Colliers Wood or ‘Merton Singlegate’

An outlying settlement within the future parish of Mitcham, Colliers Wood can be identified with a Saxon estate, and a substantial house may be traced back to the mid-15th century. Straddling the old Roman road to London, the hamlet had developed close to the Wandle crossing, and for its livelihood the community was oriented more towards Merton priory and Tooting than to its ‘parent’ village. By the 17th century the river was attracting textile processors, and a century later mills on the former priory site were major employers. Further industrialisation followed the extension of the railways. Colliers Wood House was not demolished until 1904, but suburban villas and terrace houses already covered much of its grounds. The last of the water-powered industries survived into the mid-20th century, and the character of the area is now predominantly residential, with a strong retail component.