Bulletin 225

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March 2023 – Bulletin 225

Remembering: a suffragette, an athlete, an author – Dave Haunton
Stanton Redcroft and the Copper Mill site – Norma Cox
Joseph Bazalgette’s country retreats – Peter Hopkins
Abraham Goldsmid’s house at Morden – Peter Hopkins
Death of Mr Glass – Mick Taylor
and much more

CHAiR: Peter Hopkins
BULLETiN No. 225

The former pavilion, Cannon Hill Common. Undated watercolour by local artist Margaret Appleton (see p.7)

Programme March – September 2023 2
Remembering: a suffragette, an athlete, an author
– Dave Haunton 3
Stanton Redcroft and the Copper Mill site – Norma Cox 4
Local History Workshops: 25 November 2022 – The Clock House Pub, Colliers Wood;
Private William Henry Tilley; Joseph Bazalgette 6
27 January 2023 – sketches of Mitcham Grove; Mary Quant; Cannon Hill Common pavilion;
Mitcham boundary markers; cottages in Manor Road, Mitcham 6
Joseph Bazalgette’s country retreats – Peter Hopkins 8
Abraham Goldsmid’s house at Morden – Peter Hopkins 10
Death of Mr Glass – Mick Taylor 14
The anniversary of Wimbledon Common – Michael Norman-Smith 15



Saturday 11 March at 2.30pm
Richard Smart

The Salvation Army history in Merton

Matt Nichol of Cotswold Archaeology

Worcester Park Gunpowder Mill Site

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.

No events are scheduled for May


Please book beforehand: mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk

Thursday 8 June at 11am The Canons and Grounds

A behind-the-scenes tour of the recently refurbished house and grounds,
Madeira Road, Mitcham, led by Amy Keen, Community Engagement Officer

Thursday 13 July 11am-12 noon
St Mary the Virgin, Church Path, Merton

A self-guided tour of this historic church and churchyard

Thursday 10 August 11am
A themed walk on Wimbledon Common:

‘Ladies of significance who have lived in the area

from the world of Theatre, Literature and Politics’

about 1¼ hour walk, led by Michael Norman-Smith

Meet at the Rushmore Pub, Ridgeway. £5 per person

Friday 15 September 11am
Wimbledon Society Museum

A private visit to the newly-reopened museum with its new exhibits
22 Ridgeway, SW19 4QN

Local History Workshops: 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.

SARAH GOULD, Merton Local History Centre, writes:

I have now added a new set of heritage resources to the Merton Memories website as part of our Platinum Jubilee

celebrations. These include online displays, reminiscence materials, archive film, music, poetry, useful websites,

puzzles, recipes and craft activities. See www.photoarchive@merton.gov.uk/pjubilee or the tab on the homepage
of www.merton.gov.uk/memories.

We are always looking to expand our collection, so if you or any of your family, colleagues or members would
like to share photos, stories or memorabilia linked to Her Majesty the Queen, the Coronation, Royal Jubilee
celebrations or visits, please feel free to contact me.




In the early 1900s, the Blathwayt family created a place of recovery for over 60 women, imprisoned for
their political activism, at their country residence, Eagle House, Batheaston, which became known as the

‘Suffragettes Retreat’. In 1909 Emily Blathwayt said ‘the idea of a field of trees grows’and soon the family
encouraged those who stayed to plant a tree in a field which became known as the Suffragette Arboretum.Also
known as ‘Annie’s Wood’the arboretum was made up of trees planted by and
for women across the suffrage movement including the WSPU (Women’s Social
& Political Union) and National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, which

included militant and non-militant activists. Between April 1909 and July 1911,
at least 47 trees were planted in the grounds of Eagle House to commemorate

individual suffragettes and suffragists. Holly trees were planted for those
involved in the movement in general, whilst a different species of conifer was

planted for each of those women who had been imprisoned. Almost all the trees
were destroyed in the late 1960s to make way for a housing estate, but one
solitary Austrian Black Pine, planted in 1909 by Rose Lamartine Yates, of
Dorset Hall, Merton (right), survives to this day. This 100-foot-high tree stands
sentinel in a back garden. A campaign is underway to save it, as it is in desperate
need of remedial work. A Crowdfunding campaign has now been set up by the
Batheaston community to raise funds for the vital work, with a target of £5,000.

ONE OF OUR ATHLETES [Condensed from an obituary in The Times, 27 September 2022.]
Only Roger Bannister and John Landy had run a mile in less than four minutes when Brian Hewson became

the fifth such speedy runner in 1955, though coming in at third place in a race behind Laszlo Tabori and Chris
Chataway (who thus became
the third and the fourth sub-four-minute milers). He was educated at Mitcham
Grammar School, and had to eat lunch at another school half a mile away. He would race his friend to be first
in the dinner queue, and finding he was usually first in the five half-mile races they ran each week, he took up

athletics. He won the Mitcham Schools Championship at 400m in 1947, joined the local athletics club and in

his first year as a junior won the AAAJunior 880 yards in record time. Brian Hewson (1933-2022) was born

in Croydon to parents who were both tailors. He left school at 16 and followed them into the trade, while

continuing in amateur athletics. In 1953 running 880 yards in his first international match (against France)
he came second, behind Roger Bannister (!). Thereafter he represented Great Britain at 800m and 1500m

in international and Olympic events until he retired from athletics in 1960. Some years later, while working

as a buyer at Simpson’s department store, he spotted a thief, and gave chase still wearing his bowler hat and

carrying a furled umbrella. The thief was apprehended.


Raymond Briggs (1934-2022) was an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist and

author. Achieving critical and popular success among adults and children, he is best
known in Britain for his 1978 story The Snowman, a book without words whose cartoon
adaptation is often televised. He attended Rutlish School, pursued cartooning from an

early age and, despite his father’s attempts to discourage him from this unprofitable
pursuit, attended Wimbledon School of Art from 1949 to 1953 (painting), and
Central School of Art (typography). After National Service, he attended the
School of Fine Art, graduating in 1957. Born and brought up in Wimbledon, his
cartoon book Ethel & Ernest affectionately describes the lives there of his parents,
Ernest Briggs, a milkman, and Ethel (neé Bowyer), a lady’s maid-turned-housewife.


We were sorry to hear of the recent death of Hilary Nethersole, who was almost a founder member and
was probably the youngest member so far when she joined MHS. Her sister Jeanette and their mother
were both founder members, her mother also being an early Committee member. Shortly afterwards,
Hilary joined, aged 9 years. She told us this in Bulletin 138 – June 2001, as we celebrated MHS 50th
anniversary. We offer our condolences to her husband Mike, who has also been a long-term member.


NORMA COX expands herAGM talk on an innovative engineering firm, and its location

Stanton Redcroft was a thermal analytical company which was
situated in the historic Copper Mill site in Copper Mill Lane, Merton,
SW17. Stanton Instruments as it was then called had moved to this
site in 1959 to manufacture analytical balances.1 A Stanton beam
balance is seen right: it measures 11.5cm across. The company was
started by Henry Morton Stanley and Albert William Harrington.
Robert Whitcroft joined as Production Manager in the 1960s: later
John Redfern, a Lecturer from Battersea Polytechnic, joined and he put a furnace with the balance and made
the thermobalance. Stanton Redcroft was formed in 1965 using the names of these four men. In 1966 they

introduced Commercial DTA(Differential thermal analysis).2 In 1968 the entire group of Stanton Companies

was sold to W & T Avery Ltd. My husband Chris Cox worked as an Analytical Chemist in the Consultancy

section of Stanton Redcroft for five years from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. In 1974 ‘Contract Research’

using the thermal analysis techniques was set up and during that year Martyn Ottaway joined the company:

he was Chris’work colleague. For the thermal applications the principle of the balance was the same but the
apparatus took on a different appearance with the beam at the bottom and sealed in a cylindrical glass tube.
In 1983 Stanton Redcroft was acquired by Thermal Scientific PLC. Finally Chris remarked that red was the

colour favoured by the company and all of their company cars were red.

On the Copper Mill site, Stanton Redcroft occupied two buildings close to the River Wandle but they have now
gone. They were a brick building south-east of the end of Copper Mill Lane and a pre-fab building situated
nearby. Also on the site was a rectangular brick building with Georgian-style windows, and a small 20thcentury
building attached. These were not used by Stanton Redcroft and they still remain on the site. The brick

building was a Chamois Leather finishing factory from the early 19th century and incorrectly has the name ‘The
Copper Mill’on its frontage. There was also a large modern industrial building on the north of the Copper Mill

site near to the River Wandle and close to the neighbouring electricity sub-station. In 2020 this was the repair/

service workshop of Dee’s, the motor-car company whose show-room fronted on Plough Lane, the main road
that Copper Mill Lane branched from. However, in 2022 the name of Ford is now seen on the car-dealership

buildings and the name of Dee has gone. Land around the entrance to Copper Mill Lane, once the site of the

Wimbledon Dog Track (Wimbledon Stadium) has been redeveloped into the new Wimbledon AFC ground
surrounded by 600 residential units. The redevelopment works have had a detrimental effect on Copper Mill

Lane, which now has an uneven and potholed road-surface: the Copper Mill Lane street-sign has gone. Viewed
from Plough Lane today, the land at the end of Copper Mill Lane is very uninviting with spear-like metal railings
around the site and many parked motor cars, presumably connected to the car dealership in Plough Lane.

The Copper Mill site itself is historic; there had been a mill on the site since 1114. In the fifteenth century
it became a fulling mill and in 1634 the mill was converted to an iron mill. In 1741 Rocque’s map showed
the Garretts Copper Mill which has become the best known of the mills. I viewed a copy of Rocque’s Map

of Wimbledon in a Richard Milward book which showed in the top right-hand corner of the map a building
named Garret’s Copper Mill.3 The name would suggest that copper was worked in the mill. Secondly Derek
Bayliss wrote in his book about the Surrey Iron Railway that the Garratt Copper Mills (different spelling of
Garret) ‘in Copper Mill Lane, SW17, were already working by the middle of the 18th century. The mill was
occupied by Dutch immigrants, probably the Messrs Henckell who were there in 1792’.4 More information
about Garrett’s Copper Mill was supplied by Mick Taylor of the Wandle Industrial Museum who said that

‘this mill was now known as Wimbledon Mill, and that John Aubrey the historian had visited Wimbledon in
1690, noting the presence of a Copper Mill, and Aubrey had added that further downstream were iron mills

functioning since the 17th century’. Mick said ‘these iron mills were taken over by the Governor and Company

of the Copper Mines in 1762 to become a large and successful Copper Mill, which was still in operation as

a leather-mill until 1960’.5 Mick Taylor also sent me a copy of Peter McGow’s paper about Wimbledon Mill

which had a full history of this mill and the copper-working history in Wimbledon which started here in 1712.
I have used information from McGow’s paper in this article (see reference below).6 McGow wrote ‘when the
iron-mill was converted to copper-working £10,000 was spent equipping it and securing foreign skill. A further
sum of £20,000 was employed in granting credit to customers but the mill was in debt. In 1720 Wimbledon

Mill’s partners were incorporated into a company called Governor and Company of Copper Mines in England’
(as mentioned earlier by Mick). ‘This company was usually known as the English Copper Company and was


founded in 1691. Within a few years the mill was occupied by Samuel Bellamy, a coppersmith of Whitechapel,
who held the lease as tenant and subcontractor of the English Copper Company. He died in 1723 and bequeathed
his estate to his wife Elizabeth. Insurance policies were assigned to Elizabeth Bellamy on 16 December 1723.
The mill was later in the ownership of Henry Robinson, who died on 22 May 1762 and bequeathed his several
water-mills to his nephew, also called Henry Robinson. In around 1770 there were two mills leased by the
English Copper Company to Henry Robinson, one was a copper-hammer mill with appurtenances, leased for
27 years from 25 March 1762, and the second mill was a hoop-rolling-mill, leased for 21 years from 25 March

1768. On 18 November 1771 Henry Robinson mortgaged the premises for £900 to John Webster, a London
distiller. The English Copper Company purchased the freehold of the mill in 1771. In 1784 Hugh Perry junior
of Wimbledon Copper Mills insured some properties at Smithfield. By 1789 James Edwards noticed the large

copper-mills belonged to the English Copper Company under the direction of a Mr Small who lived on the

premises. In 1792 Daniel Lysons referred to Messrs Henckell’s Copper Mills at Wimbledon. The copper mill
continued on the site until 1887. For 45 years in the Victorian era the mill was known as Pontiflex Mills and
it had a very large water-wheel. The mill finally became Chuter’s Chamois Leather Mill in 1889. From the

turn of the twentieth century there were three terraces of houses in blocks of seven, seven and three in Copper

Mill Lane built as workers’cottages by Chuter. In 1959 Stanton Instruments came to the Copper Mill Lane

site. In the 1950s the industrial site in Copper Mill Lane consisted of the mill house, the mill stream, the weir,
the mill dam and the River Wandle. By the 1970s the mill buildings had gone. The Wandle Conservation

plan document
stated that the mill was demolished in the late 1970s or early 1980s, that the Mill House was

demolished shortly afterwards, and that the original river channel, part of the mill race and mill stream were

filled in at the same time. Chris remarked that he had seen brick-work of an old leat in an area close to the edge

of the River Wandle and near to the electricity sub-station. Yet despite its dour appearance the Copper Mill site
is in a Wandle Valley Conservation Area, although the site of the old mill and mill house are not included. The

conservation designation is due to the site’s industrial history, the survival of the nineteenth century leather
dressing factory and the late nineteenth/early twentieth century workers’houses as well as the close proximity

of the River Wandle, the energy source for the mills with its own natural environment. The fact that most of the
site has been designated in a Wandle Valley Conservation Area is very reassuring. Stanton Redcroft did not use
the River Wandle or the mill buildings.

Photograph by Chris Cox November 2022. Thanks to Surrey Industrial History Group who published the full
article in May 2022. Thanks also to Mick Taylor of Wandle Industrial Museum for his help.
1 Analytical balances are precision measuring instruments used in quantitative chemical analysis, to determine the mass

of solid objects, liquids, powders and granular substances.
2 In DTA, the material under study and an inert reference are made to undergo identical thermal cycles, while recording

any temperature difference between sample and reference. (Wikipedia)
Garret’s Copper Mill on Map of Wimbledon c 1740 by John Rocque. Richard Milward (2010) Wimbledon: A Pictorial

History last page but one (un-numbered) Phillimore & Co Ltd (1994 & 2020), Andover, Hants
Garret’s Copper Mill. Derek A Bayliss Retracing the First Public Railway (1985) p.44. Living History Publications.
5 Personal communication from Mick Taylor 15 December 2022
6 Peter McGow Wimbledon Mill https:// www.wandle.org/mills/wimbledonmill.pdf


21 March: The Richest of the Rich.This illustrated talk will highlight the life of 19th century trader, landowner
and philanthropist, Richard Thornton of Cannon Hill – once the richest man in Britain. Speaker: Sarah Gould,
Merton Heritage Service.

18 April: Merton Priory: A
New Chapter.
Hear more about the fascinating history of Merton’s Medieval

Priory and how its remains are being made accessible to the public. Speaker: John Hawks, Merton Priory Trust
16 May: Motspur Park & West Barnes During the interwar Era. Learn how the 1920s and ’30s were key
to the development of this area – from housing and industry, to education and transport. Speaker: Toby Ewin,

Friends of West Barnes Library

20 June: Morden Park 1945+.
A look at the post-war history of Morden Park House, the historic park and
local sports facilities. Speaker: Sarah Gould, Merton Heritage Service

These FREE events run from 10.30am to 12 noon at West Barnes Library, Station Road, New Malden.
Bookings: Please contact West Barnes Library, Tel. 020 8274 5789 or email: library.westbarnes@merton.gov.uk



25 November 2022. Five present – Dave Haunton in the Chair

♦ Christine Pittman had been continuing to delve into the exciting past of Colliers Wood. She had discovered
an article in Mitcham History Notes which referred to the Clock House Pub in Robinson Road. Christine
was unaware of this building in the road.
The article quoted was from the Illustrated Police News, Law Courts and Weekly Record, Saturday 26

March 1892, which was one of the earliest British tabloids. It was about the theft of lead. ‘On Thursday at

the Croydon County Police Court, a youth, described as a labourer, named Edward Haines, of 1 Charlwood
Terrace, Charlwood Rd, Tooting was charged with being concerned, with two other men not in custody, in
stealing from the Clock House, Robinson Road, Colliers Wood a quantity of lead piping value 16s., the property
of Mr William Dedman, a licensed victualler, of Mitcham. John Roberts, of the Clock House, deposed that
the lead had been stolen from the roof of an outhouse. George Elliott, a lad, residing at 5 Harewood Road,
Colliers Wood, stated that on Monday he saw the prisoner with another man come out of the Clock House.
They were joined by another man who stood outside. One carried a sack on his back and it appeared to be
very heavy. Detective Thomas White, W Division, said that the prisoner was pointed out to him by the last
witness. He arrested him on suspicion and he said ‘You have made a mistake’ but afterwards said ‘I admit

to being there, but did not share the money’. A remand was granted for further enquiries.’
Christine found the Clock House on the 1881 census when the occupier was Isabella Ball, her daughter and
two sons, a companion, two servants and a gardener. Her status was listed as ‘landed property’. In 1891
William Richards, brewer’s collector, is living there with his son, who is a brewer’s clerk. He is still there

in the 1905-6 Directories, but in 1909-10 there is no Clock House.
With regards to the people in the trial, John Roberts cannot be found in the census, the only Charlwood Terrace,

Charlwood Road, was found in Putney, not Tooting, and George Elliott, who would have been five years
old, lived in Waterfall Cottages, not Harewood Road. In different records, the Clock House was variously
described as being on the right side, the south side, the west side and finally the southwest side of Robinson

Road, and at one time before Park Road and then after Park Road. Christine wondered if Park Road itself
was moved during the process of selling the land around Colliers Wood House, and its later subdivision.

♦ Dave Haunton had been looking into an enquiry sent to our Secretary from one of our non-local members.
Henry Tilley of the East Surrey Regiment, which had been listed in the Gazette for 3 July 1919. She had had
no success with TNAand the regimental museum, and she wondered if we could find anything locally. He
was believed to have lived in Mitcham and Streatham Vale. Dave had been unable to find anything so far,
those present suggested further avenues (websites, newspapers) that could be followed up.

♦ Peter
Hopkins had been corresponding with the great-great-grandson of the engineer Joseph Bazalgette.
He now lives in Canada, and, via the Society’s email address, he told us of a blog he had produced, based
on information provided by MLSC (see p.8).
Rosemary Turner

27 January 2023 – Five present – Rosemary Turner in the Chair

♦ PeterHopkins had brought along photographs that he had been sent by Victoria Hutchings, the historian of
the Hoare family and their various business enterprises. They were from an album of sketches of Mitcham
Grove and its grounds that had been drawn in 1828 by Henry Hoare’s son-in-law, Sir Thomas Acland, while
staying at Mitcham Grove during Henry Hoare’s final illness. Acland had scribbled captions on each sketch
and had also written an index of them at the back of the album, but unfortunately his handwriting in the
index is as difficult to decipher as are his scribbled captions! Victoria had made an initial attempt and had
asked if Peter could make any further sense of them in the light of local knowledge. Rosemary and Mick
kindly offered to have a closer look, as some of our attempts clearly do not make sense – for example, the
first entry (below) surely can’t refer to a 9.59 mile stone as we had thought!! The sketches are now in the


care of Devon Heritage Centre, and Victoria is going to ask if we could include
a few images in a future Bulletin. One thing we commented on was his use of
the word Pickle or Peichel, apparently for the back stream of the Wandle which,
with the main stream, together create an island on which Mitcham Grove stood.

Nowadays the term Pickle is restricted to the stretch of the ‘original’branch of

the Wandle before it was diverted to serve the watermill at what is now Merton

Abbey Mills. Theuseof theword thereis thoughtto bederived fromthe’pightle’

of land between the stream and the priory wall.

♦ David Luff had noticed that the fashion designer Mary Quant had been made a
Dame in the New Year Honours. He recalled that he had printed sample lengths
of her designs when he was a printer at Liberty’s and its successors at Merton
Abbey. He had enquired at the time how the material was to be used and had
been told that two lengths were merely sewn together to make a dress. He had
later seen – and kept – a magazine photograph of 22-year-old Jenny Agutter
modelling a dress from one of his sample prints (right).

♦ Mick Taylor brought along a watercolour of the pavilion which used to stand on
Cannon HillCommon (see page 1) before it was burned down. The watercolour,
by local artist Margaret Appleton, had been given to Mick’s mother-in-law and,
as far as Mick has been able to ascertain, is the only surviving image of the
building – unless you know to the contrary! We were trying to work out how
long ago it burnt down – can anyone help?
Mick also brought along the award pictured in Bulletin 216, when he had asked
if anyone could identify the organisation who had presented it to his wife’s
grandfather, Tom Collins, in 1959. He was a local cricket umpire and lived in
Raynes Park and Morden from the 1920s until he retired to the coast in 1959. The
initials on the award are RPRCC, which Mick can now report stood for Raynes
Park Residents Cricket Club. This led to a discussion on the various sports grounds
that used to be along the western side of the northern end of Grand Drive, now
almost all built over. Mick believes a tennis club is the only remnant.

Mick also showed us a photo of the boundary marker ‘restored’on the downstream
side of Mitcham Bridge, which has come in for much criticism. It has the date 1882

in the centre. A similar boundary marker, but without a date, has recently been
discovered in the nearby Watermeads (right), and Mick had spotted a reference in
Eric Montague’s Mitcham Histories 6: Mitcham Bridge, The Watermeads and the
Wandle Mills p.16 that explained that, during engineering works in the 1960s, two
old cast-iron parish boundary posts, marked on the OS maps, had been displaced and
buried. One had re-emerged in 2004 during site clearance prior to redevelopment of
the land behind the Grove Mill building, and the newly-discovered one is presumably
the other. It is currently in the care of Mitcham Cricket Green Community & Heritage.

♦ Rosemary Turner
had also been consulting one
of Monty’s books – Mitcham
History 3: Pollards Hill, Commonside East and Lonesome – regarding some 19thcentury
cottages in Manor Road that are disappearing under multiple
extensions and alterations. Monty states that ‘they are recorded in

the tithe survey of 1846, when the owner was a Henry J Corsellis.

Nothing more is known of him… The cottages do not seem to have

had a specific name – they were numbered 1-6 Manor Road until

the 1930s – and were in those days owned by Alfred and Edward

Mizen of Eastfields Farm. Mr King, their foreman, lived at No. 4.’
Monty’s photo of 41/43 Manor Road in April 1966, from p.99 of

the book, is shown right.
It seems that nothing changes because he goes on to say ‘Now

altered very considerably in appearance as the result of ‘improvements’carried out in the last 30 years, these

little houses were once typical examples of a type of domestic architecture very common in Mitcham in the

first half of the 19th century, showing a Regency influence
in their low-pitched slate roofs and wide eaves
overhang. These particular examples probably date from the 1830s.’


The other cottages that he mentions ‘were numbered 123-133 built in the late Victorian style towards the

turn of the century’. They were called Willow Cottages and are still there and look unchanged externally.

They are near a bus stop where there are always problems with water laying. The road is forever being dug
up and someone told Rosemary ages ago that it was due to an underground stream. Monty wrote: ‘To the

south of the terrace the ‘Main Ditch’, or Little Graveney, flowing westwards from Pollards Hill, crossed
under ‘Tommy Lane’on its way to join the Graveney. The stream is now completely underground, confined

in a surface water culvert, but occasionally it makes itself known, as in June 1973 when, after a sudden

downpour, the culvert became surcharged and Manor Road was flooded.’
On Facebook Rosemary had come across mention of an article,’Memories of Mitcham’, written by Ben

Slater, that she thought might be of interest. It was published in a collection of articles edited by Col. Bidder
in 1923 under the title Old Mitcham I. Monty had wanted MHS to republish this collection, but the Editorial
Committee felt that some of the articles would require too many annotations as they included erroneous

traditions and speculations, though Ben Slater’s article was more reliable. The collection is now available

on the MHS website for free download, by permission of Sarah Gould, but readers are warned not to believe

everything they read! Rosemary will do a write up on it for a future Bulletin.
Rosemary had recently had her DNA tested to trace her genetic origins. Her DNA results came in as 40%
England and Northern Europe and 19% Sweden/Denmark. Rosemary wondered if they made her of Viking

or Saxon descent -or just able to understand double-dutch! She is also 19% Scottish and Irish and 7% Welsh.

Rosemary had received an email enquiry about a small building in Mitcham for which brick-sized plaques
were sold to raise funds for restoration around 1994. The enquirer thought at the time that the plaques were

to be displayed on completion, but couldn’t remember what the building was or what had resulted from the

fundraising. Mick was able to explain that it was for the Wandle Industrial Museum, at a time when they were

first hoping to convert part of Ravensbury Mill into their new museum. Nearly 30 years later, they are still

As always, this was an enjoyable Workshop session, with plenty of variety. Questions were posed and others
answered. If you are able, why not join us at our next Workshop on 24 March or on 19 May from 2.30pm at

the Wandle Industrial Museum? You don’t need to bring an item to share, though that would be very welcome.

Peter Hopkins

PETER HOPKiNS’ correspondence with Mr Bazalgette, covering

Mr Bazalgette already knew that, in 1847, Joseph ‘suffered a complete breakdown in his health due to overwork

on railway projects during the preceding years, a period known as the ‘Railway Mania’. He retreated to the

country to recuperate – apparently to Merton, which at that time was still rural.’Sarah gave him information

about the house in which he lived – Union Villa, later The Willows, in Central Road, Morden, then called

Morden-lane. This house was on the site of Ducket’s Farm, held from Ravensbury Manor in the 16th century by

Lionel Ducket, who had shared with Whitchurch in buying the manor of Morden.
He had contacted us to ask if we had any further information or knew of any pictures. I sent him what little I

then knew about Joseph’s time there, pointing out that, though in the present LBM, it was in the ancient parish
of Morden!

I told him of the source documents at SHC relating to the sale, which took place between January and July 1866.
He then asked if there was any evidence that Joseph was renting a property in Morden between 1847 and 1866
and I was able to tell him that The Morning Post for 7 December 1859 (accessed from BNA- see Dec Bulletin!)
included, among BMD announcements, the birth of his daughter at Morden. It is highly probable that he had been

renting this property from the owner, Richard Garth. It was in 1866 that Garth invested in the West Barnes Park
estate, with the intention of property development, and it is likely that the sale of Ducket’s Farm helped finance

this new project. Garth paid for the building of Raynes Park Station, and a few large houses were built at that end

of his new Grand Drive, but the venture was not successful and he sold off all his interests in Morden and Merton

over the next few years, upon being appointed as Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature, Bengal.

I later looked at the census records, now available on Ancestry. The house was called Union Villa in the 1851
census, when he, his wife Mary (called Maria in 1861 and 1871), three young sons, a 7-month-old daughter
born in Morden, his sister-in-law, and three servants (two female, one male), were in residence. By 1861 the

family, which still included his sister-in-law, had been expanded by three more daughters and three more sons,


the youngest not yet named, all born in Morden. This had necessitated the employment of a governess, two
nurses, a cook and a housemaid, but no resident male servants. Eldest son Joseph jnr, who would have been 15,

was not listed, and his younger brother, called Norman in 1851, was here called Charles N. In 1871, three of the
four young children listed in 1861 were no longer listed, but two more sisters-in-law and a nephew were there,
plus Joseph’s sister, while the servants were now a needle-woman, a cook, a kitchen maid, a footman and a
housemaid. By 1881 the house was called The Willows, but the Bazalgette family were no longer there, having
moved to Wimbledon village in 1873. According to the present blog, Joseph, his wife and ten children were
living at St Mary’s House, Arthur Road, close to St Mary’s Churchyard, where his tomb can be found, though it

seems that not all the ten children had survived.

Neither Sarah nor I know of any pictures of Joseph’s Morden house, though there are postcard views of the

Plough inn or beer shop and adjoining cottages, which were included in the sale, as they fronted the road – the
house being set back in its grounds.

However, I have since looked through some of the Morden adverts in the BNA collection, and found one

from 1820 relating to the lease of the property, together with a sale advert from 1811 for the household goods

and furnishings of the deceased tenant. The house was described as ‘a substantial brick-built dwelling house,
with laundry, cottages, stables, cow house, &c, yards, gardens, orchard, and paddocks of meadow land, very

pleasantly situate on the south side of Morden-lane, in the parish of Morden (nine miles from London), in

the county of Surrey. The house was formerly the residence of the Rev. Mr. Pappendick, and contains six
bed rooms, two parlours, a kitchen, larder, cellars for wine, beer, &c. The whole of the premises contain 11

acres, held by lease, of which 25 years were unexpired at Michaelmas 1819, at a very low reserved rent.’
[BL_0000174_18200615_002_0004 Morning Post.]

Mr Papendick’s furniture in 1811 ‘comprised four-post and tent bedsteads, with cotton furniture, capital

seasoned featherbeds and clean bedding, wardrobe, chests of drawers, excellent set of dining-tables, Pembroke

and dressing-tables, dressing-glasses, and pier ditto, carpets, kitchen requisites, about 18 dozen of Port Wine,
a cow, and various other articles.’ [BL_0001255_18110227_016_0003 Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser.]

61-year lease of Ducket’s Farm had been granted ‘by virtue of Act of Parliament’
in March 1770 [SHC
K85/2/79], and a 14-year extension was later granted [SHC K85/8/2]. This would have brought the termination
date to 1845, though it is probable that the original lease had taken effect from the previous Michaelmas, so
expiring at Michaelmas 1844. In or by 1781 the lease had been assigned to John Groves [SHC K85/2/79],
the ‘bricklayer’who built the nearby house that replaced the Tudor manor house of Growtes, which Abraham
Goldsmid later had extended into a spectacular showpiece by the architect John Thomas Groves (see page 10).
Thus it is likely that the more modest brick house occupied by Papendick in 1811 had also been built by John
Groves to replace Ducket’s Tudor farmhouse.

Although we cannot be certain, there is no reason to suppose that Bazalgette’s Union Villa, later The Willows,
was not this late 18th-century house. (Goldsmid’s mansion was demolished and replaced by the present Morden
Lodge, but that seems to have been because it was too grandiose to find a buyer.) However, part of the land and
some of the outbuildings and cottages held by Papendick were sold separately in 1866 to the Rector of Morden,
who lived in the neighbouring Stelehawes, later The Grange, now Clarion Housing Association’s HQ.

I thought at first that Papendick’s residence might be the house containing ‘six bed chambers’advertised in 1818,

but that had ‘two dressing closets, dining and drawing rooms of good proportions, boudoir, and convenient

domestic offices, well supplied with water, with two coach houses, stabling for seven horses, lawn and pleasure

grounds, an extensive garden with lofty wall, clothed with choice fruit trees, and a quantity of rich Meadow

Land adjoining the Premises, and containing about Ten Acres.'[BL_0002357_18180506_030_0004 New Times
(London); BL_0000082_18180525_009_0004 Morning Chronicle.] The furniture sales ads give an indication
of the size of its rooms – an Axminster carpet 14 feet 8 by 11 feet, a set of dining tables 11 feet 10 by 4 feet 6,
and two fine plates of glass, 49 by 27, (presumably inches though it is unclear whether these were in windows

or were mirrors), as well as a piano-forte, ‘well-made cabinet work in drawers, cylinder, writing and Pembroke
tables, a beautiful satin-wood commode, a sideboard and cellaret, mahogany and japanned chairs, and 4-post

and field bedsteads, with rich chintz pattern and dimity furniture, goose feather beds, mattresses and suitable
bedding.’ [BL_0001255_18180528_002_0001 Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser.]

The current Mr Bazalgette asked my permission to include in his blog the information that I gave him – though

I was surprised to see that every word in my emails reappears, suitably acknowledged!



PETER HOPKiNS offers a tentative reconstruction of

At our first Local History Workshop, in March 1995, Judith Goodman read to us from transcripts and notes she
had made from newspaper clippings she had discovered at the V&A, relating to Abraham Goldsmid’s house,
which preceded the present Morden Lodge (see Bulletin 113). Following my visit to Morden Lodge in 2021, I
succumbed to a special offer on a 3-month subscription to the British Newspaper Archive, and I have discovered
these and many similar newspaper reports. Abraham Goldsmid’s Morden mansion was very newsworthy!

It would appear that there are only two extant views of the house,
this engraving (right) of The Seat of Abraham Goldsmid Esq,

Morden, Surrey. Drawn by Gifford & Engraved by Hawkins For

Dr Hughson’s Descriptions of London 5. December 27th 1806,
and this similar
but more basic
engraving of

1807 (left),

which was
accompanied by a description of the house

– The Seat of Abraham Goldsmid Esq, at
Merton, Surrey. Drawn & Engraved for
The Lady’s Magazine [38 – Dec 1807].

But we also have some hints as to its layout from contemporary OS
maps, unfortunately at a small scale, such as this enlarged detail from
OS 1-in map published 1816 (right), which shows a building to the
north of the main block, just visible at the left of the views. This
enlarged detail (left) from 2-in OS map published in 1804 is very low-resolution, and I hope to
get a better copy from the British Library, but the building shown here is much smaller than that
on the later maps.

In 1797 Abraham Goldsmid had leased from the ‘bricklayer’or builder, John Groves, a house on the site, built

some 20 years earlier to replace the old Tudor manor house Growtes. Groves had bought Growtes in June
1774, and increases in Morden Poor Rate assessments seem to indicate that he had built a new house on the
site by late 1779. It was occupied by a succession of high-status tenants, including Admiral Marriott Arbuthnot
who had previously lived at Ravensbury Manor House. In his Companion from London to Brightehelmston

(1789×1801) p.28, James Edwards described the house as ‘Moordon-Grove, the seat of Mr Groves, rented and

occupied by John Munt Esq. It stands on the west banks of the river Wandle, is a neat house, and has a genteel


garden between it and the road.’
By 1803 Goldsmid had completed the purchase of the house and had made a start on

extending it. His architect was a John Thomas Groves, and I suspect he was the son
of the builder. We have no information on the size of the original house, which was

described in approving words as a ‘neat’house and as in the ‘cottage style’. This did
not necessarily indicate a small building – when he first came to Morden, Goldsmid

had six children, aged 4 to 14, with another on the way – so he would have needed a

substantial property, perhaps comparable to this 3-storey, 8-bedroom, cottage-style
design from James Malton’s 1798 An Essay on British Cottage Architecture (right).

y d, l,
Goldsmid continued to live and entertain in this ‘cottage’during the years it was being extended – though no

doubt the structural work was mainly undertaken during the months the family was at their London home in

Finsbury. He was certainly in residence in Morden by 1801, when national newspapers regularly included
reports on his sumptuous entertainments there. Areport on celebrations for the 1802 Peace of Amiens calls his
house ‘Morden Cottage’, the ‘cottage style’being fashionable at this period. On that occasion it was enhanced

by large temporary buildings – of which more below. But it was already being extended, with a new entrance
hall on its right-hand side, and an octagon room to the right of that – probably the Bow Parlour mentioned

in another report of the event. The octagon is one of the rooms for which we have later measurements – 38ft
by 54ft high – presumably the 38ft was its diameter, so around 14½ ft on each of its 8 sides. Morning Post
30 Jul 1802 reports ‘The House, built in the cottage style, appeared as if greatly extended for the evening by


temporary buildings, and it indeed made but the right wing of the whole upon that occasion, – On entering the

hall, the cottage was on our left, and an octagon room on the right.'(Star (London) 31 Jul 1802.) ‘The company
assembled in the hall, and proceeded through the bow parlour.'(Morning Post 30 Jul 1802). [Is this a reference

to the Octagon or a room beyond the hall?]
We are told there were several temporary rooms, including a huge ballroom which in

turn led to a Chinese or Turkish Tent – the whole layout far too big to fit on my plan
(right)! Together these formed the main focus of the accommodation, the house itself

serving merely as its right wing: ‘The company entered through a parterre of the most

luxuriant shrubs'(Morning Chronicle 30 Jul 1802), while Star (London) 31 Jul 1802

explains: ‘Through this [octagon or hall?] we passed to a temporary Ball-Room of

84 feet by 40 … On the side opposite to the entrance was placed the Orchestra in an
elegant circular recess …Under the Orchestra was a passage …which led to a spacious
and superb Chinese Tent, hung with painted muslins of the finest tint and texture.’

These structures were the work of a floor-cloth manufacturer, John Samuel Hayward, later to become a well-
known artist. (Interestingly a later generation had a floor-cloth factory in Mitcham.) ‘The splendid Ball-room,
and other temporary buildings … were designed and executed by a Mr Hayward, Floor-cloth Manufacturer,
Newington Causeway.'(Morning Chronicle 31 Jul1802.) We also read about seating arrangements, involving

other large rooms, but it is not clear whether they were in the house or included other temporary structures:
The supper seating layout accounts for 50 in Chinese tent, 90 in Dining room, 40 in Octagonal chamber, 40 in
Anti-chamber, 30 in room at one side, the Ballroom still being used by dancers.

In 1805 Goldsmid built a magnificent picture gallery, but we are given no indication of its location within the
extended buildings, perhaps in an upper part of the new buildings: ‘Mr AGoldsmid has built a very magnificent

picture gallery at his villa near Merton, in Surrey. The expence [sic] of the whole of the improvements is said to
be £10,000.'(Morning Post 16 Apr 1805.) He was still entertaining in June 1806, though the finishing touches

were not fully completed: ‘On Sunday last, Mr Abraham Goldsmid gave a friendly dinner to a select party of
40, at his new villa at Merton [sic], where every delicacy of the season was provided. It is a charming place,
but the improvements are not fully completed.'(Morning Advertiser 3 Jun 1806.) The décor was by Messrs

Crace, who also decorated the Royal Pavilion at Brighton.

But all was complete by August 1806, when the Prince of Wales and two of his brothers were entertained,

together with various dignitaries, leading to much publicity in the national papers – probably based on a press-
release by Goldsmid, as they mix and match various identical snippets in their reports: ‘Yesterday evening Mr
Goldsmid was honoured at his newly-erected villa at Morden, with the presence of his Royal Highness the

Prince of Wales, his Royal Brothers …and a select assembly …This was the first entertainment since the house
was finished, which is unique in its character.’ (Morning Chronicle 23 Aug 1806.)

The newspaper reports only give two sets of measurements but, with the help of the many descriptions of the

rooms, I have attempted the reconstruction plan (overleaf), in the hope that readers will be able to correct me!
So let’s take a tour through the ground floor of the new buildings, entering through the columned portico [P]
(right): ‘The elevation is Grecian. The South front is ornamented with a portico of the Athenian stile [sic] of

‘C ‘ Entrance g?= Bow
architecture.'(Morning Chronicle 23 Aug 1806.) We are told the house is stone-built: ‘The
house is built of stone one story high: its centre is supported by colonade [sic] of six elegant
sharp fluted pillars.'(The Lady’s Magazine 38 – Dec 1807), but little stone was mentioned
when the building materials were sold following its demolition in 1815, though there were

half a million bricks, no doubt stuccoed and scored to look like stone, as at the present house.
We are also told it was of one storey, but the views show a balcony over the portico and upper
windows all round, so probably the only single-storey part was the 54ft high Octagon.

We now enter a small vestibule [V] paved with Portland Stone: ‘The principal entrance, which
passes through a loge or small vestibule of Portland stone, on each side of which are two most
superb conservatories, filled with orange, citron, and other shrubs.’
(Morning Chronicle 23
1806) – though one report says it was an aviary on the left hand side, perhaps conflating

that conservatory with the aviary known to be further to its left, as shown on the engravings
(left) and marked [A] on my plan, and which perhaps extended further forward: ‘On the right
side of the vestibule or entrance, is a conservatory, filled with the choicest productions of the

vegetable world. On the left is an aviary, stocked with the rarest assemblage of birds from the

Tropics.’ (London Courier and Evening Gazette 23 Aug1806.)


These conservatories [C] seem to have occupied the squarish rooms at the front of each
wing, with the large windows to front and side, as seen in the views (right): ‘Its two wings
are embellished with very large square and circular headed windows of plate glass. On the
North side is a very extensive and tastefully constructed aviary, well stocked with rare birds
of various descriptions…. The two large windows in the front wings have a grand collection

of rare and odoriferous plants and shrubs.’ (Lady’s Magazine Dec 1807.)

There are several references to the Grand Hall, though some of these refer to the Octagonal Saloon rather than
the entrance hall, which perhaps was not as large as on my plan [H], though it was clearly impressive: ‘As you
enter the grand mansion, the eye is dazzled with a rich diamond cut lustre, suspended from a cieling [sic] painted
by artists of the first celebrity.’ (London Courier and Evening Gazette 23 Aug 1806.)

The Octagonal Saloon [O] receives most attention from the newspaper reports, with details

of its opulent décor: ‘The centre of the house is an octagon of thirty-eight feet and fifty-

four feet in height; the ceiling is divided into eight panels by ribs which spring from the

pilasters, on the sides, and are painted in imitation of fine red oriental marble.'(Morning
Chronicle 23 Aug1806.) I originally sited this nearer to the front of the house, in the same
position as the mid 18th-century one at Honington Hall, Warwickshire, which has three
sides protruding as windows (right, Country Life 13 Nov 1920 (top) and 27 Nov 1920),
but the descriptions of the windows of Goldsmid’s saloon say the glass was painted in 16
figures in four sets of 4, so it would appear that there were four windows protruding, the
fifth side probably containing the door to the room linking to the original house: ‘There
are also introduced sixteen figures on painted glass, representing the Seasons, Sciences,
Elements and Four Quarters of the Globe, which by day appear as windows, and by night
are lighted behind, producing an effect elegant and rich.'(Morning Chronicle 23 Aug1806.)

We are not told that the library [L] adjoined the saloon, only near it, so I have left space
between the library and the saloon for access to the original house: ‘Near the saloon is the

library, which is a neatly fitted room, the walls bright yellow, high varnished, the doors,
shutters, &c. yellow sattin-wood.’
(Morning Chronicle 23 Aug 1806.) But it is possible

that the library was in the former entrance room [L?], access to the old house being from a
staircase hall, as at Honington (right, Country Life 20 Nov 1920).

Facing the library was the breakfast room [B]: ‘Opposite the library is the breakfast-room, a most beautiful

unique room, one window of which looks into the conservatory, the other into a most elegant and extensive

aviary, filled with birds of rare and various plumage.'(Morning Chronicle 23 Aug 1806.)
The décor of the eating room [E] is also described in some detail. It was on the other side

of the saloon and is the second room where measurements are given, 40ft x 22ft. It could
be extended further by opening the folding doors [Z] to the adjoining drawing room [W]:
‘On the opposite side of the saloon is the eating-room, which is most strikingly elegant,

it is forty feet long by twenty-two… From this room a folding door opens into the small

drawing-room, which is so connected with the large drawing-room as to make the two

rooms have the appearance of one.'(Morning Chronicle 23 Aug 1806.) We are told that

the windows of both rooms overlooked the river. One report says that 150 were fed, but another says about

50 guests sat down here for dinner, another just 36 – though these figures didn’t include the ladies, who had

dined earlier and were entertained elsewhere while the men folk ate and gave speeches, only joining the rest of
the company for dessert in the octagonal saloon. It is not clear where the ladies had eaten, or where they were
entertained – whether in one of the rooms already mentioned or in the original house: ‘During the time that
the Royal Brothers were at Dinner Mrs and the Miss Goldsmids entertained the Ladies in an other apartment,

having dined previously to the arrival of the Gentlemen… At the desert the Ladies joined the company [in the
saloon].’ (The Oracle and the Daily Advertiser 25 Aug 1806.)

After dessert the company strolled in the grounds, which were lavishly decorated with variegated lamps hung from
trees and bridges. Here local dignitaries joined them. At 10pm more than 200 went to a concert in the concert room,
wherever that might have been – perhaps the entrance hall with doors to adjoining rooms open to accommodate

them all? ‘The party …assembled in the concert room, where they were joined by all the neighbouring gentry and
friends from town. The company now consisted of upwards of 200 persons, and the concert commenced at ten.’
(The Englishman No.167 [24 Aug
1806].) Then at midnight they all sat down to a sumptuous supper, the Prince

and select guests eating in a separate room, where they were later entertained by Mr Mathews, of the Haymarket.


S D?
original house
L? OS D? O
S D?
original house

One other room is mentioned in reports,

the servants’
hall [S], probably in a semi-

basement of the original house. It faced
the well [Q] (see Bulletin 221) which was
surrounded by a 31-ft high circular stone
wall, the water being forced up from the well
by an engine, and drawn from a brass cock:
‘Among the numerous improvements lately

mostly glass?
A aviary

made … is a curious well. It is sunk in the ms

B breakfast room
yard, opposite the servants’hall. It is upwards C conservatories

D dining room

of 200 feet in depth; and about the mouth of it

E eating roomis erected a circular stone wall, thirty-one feet omH hall

L library

high. On the summit is a curious gallery of

O octagoncarved stone.'(Sun (London) 28 Aug 1806.) P portico

Q well

Would that be comparable to the Wimbledon

S servants’ hall

Well House built in 1763? U upstairs bedrooms

V small vestibule
I draw to a close with a list of furniture W withdrawing room

Z folding doors

offered for sale following Goldsmid’s suicide
during a stock market collapse (see Bulletin 138): ‘To be Sold by Auction: The singularly elegant Assemblage
of Furniture and effects, of the late Abraham Goldsmid, Esq. deceased; the rare specimens include an unusually
costly Tortoiseshell Cabinet, formerly in the possession of his Majesty; the Prince’s Chair; Two beautiful Japan
Cabinets, designed as a present to Bonaparte by the Emperor of China; Magnificent Alabaster and other Vases

with appropriate Devices of exquisite Workmanship; a very costly Transparent Lamp with numerous Burners

for the Saloon … The Furniture, which is of superior quality, and in the highest preservation, consists of two

drawing-room suits [sic] of rich blue satin, lined with twilled plaid; delicate velvet furniture for the boudoir;
elegant tripods with massy gold ornaments, superb and unusually brilliant chandeliers and Grecian lamps;

noble French plate chimney glasses of large dimensions; transparent lamps, magnificent four-post, canopy, and

sofa bedsteads, with costly furnitures, prime seasoned down and goose feather beds, unusually clean bedding;

several ladies’
and gentlemen’s wardrobes, numerous chests of drawers; cheval and other dressing-glasses,

with the usual assortment of chamber furniture; one chamber is uniquely disposed with muslin hangings,

suitably ornamented.’There is also the usual description of morning and dining-room, and library requisites,

including a capital set of Jamaica mahogany dining-tables, a costly breakfast-table of large dimensions; chairs

finished in morocco; singularly beautiful Axminster and Brussels carpets; a pair of 24-inch globes, elegantly
mounted; hall chairs, floor-cloths, and kitchen requisites. (London Courier and Evening Gazette 17 May 1815.)

We finish with some extracts
from the lists of building materials following its demolition in 1815, the house
having been offered for sale but only receiving one offer, a mere £4000. As expected, several sets of folding

doors are listed, and also staircases, paving squares of marble, and of York, Sussex and Portland stone, as well
as Dutch tiles and roof slates: ‘To be sold by auction: All the Building Materials of that capital, well furnished,

new built Mansion and Offices, the late residence of Abraham Goldsmid, Esq. deceased, situate at Morden,
nine miles from London, in the county of Surrey, consisting of 1000 feet of Mahogany Sash Frames, and
Sashes, glazed
with Plate Glass, in squares, 36 inches by 18 inches; also 1000 feet of Deal ditto, glazed with
German Sheet in squares, 31 inches by 18 inches; seven Pair of capital 2-inch folding Mahogany Doors, 13

feet by 7 feet; four single ditto, 7 feet 6 inches by 3 feet 6 inches; moulded Box Shutters, Architraves, Linings,

Grounds, and Skirtings, excellent Deal and Batten floors, Geometrical Stone and other staircases; beautiful

statuary and veined Marble Chimney Pieces and Slabs; 1400 feet of Marble Pavement, in squares; 600 feet of

Dutch Tiling; 2000 feet of 2-inch Portland slabs, in Plinths and Floors; 3000 feet of York and Sussex Paving;
about 100 squares of Slating;
15 tons of Lead; numerous valuable Fixtures in Bookcases, Dressers, Shelves,
Drawers, Locks, Bolts, Bars, and Fastenings, &c. 3000 feet cube of fir timber, in beams, purlines, rafters,

girders, binding, bridging and ceiling joists, quarter partitions, bond timbers, &c; two large sky-lights, glazed

with plate glass, a quantity of boarding, about 200 feet run of stone-channel.’
Two sets of Portland Stone

entrance steps are mentioned, probably those shown on the views at the main entrance and at the side entrance

to the eating room: ‘flights of wide Portland stone entrancesteps and landings, about 500,000 bricks, a capital

iron closet; a large dinner bell, and sundry chamber bells, with cranks, pulls and copper wires, two forcing
pumps, a quantity of iron railing, &c.'(Extracts from Morning Chronicle 3 Oct 1815 & Star (London) 12 Aug
1815.) . I wonder where the two large skylights had been situated.


MiCK TAYLOR has discovered an interesting gentleman

When I start looking at old newspapers at Merton Local Studies and Heritage Centre for a particular item,
I always come across something else that catches my attention. In this case it was an article in the Mitcham
Advertiser of 28 April 1911, headed, as I have this piece, ‘Death of Mr. Glass’. James George Henry Glass
lived at The Canons, Mitcham, and passed away, aged 68, in Naples on 21 April. Eric Montague in his Mitcham
Histories 11: The Cranmers, The Canons and Park Place gives him only a single paragraph.

Born 1843 in Bracadaile on the Isle of Skye to Rev J B Glass and his wife, he was educated at Musselburgh
Grammar School, near Edinburgh, which dates back to the 16th century. Glass’s successful career was in
India. In 1862 he joined the Public Works Department of the Government of India. It seems he had ‘sterling
that ‘brought him rapid promotion’, resulting in him becoming Chief Engineer and Secretary to

the Government in Central Provinces, North-West Provinces and Bengal. During his time in India he was a
member of the Legislative Councils of the North-West Provinces and Bengal. He was made a Companion of
the Order of the Indian Empire for the valuable administrative work he did during the great famines. Some of

the great Indian famines occurred between 1765 and 1947, and Glass was there during both the Great Famine
(1876-1878), when 5.5 million died, and the Indian Famine (1896-1897), when 5 million lost their lives. As a
Civil Engineer he may have been involved with the Bengal Railway though I have been unable to confirm this.
He was elected to membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers in December 1876 and December 1881.
These may indicate that he was first a Member then made a Fellow. Whilst both newspaper and Eric Montague
state he retiredin 1898, the Indian Register of Employees in 1890 shows him as already retired (21 May 1890).

One thing we can be sure of is that he would have retired with a pension.

Whilst in India, in 1873, he met and married Eliza Jessie Alexandrina Cumberledge, nicknamed Minnie,
daughter of General B W
Cumberledge of the Madras Cavalry. They went on to have five children: Mary
b.1881 in India, Donald James Cumberledge b.1882 in India, John Robertson b.1886 in Bath, Noel Evelyn
b.1889 in Ealing and James Fraser b.1892 also in Ealing. The birth places of the children show where the
family lived. In the 1891 census they are living at 11 The Common, Ealing, where Minnie is shown as the
head of the family ‘living on husband’s means’. In the 1901 census they have moved to ‘Tamworth’, 156 St
George’s Road, Mitcham, where James is now head of the family and shown as ‘retired Civil Engineer Indian
Dept’. By the time of his death James was living at The Canons, Mitcham. I have been unable to trace a census

record for the family living at The Canons in 1911. This was collected on the 2 April 1911 and it may well be
that none of the family members were at home and therefore no record was made. The family left Mitcham
shortly after.

Glass had become ill towards the end of a winter visit to see his daughter in Egypt. It was thought that he

would be able to return to England, and Mitcham, safely. Sadly, he didn’t make it and passed away in Naples
on the journey back. His death would have been felt by those of St. Mark’s Church, Mitcham, somewhere he
and his wife had a great interest in and which they helped out in many practical ways. After Minnie’s death in

1909 he joined the church building committee. He expressed his intention to give the church a stained-glass
window in her memory. As well as losing his wife, he had also lost two of his children, which may well have

affected his health. John Robertson had died aged 24 in 1910. I am unclear which of their other children had
died but it is likely to have been Mary. Their youngest son, James Fraser Glass, was killed during World War
One. Information about him can be found on Merton’s Carved in Stone website. James’s estate was valued at
£216,885 6s 9d – over £32m today.

I visited St Mark’s Church. It has two stained-glass windows. The main window has a scene of Jesus, with
Mary and St Mark either side and the four crests of Borough of Mitcham, Southwark Diocese, St Mark’s, and

County of Surrey, which probably postdates 1945. There are three other windows, one in honour of Lieutenant
Reginald Hubbard, one depicting St George and the other St Mark and St John. All these probably postdate
1945. The church had been hit by a landmine or parachute bomb in 1940 and as a result was derelict for six
years. It has undergone restructuring from a single large hall into three separate rooms, and the position of the
altar has been moved to the south wall. There are no other stained-glass windows at the church. It could be
that one was provided as James Glass had wished and it had been destroyed during the bombing. This does
however feel unlikely as the church records have no information about any such window.

A little foot note to this story is that in the Mitcham Advertiser of 6 October 1911, Donald J C Glass was fined
for speeding. The speed limit then was 20mph, as it is on many Merton roads today.


MiCHAEL NORMAN-SMiTH on celebrating

The History (mostly reprinted from an article that Michael wrote in 2021 for the Wimbledon Society’s Magazine.)

As we reach, on 16 August, the 150th Anniversary of the formation of the Commons as we know them today,
we look back at how the Commons came into being. What is a Common? Historically, a Common was a large
area of wasteland which had never been brought into cultivation, either because it was not needed for a small
population or because the soil was poor. In theory, the waste land was owned by the lord of the manor, but over

the centuries, his tenants gained certain definite rights ‘of Common’. When and how these rights came into

existence is uncertain, but their value to every villager was considerable. Wimbledon and Putney Commons, as

they were transferred to the Conservators in 1871, were what remained of the waste of the manor of Wimbledon.

By 1864, very few commoners remained in the Manor of Wimbledon and the
Commons became very vulnerable. The then Earl Spencer (right, courtesy
National Portrait Gallery), Lord of the Manors of Wimbledon and Battersea,
followed the example being set across the country and had a bill drafted for

submission to Parliament. On 11 November 1864 he called a meeting, at very

short notice, of some local residents at the Lecture Hall in Wimbledon, without
giving any indication to what the meeting was about.

At the meeting, he explained that the Bill would provide for the enclosure of no
less than 700 acres of the Commons as a park, and for the sale of large portions
of the remaining 300 acres to compensate him and the surviving commoners and
to defray the costs he would incur. The Bill also provided for the building of a

‘manor house’ on the site of the windmill, with two acres for grounds.

The reason he gave for this? ‘The land was boggy and noxious mists and fogs arose from it and great nuisance

was caused by gypsies whose encampments and activities he had insufficient power to control’.

Whilst most of those attending were in favour, second thoughts prevailed and as a result, committees were

formed in Wimbledon and Putney to watch the progress of the Bill through Parliament. Early in 1865, Lord

in the vicinity of London, and the Committee found against Lord Spencer. He
withdrew the Bill before it was put before a Select Committee.

But the danger had not passed, as Lord Spencer still claimed that the Commons
were his absolute property and sought to strengthen his position by buying up
copyhold properties in order to extinguish the rights of Commons attached to

them, and intensified his exploitation of the Commons to increase his revenue.
In March 1866, another meeting of the residents of the parishes adjoining the

Common appointed the Wimbledon Common Committee with the object of ‘the
preservation of the whole of Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath unenclosed,

for the benefit of the neighbourhood and the public’. Its chairman was Henry W
Peek (right, Courtesy website of All Saints Church South Wimbledon).

Spencer’s Bill was referred to a committee to enquire into the condition of the Commons and open spaces
In April 1870, Lord Spencer indicated he was willing to come to terms. The negotiations that followed were
prolonged and difficult, and included Putney Lower Common for the first time. Terms of settlement were
eventually agreed and embodied in a Bill which was deposited on 17 December 1870 and passed by the House
of Commons on 22 May 1871. Further difficulties arose when demands came from the War Office for the use of
the Commons for military purposes. At length, on 16 August 1871, the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act
finally received Royal Assent.

What were its provisions? Of course the property had to be paid for. The price agreed was based on the average
annual income received by Lord Spencer during the preceding 10 years, a sum of £1,200 to be paid as a perpetual

annuity. For this, Lord Spencer’s estate and interest in the whole of the Commons was conveyed to a body of

Conservators, whose duty it was to keep the Commons open and unenclosed, protecting the turf, gorse, trees and

other natural products. The yearly payment of £1,200 was the first charge on the Commons Fund and in order

to provide the money to pay for this annuity, and to cover the cost of keeping, preserving and improving the
Commons, the Act empowered the Conservators to levy a charge on the occupiers of properties situated within

three-quarters of a mile of Wimbledon Common or Putney Heath (distances to be measured by nearest available


road or footpath), and the Parish of Putney. It is by this means that the upkeep of the Commons was funded in

1871, and still is today.
In the mid-1950s, the then Conservators created a Redemption Fund, and after 10 years, succeeded in raising

enough money to purchase the annuity.

Marking 150 years – Commoners Reunited

At our meeting on 8 October 2022, Mike reminded us that the battle over Wimbledon Common took place in the
1860s. On the one side was John, fifth Earl Spencer, Lord of the Manor, while his opponent was Sir Henry Peek,

MP, who lived at Wimbledon House. Peek set up two committees with local notables and conservationists, who
campaigned extensively, eventually winning the argument so the Earl did not build a wall all round the Common,
nor demolish the Windmill, nor replace it with a manor house. Mike then brought us up to date as follows:

To mark the 150th anniversary of the 1871 Commons Act, the Conservators asked the Wimbledon Society local
history group if we could track down any of the descendants of the men involved. Despite my best efforts, I
have never discovered the names of all the original Conservators. However, I did find a number of lawyers –

Sydney Smith of Sydney Lodge, Parkside, Richard Duncan of Exeter House, Putney, and William Williams, a
one-time president of the Law Society who lived at Parkside House. There were Liberal politicians – Edward

North Buxton, who lived at Leytonstone House (he secured Hatfield Forest from development), while George
Lefevre was a cabinet minister under Gladstone, and later became first Baron Eversley.

From Leeds originally, where he was well known as a writer and social reformer, came James Hole, ‘a shadowy
figure’. He had four sons and I traced a great grand-daughter, but there the trail went cold. Two more members

with strong local credentials were Thomas Devas, who lived at Mount Ararat, a mansion at the end of The Drive,

and his son-in-law Thomas Conway. Both have roads named after them, but no descendants were identified.
Philip Lawrence’s home still stands on Copse Hill. A
member of the legal profession, he married twice and

produced 14 children. Three of the daughters founded Roedean School, and one son, Sir Paul, became a
Conservator in 1901. Many descendants were revealed, including one great grand-daughter who died relatively
recently in 2020. A very well-known name in our area is Richardson Evans. He originated the John Evelyn Club,
now the Wimbledon Society, in 1903. Thanks to him parts of our
village green are preserved, Wandle Park is safeguarded for public
recreation, and the Commons extension nature reserve exists at
Beverley Meads. His home overlooks the Common on West Side.

We managed to find a great grand-daughter who lives in Edinburgh.

Joseph Burrell rang a bell with me as he was a neighbour. However,
it was his father with the same name who lived at Lindisfarne
House and was Treasurer of the Wimbledon Commons committee.
His great nephew was at school with me, but no further links were
found. Sir Robert Hunter helped establish the National Trust. He

saved Epping Forest, Dartford and Hampstead Heath. Through his

biographer I was put in touch with the great grand-daughter of this

celebrated individual. Finally, a descendant of Sir Henry Peek is

the current sixth baronet, Sir Richard. I managed to contact him
through another school fellow who worked for the family in Devon.

Thus my research yielded some pleasing success. It was appreciated
at a special reception at the House of Commons hosted by our MP
and attended by a number of descendants in 2022.

The Windmill that Earl Spencer failed to have
knocked down. Painting by Rosemary Turner in 2016.

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