Bulletin 229

Download Bulletin 229

March 2024 – Bulletin 229

Wimbledon Palais de Danse – Norma Cox
A Conversation at Mitcham Heritage Day – irene Burroughs
The Probate Inventory of Rebecca Cranmer, 1815 – Peter Hopkins
Corfield Industries – John Sheridan
and much more

CHAIR: Christine Pittman


David Luff’s photo of a Class 70 heavy locomotive working locally (see p.15)


Programme March – September 2024 2

Help Wanted 2

‘The Wandle Portrayed’ 3

‘Whitehall to West Indies and Wimbledon’ 3

‘Wimbledon Palais de Danse’ 4

‘Mitcham Heritage Day’ 6

The Probate Inventory of Rebecca Cranmer, 1815 – Peter Hopkins 7

‘A History of Wandsworth Prison’ 11

Corfield Industries – John Sheridan 12

Local History Workshop – 29 September 2023: 15

Finsbury maps; Abraham Goldsmid’s house; Robinson Road in Colliers Wood

Notes: Coronation Medal; Hadfields souvenir; Zeals memory; More help wanted 16




Saturday 9 March at 2.30pm ‘Sports along the Wandle’

talk by Mick Taylor of the Wandle Industrial Museum

Saturday 13 April at 2.30pm ‘The Richest of the Rich: Richard Thornton of Cannon Hill’

talk by Heritage Officer Sarah Gould


Please book with Bea beforehand: mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk

30 June – 12 noon A Visit to Wandsworth Prison Museum

led by curator Stewart McLaughlin

(Members might also be able to be conducted around part of the prison itself,

depending on numbers, so book early!)

5 July – 11.30am A Visit to Merton Priory Chapter House

led by John Hawks

9 August – 11am A Tour of St Peter & St Paul Church and church yard,

Church Road, Mitcham

20 September – 2pm A Visit to St Bartholomew Church,

West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS

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.

Local History Workshops: Fridays 1 March, 10 May, 28 June, 9 August, 27 September,
8 November 2024 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.



… is a community history project with Merton Archives and the educational charity digital-works, funded
by HLF. It is to preserve the history of Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium through the memories of people who
worked (bookies, owners, trainers, in catering, in the ticket office) or visited there during its heyday. The HLF
award also provides for the restoration of the famous Mick the Miller mosaic and its public display outside the
AFC Wimbledon Cherry Red Records Stadium. Please get in touch with me if you know someone who has
memories to share.

Jonathan Buckley https://www.digital-works.co.uk/



We are accustomed to rivers such as the Thames and the Avon being extolled in poetry and painting. It may
come as a surprise that the Wandle has also been commemorated down the years in Art and Literature.

On 14 October at our first talk of the winter season, Alison Cousins, a member of Merton Historical Society,
the John Innes Society and the Wandle Industrial Museum, showed us many examples of works that have
been inspired by our local river. Much of Alison’s information was based on the research of the late Judith
Goodman, former Chair, Vice Chair and Vice President of our society, published in Bulletins 149-212.

Alison’s talk was a chronological journey mentioning famous and not so famous writers, poets and artists who
had all, in their own way, depicted the Wandle. References to the Wandle in literature began at least as far back
as 1577 when William Camden wrote his work Britannia in Latin and referred to the Wandle as Vandalis. It
was translated into English in 1610. Also during the Stuart period, Michael Drayton dedicated a poem referring
to the Wandle to James I’s son Prince Henry.

In the early eighteenth century, Alexander Pope wrote a poem about the rivers that flow into the Thames,
including the Wandle, while Daniel Defoe wrote about the Wandle in 1724. It is known that at some point in
his life, he had local connections and may have lived in Mitcham for a while. In the next century, the Victorian
writer and art critic John Ruskin recorded fond memories of the Wandle as a child. Alison noted other famous
authors, such as Rudyard Kipling, who wrote a poem comparing the Wandle with a river in India, and H G
Wells, who mentioned the Wandle in his novel The War of the Worlds. Coming forward in time, John Betjeman
included a mention of the Wandle in his 1944 poem South London Sketch.

Alison showed us many paintings and drawings of the
Wandle. One of the earliest, by an anonymous artist, was
a view of Ravensbury Manor House dating from the early
eighteenth century. Among the other representations shown
was one from 1921 of the Wandle in Waddon by the artist
Cicely M. Barker, most famous for her Flower Fairy books.
Dewey Bates, an American artist and writer, published an
article in The English Illustrated Magazine in 1898 entitled
‘On the Wandle’ with several of his own illustrations,
which MHS reprinted in 2016. We were shown two pictures
by the late MHS member Peter Harris; The Dye House at
Wandsworth (1979) and Angler’s Bridge (1989).

William Morris named one of his print designs ‘Wandle’. The
pattern was issued in many different colour combinations
and is still available today for wallpaper and furnishings

The talk ended with photographs of Wandle-themed
decorations at the Wandle Industrial Museum, including
a stained-glass panel and modern Wandle-inspired works
shown at the Wandle Arts Festival. Irene Burroughs

At the AGM in November 2023 MICHAEL NORMAN-SMITH gave a taster talk titled


This was based on the career of his Grandpa Frank, who lived in Merton Park at the time of WW1, and later at
various addresses in Wimbledon. During WW2 he was asked to go out from the Ministry of Labour in London
to the West Indies, as a calming influence to help address the industrial problems being experienced. At first
this was focused on Jamaica but by 1945 covered the whole region. When he disembarked at Kingston Docks,
he was met by Alexander Bustamente, a union leader who later went on to become the Prime Minister. A hostile
crowd of 2000 unemployed men awaited him at the Racecourse. Frank, known as the giant of Whitehall, was
6 feet 6 inches tall, and had to climb into the Starters box. Getting to his feet he banged his head on the low
roof. He observed that his first recommendation to the Government, as Labour adviser, would be that the roof
should be raised so that a man of his height could be accommodated. This broke the ice!

Also at the AGM in November 2023, NORMA COX told us about


In June 2023 my friend Margaret Fogarty and I were walking along the Pickle Brook towards the Superstore
in Merton, when Margaret remarked that she remembered this area from her teenage years when she went to
dances at the nearby Wimbledon Palais. She remembered the Small Faces, a pop-group popular in the 1960s,
playing there. The Palais had been a popular dance and music venue in Merton from 1922.

Wimbledon Palais was situated in Merton High Street on the western corner of Mill Road, on the site of
Merton Priory Gatehouse.1 In Bulletin 141 a report of the 2001 MOLA archaeological excavation said that the
gatehouse was demolished in the early twentieth century and that the site was later truncated.2

The Wimbledon Palais building had a colourful history, for it was built as a roller-skating rink in 1909. Roller
skating (allegedly invented in the UK in the eighteenth century for the London stage) was very popular from
the mid-Victorian era.3 Chris Cox questions whether roller skating did start in the eighteenth century, as roller
skates would have needed steel ball-bearings to bear the weight and reduce friction, and these were only
patented in 1794.4 The early skates were therefore simple in design. As I could not find
an image of the Merton rink, I have a picture of roller-skating from the Edwardian era
(right),5 which shows sailors having fun roller-skating on a battleship.6 Neil Robson, the
Editor of the Wandsworth Historian who supplied the image, commented ‘The sketch is
intriguing at so many levels and given that it was made at a time when being a member of
the Royal Navy was viewed as a distinctly macho profession, one can only wonder what
the Illustrated London News magazine’s readers in 1909 thought of a drawing of two
men arm-in-arm apparently having a whale of a time.’ Chris Cox, whose father served
on a battleship in WW1, disputed whether roller-skating on a battleship would ever have

During WW1 the building was used as an airship and balloon factory. Unfortunately an image of the Merton
airship and balloon factory (or any other such) was difficult to find. Dave Haunton of MHS supplied a copy
of a print by Dame Laura Knight, showing a balloon site at Coventry (left). A further website confirmed the
existence of Merton Airship and balloon factory. One writer on it had visited the
building after 1979, and doubted that airships were made there as the ceiling was
not high enough. They presumed that only barrage balloons could be made there
and commented that ‘the building was not Cardington’.7 Dave Haunton said that
‘This (Cardington) was an interesting comment and was shorthand for ‘a very
large enclosed space’. The two airship sheds at Cardington in Bedfordshire still
exist and were built to allow rigid airships, as big as Zeppelins, to be assembled
and stored inside. The space inside each one is about 800 feet long, 180 feet
wide and about 150 feet high. So pretty big (and) presumably the internal dimensions of Wimbledon Palais
were rather smaller. The writer’s conclusions about the Palais not making rigid airships but only being big
enough inside to make inflatable observation and barrage balloons seem pretty sound to me’.8

In 1922 the roller-skating venue had a sprung floor installed and the building re-opened as the newly named
‘Wimbledon Palais de Danse’. This was said to have the largest sprung dance-floor in Europe.9 As the name
suggests, these were made with wood to give a spring and aid dancing. The image below is from the LBM
photoarchive website showing the interior of the Wimbledon Palais. (There are two photos of Wimbledon
Palais in Adam Spencer’s book.10) The post war Jazz era lead to a dance craze and people came to learn the
steps of the Foxtrot, the Charleston and the Black Bottom.11 There were Afternoon Tea Dances on Wednesday
and Saturday which cost 1/6, while Evening admission cost 2/6.
Fridays went upmarket with tickets costing 3/6 and dancers were
only allowed in if they wore evening dress.12 It was still used as a
dance hall up to the 1940s and Ted Heath’s band played there in
the 1950s.13 The Oscar Rabin Band was a popular British dance
band in the first half of the twentieth century. They played a genre
of popular jazz and dance music which developed in British dance
halls and hotel ballrooms in the 1920s and 1930s; and at Wimbledon
Palais from 1930-32. This music has been called the Golden Age of
British music prior to WW2.

In 1950 the Palais was taken on by a new management team of Oscar
Rabin, Harry Davis and Alec Taylor, who ensured the success of the
venue for the rest of the decade.14 One LBM photoarchive website
picture shows Ken Mackintosh and his orchestra in 1951 (right). They
were the resident band 1950-53, featuring Alec McGregor, Stan Hibbert,
Bill Morris, Gordon Langhorn, Clive Sharrock, Gerry Gerke, Ronnie
McCauley, Ronnie Keane, Jimmy Brown, Bobby Kevin, Jack Seymour
and Tommy Watt, with singer Kenny Bardell. In that decade the Palais
had visiting bands every Tuesday evening, when famous bandleaders
such as Ted Heath, Joe Loss, Jack Parnell and Johnny Dankworth could appear. In 1958 the Oscar Rabin
band was back playing at the Palais, but they broke up in 1965. The band was then led by Mike Rabin, who
was Oscar Rabin’s grandson and Mike regularly performed with his group The Demons up until 1968 when
Wimbledon Palais was sold. 15 Another band which often played there was Harry Roy and his band. In the
1960s music had changed and Wimbledon Palais attracted rock and roll performers. The Beatles made an
early visit there in 1963 and put the venue on the map.16 This was only for their fan-club, but those who were
there said the management put barriers around the stage to stop people getting too close to the ‘Fab Four’.
The Rolling Stones played there in 196417, along with American artists such as Little Richard, Otis Reading,
Jerry Lee Lewis and the Crickets.18 The dances in the 1950s would have been jive and rock and roll, while
dances in the 1960s were to ‘pop music’ and modern dances included ‘The Twist’ where partners danced
alone. Wimbledon Palais also had record nights and in 1964 Pirate Radio and Radio London took the Saturday
night spot with DJ Tony Blackburn.19 On 16 August 1965 St John Ambulance had to deal with 150 girls who
fainted at Wimbledon Palais due to hysteria.20 One competition was on Sunday 20 March 1966 when the
prize presented at the Palais was for the ‘Million Pound Drum Contest’, promoted on Radio London during
February 1966.21 The Palais was a small contained place popular with ‘Mods’. It was an independent venue not
connected to the other music venues such as those owned by Mecca who refused to play ‘pop music’, which
allowed Wimbledon Palais to hold on to its niche.22 There were market changes in the mid-1970s which forced
the Palais to put on Wrestling and Bingo.23

The building was sold in 1968 and in 1979 it became a Furnitureland
store, though still with its sprung floor. It was demolished in 2000.24 A
photo (right) of the exterior of the building c.1979 (from Adam Spencer’s
book) shows the inviting entrance with a large imposing Wimbledon
Palais name, while the name of Furnitureland had been added as a small
temporary sign.

This article has recorded the local and social history of a building in Merton High Street. It was used for 91
years in the twentieth century and its own history has added to the layers of Merton’s history.


Thanks to the London Borough of Merton for images from Merton Memories photographic archive website.
Thanks for comments to Dave Haunton, to Neil Robson of Wandsworth Historical Society for his comments
and the image from the London Illustrated News, and to Chris Cox.

1 Toase, Charles An A-Z of Wimbledon. The History of the Village
and the Town. (1999) p.56

2 https://mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk/excavation-report-on-

3 https://www/socialhistory.org.uk/shs_exchange/victorian_

4 Personal communication Chris Cox author’s husband
September 2023

5 Illustrated London News 31 July 1909 p.15. Details found in
the www.britishnewspaperarchive. Accessed 19 September
2023. Image supplied by Neil Robson

6 https://www.britishnewspaperarchive. 1909 Illustrated London
News 1909.

7 https://greatwarforum.org/topic/238526-merton-airship-factory

8 Personal communications from Dave Haunton MHS. 17 & 28
September 2023

9 https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/search?q=wimbledon+palais&action=search

10 Spencer, Adam Merton: The Twentieth Century (1999) p.72
London Borough of Merton, Sutton Publishing

11 https://radiolondon.co.uk/rl/scrap60/fabforty/65fabs/march66/

12 As Note 1

13 As Note 3 p.102

14 As Note 3 p.102

15 https:// en.wikipedia.org.uk/wiki/Oscar_Rabin_band

16 As Note 10

17 As Note 1

18 As Note 10

19 As Note 10

20 As Note 10

21 https://radiolondon.co.uk/rl/scrap60/fabforty/65fabs/march66/

22 As Note 10

23 As Note 1

24 As Note 1

Also at the AGM in November 2023, IRENE BURROUGHS told us about a conversation at


This was held on 9 September, when selected venues, particularly in the Cricket Green area, were open to the
public for one day. Tony Scott and I manned an MHS stall in the parish room at SS Peter and Paul Catholic
Church opposite Cranmer Green. Tony was also conducting tours of the church, so for some of the time I was
on my own. People who had come to look around the church would drift into the parish room, where there
were also displays by Merton Council’s Heritage and Local Studies Department. Some wandered over to our
stall and there was a mixed reaction, from a casual glance to considerable interest and we were also able to sell
some publications.

During a very quiet moment when I was on my
own, a middle-aged man wandered in. After
having a look at the displays, he came over to
me. He was holding some documents and asked
if I would be interested in seeing them. The first
was a certificate dating from 1931 (left). Bearing
in mind this was a casual conversation and I was
not taking notes, I am a bit hazy on the family
relationships, but the certificate gave permission
for a pedlar, called Sarah Miley, to sell her wares.
I think she was the gentleman’s grandmother, or
great grandmother.

The other document (below) was also a certificate,
dated 1930, giving permission to a Mr Ayres to
erect a coconut shy and a set of six swings on
Mitcham Common opposite the Blue House,
a local name for the Ravensbury Arms (at the
Mitcham end of Croydon Road). This was to be on
Whit Monday. As we do not know of a fair on that
part of the common, it is possible that Mr Ayres
was hoping to take advantage of families out with
their children on that day. He was an uncle of the
man I was talking with. The family were involved
with Mitcham Fair and Mr Ayres was also
connected to the yards that some older members
may remember. The larger one, in what is now
Holborn Way, was a site for caravans and
fairground equipment. The smaller one, at the
Fair Green end of Western Road, had modern
caravans and some traditional gypsy caravans.
These were a great source of fascination for
me as a young schoolgirl waiting for the 152
bus to take me to school in Merton Park. The
gentleman gave me permission to take photos
of the certificates, to show other people in
MHS. He did not offer his name and stupidly,
perhaps, I didn’t ask for it.

One of the displays by Merton Council in the parish room was called ‘The Colour Purple’ and was about
Mitcham’s lavender industry. This was complemented by our own display about Mitcham’s herbal industry
(not just lavender). We are hoping that the whole of the exhibition will be put on display in Mitcham Library
sometime in early spring.

[Editor’s Note: The prominent signature Byng of Vimy on the pedlar’s certificate is that of a WW1 general,
who won a VC at the battle of Vimy Ridge, and post-War was governor general of Canada (1921-26) and then
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (1928-31), becoming a viscount in 1928.]

PETER HOPKINS has attempted to identify the rooms in The Canons, Mitcham, mentioned in


During 2023, Irene Burroughs, Tony Scott, Mick Taylor and I were invited by Sarah Gould to join a working
party organised by Amy Keen, the Project Development Manager at The Canons, to provide input to the
proposed information panels and timeline to be displayed at The Canons. We understand that these are almost
ready for display and look forward to seeing them in place.

As part of this project, Amy lent me a copy of the summary report on an Historic Building Record and monitoring
works undertaken between August and September 2020 by Addyman Archaeology for Merton Council, which
underlay the restoration work since undertaken at The Canons. Other reports are freely accessible from the
Research page on The Canons website – https://www.thecanonsmitcham.co.uk/research – while Merton
Council’s online Planning Explorer site provides access to the various documents required in the planning
process – https://planning.merton.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorerAA/Home.aspx

These reports include plans identifying the historic walls and those added over the following centuries, so
I decided to attempt to use them to reconstruct the layout of the house in 1815, when an inventory of the
contents of the house belonging to Rebecca Cranmer was taken for probate purposes. This transcript, from
Eric Montague’s Mitcham Histories 11: The Cranmers, The Canons and Park Place, retains original spellings.

Attic RoomsA Stump Bedstead, a feather Bed
Bolster and Pillow, 3 Blankets and
a Counterpane, Wainscot Drawers.
a Deal Table and 2 Chairs, A threefoot 6 side view Bedstead, A feather
Bed and Bolster, 3 Blankets and a
Coverlet, a deal side Table with a
Drawer, a Chair.
Store RoomsA 3 foot 8 Square Mahogany
Dining Table, a pair of
Mahogany Serpentine Card
Tables, a Pair of Ditto Knife
Cases, a Mahogany night
Table, a Steel Stove Grate, a
high wire guard Fender, a pair
of Japanned Cabinets, a Sugar
Chopper and board, a long
deal Table under window
and Stand, a looking Glass
17 inches by 12, a high Tin
Fender, a small Mahogany
Slab Sideboard, two tin Dish
Covers, a Coverlet, a pair
of looking Glasses White
Frames 26 inches by 18, a 4
Foot Mahogany Bedstead,
green Morine Furniture, a
bordered feather Bed and
Bolster, a crankey Wool
Mattress, 3 Blankets and a
White Cotton Counterpane,
a Case of Drawers, a Japanned
Candlestick with Shelves, a
Tamboo (sic) Writing Box,
a Copper Tea Kettle, Sundry
China dishes, various (10)
and several other pieces of
China (30) a Tea Sett and
some Chimney Ornaments, a
cut glass Basin, a Butter Ditto,
a Plated Coffee Pot, Chamber
Candlestick and Pewter Mug,
a pair of enamel’d China Jars,
a smaller Ditto, a hearth Rug
and sundry Boxes.
Probate Inventory of Rebecca
Cranmer, widow, taken at Mitcham
between Monday 31 July and
Wednesday 20 September 1815THE CANONS, MITCHAM
1680 original house NW extension pre-1815 – 2-storeyed SE extension after 1815 NE extension after 1815

Probate Inventory of Rebecca

Cranmer, widow, taken at Mitcham

between Monday 31 July and

Wednesday 20 September 1815

Inventory of Rebecca
widow, taken at Mitcham
Monday 31 July and
20 September 1815THE CANONS, MITCHAM
1680 original houseNW extension pre-1815 – 2-storeyedSE extension after 1815NE extension after 1815
1680 original houseNW extension pre-1815 – 2-storeyedSE extension after 1815NE extension after 1815

The first challenge was to identify how much of the present house existed in 1815, as it is clear that various
extensions have been added to the structure since it was first built in 1680. Some of the reports mentioned the
uncovering of sealed-up doors and windows which had been in outer walls before the extensions were built.
Also, when they were removing floorboards in the southern ground floor room (to the right of the entrance),
they discovered the original position of the fireplace which had been against a wall that was later moved back,
level with the rest of the east wall.

Looking at the rear of the house, one can see that the south-eastern extension has been carefully matched to the
rest of the façade, but that was not the case with the north-eastern extension – even the shapes of the windows
are different here. So it appears that the south-eastern extension was earlier than the north-eastern one.

North ChamberDressing
ChamberFront Chamber
Stairs Probate Inventory of Rebecca
Cranmer, widow, taken at Mitcham
between Monday 31 July and
Wednesday 20 September 1815Front Chamber SouthA 27 Inch Bath Stove fender and fire Irons – a Mahogany 4 Post Bedstead,
a 3 foot 4 Mahogany Bureau, a 3 foot 9 inches high Single Chest of
Drawers, 5 Printed Chairs and an easy Chair, a Deal Toilet Table and
Cover, a Mahogany Box Dressing Glass, 11 Prints and drawers Various,
two Pillows, 3 Blankets and a Cotton Counterpane, a Kidderminster
Carpet, a pair of Bellows and a Watchman’s Rattle, a Claw Table.
Middle ChamberA Mahogany 4 Foot Bedstead, Green
Damask furniture, a Crankey Wool
Mattress, a Feather Bed Bolster and
Pillow, 3 Blankets and a Printed Quilt,
a 3 feet 6 Mahogany Single Chest of
Drawers, a Ditto knee hole dressing
Table, a Ditto oval swing Dressing Glass,
a Pier Glass Gilt Frame 33 inch by 19, a
small Mahogany Table, a Pair of Ditto
Stools, a night Stool, 2 Green Window
Curtains, a Landscape and a pair of
Prints, a Bason Stand, Bason, Jug and
Decanter, 3 Crimson Festoon mixed
Damask Window Curtains.
Dressing RoomA Mahogany Bason Stand, blue and
white Bason and Jug, a Ditto White
Bason and Jug, a square Mahogany Table,
2 Ditto Stools and two Ditto Chairs, a
Mahogany Screen, 18 pieces Drawings
or Fancy Work framed and glazed.
North ChamberA Steel Stove, Grate, fender and fire
iron, a 3 feet 9 Mahogany double
Chest of Drawers, a knee hole Ditto, a
Mahogany Box dressing Glass, a Pier
Glass Gilt Frame 33 Inch by 19, a 3 foot
9 Mahogany Chest of Drawers and Book
Case and bust, a 3 foot Mahogany 4 Post
Bedstead, White Dimity Furniture, a
Wool Mattress and a Ditto White Case,
a feather Bed, Boulster and 3 Pillows, a
White Cotton Counterpane, 3 Blankets,
2 festoon White Dimity Window
Curtains, A small Turkey Carpet, a
pair of Kidderminster bedside Ditto, 3
Prints from the History of Joseph, some
Chimney Ornaments, 5 painted Chairs.
Books in ChamberBurlington British Traveller with
Plates 1 Vol. Secundo – L’estrangerJosephus 1 Vol. quartoNewgate Calender 2 Vols.,
Horne’s Commentaries on the Psalms,
Rambler, 4 Volumes,
Dodds’ Visitor 2 Vols.,
Goldsmith’s Works 2 Vols.,
Rowe, Hervey and Scott 3 Vols.,
Sermons or Homilies in Queen
Elizabeth’s Reign 1 Vol. FolioChristian’s Dictionary 1 Vol., quartoBuchan’s Medicine, 1 Vol.,
Lucas on Happiness 2 Vols.,
4 Vols. DivinityEvangelical Magazine 17 vols.,
Westley 1 Vol. and some numbers unbound,
Blair’s Sermons 2 Vols.,
Beveridge’s Sermons 11 Vols.,
Ditto Thoughts 2 Vols.,
Bellamy’s Family Preacher,
Virtue in humble Life,
Family Bible,
Dodderidge’s Works 5 Vols.,
Moss’ Sermons 4 Vols.,
Howlett’s Ditto 2 Vols.,
Robinson’s Scripture Characters 4 Vols.,
Present State of Society 1 Vol.,
Whitefield’s Works 6 Vols.,
Lecker’s Lectures 2 Vols.,
Jenk’s Meditations 2 Vols.,
Dodd on the Parables, 4 Vols.,
Wilcox’s Sermons 3 Vols.,
Robinson Crusoe with Plates 2 Vols.,
Flavel’s Works 8 Vols.,
Sherlock’s Sermons 4 Vols.,
Wilberforce on Christianity 1 Vol.,
24 Volumes on DivinityWatt’s Posthumous Works 3 Vols.,
14 Vols. Divinity Various,
Scott’s Christian Life 3 Vols.
1680 original houseNW extension pre-1815 – 2-storeyedSE extension after 1815NE extension after 1815

But evidence from the northern extension reveals that the western part was built first, with doors and windows
opening on an external eastern wall, and that it was further extended to line up with the eastern wall of the main
block. But the dates of these extensions were not known.

Fortunately a plan of the estate was produced in 1816 and survives at Surrey History Centre at Woking (ref
298/6/1). Christine kindly photographed it for me and it shows that only a north-western extension had been
added at that time. Thus the ground floor parlour mentioned in the inventory, and probably the first floor
dressing room, were likely to have been in that extension, as shown in the sketch plans below.

Dining Room. Front A Kidderminster Carpet, 4 Printed
Cotton Festoon Window Curtains, 6
Mahogany Chairs leather Seats and
Cotton Cases, 2 Burgere (sic) Chairs
Cotton Covers, a Pair of Oval Pier
Glasses Gilt Frames 26 by 19 inches, a
3 foot by 4 Mahogany Dining Table, a
Square Ditto, a Mahogany Card Table,
a Pillar and Claw ditto, a Mahogany
Knife Case, 12 silver handle knives and
Forks, a Mahogany Book Case Drawers
underneath, a Pair of Cut Glass
Candlesticks and Shades, a Landscape
Gilt frame, a pair of Family Portraits, a
small fruit Piece, 4 Prints Gilt Frames,
a small Mahogany Table and a 6 feet
Mahogany Celleret Sideboard.
Hall & Stairs Dining Room Front?Drawing Room?
Dining RoomC hina Closet
Dining RoomA Steel Stove Grate Fender and
Fire Irons, a Wilton Carpet
planned, 2 Yellow Damask
Festoon Window Curtains, 6
Mahogany Chairs damask Seats
and two Sofas, a Mahogany
Card Table, a Ditto Pillar and
Claw Ditto and urn stand, a
Backgammon Box, an oval pier
Glass Gilt Frame 26 inch by 18,
a Pair of gilt Sconces, a Painting
(of) Flowers gilt Frame, a Piece of
Hair work Ditto, Four Coloured
Prints framed and glazed Naples,
Two coloured Prints.
China Closet adjoiningA Mahogany dumb Waiter, a
Mahogany Tray, a Ditto folding
Screen, a Pair of Deal Steps, a
Bronze tea Urn Silver Mounting,
an old Ditto, a Plate Warmer, a
Cheese Stand, a large fine old
China Bowl, 6 China Bowls, 3
imaged China Dishes, 7 blue and
white Ditto, 4 dozen China Plates
various, 1 Dozen blue and white
tea Cups and Saucers, some
Figures as Chimney Ornaments,
3 Tea Pots and a Tureen dish
and Cover, 6 octagon blue and
white Dishes, 2 Glass Salvers,
4 Quart Decanters, 1 Dozen
Wine Glasses and 1 Dozen of
Rummers and Tumblers, some
Old Pieces of China, a Pair of
Copper Scales and Weights.
Hall and StairsA Mahogany Dining Table, 3
Mahogany Chairs, a Mahogany
Knee hole writing Table, a Print
The Departure of Abraham – gilt
Frame and glazed, a ditto Alfred
ditto – A looking Glass 27 inch by
18, a Picture the Fortune Teller – a
Thermometer, a Glass Lanthorn and
Mahogany Steps, an eight day Clock
in a Japanned Case, a Landscape,
The Stair Carpet and 22 brass Wires,
two Prints.
Probate Inventory of Rebecca
Cranmer, widow, taken at Mitcham
between Monday 31 July and
Wednesday 20 September 1815GROUND STORY.
Books in the ParlourSydney’s History of England 1 Vol.,
Lyson’s Environs of London 1 Vol.,
Goodwin’s Works only 1 Vol.,
Ovid Metamorphosis’s 1 Vol.,
Christian Warfare 1 Vol.,
Barnet’s own time 2 Vols.,
Archbishop Cranmer’s Memoirs 1 Vol.,
Life of Christ 1 Vol.,
Burkitt on the New Testament 1 Vol.,
London Chronicle 5 Vols., 1785-1789 Companion to the Temple 1 Vol.,
Taylor’s Life of Christ, 1 Vol.,
7 Volumes Serious
Shakespeare’s Works 6 Vols.,
hearth1680 original house NW extension pre-1815 – 2-storeyedSE extension after 1815NE extension after 1815Ken’s Works 4 Vols.,
Sparke’s Devotions 1 Vol.,
English Dictionary 1 Vol.,
Pilgrim’s Progress 1 Vol.,
14 Volumes variousDryden’s Plays 6 Vols.,
Ditto Virgil 3 Vols.,
Ladies Library 3 Vols.,
Guardian 2 Vols.,
Spectator 8 Vols.,
Don Quixote 4 Vols.,
Tom Jones 6 Vols.,
30 Vols. Various

The 1816 ground plan shows the north-western extension as considerably longer than the present building, as
indicated by the black dashed outline below. My suggestion is that this included a lean-to extension against the
north wall of the basement – which is at ground level at this end of the house – possibly used as the wash-house
mentioned in the inventory, or part of it. A modern storage structure is currently on the same site.

I had assumed that the dumb waiter in the china closet was a hand-operated lift-shaft to the basement below,
but a university student on work experience with Amy discovered that at that time a dumb waiter was a kind
of trolley. (The former china closet survives as a storeroom accessed from the entrance hall, while the dining
room has unfortunately been partitioned to house the lift, toilets, etc.)

One aspect that surprised me is the furniture listed in the attic store rooms. The stairs from the first storey to
the attic were against the east wall. I wonder how wide they would have been to enable large mahogany tables
and the long deal table to be carried up – or did these come apart for transporting? There is clearly scope for
further research to be done – but not by me!

KitchenServants’ HallStairsProbate Inventory of Rebecca
Cranmer, widow, taken at Mitcham
between Monday 31 July and
Wednesday 20 September 1815BASEMENT STORY
Wash House2 Copper Boiling Pots and a Kettle, 5
Mahogany Tubs and a Beer Stand.
KitchenCoppers, a Fish Kettle, a Preserving
Pan, two Stew Pans, a Coffee Pot,
Chocolate Ditto, 3 Small Saucepans, 2
Warming Pots, a Funnall, a Coal Scuttle,
a Warming Pan. 6 Tins. Some small
Articles of Ware, 5 Brass Candlesticks,
2 Pestles and Mortars, and some
small Articles, 7 tin Dish Covers, 6
Pewter Dishes, 3 Fish Plates, 19 Plates
and two Water Ditto, a large Square deal
Table, 5 Chairs and a Kidderminster
Carpet, a Meat Screen, a Pair of Bellows,
Fender and Fire Irons, some old pieces
of China and earthen Ware.
Servants HallA Mahogany Dining Table, an
Ironing Board, a square deal Table,
4 Windsor Chairs, a Mahogany
Butler’s Tray.
LOCATION NOT GIVENLinen2 large Damask Pattern Diaper Table Cloths,
9 Smaller Ditto2 Pair of Russian Sheets, 2 Ditto of Irish, 4 pair
of Servants’ Sheets4 Huckerback (sic) Table Cloths, some round
Table and Chamber Ditto,
4½ pair of Calico Sheets, 4 Pair of Pillow CasesTHE CANONS, MITCHAMLOCATION NOT GIVENJewelsA hair Ring encircled with
Diamonds, 2 Mourning Rings,
1 Ditto with hair device, 1
Worked Gold Ditto, 1 Hair
enamelled Ditto, 1 Gold Pearl
Ring. 18 Gold Rings various a
Pair of Paste ear Rings, a Jubilee
Medal, a Silver Snuff Box, a
Ditto apple Scoop. 4 Pair of
Paste Buckles in Silver, a Silver
Pencil Case, A Lady’s Gold
Watch by Cox Jewelled and two
Seals, a Piece of Gold Coin of
James 1st.,
an Iron Chest –
Plate in Iron ChestA 7 inch Waiter 11oz 5 dwtsA Pint Mug 8oz 15 dwtsA Cream Pot 4oz 15 dwts4 Table Spoons, a Marrow Ditto
9oz2 Tea Spoons, Sugar tongs and
Butter Knife 11ozPlate in UseA Gravy Spoon and 6 Table Ditto
16oz10 Tea Spoons and a tea Strainer
4oz 15 dwts4 Salts 13ozA Wire Strainer, Cruet Frame
and 4 Salt Spoons 14ozAdditional Articles of Plate, very
oldA Waiter, gaderooned edge 33oz
10 dwtsA small Ditto 8oz 15 dwtsTwo Coats ? 12oz 10 dwtsSnuffer Stand, Taper CandlestickWire Strainer and Punch Ladle
15oz 10 dwtsA Pair of Solid Candlesticks 35ozA Coffee Pot 36oz 15 dwts______________
Total weight of silver: 234oz 10
dwtsWash House??
(possibly in
lean-to against
north wall
1680 original houseNW extension pre-1815 – 2-storeyedSE extension after 1815NE extension after 1815


Our programme ended 2023 with a very interesting
illustrated talk on 9 December, given by one of our
members, Stewart McLaughlin, (suitably sombre, right)
on the History of Wandsworth Prison.

Stewart told us that the prison has three levels and was
built on the pan-opticon principle with all of the blocks
radiating from a central observation and control area. From
this location, warders could observe all the cell doors, the
landings and the stairs. Although this arrangement still
remains, the need has been removed with the advent of
CCTV. The first recorded Governor of Wandsworth Prison
was in post in November 1851. Prisons were then built and
maintained by the county: Wandsworth was built to take
prisoners from the Surrey Assizes and the Old Bailey and
was called the Surrey House of Correction. Prisons only
became under national control in 1888.

It was very interesting and revealing to hear that there was no appeal from the County Assizes until the early
20th century when the Court of Appeal was set up, at which time separate Youth Courts and Borstals were
established. Prior to that date young offenders were tried for serious offences at the Assizes and if found guilty,
served their sentences in a prison with adults.

When prisoners were given ‘hard labour’, in some prisons this consisted of stone breaking or hard manual
work. This was impractical in Wandsworth and many other town gaols and instead prisoners were set to work
to turn a handle of a ‘hard labour’ machine whose resistance could be increased by the warder by turning a
screw. Hence the slang expression for a prison officer as a ‘screw’.

The prison had a number of distinguished ‘residents’. Oscar Wilde was one, who was transferred to Wandsworth
from Pentonville in 1885 and was clearly not well. He collapsed in the chapel during a Sunday service and
was taken to the prison hospital. It was from Wandsworth that Wilde appeared in the Court of Bankruptcy in
Cary Street and was adjudged bankrupt. After this court appearance he was transferred by train from Clapham
Junction to Reading Goal, being taken to Clapham Junction by a black horse-drawn wagon.

Another famous ‘resident’ of Wandsworth was Arthur Griffiths, who may not be so well known in England. He
was an Irish newspaper editor and the founder of the political party, Sinn Fein. He was arrested after the Easter
Rising in Dublin in 1916 despite not having taken part in it. He was brought to England for trial, was found
guilty and spent part of his 10-month sentence in Wandsworth. After his release he returned to Ireland and it is
ironic that he and Michael Collins were deputed by Sinn Fein to come to London in September 1921 to negotiate
with David Lloyd George and the British Government for the establishment of an Irish Free State. This was
concluded successfully and Arthur Griffiths returned to Ireland when he died suddenly in August 1922 aged 51.

During the First World War many conscientious objectors were imprisoned in Wandsworth and there was a riot
in the gaol in 1918 led by the conscientious objectors. Over the years there have not been many escapes from
Wandsworth Prison. Probably the most notorious was that of Ronnie Biggs, one of the Great Train Robbers,
who escaped with external assistance on 8 July 1965.

Stewart then went on to talk about treason and he particularly mentioned the Treachery Act that was passed
by both Houses in one day in May 1940, to cover treason by foreigners, since the Treason Act only covered
British nationals. The last person executed for Treason in this country was William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’,
who used to broadcast propaganda to England from Germany during the Second World War. He was hanged
in Wandsworth Prison on 3 January 1946. Capital punishment, except for some very specific offences, was
completely abolished in the UK in 1965. It used to be carried out at Wandsworth and at most other UK
prisons. Corporal punishment for prisoners ceased to 1948 except when specifically directed by magistrates for
prisoners behaving violently towards prison officers. It was completely abolished in 1961.

In conclusion Stewart said that he is the voluntary curator of a small museum at Wandsworth Prison and hinted
that MHS members might like to visit it by prior arrangement.

Tony Scott

JOHN SHERIDAN has been investigating the history of


This article was written further to a visit to the Wandle Industrial Museum (WIM) by
Jim Parker, a former toolmaker at Corfield and Buckle Ltd, which until 1981 stood on
a site now occupied by Sainsburyʼs and Marks and Spencer at Colliers Wood. Corfield
and Buckle was one of the three companies comprising Corfield Industries which were
established by John Corfield in Colliers Wood and Mitcham. They engaged in various
forms of metal pressing and printing, and they traded for most of the 20th century.
John Corfieldʼs brother Reginald ran another metal pressing and printing company in
competition with Corfield Industries.

John Corfield (1871-1939) (above right)
started his career in the manufacture of
household goods in 1893, working for
Hancockʼs in Bermondsey. He became
a partner in 1896, and bought out
Hancock (who was probably retiring) in
1900, retaining the Hancock & Corfield
company name. By 1904 the business
had outgrown the Bermondsey site,
and Corfield built the Imperial Works
at the junction of Morden Road and
Ravensbury Lane in Mitcham (right).

Also in 1904 WH Waller joined as marketing director, and the firm eventually became
Hancock, Corfield and Waller (HCW) in 1919.1 One of their most important early products
was enamelled printed tin plate waiter trays (right). They also made metal advertising
signs, which used to be very common, and they printed advertising material on ceramic
items sent from potteries in Stoke on Trent.2

In the 1920s Johnʼs brother Reginald (1873-1953) joined HCW as a director, but the pair had a disagreement
about investment strategy and in 1935 Reginald left to form his own company, Reginald Corfield Ltd (RC). He
established a factory in Morden Road, Merton, close to and in direct competition with HCW in the manufacture
of metal trays and other pressed metal products. In 1936, RC moved to Lombard Road, still in SW19. RC
struggled before the war, but war work gave them a guaranteed market. They opened a new factory in Redhill,
Surrey, in 1963, containing a state of the art propane-fired tin printing oven, used for the production of tin trays.
They were successful in that business but seem to have stopped making tin trays in 1969, when they were
acquired by Huntley and Palmer, biscuit makers.3

In the meantime John Corfield decided to diversify his metal pressing trade by establishing a new firm. In 1919
he acquired surplus meadow land on the eastern side of the Morris & Co site in Colliers Wood and built the
Trafalgar Works there. Corfield Ltd was first listed in Kelly’s Directory in 1922.

Corfield knew of the proximity of his works to the site of Merton Priory. Lt. Col H F Bidder, the archaeologist
who excavated the priory site, acknowledged Corfieldʼs having invited him to begin excavations, further to the
unearthing in 1919 of two stone coffins by workers laying gas pipes on Station Road
and the unearthing in 1921 in the grounds of the Trafalgar works of an unconfined
skeleton.4 Corfield was also aware of the Nelsonian associations of the area, hence
the name of his works. Press reports referred to his collection of rare Nelsonian
relics, and The Streatham News reported on 26 June 1925 that burglars had broken
in to the offices of Messrs Corfield Ltd, aluminium and brass workers, but had not
stolen a number of valuable relics of Lord Nelson from John Corfield’s office. 5

Corfield Ltd placed an advertisement in The Sketch on 14 March 1923 for sale of
aluminium or bronze mat holders to be fixed to motor car running boards, together
with mats to fit into them. According to an advertisement in 1929 (right) Corfield
manufactured pressed hot water bottle stoppers, bead-type stopper chains, screw
caps, and ‘containers and pressings of every description for the rubber, chemical and
allied trades’ at works occupying 350,000 square feet.

On 6 December 1929 The Advertiser and Gazette reported that Horace L Buckle had resigned from HMV to
work for John Corfield at Corfield Ltd. Buckle had successfully introduced mass production techniques to
gramophone manufacture at HMV, together with rapid expansion of the business. According to the report,
Corfield manufactured high class gramophones and cooking utensils. (The reference to gramophones might
have been incorrect, because there is no other evidence of Corfieldʼs involvement in gramophone manufacture
or record pressing.) In due course Buckle became a partner in the firm.

A collection of photographs in the possession of Jim Parker, and now reproduced in the WIM Flickr gallery
at https://www.flickr.com/photos/156007781@N04/albums/with/72177720310886792, demonstrate that
Corfield and Buckle made many different pressed metal products over the years, including, after WW2,
Morphy Richards irons and toasters, brass Tilley lamp bases, artificial legs and knees, and milk churn tops.
Artificial legs were cylindrical and acquired a bulge by means of a small internal explosive charge. Morphy
Richards took their business elsewhere around 1968, but Corfield and Buckle secured a large contract making
gas meter casings for Smith Meters of Mitcham; meter casings were made of mild steel in two halves, which
were pierced for the gas pipes, trimmed and sealed together once internal components had been inserted. In
the 1970s Corfield and Buckle took over the manufacture of Aladdin paraffin burners from a factory in Wales
where production had stalled because of a strike.

Corfield Sigg Ltd, hardware manufacturers
(right), were registered as a company in August
1932, with capital of £10,000 in £1 shares.6 They
specialised in the manufacture of aluminium
and stainless-steel pots and pans, known as
holloware. Their best-known brand was Crown
Merton. Sigg had been founded in Switzerland
in 1908 by Ferdinand Sigg. Evidently Sigg saw advantage in a business collaboration in the UK with John
Corfield in the manufacture and marketing of kitchenware.

An article by Alison Cousins in the Wandle Industrial Museum’s Bulletin No. 92 (Spring 2016) mentioned
Corfield Sigg’s post-war ‘Corfalgar’ brand, depicting Nelson’s Column; the ‘Super Merton’ heavy gauge
hotelware range; and the 1964 ‘Stainless Plus’ range named ‘Duranel’, combining aluminium and stainless
steel and with handles made of phenolic plastic.7

The key process at Corfield Industries was press work, using powered and hand-operated presses of different
types to form metal into precise, seamless shapes. Mounted on the press was a tool of hardened steel, designed
to give the required shape to the product. Metal could be pressed in a draw press or a deep drawing press into
a hollow bowl-like shape; or a hand-operated fly press might bend, stamp a logo or punch a hole in sheet
metal – the operator swung a long handle with a weight attached to give momentum. Other metalworking
and toolmaking equipment at the works included capstan lathes, wire-drawing machines, and electroplating
facilities to apply a protective or decorative coating of zinc, chrome, or even silver or gold.

All three Corfield group companies and Reginald Corfield Ltd were engaged in war work. Corfield and
Buckle were a supplier to the aircraft industry, specialising in welding, heat treatment, spraying, sandblasting,
presswork and spinning. One product was bomb-release mechanisms: the firm donated one of these to
Brooklands Museum. Other products were enamelled lapel badges and pressed mess tins. HCW made water
bottles during WW1 and the early part of WW2, until their factory was bombed on 26 September 1940. They
moved to the Trafalgar Works where they were able to continue to support the war effort, making products such
as aluminium containers for flares. Reginald Corfield Ltd produced sheet metal for allied aircraft.8

After the war, austerity and Government restrictions
on building materials delayed rebuilding of HCW’s
Imperial Works, but building was complete by 1958
(right) and the plant was fully operational by 1960.9
They were not there for long.

In the late 1960s a new managing director at
Corfield Sigg Ltd introduced new production
lines with spray plants to make pots and pans with
polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-coated non-stick
interiors and coloured enamelled exteriors. These

were so successful that a rival firm, Tower Housewares, lost market share and their parent company, Midland
Aluminium, bought Corfield Industries in 1969, having made a bid of £2.5m to Corfield shareholders, 58 per
cent of whom were Corfield family members. Midland Aluminium removed the new Corfield Sigg production
line and tools to Womborne, Staffs, near Wolverhampton. This enabled HCW to leave their Imperial Works in
Mitcham and move in to occupy the newly vacated space at the Trafalgar Works to make wire products such as
record racks and coat hangers, as well as metal advertising plaques, ash trays, tubes and cigarette dispensers.10

A press report in 1970 attributed a shortfall in Midland Aluminium’s results to Corfield Industries’ poor
performance.11 Midland Aluminium were subsequently taken over by Tube Investments, a holding company,
which, somewhat remote geographically, left Corfield Industries to its own devices until 1981 when the loss-
making Trafalgar Works were closed.12 Tube Investments subsequently sold the site to Sainsbury’s, who also
acquired the site of the adjacent New Merton Board Mills when they closed in 1982. Sainsbury’s then levelled
the area between Merton High Street and the former Merton, Tooting and Wimbledon Railway. The railway
line and sidings and Merton Abbey Station had already been removed in the mid 1970s, following which the
archaeologist Scott McCracken uncovered the foundations of the Merton Priory chapter house. The clearance
of the whole site in the mid 1980s paved the way for more archaeological excavations on the Merton Priory
site, and the construction of the Savacentre hypermarket (now Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer), and the
A24 Merantun Way over the route of the former railway.

The name Hancock, Corfield and Waller lives on in Ewell, Surrey, in a company that traces its lineage to the
original HCW. It is not a manufacturing company: instead it specialises in the procurement and supply of
advertising materials for the food and drink industry, particularly promotional ceramics.13 A self-storage facility
now stands on the site of the Imperial Works. The Ordnance Survey shows that the site was occupied in 1973
by premises known as Dover House, known to have been occupied by Pershke Price Service Organisation Ltd,
which was established in April 1971. This is consistent with HCW’s departure shortly before then.14

Sigg still exists in Switzerland as manufacturers of aluminium water bottles and travel mugs.15 The Corfield firms
adapted and diversified over the years; they were required to do so by market pressures, wartime demands for
new products, and wartime and post-war restrictions: for example, a restriction on the use of tin continued until
the 1950s and led to increased use of aluminium. The Corfield firms’ decline was doubtless hastened by foreign
competition, the substitution of moulded plastic for many pressed metal products, and the broader economic and
social circumstances that led to a general departure of manufacturing industry from urban south London.

Fortunately, there is a collector market for metal trays bearing beer and brewery advertisements. Richard Percival’s
Brewery Trays website carries numerous images of trays as well as brief histories of HCW and RC.16 Some of the
information and images in this article come from the Brewery Trays website, with Richard Percival’s permission.

1 Richard Percival’s Brewery Tray website, HCW page: https://

2 Hancock, Corfield and Waller website: https://www.hcwltd.com/

3 Brewery Tray website, RC page: https://brewerytrays.co.uk/

4 Excavations at Merton Priory, Bidder and Westlake, published by
the Society of Antiquaries in Archaeologia 76, 1926. Press reports
include The Streatham News, 8 December 1922; The Westminster
Gazette, 21 January 1925; and The Sutton Advertiser, 22 January

5 The Westminster Gazette, 21 January 1925 and The Sutton
Advertiser, 22 January 1925, reporting on a lecture by Col Bidder
which referred to John Corfield.

6 Daily Telegraph, 16 Aug 1932

7 https://wandle.org/latestnews/newsletters.html

8 Brewery Tray website; Jim Parker (pers. comm.)

9 Richard Percival’s Brewery Tray website, HCW page. The 1960
Post Office Directory includes HCW at the Imperial Works; they
were not there in the 1958 or 1959 editions.

10 Jim Parker (pers. comm.); Daily Telegraph, 13 Sept 1969; and the
1971 PO Directory gave HCW’s address as the Trafalgar Works.

11 Daily Telegraph, 25 April 1970

12 Jim Parker (pers. comm.)

13 Hancock, Corfield and Waller website: https://www.hcwltd.com/

14 Pershke Price Service Organisation supplied and serviced printing
presses and associated equipment such as electronic typesetting
systems. They were the British subsidiary of a German firm,
MAN Roland, which manufactured the equipment, and they
changed their name twice in the early 2000s to Man Roland GB
Ltd and then Manroland GB Ltd. They sold Dover House in
April 2003 for £2.6m to reduce costs, and in 2004 they moved
across the road to newly built premises at 110-112 Morden Road.
They were insolvent in November 2011, went into administration
in December, and liquidation in March 2013 when the sale of
110-112 Morden Rd was completed. (The company was briefly
reinstated on application by insurers who wanted to check that
all assets had been realised, and it was finally wound up in
January 2019.) Company House records: https://find-and-update.
company-information.service.gov.uk/company/01008301. A 2006
planning application to redevelop the Dover House site as offices,
housing and a central courtyard was granted but fell through when
variations were refused. A further application in November 2008
to change use from vacant offices to self storage, offices and a car
park was granted (Merton planning application MIT27a.)

15 https://sigg.com/uk/history

16 Richard Percival’s website, home page: https://brewerytrays.co.uk/


29 September 2023 – 3 members present (illness alas…) Christine Pittman in the Chair

♦ First we must apologise to David Luff, whose colourful photograph of a BR Class 60 locomotive was
inadvertently omitted from our report of the June workshop, but now appears on p.1. This particular engine
entered service in 2009, and was passing through Wimbledon on 20 August 2020. Hornby produced a model
of the Class 60 some two or three years ago, in three liveries, one of which is the paint scheme shown here.

♦ Rosemary Turner had come across a publication entitled The Artillery Ground and Fields in Finsbury which
included two maps, of 1641 and 1705, and a commentary by James R Sewell. Christine was interested in
the maps as she had worked in the area and knew the places and roads that were shown. It was published
by the Topographical Society in 1977.

♦ Peter Hopkins had been revising his thoughts on the floorplan of Abraham Goldsmid’s house, on the site
of Morden Lodge. He had recently received high resolution images from The British Library of the 1804
Ordnance Surveyors drawings and the old series OS map of 1816/1819. He also received close ups from the
1804 map (below left) and the 1816/1819 one (below right). Both show two separate buildings, one offset
behind the other, with a narrow link between them, though Peter has difficulty defining the exact outlines.

Peter had visited the Royal Pavilion at Brighton as both properties were decorated by John Crace. He brought
photos of the interior and exterior of that building. His preparations for the visit made him realise that he had
both misunderstood the newspaper descriptions and also failed to notice important clues in the engravings of
Goldsmid’s house! And exploring the Pavilion and later reading the guidebook also helped him to interpret
the newspaper descriptions better. Peter has redrawn his plan.

♦ Christine Pittman’s current research evolved from a friend’s request to find out the age of her roof slates,
as she had been told they are original to the building of the house.

Robinson Road in Colliers Wood was called Swain’s Lane until the late 19th century. It has been described
as a ‘track of considerable antiquity’, running parallel to the River Graveney (the 1847 tithe map shows
narrow field strips between the two). It led to Swain’s Farm, but the only reference to that remaining now
is a detached portion at the end of Robinson Road, called Swains Road. Robinson Road has become part
of the local Daniel Defoe legend, with nearby street names including Daniel Close, Defoe Close, Flanders
Crescent, Pitcairn Road, Crusoe Road, Friday Road and Island Road. According to the Victoria County
History of 1912, ‘At the time of the Revolution, Tooting is said to have been the residence of Daniel Defoe
(1684), according to tradition the first person to form the Nonconformists of this neighbourhood into a regular

Robinson Road formed the south-eastern border of land belonging to Colliers Wood House. Eric Montague
wrote that, between 1870 and 1874, semi-detached stucco-fronted houses had begun to make their appearance
on this road. Sale particulars of Colliers Wood House were published in 1877. However, sales and development
were slow at the time, but sped up in the 20th century.

In the 1960s, Robinson Road suffered from being selected as Ringway 2 for the GLC’s proposed creation
of ring roads around London. When the scheme was finally scrapped in 1977, Merton Council declared it
a Housing Action Area, aiming to restore the housing stock, with over 400 houses in Colliers Wood then
suffering from neglect.

Rosemary Turner

Next Workshops Fridays 1 March, 10 May, 28 June, 9 August, 27 September, 8 November 2024

from 2.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum. All welcome.



Medals were presented to all members of Westminster Abbey involved
with the Coronation Service (right). Rosemary Turner received one
as a member of the Guild of St Faith, a voluntary group who care
for the vestments and furnishings of the Abbey. They were kept busy
for months doing repairs and checking things that were to be used on
the day, mostly vestments for the Dean and Chapter. The group were
presented with their medals by Fr Robert Latham on 5 January.


Michael B Dixon sent us these photos
(right) of a neat little folding magnifying
glass which belonged to his father, before
he died in 1969, though Michael is not sure
how long he owned it before that. The glass
is about one inch in diameter, the twin leaves
of the cover being slightly wider and two
inches long. One cover is clearly inscribed
The date of manufacture is unknown, but it
looks pre-WW2.

Presumably this was an early advertising
‘freebie’ given away by the company,
probably made by a sub-contractor, as the
firm did not make metal or glass items,
though they may have made paint-brushes. It
may well have been a short-lived initiative,
resulting in an item that is now rare, as there
are none for sale on eBay.


Norma Cox relays a memory from member John Pile, after reading her article. He went on school trips to the
factories of Merton near High Path in the 1950s. As a result of these visits he would (later?) scour the fields
behind Zeals looking for discarded waste such as damaged thermometers. Norma comments: ‘I shudder at the
thought of schoolboys finding Mercury and broken glass in the fields.’

MORE HELP WANTED – Pilot Officer Ronald Arthur John ROGERS

I am the secretary of the South Loch Ness Heritage group, currently undertaking research into aircraft crashes in
our area during WW2. One of those aircraft crashed into Loch Ness, piloted by this officer. Prior to enlistment
he was employed as an apprentice clothing salesman, living with his parents Sidney and Edith at 78 Queens
Avenue, Morden. Do any of your members know of a photograph of PO Rogers?

Robin Morley robinmmorley@aol.com

MHS is bound by the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

Please see the MHS website regarding how this concerns your personal data.

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

editor@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk. The views expressed in this Bulletin are those

of the contributors concerned and not necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.

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