Bulletin 224

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December 2022 – Bulletin 224
The Obelisk in the grounds of The Canons, Mitcham – Tony Scott
The British Newspaper Archive – Peter Hopkins
Shock and Awe in Colliers Wood – Christine Pittman
Two factories and the High Path estate – Norma Cox
and much more

Membership: via Hon. SecretaryHon. Secretary:
Membership: via Hon. SecretaryHon. Secretary:
CHAiR: Peter Hopkins

Part of an extensive tiled panel in one of the residential blocks, High Path Estate (see p.7)

Photo: David Luff

Programme December 2022 – April 2023 2
Have you paid? 2
Visit to Watermen’s Hall – Dave Haunton 3
Merton Priory study afternoon – Katie Hawks 3
Visit to the Reform Club – Tony Scott 4
The Obelisk in the grounds of The Canons, Mitcham – Tony Scott 5
A New Book – The Tooting Terrors In The 70s 5
The British Newspaper Archive – Peter Hopkins 6
Local History Workshops: 5 August – watercolours and prints of St Lawrence Church, Morden;
parch marks in Colliers Wood; High Path murals; Lockdown memories; Which Park? 6
30 September – Covid Chronicles; Railway Modeller discovers Merton; Hadfields and Knees;
St David’s School; The Lodge, Morden; more on parch marks; Mitcham Grove again 8

‘Shock and Awe in Colliers Wood’ – Christine Pittman 10
Two factories and the High Path estate – Norma Cox 13
Discovery Day 20 August 2022 – Dave Haunton 16
Hot off the press! – Poor Relief in Morden 1750-1834 16

Saturday 10 December 2022 at 2.30pm Roger Squires
London Bridge over the River Thames
Saturday 14 January 2023 at 2.30pm Adrian Waddingham
Breakspear the English Pope
Saturday 11 February 2023 at 2.30pm Edward Legon
Anthony Sadler and the goings-on in Mitcham Parish
Saturday 11 March 2023 at 2.30pm Richard Smart
The Salvation Army history in Merton
Saturday 15 April 2023 Matt Nichol of Cotswold Archaeology
Worcester Park Gunpowder Mill Site
Local History Workshops: 27 January, 24 March and 19 May 2023 from 2.30pm
at the Wandle industrial Museum, next door to the Vestry Hall, Mitcham.
Do join us. You don’t have to share any research unless you wish to.
Visitors are very welcome to attend any of our events.
Meetings are held in St James’s Church Hall in Martin Way, next to the church.
Buses 164 and 413 stop in Martin Way (in both directions) immediately outside.
Parking in adjacent streets is free.
Saturday 10 December 2022 at 2.30pm Roger Squires
London Bridge over the River Thames
Saturday 14 January 2023 at 2.30pm Adrian Waddingham
Breakspear the English Pope
Saturday 11 February 2023 at 2.30pm Edward Legon
Anthony Sadler and the goings-on in Mitcham Parish
Saturday 11 March 2023 at 2.30pm Richard Smart
The Salvation Army history in Merton
Saturday 8 April 2023 Matt Nichol of Cotswold Archaeology
Worcester Park Gunpowder Mill Site
Local History Workshops: 27 January, 24 March and 19 May 2023 from 2.30pm
at the Wandle industrial Museum, next door to the Vestry Hall, Mitcham.
Do join us. You don’t have to share any research unless you wish to.
Visitors are very welcome to attend any of our events.
Meetings are held in St James’s Church Hall in Martin Way, next to the church.
Buses 164 and 413 stop in Martin Way (in both directions) immediately outside.
Parking in adjacent streets is free.

Dave Haunton recommends this unassuming programme on Talking Pictures TV (Channel 82), currently
broadcast at 17.00 on Sunday, with earlier editions at 09.00 on Thursday. Each episode shows a number of

short films, some commercial, about anything – football clubs, children’s comics, the Ovaltiney’s song, the
city of Liverpool, etc -and some family films, usually of holidays, where the viewer is asked to identify where

and when they were taken. The presenters, Mike Read, disc jockey, etc, and Noel Cronin, founder of TPTV,
are both post retirement age, but not exactly retired, and become unashamedly reminiscent when discussing
viewers’ responses. A stroll down Memory Lane.


Subscriptions for 2022-2023 are now overdue. Please note that this will be the last issue to
reach you if we do not receive your payment before the March Bulletin. A membership form was
enclosed with the September Bulletin. Current rates are:

Individual member £12, Additional member in same household £5, Full-time Student £5.

Cheques are payable to Merton Historical Society and should be sent with completed forms to
our Membership Secretary .


The Report to the AGM of retiring Chair Keith Penny is enclosed, on a separate sheet, and new Chair Peter
Hopkins adds his own remarks on the future directions of the Society. Both ask for your ideas.

Please comment by email to mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk or by letter to Peter at the address on p.16.



On Monday 23 June 2022 a small party visited this London Hall for a conducted tour. We were firmly instructed

that the Watermen do not form a Livery Company, but are a guild of artisans, uniting the Watermen, who
carried passengers, mainly across the river (as an alternative to their using London Bridge, for centuries the
only foot crossing) and the Lightermen, who originally handled cargo, travelling mainly up and down the
river, or from ship to pier. The Company of Watermen of the River Thames was founded in 1514, with the
Lightermen joining the Watermen’s Company in 1700. The Company is governed by a Court of Assistants, led
by the Master and four Wardens, who are elected annually by the Court.

The Hall is not as grand as one might expect, occupying one of several divisions of a 1780 office block. It

has quite a narrow entrance, leading to a conventional entrance hall and a committee room lit, partially and
unusually, by semi-circular internal windows to the hallway, at picture-rail level. A long, narrow, semi-spiral
staircase leads up to two formal chambers of some size, one being the Hall (or Court Room) proper, the other

the Silver Room. The Hall has a fine Georgian ceiling; the main decorative features being the Master’s grand

formal chair, and the many paintings around the walls, of prominent Watermen, and of course of many boats,
wherries and shallops. Traditionally the Master presents the Company with a piece of ornamental silver at

the end of his term. These, and Doggett’s Badges, now form a magnificent display in the Silver Room. The

Company’s Charity runs the Royal Benevolent and Education Fund, which provides accommodation for retired

Freemen (and their widows or widowers) who find themselves in reduced circumstances, at Watermen’s Close,

Hastings, and assists with the training and education of its apprentices. The Charity also has an obligation to
preserve the building of Watermen’s Hall.

We were regaled with many traditions and tales (often scurrilous). Under an Act of 1555 the Company introduced
apprenticeships for those wishing to learn the skills of the Watermen. New apprentices still sign a seven-year

indenture, with periodic exams on their proficiency in cables, knots and the necessary skilled manoeuvres.

Interestingly, they must have some continuity of river work (family, experience) to join the Company. The
Company runs special boat races along the river, including one for apprentices. Doggett’s Coat and Badge race
is run annually by six men rowing against the ebb tide from Greenwich to the Houses of Parliament. Winners
are awarded a large silver badge to wear on their formal scarlet uniform.
A number of Royal Watermen (never more than 30) man the Royal Barge,
and perform other royal duties at St James’s Palace [the Barge Master in
his scarlet coat was visible on TV at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II].

With a personal connection to the monarch, they are officially allowed

to handle the Crown Jewels. Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, visited in
1740 during his boat-building days. One John Tyler for a bet rowed a boat
constructed of paper for some miles along the Thames. And the Company
boasts of a connection to the capture of the treasure depot of Porto Bello
of Panama in 1739, but I can’t read my notes on why.

David Haunton
KATiE HAWKS summarises the recent

On Saturday 23rd July, the Chapter House opened its doors to a conference for the first time since the sixteenth
century. This explored the first century of Merton Priory’s existence, on a date chosen to mark the death of
Gilbert the Sheriff, founder of the Priory, on 26th July 1125. [You can read about his life and death in our A Priory
Founded.] The speakers included two of the leading academics on the Augustinians, Professor Janet Burton
and Dr David Robinson, who set the scene by talking about the evolution and context of the Augustinians and
about their architecture – accompanied by stunning slide shows. My own contribution focused on the literary
achievements of our canons – from Guy of Merton [whose life is the subject of another MHS booklet!], through
theological and philosophical treatises, to a noteworthy thirteenth-century Bible. This took us to the thirteenth

century for our final paper, on Merton and history writing in London and its environs by Dr Ian Stone, who

also described the adventures of writing the history of history writing. The house was gratifyingly full – over
100 people – and several local history societies were represented. The Q & A session drew some interesting
questions and even took us slightly over time. Merton Priory Trust and their Chapter House management hope

this is the first of many such study afternoons. Thanks go to John Hawks for organising the projector, sound

and refreshments, and to Toby the Priory Dog for organising John.



On 11 August, during one of the heatwaves this year, four stalwarts travelled to central London to join a guided
tour of the Reform Cub, organised by Bea Oliver. It was a very interesting and informative visit, made even better
by the fact that the excellent guide only had four of us to lead.

In 1832 the Great Reform Act was passed which substantially revised the method of parliamentary representation.
It abolished the principle of the ‘rotten boroughs’ and obsolete boroughs being represented in the House of

Commons by a person who had bought the privilege of being an MP, and introduced universal suffrage for men

based solely on landholding. The Reform Bill was strongly opposed by the Tory Party in Parliament and was only
passed by the combined support of the Whig Party, the Radical party and other non-aligned MPs.

To celebrate the passing of the Bill and the defeat of the Tory opposition to it, and to provide a centre for their
political activities, a coalition of MPs agreed to form a London Club. There were 250 founding members, not all

of whom were MPs. The Club first opened its doors to members in a house at 104 Pall Mall, on 24 May 1836,

on land leased from the Crown Estates, which it still is. Planning for a new building began swiftly, and, after an
architectural competition, Sir Charles Barry was selected to create a new clubhouse. Barry’s design was inspired
by the Italian Renaissance architecture that he was exposed to as a young student in Rome. The front façade of
the Clubhouse borrows from the Palazzo Farnese, a building studied closely by Barry, which was completed in

1589 by Michelangelo. The Reform Club’s clubhouse was finished in 1841 and was immediately hailed as a

masterpiece of classical architecture. The builder’s quotation for the building was £40,000 but it actually cost
double that sum. When I consulted some standard historical value tables, it indicated that the cost could be about

100 times this figure nowadays (i.e. £8 million). This obviously excluded the land value, but I feel sure that

today’s rebuilding cost would be considerably more than this.
We entered the building up a number of stone steps and when inside we found ourselves in a large decorated

mosaic floored rectangular enclosure, surrounded by a classical colonnade. The columns rose to a first-floor

balcony on all four sides and then up to a glass-domed roof – a truly impressive place.

There are a number of large portraits set into the synthetic marble panelling in both ground floor and first floor

colonnades. Many are Whig or Liberal Prime Ministers. One such is Earl Grey (PM 1830-34), another is William
Gladstone (1868-74, 1880-85 and 1892-1894) and yet another is Lord Palmerston (Henry John Temple) (185558
and 1859-65). There is a very lifelike bronze bust of David Lloyd George (1916-22) who was the last Liberal
Prime Minister and the last Prime Minister to be a member of the Reform Club. There are portraits of other
politicians, such as Daniel O’Connell, an Irish MP and member of the Radical Party. He was a strong supporter
of the Reform Bill, and successfully fought for Catholic Emancipation, which required removal of the laws that

prohibited Catholics from attending university, practising law and being appointed to any public office. There is

also a large portrait of William Edward Forster, MP, who guided through Parliament the Education Act of 1870

that bears his name. This established universal elementary education for the first time, under the administrative

control of the Privy Council. Winston Churchill was a member when a Liberal MP (1900-15).

There are a number of large rooms surrounding the central area on the ground floor and leading off the balcony
all around the first floor. Many of these rooms are reading rooms and are all lined, floor to ceiling, with books. A

number of very well know authors were members, such as J M Barrie, Charles Dickens, E M Forster, Henry James,

William M Thackery and H G Wells. In 1872 Jules Verne set the start and finish of his ‘Around the World in Eighty
Days’ in the Reform Club. It is a tradition that any member who publishes a book donates a copy to the Club.

Interestingly, the Dining Room that has about 100 seats is called the Coffee Room in the Club as a carryover from
when political business was done in coffeehouses. There are 46 bedrooms for members on the second and third
floors. These are private and we did not see them.

Members are no longer either politicians or authors and membership has been widened to include prominent
academics, parliamentarians, lawyers, economists, civil servants, artists, adventurers, scientists, journalists and a
wide range of professional and business women and men.

Women were first admitted to membership in 1981. Baroness Boothroyd, Speaker of the House from 1992 to

2000, is a member. So also is Lady Hale of Richmond, President of the Supreme Court (2017-2020).

I am sure that you want to know how to become a member of the Reform Club. You need to be proposed by two
current members, have your application approved by the Membership Committee and pay the subscription of
£1344 pa. Thanks to Bea for arranging this interesting visit.

Tony Scott


TONY SCOTT celebrates the anniversary of

The Obelisk at the corner of The Canons grounds very close to the junction of Cricket Green, Cranmer Road
and Madeira Road, Mitcham, is so obvious and is a local landmark, but how many people know why it is there?

The summers of 1820, 1821 and 1822 were particularly dry and there was a severe drought in the locality. This
sounds familiar doesn’t it? The well on Cranmer Green at the junction of Cranmer Road and Madeira Road
had run dry and the Wandle could not be used as a source of drinking water on account of its pollution by the
tanneries washing hides in it. No doubt prayers for rain were said in the Parish Church.

One fine day in 1822 water started to trickle up from the parched ground at

this corner of The Canons estate, and this was clean water. A miracle had
happened. The villagers of Mitcham were overjoyed and to commemorate
the occasion and to give gratitude to God, the memorial was built on the site
of the spring at the expense of the lord of the manor, Rev Richard Cranmer,
who lived at The Canons. Egyptian antiquities were very popular at that
time, so an obelisk was chosen as a commemorative memorial. It is built
of brick and rendered in lime-based ‘Roman cement’. It has two limestone
tablets inset into it, the smaller one gives the date of the occurrence of the
spring as 25 September 1822 and the larger one has inscribed on it four
relevant Biblical verses; three from the Psalms and one from Joel. I expect
that the obelisk was formally dedicated a few months afterwards, perhaps
in the spring of 1823, by Rev Richard Cranmer himself, but I know of no
documentary evidence to support this.

The geological reason for the formation of the artesian spring is that due to the particularly dry summer
the surface clay dried and cracked. This allowed water in the underlying chalk layer to be forced up by the
pressure of the water in the chalk in the surrounding high ground such as Sutton and Wallington. The fact that
it occurred when it did, may well be a miracle, who knows. Photos – Irene Burroughs

The 200th anniversary of the appearance of the artesian spring was
Sunday 25 September 2022 and this was celebrated by a small ceremony
on the day led by Tony Burton, Secretary of Mitcham Cricket Green
Community & Heritage, the local amenity society. Approximately 20

– 25 people assembled around the obelisk to hear a summary of the
events leading up to the appearance of the artesian spring and a number
of questions were posed concerning whether the spring still exists, and if
it does, where does the water now run?
In order to find the water, participants were issued with water divining

rods fashioned from wire coat hangers and given some basic instructions
regarding water divining. There was limited success at this activity and
it was great fun, although I don’t think that many hidden watercourses
were discovered. The whole activity lasted for a little less than one hour
but at least, the bi-centenary was celebrated and some local residents

learned for the first time why the obelisk is there.


The Tooting Terrors In The 70s A4 format, 152 pages, many photographs. Basic price £15, cost by second

class post £19.70, from the author, Jeff Brooks, at brooksjeff18@aol.com.

Society member Jeff is also the author of
We Woz Robbed In ’59. This new book is a history of Tooting &
Mitcham United FC during the 1970s, including their FA Cup runs, set in the background of social events of the

time. Although Tooting comes first in both club name and book title, the club was actually based in Mitcham

for over 100 years, moving to Morden in 2002. Sarah Gould has reviewed the book, commenting ‘… a valuable
addition to Merton’s sporting heritage. A great read for football fans, local history enthusiasts and nostalgia

lovers alike … The use of contemporary newspaper coverage offers a fascinating insight into the people and

players driving the club, as well as the challenges faced by local football during this turbulent period’.


PETER HOPKiNS has been delving into

In October 2021 I took out a 3-month subscription to the British Newspaper Archive (https://www.
britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) and was amazed at the wealth of information on Merton and Morden for the
period 1800 to 2000. My main research interest is in tracing the history of properties in Merton and Morden, so

I was delighted to find sale adverts ranging from large estates, such as Nelson’s Merton Place, down the scale

to humble cottages. These adverts
covered freehold, leasehold and
copyhold properties, and occasionally
there are details of the price paid for
the latter. Merton Place was one of
several properties that found no buyer
(see extract, right, from Saint James’s
Chronicle – Thursday 8 June 1815
image in Public Domain).

However, the adverts for the building materials to be sold after demolition give us details about structure that
we would never have known otherwise. The land was then sold for building plots, some of which were soon
developed and the new buildings advertised for lease or sale, while other plots were bought as investments and
reappear on the land market over many years. When leases were sold, there were often accompanying adverts

for the furniture and personal effects of the outgoing tenant, and the agricultural or manufacturing stock of

farmers or industrialists. The latter sales were frequently the result of bankruptcy, and the newspapers recorded
the process from dissolution of partnerships through bankruptcy proceedings to the resultant sales.

Other announcements include Births, Marriages and Deaths, and occasionally there were reports on funerals
and even legacies left by the deceased. The local health authorities recorded outbreaks of infectious diseases
and mortality and birth rates for each parish, and there were regular reports by the Guardians of the Poor.

Fires, accidental and deliberate, were also reported, as were burglaries and other offences, though none received

quite so much cover as the Pimlico Poisoning Case, where a wife was accused of administering chloroform
internally to her husband, the chloroform having been purchased for her by her suspected lover, a Methodist
minister whom she and her late husband had befriended when they lived in The Cottage at Merton Abbey, and
attended his church nearby. For more details, look it up on Wikipedia – I don’t want to spoil the story by telling
you the verdict!

This is just a short selection of the items that had caught my eye – from licensing appeals to sewage plans –
though I was relieved that plans for a Grand Ship Canal from Portsmouth to London via Merton and Morden
did not go ahead. Our area seems to have been a centre for sporting activities, from stag hunting across the

fields to pedestrian races, as well as the usual football and cricket. I have left plenty of source material to be

uncovered by anyone thinking of researching almost any aspect of 19th- and 20th-century life!

5 August 2022 – Five present – Dave Haunton in the Chair

♦ Peter Hopkins had his knuckles rapped for bringing along two watercolours and three prints that he had
borrowed from St Lawrence Church, Morden, to scan for use in forthcoming publications. The church is
hoping to get permission to deposit them at Surrey History Centre and to retain scanned copies, suitably
labelled. As they were in urgent need of reframing, the old tape holding them in place being worn and torn,
Peter had put them into inert Polypockets that he had purchased at The National Archives bookshop, but
was told in no uncertain terms that that was the worst thing he could have done, as they could retain damp!
He has since replaced them in their original mounts and frames, re-taping them with gummed tape, and has
returned them to the church during the long process of getting permission.
♦ Katharina Mayer Haunton was unableto attend, buthad written notes for Peter. She had examined the five
pictures and had been able to add further information to that obtained from the church. The two watercolours,
(which will be reproduced in our forthcoming study of Poor Relief in Morden), were purchased when the
contents of an extra-illustrated copy of Lysons’s Environs of London (1792) were put up for sale in the


1950s, and depict the church before the addition of the vestry in 1805. A large lithograph by C Burton, which
includes a small plan also omitting the vestry, is identical to the one published in Views of all the Churches
and Chapelries in the County of Surrey, Plate 93, published in 26 parts between 1823 and 1827 by C T
Cracklow (reprinted by Surrey Local History Council in 1979), except that Cracklow’s version includes

the vestry. Katharina pointed out that lithography as a technique
entered Britain only c.1801, and she would have expected from the
style of drawing that the print dated from the 1820s, so perhaps it
was based on an earlier drawing or, as Dave suggested, perhaps the
plans had been drawn on to the prints. The earliest print, from 1789
by John Seago (right), combines engraving (mostly for the sky)
and etching, a combination of techniques then commonly used for
book illustrations, and usually called steel engraving. The remaining
print, another steel engraving, is dated 1795 and had been cut from
a copy of the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1800 pt. II p.1131, and was
accompanied by a short article in the form of a letter.

♦ Christine Pittman has long been intrigued by the large outlines that appear in dry weather in the grass of the
Playing Field beside the Recreation Ground and Singlegate School in Colliers Wood (below). A large solid
square area, comparable in size to the school buildings, is surrounded by narrow symmetrical rectangular
stretches. Dave suggested the solid area might be the concrete base of a Victorian milking parlour, while the
narrower patches might be the foundations of garden walls. Peter suggested it would be worth looking at
the old Ordnance Survey maps on the National Library of Scotland website (links from our website in the
19th-century sections dealing with each of our three ancient parishes), to see what buildings have occupied
the site in the recent past. (Subsequent examination of the maps merely shows open fields from the 1860s

to the present day.)

♦ David Luff
brought along some photos of the tiled murals on the walls of each of the tower blocks on the
1950s-1960s High Path estate (p.1 & below). He is concerned that they will probably be destroyed with the
new development by Clarion Housing.
Hehad spentmuch of thefirstLockdown breaking theCovid-19 restrictions, travelling around photographing

both locally and in Central London. He showed us a couple of photos of Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar
Square completely devoid of humans, just the lovable pigeons.


He also quoted from government official advice

for train-spotters during the first Lockdown of

2020 – yes, they did exist! You could collect train
numbers and observe trains, so long as it was on
the route of your daily exercise, but could not
stand still on the end of a platform.

David said he had been extremely fortunate to
photograph a Class 70 diesel-electric locomotive
(only 37 ever built) running light through
Wimbledon station in August 2020 (right).

♦ Dave Haunton discussed the figure on the Woodman pub in Durnsford Road (see September Bulletin).
♦ Rosemary Turner asked about the location of the recent fire, variously reported to have been in Morden
Park or Morden Hall Park. One newspaper had comments from the National Trust clarifying that it was in
Morden Hall Park.
Peter Hopkins

30 September 2022 – Five present – Peter Hopkins in the Chair

♦ David Luffbrought along several publications: The Covid Chronicle, a well-illustrated booklet of children’s
responses to the recent epidemic, sponsored in part by Merton Priory Trust; one copy of Railway Modeller
featuring the Surrey Iron Railway; and a second illustrating the railways at the Express bottling plant at
Morden South, including a photo of the tiny, bright blue, Express shunting locomotive.
♦ Dave Haunton made a technical point about the Oldenberg Knees. The models were of ‘flexible latex’and
thus could be bent or slightly deformed, but the ‘coat of polyurethane’ had to allow bending and stretching
(by force or accident), or expansion and contraction (by heat, cold or pressure) without cracking or crazing,
which would destroy the value of the work. The coating represents a considerable technical advance by

We had an enquiry about the history of St David’s School, which the lady had attended for several years until
it closed in 1971. With little mention in the literature and no picture on Merton Memories, we were left with

street and telephone directories. From these we find St David’s was a private school catering for ‘girls and

Froebel kindergarten’ and ‘preparatory for boys’. It started in 1928 at Douglas Avenue, New Malden, (on
the south side, between Seaforth Avenue and Adela Avenue). After four years it moved to 138 Grand Drive,
Raynes Park, (on the east side, by Cannon Close) but after only two years moved again, to 181 West Barnes
Lane, New Malden, where it stayed until at least 1940. At some date before 1961, the school moved once
more, to105 Grand Drive, SW20 (on the east side, by Blenheim Road), where it stayed until closure in 1971.
Presumably each was rented or leased. All these site were within short distances of one another, perhaps to
encourage current customers to continue paying. [NB All are within the West Barnesuda Triangle.]

The first principal, and presumed founder, was Miss G O Jones, NFU. By the mid-1950s she had been

succeeded by Miss Strickland, who left in the early 1960s, to be succeeded possibly by a Mr or Mrs Sinclair.

Miss Jones insisted on displaying her NFU qualification, which indicated the award of a Certificate of

competence from the National Froebel Union (the National Froebel Trust from 1938). Friedrich Froebel was
a German educator who invented the kindergarten, and promulgated the concept of learning through play.
A Facebook Group, Wimbledon Schools Friends, has a few memories of the school. Girl 1: ‘Miss Strickland
was very keen on putting on variety shows both at Wimbledon Town Hall and Wimbledon swimming baths
(boarded over in the winter). I didn’t think the education was that good – I learnt more in the four years I
was at Ricards Lodge 1961 to 1965!’ Boy 1: I was there from 1957 to 1960. I was in those shows. I recited
‘Just like a Man’ and sang’. Girl 2: ‘I was in Mrs Brown’s class at some point but for the last two years in
Miss Angel’s. Got me through the 13+ too. We used to do basket making in the big hall.’ Boy 2: ‘On the
day that they announced the 13+ results the assembly was attended by Norman Wisdom. I think that he was

related to a pupil.’Girl 3: ‘I was in Mrs Endicott’s class 1963-64. I received a prize for not biting my finger

nails until the end of term.’ Other teachers recalled include Mrs Plaice, Mr Cakebread, who a girl remembers
taught cricket, and Mr Spoors, whom three pupils remembered as ‘a very odd bloke indeed!’.

♦ Rosemary Turner had found an undated postcard of Lodge Lane, Morden (opposite, courtesy Sutton
Archives, copyright holder unknown), posted on one of the local Facebook group sites. It was produced by
Batchelor Bros, Croydon, but CNHSS had not come across it. The postcard shows the former foot path to
Sutton Road (Bishopsford Road) and the carriage-way to The Lodge, which later became Farm Road. It

must have been taken before
1929 as the buildings of The
Lodge estate were then being
demolished for the subsequent
St Helier estate.

Visible in the far distance
is a building with a long
sloping roof. This resembles
Vincent Lines’ 1929 drawing
(reproduced in Merton, Morden
and Wimbledon Drawings
1928-1931) of the rear of the
Lodge Gate House, which was
on Central Road, at the entrance
to The Lodge estate. Using tithe
maps Rosemary assumed that
the building in the foreground was one which appeared when the Hoares ceased to live at The Lodge and the

land was split up. On the 1901 census it was referred to as Lodge Cottage. (It is difficult to pin down some

of the buildings on the estate using the census.) The footpath / carriage drive ran straight from this building
to Central Rd. In the other direction it turned and went through the farm yard before continuing onto Sutton
Rd / Bishopsford Rd. The farm buildings and The Lodge house were some distance from the footpath.

Vincent Lines did several drawings of the estate but unfortunately not one of the house itself, which was in
bad way by 1910 and probably demolished by 1929. People must have been aware of it as the woodland in
the present recreation ground occupies the shape of the grounds of the house. Lines’ drawing of ‘The last
cottages of Central Road’ describes them as being adjacent to the Lodge Gate House. In the 1910 Valuations
and the census one is named Rose Cottage but Rosemary has not found a name for the other.

♦ Christine Pittman has continued her search for the reason for the parch mark in Colliers Wood Playing
Field, (see Workshop 5 August), but has found no features on maps of the 19th or 20th centuries. Housing for
pigs or a dairy are possibilities. Dave Haunton now suggested it might have had a WW2 military function,
eg. as a base for wooden or Nissan huts, as military installations are often unremarked on official maps until

they are no longer in use.

♦ Peter Hopkins entertained us with lessons (re-)learned from his research wrong-doings while tracing the
origins of the Mitcham Grove estate. Lesson no.1 – check before returning a document that you haven’t
ignored part of it – is there a second page? No.2 – check printed authors for completeness of their quotes
– he found one who mentioned one property and omitted the other 29. No.3 – always read to the end of a
document, however boring or repetitive, as there could be surprising information in the final section.

Pursuing the Mitcham Grove estate, Peter had already discovered that Reigate manor claimed to hold the
mills at Mitcham Bridge and 30 acres of land, but while at TNA recently he had a real shock, discovering that
the site of the Tudor mansion that became Mitcham Grove was part of these 30 acres of Reigate freehold!
The house seems to have been that known as Maresgarden in the 16th century, when owned by the Stondon
family. And they owned it before the Dissolution of Merton Priory. This leaves him with three main loose
ends: When and how did Reigate manor obtain lordship of these 30 acres? How and when did the Stondons
obtain the freehold? Which of them sold it to the Smyths?

Apossible answer to the first question is that in 1086 the Wicford estate had been held by the Canons of

Bayeux from the Bishop of Bayeux, Odo, the half-brother of William the Conqueror. He had supported
Robert of Normandy against William Rufus in their fraternal battles for the Crown, and had been stripped of
all his estates by victorious Rufus. It may be that 30 acres in Wicford were awarded to William de Warenne,
another of the Conqueror’s nobles loyal to Rufus, who was soon to receive the castle and manor of Reigate.

Although these questions currently remain unanswered, Peter now has enough information to produce a
series of maps showing the development of the estate, detailing the 16th-century acquisitions by the Smyths,
the 17th-century allocation between two sons (one of whom sold three large properties), the 18th-century
sales by their Myers descendants, ending with the reliable 19th century surveys. However (there is always

a however) there is a 19-acre field in Carshalton that seems to have been among the lands purchased in the

16th century and sold in the 18th, but was not obvious in the 17th!

Dave Haunton


Our new Vice Chair, CHRiSTiNE PiTTMAN, shares the talk she gave after our recent AGM

How an ‘ill-defined twilight area of metropolitan London’, a ‘forgotten out-of-town centre’, and a ‘non-place’,

which was ‘woeful beyond description’ is revealed as being witness to 2,000 years of history-making events.

This is 182 High Street, Colliers Wood, and the view from it. It is the building where my Uncle Alf was born in

1910, and where his father was listed in the 1911 census as the owner and ‘coffee house keeper’. The household

consisted of Arthur Rivers, aged 35, his wife and ‘assistant’ Florence, aged 36, 5 children, aged from 13 years to
10 months (2 further children had not survived), and 7 boarders, aged from 24 to 58, all male and in employment,
and 3 of them married. The family moved to Tooting in 1912, where Arthur died 8 years later. The hard work of
running a household of 14 seemed to do Florence no harm – she lived to be 80, after re-marrying at the age of 67.

Nowadays, this building lives up to that sad description – woeful and forgotten – having been left empty for the
past 5 years. Yet this is a locally listed building, part of a late 18th/early 19th century parade of shops in the
‘debased Georgian style once common in the expanding villages of suburban Surrey’.

After starting out researching the
building itself, I focussed instead on
its location, going back 2,000 years, to

a time when the River Wandle flowed

freely towards the Thames. It would
have passed immediately behind
the location of our building, and on
occasion, can still be found close by,
when heavy rains inundate Wandle
Park. The Wandle had been described

as ‘a pretty, old fashioned stream, passing through some of the sylvan beauty of Surrey’, but when roused, it could
create torrents strong enough to tear up pavements, and create vast lakes. Our building stands within Flood Zone

This site is also in LB Merton’s Archaeological Priority Zone Stane Street (Lower North). Across here marched
the Roman army, on their way from Chichester to London. What artefacts might lie under the building? What
a surprise it would have been to see and hear these strange men with their peculiar clothes and foreign language,
crossing the empty landscape in a straight line, leaving behind a perfectly constructed road, only for it to become
a main route for even more men, armies, horses and carts over the next 400 years.

Somewhere here the Romans had to ford the Wandle, they might even have built a mansio, an overnight rest stop

and place to eat. Was it here that the memory of place lingered on to become a 20th century coffee house and

lodging rooms?

The Romans left, but Stane Street remained, albeit uncared for and overgrown, never entirely disappearing. In
the early 12th century, another group of strange men in peculiar clothes, sometimes speaking a version of that
same foreign language, began building an Augustinian priory. Travelling between their houses in Southwark and
Merton on this very road, were people, horses, carts, building materials – indeed 17 canons ‘marched festively’ to
their new home on 3 May 1117. One can assume this meant crowds of people and much noise.

For the next 400 years, the Priory grew in size, with an enormous aisled hall, chapter house, numerous chapels,

stables, guest accommodation, cemetery and fishponds, and attracted kings, queens, bishops, archbishops,

deacons, cardinals, all with their retinues of horses, dogs and hawks, loudly passing our site. And they came with
their demands to be housed, fed and watered.


The Dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII meant that many of the Priory’s buildings were demolished and
the stone was removed by 1538. And yet our rural backwater didn’t escape the next upheaval as, in 1648, Civil
War parliamentarian troops were garrisoned at Merton Abbey.

Textile and flour mills increased in number on the Wandle, bringing with them increased movement of people,

including skilled immigrant workers from Europe, and air and water pollution.

In 1755, that busy street-trackway-road was recognised by the government, and it became a turnpike road, with
the tollgate and toll-keeper’s cottage almost opposite our site, at the VIII mile stone from the Standard in Cornhill.

As if it wasn’t enough for our location to be sited on a main road, with horses and carriages and carts all stopping
to pay the toll, in 1803 the Surrey Iron Railway crossed the road in almost exactly the same location, carrying
coal, building materials, lime, manure, corn and seeds. Could it possibly get any busier and noisier? By the
middle of the 19th century, our site had become the hub of Singlegate village, with more cottages and shops being
built alongside.

In 1874, Christchurch and Singlegate Board Schools were completed, and in 1875 this part of Mitcham became
Colliers Wood. In 1881, William Morris moved his works to Merton Abbey, attracted by the waters of the Wandle
and possibly also by the heritage aspect of mediaeval buildings, which chimed with his ideas on the design and
manufacture of tapestries, carpets, weaving, dying and printing. He was joined in 1882 by William de Morgan
whose ‘Merton Abbey’ pottery works were located near Byegrove Road. Did the great men or their workers meet
up to discuss their designs next door at the Royal Standard public house, which is first named in the records in
1881 (though it may have existed before this as The Rose & Crown)?

Or did they prefer to meet in Singlegate coffee house, which makes its appearance in the records in 1887? David
Bradbrook was the first recorded proprietor. On 4 August 1894, on the Bank Holiday weekend, the Temperance
Coffee Palace celebrated its grand opening in Mitcham, with a procession headed by four bands including the
Mitcham Temperance Band and Wimbledon & Merton Temperance Brass Band, all the way to the fields adjoining


It would have been possible to hear the bands and see the fireworks from Singlegate coffee house, though I can
find no links to the temperance movement here. It may just have been part of the late Victorian trend to locate
coffee houses next to public houses, in order to offer the working classes an opportunity to consume hot food

and drinks at a reasonable price, in comfortable surroundings, where it was possible to read newspapers and

magazines, and talk with friends, without the temptation or expense of alcohol. Of course, some coffee houses

may have been slightly less salubrious, with greasy food and stewed tea, consumed in murky and uncomfortable
conditions. Nothing much has changed.

In 1897, William Eklund was running the business at no 182, and, when, on Saturday 18th June 1904, Buffalo

Bill’s Wild West & Congress of Rough Riders of the World erected its tent on the corner of High Street and
Byegrove Road, he would have experienced the same sensation as an artist living near Earl’s Court, who
complained: ‘a nuisance of noise and smell: the shouting of the performers and the roars of the crowd, including

the sound of the brass band, was excessive, and the smell, particularly in hot weather, of the horses and buffaloes,

was overwhelming.’

By 1905 Turnpike House had made way for a Fire Station, where Mitcham no 2 engine was based and in 1907,
the electric tramway was extended from Tooting Broadway to Wimbledon, both adding to the general noise and

In 1909, George Henry Savage took over the coffee house, with the address now confirmed as 182 High Street,
followed in 1910 by Arthur Rivers and his family, my first contact with this site. Mrs M Milton was proprietress in

1912, then the space lay empty until Henry Sheen opened his dining rooms in 1915. He remained there in business
until 1919, and at this point, individual shops in this row seemed to swap identity – John Gibb was a greengrocer at

no 182, while coffee rooms were opened at no 188. Ernest Pope and then Ernest Ward continued as greengrocers
at 182, while James Challen, Henry Bryant and John Ffelan took turns running the coffee rooms at 188.

Everything changed in 1925 when Sydney Watts, furniture dealer, arrived at no 182 High Street, and the beer
retailer who had been in the Royal Standard since 1909 made way for a butchers. I wonder if this is connected to the
fact that the new underground station of Colliers Wood opened on the extended Northern Line in 1926. There must
have been severe disruption of people’s lives as the line was excavated and the station constructed. It was possibly

the final step towards the total integration of our site into suburban London. Fraser McConnell, LRCP, LRCS, LM

physician and surgeon, opened his surgery at no 182 in 1933, remaining until the Second World War started.


In 1941, a British Restaurant was opened at no 182.
This was one of a number of communal kitchens set up

across the country, first opened in 1940 and originally

known as ‘Community Feeding Centres’, to help people
who had been bombed out of their homes, had run out of
ration coupons, or otherwise needed help. Other signs
and sounds of war came from the air raid siren, situated
on the High Street in front of Wandle Park (right), and
the bombs that fell in the park, on the High Street,
Cavendish Road, and Fortescue Road, and behind Christchurch. The underground station acted as an air raid
shelter, with bunk beds installed on the platforms, and a cigarette machine.

Without any directories to consult for the period 1945-1957, I can only report that 182 was a greengrocer’s in
1958, but the site became more closely involved in the 20th century, beginning with the Surrey Communist Party
establishing its headquarters at 188 High Street in that year. Sid French stood for parliament on six occasions,

hoping to represent Mitcham, but he was not elected, and finally resigned from his breakaway faction in 1977.

And in 1959, Alexander Joseph Spence arrived at no 182, as a ‘radio & television receiving set dealer’, remaining
until at least 1967. There was still a café in the row, but at no 190, variously NM Freer, Grecian café, Andrews
café, Luci café and ’77’, right through to 1987.

On 26 July 1963, Colliers Wood station was used in an experiment by government scientists from Porton Down,
when they released freeze dried spores of bacillumgiobigii from a tube train on its way to Tooting Broadway, in
order to see how far and how fast they could travel. Fortunately they were not deadly spores. On 14 December
of the same year, the Beatles performed at Wimbledon Palais de Danse. All police leave was cancelled and
shopkeepers in Merton High Street boarded up their windows, in anticipation of the over-exuberant crowds
arriving by tube. By 11am, the queues were six deep, and controlled by 200 police, but no record of rioting or
damage exists.

The greatest disruption/modernisation of the area at
this time was the construction of Lyon Tower (right,
reproduced courtesy of Merton Library Service). Planning

permission for a 19-storey office block was granted in

November 1962, once the engineers were assured that

traffic management was in hand. It was greeted with

pleasure in the local press, as a sign of progress – Colliers

Wood now had ‘up-to-date petrol filling stations, brightly

lit stores, a library,
a convenience, the
promise of a hall
and a proposal to
build a skyscraper.

Construction began in 1966, and continued until it reached the 3rd floor,
when a flaw was discovered and it had to be demolished and re-built. It
was finally occupied in 1967, with some confusion in 1976 when the new

occupier was listed as Brown Trout, rather than Brown + Root. It was voted
9th in a national competition run by Channel 4’s programme ‘Demolition’
and in 2006 received 52% of 512 email votes in a BBC poll for London’s
most hated building.

From 1969 to 1973, no 182 seems to have been empty, but D & M Ismail, grocers, arrived in 1974, and stayed
until 1978. Then we have another gap in the records, until 1985, when Food Glorious Food opened, ushering in
the era of fast food takeaways – Kebab & Burger Bar (1987), Jim’s Kebab & Burger Bar (1988-1990), The Kebab

& Burger House (1991-1993), Chic’n’Ribs (1994-2016) and finally Annam Indian bar & grill (2013-2017).
The moral of my story is that we should perhaps try to look past the current state of affairs, and imagine the history

of a site before damning it. Colliers Wood was once Merton, and then Mitcham, but has never been Merton

Abbey (note, William de Morgan), nor was it Wimbledon (ditto, Buffalo Bill). It’s known now for its tower, a

sad mistake that can’t be erased. But, having seen the best and worst of things, this tiny suburb may live on to
witness the next 2,000 years.


NORMA COX discusses some industrial history

In South Wimbledon’s Nelsons Fields, within a grid of small streets and the High Path Estate, are the sites of two
historic factories. One was situated just outside the area of today’s High Path Estate and the other would have
been situated within the Estate, but both were built before the Estate was constructed in the 1950s. Fortunately
the factories were both listed in the 1938 Kelly’s Commercial Directory as Omega Lampworks Ltd, Rodney Place
SW19, and Pilchers Motor-body builders, 47A High Path SW19.1

Omega Lampworks Ltd

I had read about the Omega Lampworks factory when I was researching Dean’s Rag Book factory (of High Path)
for details of bomb damage in WW2, as both had been hit. Details of where the bombs had landed in Merton in
WW2 were given in MHS Bulletin 166 which said that ‘a WW2 bomb had hit the Omega Lampworks factory
and for years after, a corrugated-iron fence around the Omega factory bore the scars of bombs’. Two bombs also
hit the neighbouring Pincott Road and Nelson Grove junction, three bombs had fallen to the south and southeast
of Rodney Place and two bombs had hit the High Street end of Haywards Close.2 Rodney Place was at that
point the address of the Omega Lampworks factory, which had started in 1918 at 83 Merton Road, taking over
from James Alexander Scoular, electric lamp manufacturer. (He had only occupied the site for a year or so, after
it was vacated by Pettit & Co, shop front manufacturers.) Omega Lampworks moved to Rodney Place in 1928.3
Almost one hundred years later, in September 2016, a letter to
Merton Council stated ‘many people who lived in the roads
of High Path, Pincott Road and Reform Place had worked at
the Omega Lampworks in Rodney Place’.4 The Omega factory
made incandescent single-coil bulbs.5 Today there is no obvious
sign of the Lampworks when one looks at the front of the three
short terraces of older houses there with numbers 1-16 (right).
Another short terrace of modern houses has now been added to the west side of the older houses with numbers 17

22. (At the rear of no.16 it is possible to glimpse the sloping roof of a larger building with two rows of roof-lights;
this is not industrial, but the rear of Martin Harknett House, a probation contact centre). To discover a time-line
for Omega Lampworks and find further details of its history an internet search was done which showed that in

July 1923 an advert in Modern Wireless gave the address for Omega Lampworks Ltd as 83 Merton Road SW19.6
A second writer to Merton Council said ‘I have worked in the manufacturing industry along with many of my
former neighbours at Omega Lampworks at their various Wimbledon and Merton locations’.7

Another source of internet information about Omega Lampworks came from a cinema conference held in Cardiff

in 1928. This produced a brochure which showed Omega Lamps as a trade stall-holder there. This stated that
‘Messrs Omega Lampworks Ltd of Rodney Place, London SW19, have exhibited a wide range of Omega lamps;
the factory made many types of lamps and it was not possible to show them all at the exhibition’. Those lamps on
display were ‘the coloured lamps such as those in natural coloured glass in various colours and colour-sprayed
lamps whose colour was permanent and well known’. Other examples at the exhibition were the Omega Flame
Lamp which was manufactured with clear glass and with frosted glass and also in various colours. The normal
types such as Metal-Filament Traction, Opal, and Half Watt were well represented. It was emphasised that all lamps
shown at the exhibition were of the pip-less type and that Messrs Omega Lampworks Ltd were the only ‘non-ring’
British firm actually manufacturing non-infringing pip-less lamps.8 Pip-less light-bulbs were named as such for

their manufacture. If the bulb was gas-filled, no pip was involved, but if the bulb

was made with a vacuum inside, then the air was drawn
out via a small hole in the glass opposite the bayonet
and the hole sealed with hot glass, which when cooled
left a pip on the outside.9 The firm had ‘at great expense’
purchased the exclusive British licence to manufacture
lamps under the method of pip-less lamps protected by
patent No.267448. An image from the brochure showed
the floor plan at the 1928 conference (left) and another
showed the new factory at Rodney Place (right).10 In
1956 there was a specialist incandescent lamp factory
at Buckie, Scotland, dealing with small lamps and in


1957 there was one in Wimbledon at the Rodney Place factory which
specialised in small runs of specialised lamps.11 Omega Lampworks were
later taken over by Thorn Lighting in the mid 1950s and the business
relocated to Leicester.12 In the local 1951-52 Wimbledon Directory the
same address of Rodney Place, Merton Abbey, was listed for the Omega
Lampworks Ltd, manufacturers of Incandescent and Electrical Lamps.13
Another local resource, the August 1961 GPO Local Trade Directory
for Kingston, Wimbledon & District, listed another address for Omega
Lampworks, at Potts Corner, Burlington Road, New Malden.14 In the
1968 Merton and Morden Chamber of Commerce Year Book the address
of Omega Lampworks Ltd was given only as Albany House, Burlington
Road, New Malden,15 while the 1969 issue had an advert for the Lampworks (above).16 In the 1990s Thorn sold
out to GE Lighting of the USA who then acquired the Wimbledon site, although speciality lines were still being
made by Omega Lampworks and the site did not close until 1993.17

Pilchers, Motor-body builders

Regarding the second factory, Pilchers motor-body builders of 47A High Path did
not appear in the 1929 Kelly’s Directory but the address was occupied by another
coachbuilding business called Compton Sons and Terry, in 1930 by A P Compton & Co,

in 1931 by Abbey Coachworks, and finally in 1932 by

Pilchers.18 In 1951 Evelyn Jowett mentioned Pilchers as
being in Kingston Road, Merton, and that their business
‘made all kinds of ambulances, both medical and dental,
and mobile radiography units, which were shipped to
all parts of the world’.19 In c.1955 Pilchers occupied
314 Kingston Road, where it had a motor-body building
and cellulose works. (The previous occupant was Chase
Motor Co, with a garage.) An interesting aspect of the company’s work was
that they designed these specialist medical units themselves.20 Pilchers were
contractors to several government departments and a number of important local
authorities as seen in an advert (above right).21 Another Merton and Morden
booklet had details of a Pilchers’ ambulance in 1960-61 (left).22 Internet
information from Grace’s Guide noted Pilchers (Merton) from 1968 with an
address at Burgess Hill, Sussex. They were listed as ambulance coach-builders;
the Managing Director was given as Robert Charles Snook, and the company
was also listed in Engineering 1968.23

The Factories’ locations in Merton

Rodney Close, the location of the Omega Lampworks factory, is a small crescent-shaped close. In the 1929 Kellys
Directory sixteen houses were listed in the close, with the Omega factory un-numbered, beside no.16.24 The older
houses in Rodney Close are in three small terraces and were built in the 1920s, as judged by their appearance
and local estate agents details.25 These small houses were also mentioned by the first writer to Merton Council in
2016.26 Today there is another terrace, of modern houses at nos.17-22, west of the older houses, possibly on the
site of the Omega Lampworks factory as deduced from a photograph of the Omega Lampworks which can be
seen online.27 High Path itself is very near to Rodney Place and is the name of the Merton Council estate which

adjoins Rodney Place. The estate was first constructed in the 1950s after slum clearance when more houses were

needed after WW2.28 The 1938 Ordnance Survey map showed terraces of houses along High Path, as well as the
nearby railway line and Merton Abbey Station; this line would have been very useful for moving factory goods.29
Today the railway line has gone and has been replaced by the major A24 Merantum Way. More recently, in 2018
proposals were made for a regeneration of the High Path Estate, which would involve the demolition of 608
homes and their replacement by 1,570 homes.30 The two writers to Merton Council mentioned in this article were
commenting on these regeneration proposals and were recalling the High Path Estate’s history.

One building remaining in High Path from before the slum clearances of the 1950s was the Trafalgar publichouse.
31 Two other buildings remained in High Path – the church of St John the Divine and Merton Abbey
Infant School but these two were not seen on the 1938 O/S map. Regarding the Trafalgar, Whichelow suggested
that it was kept during the 1950s slum clearance ‘as perhaps a focal point for the new development’.32 Today


the pub appears empty and has two ‘This building is protected by live-in
guardians’ notices on display, which may suggest that the building is going
to be preserved again during the present regeneration scheme. Interestingly
the Trafalgar at 23 High Path was not named as a pub in the 1929 and 1938
Kelly’s Directories, but was listed by the name of the person who was the
beer retailer – Henry Wells Quodling in 1929 and William Webb in 1938.33 A
recent photograph of the Trafalgar is shown here (right). Kelly’s Directory
1938 shows the occupants and house numbers of High Path, which started
at no.1 beside 47 Abbey Road and continued westward along High Path as far as Morden Road where the house
numbers ended, with no.50 on the north side of High Path. The location of 47A High Path was also on the
north side, close to the end of the street where it met Morden Road. In 1938 the occupier of no.47 was Harold
Butterworth, another beer retailer. Pilchers relocated to 314 Kingston Road, Merton, which today is a BP garage.


These two factories in South Wimbledon offered employment to the local people of Merton. The factories were in

the area ‘bounded by Morden Road, Merton High Street, Abbey Road and High Path which was known as Nelsons

Fields and had cheap housing for workers such as builders, labourers, mill staff and other low-paid workers’.34
Other factories were also built along High Path and in WW2 these factories suffered damage from bombing. After

WW2 land was needed to provide housing so slums were cleared. The Pilcher business had moved to Kingston
Road by 1951, probably because the site was needed for redevelopment. The main Omega Lampworks business
moved to Leicester in 1953 but Omega, because of their vast range of products, still produced specialised light-
bulbs at Rodney Place until 1993. In 1928 Omega was the only non-ring manufacturer of pip-less bulbs and this
ring may refer to the Phoebus Cartel formed in 1925, a group of incandescent lamp manufactures who controlled
the manufacture and scale of incandescent lamp production and lowered the useful life of the bulbs.35 The study
of the two factories has also provided information about the social history of Nelson’s Fields South Wimbledon.
The High Path Estate is now undergoing regeneration to provide more
homes and to open up the area to make it more inviting for all people,
not necessarily just those living on the estate. The regeneration of High
Path will however result in the loss of local history, for the 1950s blocks
all need repair and the work would be too expensive to be done, so the
blocks will not be saved.36 Priory Close (right) was the first block to be
built in the High Path Estate in the 1950s.37

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Dave Haunton for further research and his advice on pip-less bulbs

1 Kelly’s Directory Wimbledon & Merton 1938 19 Evelyn Jowett A History of Merton & Morden
2 Omega Lampworks in WW2. Note 2. MHS Bulletin166 June (1951, Merton & Morden Festival of Britain Local
2008 p.10 Committee)
3 www.lamptech.co.uk 20 Merton & Morden,The Official Guide 1955
4 First letter to Merton Council. https://www.merton.gov.uk/ 21 As Note 20
22 1960-1961Year Book, Merton & Morden Chamber of
5 As Note 3 Commerce Official Directory p.8
6 https://worldradiohistory.com/UK/Modern-Wireless/Modern23
Wireless-1923-07-S-OCR.pdf p 99 24 As Note 18
7 Second letter to Merton Council. https://www.merton.gov.uk/ 25 https://www.dexters.co.uk
system/files?file=063HighPathDemolition&Newbuildingplans_ 26 As Note 4
hp.pdf 27 As Note 3
8 Cardiff-Cinema Brochure. http://www.cineressources.net/ 28 Clive Whichelow Pubs of Merton (Past & Present)
consultationPdf/web/o000/261.pdf (2003, Enigma Publishing SW19 3EJ) p.35
9 Personal communication Dave Haunton 7 September 2022 29 https://www.nls.uk/view/102345897
10 As Note 8 30 www.estatewatch.london/estates/merton/highpath
11 As Note 3 31 As Note 29
12 As Note 3 32 As Note 29
13 Wimbledon Directory 1951-52 33 As Note 18 & Note 1
14 August 1961 GPO Local Telephone Directory of Kingston, 34 As Note 29
Wimbledon and District 35 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebus_cartel
15 1968 Merton & Morden Year Book 36 Architect’s comment, Public consultation on
16 1969 Year Book Merton & Morden Chamber of Commerce p 66 Regeneration of High Path Estate, Church Hall of St
17 As Note 3 John the Divine, High Path. Saturday 4 September 2022
18 Kelly’s Directory Wimbledon & Merton 1929 37 As Note 4



Sarah Gould reported some 1500 visitors on the day (with possibly some more unlogged foyer visits), more than
the previous year, ‘particularly cheering, given the challenges of the transport system at the time’. [Strikes!]
As usual, MHS had a table, for some of our publications and a PowerPoint slide show of some 60 photos from
our area’s past. This had been put together by Peter Hopkins, who cunningly interspersed a few adverts for our
more recent publications. Councillor Stephen Alambritis (embarrassingly not recognised by Dave Haunton)

was so impressed by the slide show that he requested a copy. ‘Wonderful stuff’
he enthused. David Luff’s

display of Sindy doll history (below), was much admired and took several visitors a long way down Memory

Lane. We managed to sell 15 books and booklets, which gained us £32 for the Society coffers, while our offer

of free back issues of the Bulletin was taken up by an astonishing number of visitors. Dave Haunton


Poor Relief in Morden 1750-1834: Studies in Merton History 11

When young Miss Gladys Stockwell was at teacher-training college in the early
1960s, her dissertation was an in-depth study of the documents formerly in the
parish chest at St Lawrence church. She examined the rating system; ‘outdoor’
relief through employment, apprenticeships, weekly cash relief or provision of
food and clothing; the parish workhouse; and settlement and removal orders and
the mini-biographies set out in settlement examinations.

Gladys offered MHS her dissertation for publication shortly before her death from

cancer in December 2018, and we are grateful to her husband, Jack Baynton, for
passing it to us and allowing it to be updated in light of more recent research.

A stapled booklet of 56 A4 page with 22 images of original documents and contemporary views, plus maps and
tables and 331 references to the source material. Price: £3.75, Members: £3 (+ £1.65 if to be posted). Available at
meetings, or phone Peter on 020 8543 8471 to arrange collection, email publications@mertonhistoricalsociety.
org.uk to arrange online payment or send a cheque payable to Merton Historical Society to 57 Templecombe
Way, Morden, Surrey SM4 4JF.

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,
Mr David Haunton, by email to editor@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk.
The views expressed in this Bulletin are those of the contributors concerned and not

necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.

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

Printed by Peter Hopkins