrences include death from eating ‘mushrooms’ and
a report of a sheep rustler in Mitcham.
It is a measure of the reputation for accuracy of the magazine that biographical details first reported there were
often later copied into the Dictionary of National Biography. Genealogists might note that sometimes the
magazine is the only source for a particular birth, marriage or death. Unfortunately, in 1808 fire burnt down
the warehouse and destroyed all Nichols’ archive (which may have included the Cave archive as well). The
later archives are scattered among Harvard, the Ashmolean and other institutions, as well as the Hathi Trust
(available on Google). Surrey History Centre has a near-complete run of the magazine, and the diary of a
grand-daughter of Nichols, and Julian has started a project to index all the Surrey references.
NORMA COX discusses an unusual concern
COXETER AND SON LTD, ANAESTHETIC APPARATUS MANUFACTURER
While I was discussing the British Oxygen Company premises in Deer Park Road SW19 with Sarah Gould (18
Nov 2021), she mentioned that Lombard Road, next to Deer Park Road, was the site of Coxeter & Son Ltd,
anaesthetic apparatus manufacturers. She later (9 Feb 2022) confirmed that Kelly’s Directory for 1938 showed
Coxeter and Son Ltd in Lombard Road, but the 1933 edition did not. Bill Rudd also mentioned Coxeter & Son
Ltd in his wartime memories, as being the factory where his sister had worked.1 A company such as Coxeter &
Son who made anaesthetic apparatus would be a compatible company for the BOC group.
To find out more about the Coxeter business I carried out a Google
search for the Coxeter name. The Science Museum website had images
of anaesthetic equipment. One piece of equipment made by Coxeter
was the ‘Walton Minnit’ Gas and Air apparatus, manufactured in
London 1932-1942. It was also listed on the Science Museum site as
the ‘portable Walton-Minnit’ but without an image; the manufacturers
were BOC Ltd, London, and Coxeter and Son, SW19, in 1936-45.2
The latter date for Coxeter (1936-45), tied in with Sarah Gould’s
details of the Lombard Road premises in the years 1936-1945. The
Walton-Minnit apparatus is shown here (right).3
Another piece of anaesthetic equipment which had the Coxeter name associated with it
was the Boyle Model G Anaesthetic machine for hospital use, made in 1953 by BOC
Ltd.4 This machine had a Coxeter-Mushin absorbent, with ether vapouriser, intended
for connection to a standard Boyle Machine; this type of apparatus was introduced
into the emergency medical service in 1942. It was listed in the Science Museum site
in the BOC Medical Sections, as shown here (left). The Boyle machine was used for
delivering oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, ether and chloroform; it allowed these
agents to be available continuously within the apparatus, for the anaesthetist to use
and control. The early Boyle machine had five elements which can still be seen in the
modern versions of this machine.5 Boyle’s apparatus was first made by Coxeter & Son,
under the direction of Lord George Wellsley. The Coxeter-Mushin apparatus, used for
carbon dioxide absorption was designed by Coxeter and Mushin in 1941.6 Henry Boyle
(1875-1941) was an anaesthetist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital London. His machine
was a continuous-flow machine prepared in 1917 in the UK. It is reported that a contemporary of the first version
of Boyle’s apparatus was an anaesthetic machine proposed by Geoffrey Marshall (a respiratory physician, 1887-
1982) who during WW1 commanded an ambulance barge. In 1917 he presented the Coxeter Company with his
own design for a sequential device supplying nitrous oxide, oxygen and ether, inspired by Gwathmey’s.
Going back further, James Tayloe Gwathmey (1862-1944) was an American physician and first president of the
American Association of Anaesthetics (now the International Anaesthesia Research Society). He was a pioneer
of early devices for medical use and co-author of the first comprehensive textbook on medical anaesthetics. He
presented the first anaesthetic machine in the USA in 1912 which allowed oxygen, nitrous oxide and ether to be
administered singly or in combination.7 However, Marshall did not publish his invention and Boyle, who had
attended the presentation of Marshall’s machine, made some slight modifications and presented it as his own
device.8 The Coxeter Company decided to manufacture Boyle’s machine and it became the standard anaesthetic
device of the Royal Army Medical Corps in the final stages of WW1.
The notes on Coxeter on the Science Museum website show that the business was founded in 1836 as a maker
of Medical Instruments and Surgical Instruments and that the firm was based in London and Greater London.
By 1843 the business was known as J Coxeter and Co, based at 23 Grafton Street, London. In 1863 the company
was J Coxeter. In 1870 it was J Coxeter and Son, while in 1894 it was known as James Coxeter and Son of
4-6 Grafton Street London. The name Coxeter is also attached to some other items in the collection of medical
implements on the Science Museum web-site. An example seen here (below) was a bullet extractor made by
Coxeter (Grafton Street) London 1850-1920.9 In
1920 the firm was known as Coxeter & Son Ltd
remaining under that name until later taken over
Thanks to Sarah Gould of the Local Studies Centre for information. Images from the Science Museum website
are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 Licence.
1 Rudd W J (1993) Wartime Remembrances: Liberty Print Works Merton Historical Society. Local History Note 8 p.8
2 collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects Then type portable-walton-minnit-apparatus-for-nitrous-oxide-and-air
DOVECOTE REMOVED FROM HERITAGE AT RISK REGISTER
The Historic England announcement reads ‘Following the completion of the major repair and conservation
programme for this building in the grounds of The Canons, which have secured the fabric of the building
allowing it to be fully appreciated and visited, I am very pleased to formally confirm to you that the Dovecote
is no longer considered to be at risk. It has been removed from the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register
and no longer appears in the published Heritage at Risk Register of 2021.’
Alison Plant, Canons Project Manager, writes ‘As you may be aware, the dovecote is one of the oldest buildings
in Mitcham and dates from c.1511. It is a wonderful achievement on the part of the Canons team, council and
community colleagues to have safeguarded this important structure for the future. The building not only helps
to tell the important history of the Canons estate, it will doubtless be enjoyed by generations of visitors to the
park and used as a teaching resource for Merton schools.’
DAVID LUFF deplores the inadequacy of Local Listing
THESE WE (SHOULD NOT) HAVE LOST
Local Listing of Buildings in Merton
The Borough contains a rich heritage of buildings of historical or architectural interest. The Statutory List of
buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest is compiled on behalf of the Secretary of State. In
Merton a relatively small number of buildings have been so identified, but those on the List constitute the most
notable examples in terms of architectural or historical interest to be found in the Borough. They enjoy the
strongest planning protection against proposals involving demolition or inappropriate alteration.
The most important of our buildings are included on this nationally compiled Statutory List, but there are many
others which may be said to contribute to the local scene, or which are valued for their historical associations.
While they may not be of sufficient interest to warrant Statutory Listing, it is nevertheless desirable that their
importance be recognised. Merton Council has therefore, over a period of years, gradually compiled a ‘Local
List’ of buildings of architectural or historical interest.
‘The main benefit of including a building on the Local List is that the Council has sufficient architectural and
historical information to ensure that any development proposals are sympathetic to the character of the building.’
This statement comes from a Merton Council publication of February 2003 Local List Buildings in Merton.
At that time, some 1260 buildings were Locally Listed. Of these, only 29 were identified with photographs.
The word ‘buildings’ also includes statues and street furniture. All these buildings had been assessed on their
age, history, style, building materials, decorative features, the group’s value and any subsequent alterations.
Any one of these buildings could be liable to be de-selected from the List due to any inappropriate alterations,
Commendable as this policy statement above may sound, my own personal view is that it is not worth the paper
it is printed on. It can only inform property owners what it would like them to do, with the reality being that
they can do what they like without any consequences.
Merton’s Local List Heritage Betrayal
We give three examples of buildings where things should have gone better.
The Long Shop / Merton Abbey Mills: This building
was not alone on the Local List. At the public enquiry
of February 1986 regarding the future of the Liberty
Site, which I attended, all the workshops that remained
were given complementary Grade 2 listing, as they
were within the environs of the Grade 2 Water Mill and
the Old Colour House. Neither stipulation prevented
the Long Shop from being subjected to inappropriate
alterations, with the removal of the unique windows and
internal panelling. Pictured here (right) is the Long Shop
after restoration in the late 1980s, since when it has been altered and is now just another factory unit for rent.
The Art-Deco Factory / Raynes Park: (left)
This building, now destroyed, should have been
Grade 2 listed. So why was it not? The answer
appears elementary when you look at the recent
development to its left. The site is now for the
parking of CARS, those objects that now litter
our roads and front gardens. But do not worry,
as I quote a spokesperson from Merton: ‘This
demolition is only temporary and a replica of the
demolished factory will be built when the site is
redeveloped’. End quote. You couldn’t make it up.
Cars before architectural and historical heritage.
The Gasometer / Western Road, Mitcham: (right)
Going, going, gone. The latest Local Listed building
to be demolished, which happened in December 2021.
[DJH: This inaction may perhaps be explained by budgetary
restrictions affecting the Planning Department. For an
apocalyptic view of local government finance, try Googling
‘The Graph of Doom’, together with ‘Local Government
STUDY AFTERNOON: MERTON PRIORY – THE FIRST 100 YEARS
Merton Priory Chapter House Saturday 23 July 2:00pm – 5:00pm BST
This study afternoon explores the first 100 years of Merton Priory, one of the largest and most important
monasteries in England. Our speakers will talk about Merton’s founders, its architecture and inhabitants and
its connections to its neighbours in London. Speakers include:
Professor Janet Burton, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Wales, Trinity St David,
Dr Hugh Doherty, Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of East Anglia, and
Dr Ian Stone, who specialises in London’s history, and is currently editing the Liber de Antiquis Legibus,
the history book of a London alderman.
Admission is free but please register for your ticket on:
(Or you can reach the Eventbrite website by Googling ‘Merton Priory study afternoon’)
[Reminder: the Chapter House is open 11.00am – 4.00pm, every Sunday from April until the end of October.]
MERTON HERITAGE & LOCAL STUDIES EVENTS
Sarah Gould writes: You can now find details of our forthcoming heritage events listed as part of a specific
collection on Eventbrite.co.uk, which includes our monthly Reading Friends sessions and talks scheduled at
West Barnes library. Details can be found at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/cc/heritage-talks-158679
As a Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, EDWARD DUTTON is the ideal person to consider
WEST BARNES: MAKING SENSE OF A MERTON WARD’S IDENTITY CRISIS
‘Where are you from?’ It should be the simplest question in the world; answered with the name of a county,
city, town or village. But for people who live in a certain part of the London Borough of Merton, known locally
as West Barnes or Motspur Park, it’s actually quite complicated.
Officially, the residents live in London. They have done so since 1965, when the Local Government
Organization Act 1963 came into force. It decreed that Merton and Morden Urban District was to join with
Wimbledon and Mitcham to become the London Borough of Merton under the new Greater London Council.
However, if residents of this area say they’re from London, then their neighbours in Raynes Park (with its
London postcode) may remark that West Barnes is ‘not really London’. The postal address, after all, remains
‘New Malden, Surrey’, even though Raynes Park and Wimbledon only became formally ‘London’ in 1965 as
well; the Post Office having long ago given them London postcodes. So, what if the residents say they’re from
Surrey? Then, of course, their near-neighbours in Epsom will note that they don’t come under Surrey County
Council. Surely, they are ‘London’.
But it gets worse. What town are they from? If they say ‘New
Malden’ then people from New Malden will remark that New
Malden is part of Kingston-upon-Thames, and formerly of the
separate borough of Malden and Coombe. Surely, though they
are right on the border of the two boroughs, the people of West
Barnes are Merton and thus, perhaps, ‘Motspur Park’. If they
say they are from Motspur Park then many on the side of the
railway where there are the West Barnes Lane shops will dispute
this. Merton Conservatives – in a post entitled ‘Clean Up West
Barnes!’ – have referred to ‘West Barnes and Motspur Park
Village residents’, drawing a distinction between the two.
Perhaps they should just say they are from ‘West Barnes’; the name of their council ward that also encompasses
‘Motspur Park Village’. But nobody, other than those who live close by, will know what they mean. Thus, few
people will now say that they live in West Barnes.
They used to, however, back when the area was rural. In 1686, ‘Edward Chalkhill, yeoman [wealthy farmer],
of West Barnes in the parish of Merton, Surrey’ had his will proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
In 1811, the same court proved the will of ‘James Carpenter of West Barnes in the village of Merton, Surrey’.
West Barnes was a hamlet within the parish of Merton, the church of which was St Mary’s, in what is now
Merton Park. This large farm originally extended from Beverley Brook all the way to what is now Grand
Drive, which has a London postcode like the rest of Raynes Park. The Gentleman’s Magazine of 1858 referred
to ‘the late Edward Rayne’ (1778-1847), after whom Raynes Park station was named, as being ‘of West Barnes
Park’, so it was obviously thus termed at that point, though ‘West Barnes Park’ was just the north-western
section of the original larger farm. Raynes Park was also in Merton; Wimbledon was a separate parish. Raynes
Park station, which opened in 1871, gave its name to the surrounding area within both parishes.
In the same parish of Merton, specifically at what is now known as ‘Merton Abbey Mills’, there was an
Augustinian priory, at which the later-murdered Archbishop of Canterbury St Thomas Beckett (c.1120 – 1170)
studied. The priory owned the whole of Merton parish; West Barnes being literally the location of its western
barns, but it also owned some 30 acres of land in the neighbouring parish of Malden, and Malden’s St John
the Baptist church was, and remains, in what is now known as ‘Old Malden’. In the 1260s, Lord Chancellor
Walter de Merton (c.1205-1277), who had studied at the priory – which was shut down during the Dissolution
– established Merton College, Oxford, funded from his own estate in Malden.
‘Motspur Park’ – formerly known variously as Firs Farm, Motes Firs and Motts Spur Farm – has always been
in the parish of Malden, not Merton. Its name is preserved in the road Motspur Park, which leads up to the
railway and becomes West Barnes Lane when it crosses Beverley Brook. In that sense, nobody who lives on
the side of the railway line where the shops are – or who lives in West Barnes more broadly – lives in Motspur
Park. Thus, an advert in Lloyd’s List (14 August 1888), referred to an event at ‘Motspur Park, Malden, Surrey’.
The West Middlesex Herald (10 June 1893) reported a case involving ‘Mr Charles Blake of Motspur Park,
Old Malden’ who had been summoned for illegally polluting a covered drain. Blake’s Terrace (West Barnes)
and Blake’s Lane (Kingston-upon-Thames side of the Beverley Brook border) are named after Charles Blake
(1818-1897), a land owner and developer, who was also a London solicitor. He lived in a house in West Barnes
and subsequently in the original ‘Motspur Park’. This Motspur Park farmhouse later came into the ownership
of the BBC [see Bulletin 207]. In 1931, land on the opposite side of the road became part of the University of
London athletic ground, where on 27 June 1953 Roger Bannister (1929-2018) made his first attempt to run a
So, how did this no-man’s land come into being? The answer is through a combination of the railways, the
postal service, local government bureaucracy and the gradual development of a sense of local identity. New
Malden railway station was opened in 1846, making this hamlet, in the parish of Kingston-upon-Thames (not
Malden), an attractive proposition for people commuting into London. Eventually it became significantly
larger than the original village of Malden, which gradually became known as ‘Old Malden’. As more and more
farmland was covered with occupied dwellings, the line between the different parcels of land and between the
different local authorities had to be clear, and New Malden gradually gained a sense of being a distinct town.
Thus, the Local Government Act of 1866 created an official Local Government District: ‘… so much of the
parish of Kingston-upon-Thames … as is not comprised within the limits of the borough of Kingston-upon-
Thames, nor within the limits and jurisdiction of the Surbiton Improvement Commissioners, such part of the
said parish is to be styled New Malden …’ The Act delineated the precise boundaries of the ‘New Malden Local
Government District’. It would include the entire parish of Malden, and one of the district’s boundaries would
be ‘where the parishes of Malden and Merton meet’; this being Beverley Brook (London Gazette, 7 December
Anomalies arose, however. By 1911 at the latest, the Post Office had decreed that West Barnes was a part of
the New Malden postal district (Post Office Guide, 1911, p.498). This would have incentivised people in West
Barnes to give their address as New Malden. The significance of ‘New Malden’, with its railway station, would
also have helped people, including postmen, to find your property. Thus, a Situations Vacant advert for a ‘good
milker’ in the Reading Mercury on 20 April 1895 gave the employer’s address as ‘Blue House Farm, New
Malden, Surrey’. This farm was in West Barnes. The same newspaper carried an advert for pigs for sale on 27
December 1862: ‘Apply to Mr Blake, Blue House Farm, near the Malden Station, Kingston, Surrey’. As early
as 25 April 1865, the Evening Standard carried an advert for cows for sale at ‘Blue House Farm, Old Malden’.
Thus, being so close to the border, many people in West Barnes obviously saw themselves as, essentially, being
When the railway opened a station at what had been known as ‘West Barnes Junction’ in 1925, the station
was named ‘Motspur Park’, possibly so as not to confuse it with ‘Barnes’, further up the line. ‘Motspur Park’
also fitted nicely with ‘Raynes Park’ and ‘Worcester Park’ stations, both of which had existed since the mid-
nineteenth century on the same line. As with New Malden station, the result was a rapid building programme;
the effective end of West Barnes as a rural area. Blue House Farm, part of West Barnes and near what is now the
A3, was purchased by builder Sidney Parkes (1880-1967) and terraced and semi-detached houses were built
on it up until 1927. Due to the name of the station (after an area just over the borough line), people in West
Barnes gradually developed a sense of being from ‘Motspur Park’ and even from ‘Motspur Park in Merton’
while people actually living on what was Motspur Park were in Malden or New Malden.
On 3 April 1920, the Edinburgh Evening News reported an attempted robbery of the Post Office on ‘Seaforth
Avenue, West Barnes, Surrey’. But on 27 August 1931, the Daily Herald reported a burglary at ‘Consfield
Avenue, Motspur Park’, a road in West Barnes. On the same day, the Daily Mirror reported that ‘George
Roland Robinson, of Motspur Park, Merton’ had pleaded guilty to travelling from Southampton to Raynes
Park on the railway without paying.
Peculiarly, The London Gazette, on 1 March 1927, carried the announcement that ‘Sidney Edward Parkes of
The Old Farm House, Motspur Park, Merton, Surrey’ was registering land, for development, in ‘Burlington
Road, Beverley Brook, West Barnes Lane embracing Dudley Lodge, West Barnes Lane and Bluehouse Farm,
Blakes Lane, Merton, Surrey’. So only two years after the opening of the station, someone living in ‘Motspur
Park’ farmhouse – in Malden – referred to it as in ‘Merton’. This may be because West Barnes, in Merton, was
already becoming known as ‘Motspur Park’.
By about 1940, however, there were increasingly references to ‘Motspur Park, New Malden’, implying that it
was a district of New Malden, which it was not. On 16 June 1937, the Chichester Observer reported that the
wife of ‘a retired inspector of a well-known milk company’ who was of ’26 Stanley Avenue, Motspur Park,
New Malden’ had hanged herself. By 1959, newspapers, such as the Birmingham Evening Post on 26 January,
reported that a boy deliberately gassed himself to death at ‘121 Byron Avenue, New Malden’, while on 25
April 1958 Norwood News referred to ‘Consfield Avenue, New Malden’. All of these roads are in West Barnes
and, indeed, are not on the side of the railway line where the West Barnes Lane shops lie.
There was a great deal of crossover, however, reflecting the ambiguous local identity of people living in West
Barnes. As early as 1936, in Newspaper World, there was an announcement about a company based at ’48
Marina Avenue, New Malden, Surrey’, this road being next to the entrance to Sir Joseph Hood Memorial
Playing Fields and off West Barnes’ effective High Street, ie. the shops on West Barnes Lane. The London
Gazette of 26 November 1935 listed ’63, Marina Avenue, Motspur Park, Merton, Surrey, by W. Neale, of that
address’. The Ball Room Dancing Year Book 1970 (p.94) referred to a couple at ’65 Marina Avenue, Motspur
Park, New Malden, Surrey’ yet The Medical Register of 1985 (p.503) listed a medic at ’35 Marina Avenue,
Motspur Park, Surrey’. Even so, as early as 1954, London Calling referred to ‘Motspur Park in London’ when
discussing the 4-minute mile. That said, in the 2012 book Roger Bannister and the Four-Minute Mile: Sports
Myth and Sports History (p.10), historian John Bale refers to ‘Motspur Park in Surrey’.
Latterly, however, there is a growing sense of West Barnes identity. Not only is it a council ward but there is
now even a Facebook Group called ‘Love West Barnes’ and assorted civic organisations such as the ‘West
Barnes Local History Group’. So, perhaps – after all its identity problems – West Barnes is coming full circle,
with the clear sense of place that it had in 1686 when Edward Chalkhill’s will was proved.
FEEDBACK ON THE HADFIELDS [See also p.16]
Christine Pittman answers two questions on the Hadfields business posed in Bulletin 219.
(a) What was the product called ‘He-O-Lin’, visible on one of the firm’s delivery lorries?
Website www.worthpoint.com which provides sales data for art, antiques, etc. shows an advertisement from
a 1924 RAC magazine, promoting He-O-Lin motor car finish – ‘the FINEST FINISH that can POSSIBLY
be obtained – The QUICKEST FINISH – also putting the car out of action for the minimum period. A
combination of PERMANENCE, BEAUTY and ECONOMY’. An undated colour card for He-O-Lin semi-
gloss paint appeared for sale on another website, while Building magazine (Australia) for 12 January 1932 had
an advertisement for He-O-Lin enamel and glossy finishing paint, which came in various ranges: Granador,
Texturol and Permanex.
(b) What did the re-branded Hadfield’s fox look like?
Design consultants Wolff-Olins were commissioned to re-
brand the company in 1967. They did away
with the multitude of names, and brought
back ‘Hadfield’s’, with unifying images
of a fox. The animal was chestnut brown,
with white chest and ears, and black legs
and mask, shown in various poses – running, standing, curled up and full face. It appeared
on lorries, paint tins (right) and stationery (left). The scheme won a D&AD Silver Award for
design for corporate identity: https://www.vads.ac.uk/digital/collection/DIAD/id/10259
Adrian Gault, Mitcham
Cricket Club, noticed a
scorecard (right) from the
Mitcham CC scorebook for
1921. It shows GH (Hugh)
Hadfield, alongside R
Hadfield, both playing for
Merton against Mitcham on
20 August 1921. GH Hadfield
scored 19 in a Merton total
of 197. Adrian assumes the
result was a draw, as Mitcham
reached 179 for 9.
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOP – JANUARY, ZOOM
On 31 January 2022, several Committee members held an experimental local history workshop via Zoom.
♦ Christine Pittman had discovered May Gibbs, an Australian artist related to the Hadfield family. (See p.16)
♦ Rosemary Turner spoke on the 1921 Census, now available online. She had watched an East Surrey FHS
zoom lecture about the 1921 census, the latest to be released, so decided to have a look. This census you can
search by address as well as by person. You have to pay £2.50 to look at the transcript of what the transcriber
thought they could see, or for £3.50 you can see the actual record, plus a separate page with the address, a
map of the area and a page listing the area covered. As well as the occupation of the resident, it gives the
name and address of their present employer, or, if they are out of work, the previous employer.
This was the first census on which Rosemary’s mother appeared. (Her father had just made it onto the 1911
one.) Initially her mother could not be found by person or address, and Rosemary thought that she had tried
all possible variations of the name. However, a friend came up with one more and there she was. The address
had not worked because Rosemary’s grandfather had entered the address as being in Kennington SE and that
his children were born in Kennington, Surrey. Originally the address was in Newington and that is where the
children were born. In the book Names of Streets and Places in the Administrative County of London (LCC,
1955), Lucas Road was shown as being partly in Lambeth and partly in Southwark. Rosemary’s family were
in the Newington/Southwark part. Maybe he thought Lambeth sounded better.
Rosemary also found a sad entry for her father’s sister. She was in an Industrial School in Cuckfield, Sussex,
aged 13. The place was run by nuns and had various uses over the years. Rosemary’s father and his brother
stayed with their mother; the sister would have been 8 when their father died. Rosemary hoped to be able
to get to the Sussex Record Office to look at their records.
♦ Peter Hopkins had been investigating the extensive clues about
the layout of Abraham Goldsmid’s grand house in Morden. His
complex article on a complex subject will appear in a future
♦ Keith Penny was puzzled by the discovery of French roofing
tiles in the building rubble of some of the 1920s houses in
Longthornton (right). These are clearly marked ‘TUILERIES /
DE LEFOREST / PDC’, which refers to the village of Leforest
in the Pas de Calais. How and why did French tiles get onto an
English building site?
♦ Dave Haunton had been alerted to a letter by William Morris referring to the Wandle (see p.4).
While watching a programme on old fairgrounds on Talking
Pictures TV (now Channel 82), Dave had noticed that among film
of traditional rides – helter skelter and swings (right) – one shot
showed a road with tramlines crossing a fair in progress (below).
He suggested, and Tony Scott had emphatically agreed, that this
was actually Mitcham Fair, probably in the 1910s.
CHRISTINE PITTMAN has discovered an artistic relative of the Hadfield family
MAY GIBBS AND MERTON
May Gibbs was an Australian artist who was born in Surrey in 1877, and lived for her first four years in Benhill
Street, Sutton. In 1881, May and her family moved to Australia.
She returned to England on three occasions as a young woman,
chaperoned by her mother, in order to undertake courses at art schools
in London, and to visit galleries and exhibitions. In 1900, they stayed
with relatives in Gander Green Lane, Cheam Fields. In 1904, May
spent her Christmas break with her aunt Emily Hadfield, and her seven
cousins in ‘The Lookout’, on Kingston Road, Merton Park. Emily was
the widow of George Hadfield, owner of the Hadfields paint and varnish
company. Her cousin Alice Hadfield attended art classes with her. May’s
affectionate cartoon of Alice Hadfield (right) is in the collection of the
State Library of New South Wales. May travelled back to England
on her final trip in 1909, where she worked with publishers and was
involved in London life, in particular with the Suffragette movement,
until she returned to Western Australia in 1913.
She moved to Sydney and her
career as an illustrator and author
flourished. Her depictions of
Australian characters supported
the war effort, and the growing
pride in that country as a new
nation. She married Jo Kelly
in 1919. She completed her final
cartoon and retired at the age of 90. Although she died in 1969, she is still
a firm favourite in Australia for her illustrations of native flora and fauna,
and imaginative bushland creatures. They feature in popular children’s
books (such as her book on the Gumnut Babies (left)), on stationery and
calendars, and on fabrics, and her work can be seen in many galleries
All copyrights of May Gibbs’ work belong to The Northcott Society northcott@
northcott.com.au and the Cerebral Palsy Society firstname.lastname@example.org ,
as bequeathed in her will. The Cerebral Palsy Society has kindly granted us
permission to reproduce these two illustrations.
FROM OUR POSTBAG
An anonymous PhD student writes: Dear Ed, here’s a letter – it’s very short and just says ‘I wish I’d
had Peter’s book [Medieval Morden Vol 1] as an undergrad. Everything you wanted to know about the
manorial economy, but were too afraid to ask!’ He’s so modest about all this, ain’t he?!
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 by email to
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: email@example.com