08 Phipps Bridge

Mitcham Histories 8

by Eric Montague

At Phipps Bridge the River Wandle marks the ancient boundary between Mitcham and Merton. The first reference to’Pypesbrige’ is in a Tudor document, but there is evidence of a settlement nearby in Roman times. Valued for its fishery and waterfowl in the Middle Ages, the river also became a focus of industry. ‘Pippesmoln’ was mentioned as early as 1263, to be followed centuries later by calico bleaching and printing works, a silk mill and eventually paint factories, all of which have now gone. Today an industrial estate occupies the west, or Merton, bank of the river, whilst in Mitcham housing estates cover the former watermeadows and bleaching grounds. A bridge remains, however, giving access to the Wandle Trail, an attractive walk following the entire course of the river.





Detail from Bryant’s Map of Surrey 1823,
showing Phipps Bridge (centre) and the Surrey Iron Railway






Published by

© E N Montague 2006

ISBN 1 903899 53 2

Printed by intypelibra
Units 3/4, Elm Grove Industrial Estate, Elm Grove,
Wimbledon, SW19 4HE

Cover Illustration: Homefield, Phipps Bridge, Merton 1881 (from The Builder)
A larger copy of this illustration has been included on p81.


INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………….. 1
Phipps Bridge …………………………………………………………………………. 9
The Archaeology……………………………………………………………………12Phipps Mill……………………………………………………………………………13
New Landowners and Industrialists………………………………………….19
Bunce’s Meadow……………………………………………………………………24
Francis Nixon (c.1757-1765) …………………………………………………..29
John Anthony Rucker and Wandle Villa (c.1768-1793)………………30
Howard & Co (1793-1813)……………………………………………………..36
Peter Wood, Silk Throwster…………………………………………………….41
The Patent Steam Washing Factory ………………………………………….42
The Silk Printers ……………………………………………………………………50
5 EVERETT’S PLACE ………………………………………………………………….59
6 WANDLE HOUSE……………………………………………………………………..65
7 NEW CLOSE……………………………………………………………………………..69
Origins ………………………………………………………………………………….71
William Harland’s contemporaries …………………………………………..75The Floorcloth Manufacturers …………………………………………………80
The Harlands’ Houses…………………………………………………………….81
The Last Days of William Harland and Sons’ works ………………….89
Nineteenth-Century Varnish Manufacturers ………………………………92
The End of the Family Businesses……………………………………………94Paint, Varnish, and Associated Manufacturers in Mitcham in 1965 ….98
Common Land……………………………………………………………………….99
The House of Paul Addington, Varnish Maker……………………….. 100The Pickle Ditch ………………………………………………………………… 102
The Nook ………………………………………………………………………….. 104
Sundry Cottages …………………………………………………………………. 105
1850-1920 …………………………………………………………………………. 107
The Inter-War Years …………………………………………………………….. 112
Post-War Reconstruction ……………………………………………………… 119
Phipps Bridge – The Recent Past …………………………………………. 123
NOTES AND REFERENCES…………………………………………………… 131
INDEX …………………………………………………………………………………… 143



Homefield, Phipps Bridge, Merton, 1881 ……………………………………… CoverDetail from Bryant’s Map of Surrey, 1823 …………………………………………… iiDetail from a modern street map ………………………………………………………. viiPhipps Bridge, c.1910 and Phipps Bridge Road, looking south, 1970……….2’Copy Plan in the possession of Mr Crawter’, 1870………………………………..6Annotated extract from 25-inch OS map of 1894………………………………….10Haslemere Primary School, c.1970 …………………………………………………….14
The ‘New River’ of 1769, above Phipps Bridge, c.1910 ……………………….20
Plan of 1864 showing meadows in the vicinity of Phipps Bridge ……………23The Wandle and Rucker’s New Cutt, c.1910 and 1975………………………….25
View of Bunce’s Meadow, 1991 …………………………………………………………27
Fishing for tiddlers in a ditch alongside Phipps Bridge Road, 1919 ………..28Wandle Villa, Phipps Bridge Road, Spring 1968 ………………………………….34’Patent Steam Washing Factory near Mitcham, Surrey’ by Yates, 1825 …..43Wandle Villa in about 1973 ……………………………………………………………….57
Everett’s Place, Phipps Bridge Road, c.1975 ……………………………………….59
No. 84 Phipps Bridge Road in Spring 1968 …………………………………………61Looking downstream towards Phipps Bridge c.1900. ……………………………64
Wandle House ………………………………………………………………………………….67
New Close, c.1910 and Clarkson’s Refuse Tip in the 1920s …………………..68Harland family photograph, c.1867. ……………………………………………………73
Varnish House, Western Road, 1967 …………………………………………………..76
Homefield, Phipps Bridge, Merton, 1881 ……………………………………………84The river Wandle, looking north from Phipps Bridge, September 1991 …..85William Harland & Son Ltd, c.1920 – gum-running shop………………………86William Harland & Son Ltd, Spring 1968 ……………………………………………87Extract from 25-inch OS map of 1894 ………………………………………………..88Inside William Harland & Son Ltd’s works, c.1920 ………………………………89
Moveable coke fires heating 200 gallon boiling coppers ……………………….90George Purdom & Co, Church Road, Mitcham, 1967……………………………91Plan of William Harland and Sons’ factory, August 1967………………………95Gateway to Paul Addington’s Villa near Phipps Bridge, 1922………………..97The River Wandle below Phipps Bridge, looking upstream, c.1922 ………..99
‘Mr Anson’s’ by Yates, 1825 and Paul Addington’s house, 1967 ………… 101Precinct wall of Merton Priory, c.1900………………………………………………103
‘Littler’s or White Cottage’, Phipps Bridge Road, 1963 ………………………104’Pratt’s Folly’, 97-99 Phipps Bridge Road, c.1967 ……………………………..105
Keen’s Terrace, 100-104 Church Road, c.1965 …………………………………..108
Dwellings and shops on the southern side of Church Road, c.1912 ……….109
Charles James Simmons, beer retailer and carpenter, c.1885. ………………. 110
Stone Age tools from Mitcham ……………………………………………………….. 112’Off to the Races’, Rock Terrace, Mitcham, c.1910. …………………………… 113
Belgrave Road after the explosion at W J Bush & Co Ltd in 1933. ………. 117Extract from 25-inch OS map of 1894 ……………………………………………… 118The old Bath Tavern, Belgrave Walk, 1966 and the new pub, c.1970 ……122
Exterior of factory. J J Schweizer & Co, Ltd, Mitcham, c.1930…………….124

Site of


Harlands Paint

Site of

& Varnish Works

Addingtons& Hadfields
paint worksPhipps Bridge





Short Batsworth


Washing >Romano-British

Factory burial sites

Deen City Villa





Detail from a modern street map, showing the area covered by this book.
Reproduced by permission of Merton Design Unit, London Borough of Merton



This short history of what is probably the least-known corner of Mitcham
has been compiled not only from the more readily accessible archival
sources, but has also been greatly improved by individual contributions,
for which I am much indebted. These are acknowledged either in the
text itself or the notes and references at the end of the book. Several
former residents and workpeople have also kindly supplied me with
photographs. These have been particularly useful, and where reproduced
as illustrations the source has been accredited.

Initially my interest in the area was aroused some 40 years ago, when
administration of the newly formed London Borough of Merton was in
a state of transition, potential research material was still scattered
amongst various district libraries and record offices, and heritage centres
did not exist. My researches were, therefore, heavily dependent upon
the advice and guidance of hard-pressed but always helpful library staff
at Croydon, Sutton and Lambeth as well as Merton. Archivists at County
Hall, Kingston, were, seemingly, less affected by the reorganisation of
London Government at that time, and here too, I always felt assured of
assistance when needed. To them all, I express my sincere gratitude.

As with other books in this series, preliminary drafts of this volume
have circulated amongst that little group of fellow members of Merton
Historical Society, Judith Goodman, Tony Scott, and Peter Hopkins,
who I like to regard as our ‘Editorial Sub-Committee’. Without their
meticulous reading and always-welcomed corrections, several mistakes
and misconceptions would undoubtedly have passed into print. I am
deeply grateful to them all. For anything that has slipped through
undetected I accept full responsibility.

Finally, special thanks are due to Peter Hopkins whose expertise in
preparing the text for the printers has once again enabled the cost of
publication to be kept within reasonable limits.

May 2006


To the north-west of Mitcham parish church there survives a fragment
from a bygone picturesque Mitcham which, until the 1970s, largely
escaped the process of urbanisation. Here by the river is a corner of the
parish which geographically has always stood apart from the rest of
the village. Long before our legacy of written records began, it would
have formed a marshy no-man’s land separating the communities of
Merton, Morden and Mitcham.

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries various industries were
attracted to the area, the river providing both power for machinery and
a supply of water needed for textile bleaching and printing. This phase
in the history of Phipps Bridge ended by the 1860s. Paint and varnish
manufacture followed in the second half of the Victorian era, and
remained until the middle of the 20th century.

Smells from paint and other factories, a legacy of worked-out gravel
pits, combined with smoke and dust from a municipal refuse depot and
incinerator made the Phipps Bridge area one of the least desirable parts
of Mitcham in which to live during the inter-war period.

By this time Mitcham had become an outer London Borough, with a
growing housing problem. Following the relocation of industry away
from the district, slum clearance and closure of the refuse depot,
redevelopment of the area, largely for municipal housing, became
possible in the 1950s.

Gradually conditions changed and now, with much improved public
transport, estates of ‘affordable’ private housing, and the benefit of
some 125 acres of beautiful parkland on the Morden side of the river
secure in the hands of the National Trust, the Phipps Bridge area has
acquired a new image.

Imperial Measures are used throughout this book
1 acre = 4 roods = 160 square rods, poles or perches = 0.4047 hectares
1 yard = 3 feet = 0.9144 metres
1 ton = 2240 lb (pounds) = 1.016 tonnes
£1 = 20s (shillings) = 240d (pence)


Phipps Bridge, postcard c.1910

Phipps Bridge Road, looking south towards the municipal housing estate, 1970

Chapter 1


As early as 967 the Wandle, then known as the Hidebourne, was referred
to in a royal charter1 as the “Michamingemerke” – the boundary of
Mitcham – and it was quite natural that the river should have continued
to be used as a line of demarcation when the ecclesiastical, and later
the civil, parishes were established. Today, hidden deep in the long
grass in Morden Hall Park and Bunce’s Meadow, old boundary stones
can still be found, marking points where, to sharpen their memories for
better recall in future years, small boys were customarily ‘bumped’, or
encouraged to ‘beat the mark’ with willow staves during the triennial
Ascension Day ceremony of beating the bounds. By the reign of George
IV this had developed into quite a ritual and early each May, led by the
village band, a party of Mitcham worthies would walk the bounds of
the parish, accompanied by old men who claimed to remember the
boundary marks from their childhood, and boys upon whose memories
reliance would be placed in years to come.

By good fortune a detailed account by Edwin Chart of one such
perambulation, conducted with all due ceremony on Thursday 16 May
1833, survived long enough for a transcript to be made, and we can
still attempt to follow the route taken.2 Observing time-honoured
practice, the parish officials and others representing Mitcham vestry
(Chart, by profession a surveyor, attended on behalf of William Simpson,
lord of the manor of Mitcham) assembled at 8 am outside The Goat in
Carshalton Road. From here, accompanied by nearly 60 men and boys
from the village, they proceeded in a clockwise direction heading downriver
towards Merton. With pauses for refreshment at inns and private
houses en route, the day must have passed very pleasantly, although
one suspects that the reliability of some memories may have declined
as thirsts were quenched. The publication of accurate large-scale
Ordnance Survey maps in the 1860s made this quaint custom obsolete,
and the last recorded beating of the bounds of Mitcham was on 22 May


The boundary in 1833 across what today is Morden Hall Park was
defined largely by trees which have long since disappeared, but Chart’s
description of the route downstream towards Phipps Bridge, from where
the Wandle divides into two parallel watercourses north-east of the
Hall, is still worth repeating verbatim:

“… to Crab Tree corner, cut a X in old Crab Tree laying in Water
point of Bloxam’s Meadow, take centre of left hand stream to
Footbridge by Cottage occupied by Waite. leave the present river
and take course of old river by side of cottage into stream on left
hand, cross to left in oblique direction to Elm Tree, where cut a X.
Follow hedge to Willow Tree on left hand, cut a X in it, to ash Tree
on left hand, cut a X in it and also in a Willow Stump, follow ditch
from angle of Meadow under Quick Hedge, the course of old river
to Elm Tree angle of Linton’s Meadow (R. Carritt said he was
Bump’d here 20 Years ago) take ditch on left hand to Boundary
Post. thence take line of Blind Ditch on Right in Linton’s Rushey
Meadow to Boundary of Merton Abbey. Take ditch on right hand
about 10 Yards. then follow ditch to angle, then follow water course
on Right, cut a X on elm Tree at Angle (here once stood an old ash
tree which was felled about the year 1826). Follow ditch on Right,
cut a X on elm Tree on left hand, to Phipps Bridge where cut a X
over pipe through Bank on left of Bridge, then take course of River
on left to Penstock and to angle of Merton Abbey Wall …”

A copy of a ‘Plan in the possession of Hy. Crawter of 5 Bedford Row,
May 1870’4 (reproduced overleaf) which, from the details it contains,
can be assumed to have been based on a survey conducted some 45
years previously, marks a “Crab Tree & Old Stump” in the angle formed
by the “Old River Wandle” and a “New Cutt”, and also the “Abbey
Wall” commencing on the eastern bank of the river below Phipps Bridge.
The remains of the penstock by which the flow into a ditch – the
beginning of the ‘Pickle Ditch’ – was controlled can be found today in
the river bank beside the new flats occupying the site of ‘The Nook’, or
Mr Littler’s Cottage, in Brangwyn Crescent. It was here, on the east
bank of the Wandle, that the precinct wall of Merton ‘Abbey’ ended.

Intermediate points on the perambulation of 1833 are now less easy to
identify, but some progress can be made with the help of the Mitcham


tithe map of 1846 and the first 25-inch OS maps published in the mid1860s.
The site of Waite’s cottage is today beneath the Croydon Tramlink,
but the course taken by the parish officers “to the left in oblique direction
to Elm Tree” can still be followed from a limestone boundary marker,
bearing the date 1817 and set in the river bank, by looking diagonally
across Bunce’s Meadow and Deen City Farm to the hedge bordering the
ditch and pathway behind the factories of Deer Park Road. Industrial
premises now straddle the old boundary and prevent further progress in
the direction taken by Chart and his companions. The reference at this
point in his account to “the course of (the) old river” is intriguing, for it
demonstrates the survival as late as the 1830s of a folk memory recalling
a former bend in the Wandle of which no trace now survives. Although
made redundant by diversions of the river at some period in the distant
past, the old river channel, describing a meander to the north-west, was
still being used in the 1830s to define the parochial boundary. Almost as
remarkably, since the landmarks had long disappeared, this was perpetuated
as the line of demarcation between the Borough of Mitcham and the Urban
District of Merton and Morden until such anachronisms were swept away
with the creation of the London Borough of Merton in 1965.

What Chart knew as ‘Linton’s Rushey Meadow’ can be seen on the
1894/6 OS map, traversed by a footpath skirting the strip of marshy land
which occupied roughly a third of its area. The meadow has now been
obliterated by the factories, but the path has survived, albeit little used
and overgrown. Robert Linton was the tenant of 115 acres, mainly in
Merton, purchased by Lord Nelson from William Axe in 1802. The
Merton Place Estate was broken up soon after the admiral’s death, and
by 1846 the meadow, a little over two acres in extent, was in the
possession of the Revd Richard Garth. The tenant was James Arthur,
one of the Mitcham physic gardeners.

The ‘Boundary of Merton Abbey’ in Chart’s account was the southern
extremity of the Merton Abbey Estate, then owned by the Smith and
Mansfield families. Much of the south-western corner of the estate was
taken up by the ‘Great Bleaching Field’, used in conjunction with the
Merton Abbey calico printing works of which Joseph Ancell (or Ansell)
had been the proprietor since the 1820s. The “pipe through Bank on left
of Bridge” was shown as ‘Mr. Ancell’s pipe’ in a map of the Abbey



The Water Course for the supply of Light Blue
Grove Field is colored . . . }
The Old River . . . . . . . . . . . . Dark Blue
The New Cut . . . . . . . . . . . . Yellow




The part of the Old Back Water Course marked thus X Y
shows where the Back or Boundary Ditch merged in the
New Cut, thereby leaving the Old Course empty and now covered
with Flags or Rushes, the Bed of it remaining as formerly.

Copy Plan in the possession of Mr Crawter of 5 Bedford Row, May 1870 (SHC K85/4/171)



The Oak Tree marked A is on Mr Rutter’s side of his Meadow, and consequently the
Ditch or Water Course belongs thereto Mr Moore’s Arable Field marked B adjoining the
Silk Factory runs in a parallel line with Mr Rutter’s Meadow, consequently the Ditch
belongs to Mr Moore’s Arable Field.

The strong Black Line from the Washing Factory to the entrance of the Water at Grove Field
shows the course of the Old Current across the Road from the old Boundary Ditch to Grove Field
previous to the diversion of it by Mr Rucker.

Copyright Surrey History Service. Reproduced by permission. (Reduced and enhanced)


Estate produced after a survey in 1825,5 and had been laid to convey
river water to the bleaching grounds. It was still to be found in the late
19th century, and is marked on the 25-inch OS map. The channel into
which the pipe had once discharged survived into the 1950s as a semi-
stagnant open ditch which curved to the north-west and drained into a
slightly more robust watercourse, flowing in a northerly direction behind
the factories in Lombard Road. This disappeared into a pipe beneath the
made-up land north of Windsor Avenue and, flowing eastwards, passed
beneath the Wandle through a siphon to discharge into what was then
known as ‘Liberty’s tail race’, between Liberty & Co’s print works and
the rear gardens of Runnymede.6 The outfall can still be seen where it
emerges through a concrete revetment in the eastern bank of the river.

Like the adjacent meadow, the footpath leading from Phipps Bridge to
the Morden Road was susceptible to flooding when the Wandle was
high, and often became impassable in winter. By the late 1930s the
remnants of the parallel ditches and complex drainage system serving
the Great Bleaching Field had mostly disappeared for, after extraction
of gravel, the land either side of Windsor Avenue was reclaimed by
tipping and made ready for redevelopment as an industrial estate, work
on which halted at the outbreak of war in 1939. However, as we have
seen, the drainage channel on its western side, behind the Lombard Road
factories, remained open until the 1950s, flowing beside the public
footpath connecting Deer Park Road with Windsor Avenue and High
Path. Used as a surface water sewer, and known to council workmen in
the post-war era as ‘Bunce’s ditch’, it took yard and roof water from the
factory estate. Diverted, the ditch was finally piped and covered over
when Deer Park Road was extended to meet Windsor Avenue, and the
present industrial estate was laid out. The site of the old bleaching grounds
now lies beneath industrial buildings, and the new surface water sewer
(still known as Bunce’s Ditch by the drainage engineers) is under Deer
Park Road. What many people today accept as Bunce’s ditch is the muddy
drainage channel visible alongside the path leading from Phipps Bridge
to the crossing over the Croydon Tramlink. As in the past, when this
ditch took surface water from ‘Linton’s Rushey Meadow’, it still supports
a stand of reed mace and other water-loving plants.


Phipps Bridge

Today the term Phipps Bridge is applied in a general sense to the district
lying to the west of Church Road, and was adopted as the name of the
large housing estate developed here in the 1950s and ’60s by Mitcham
Corporation. In the main, the houses and high-rise blocks of flats were
erected on the cleared sites of the municipal refuse depot in Homewood
Road and the nearby streets of poor quality housing built in the late
19th century.

The first known documentary evidence for the bridge itself is contained
in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535, where mention is made of
‘Pypesbrige’.7 Three years later, the Ministers’ Accounts contain an
entry for a close of eight acres “by Pyppisbrigg”. The next known
reference is in the court minutes of the Surrey and Kent Sewer
Commission, who in 1572 ordered

“… Grigorye lovelle Esquier to cut vp a willow growing vpon the
stone walle at the bridge called puppes Bridge & there to take vpp a
shelfe against his ground lieng in the Rivor theare conteining in
length lj roddes …”8

The gentleman concerned was Sir Gregory Lovell, ‘cofferer’, i.e.
treasurer, to the household of Elizabeth I, who was then in possession
of an estate at Merton, and resided with his family in part of the former
priory buildings.9

Whether or not the “stone walle” referred to by the Sewer Commission
was the precinct wall of Merton Priory (sections of which still survive
near the river bank 100 yards or so downstream from Phipps Bridge),
part of some ancient revetment of the river bank, or even the actual
abutment of the bridge itself, is not made clear in the minutes. We have
no record to show who erected the first bridge at this point, but it would
not be too fanciful to ascribe it to the priory. Construction of walls
enclosing the precincts sometime in the 12th or 13th century would
have obliged travellers following the course of the old Roman Stane
Street from London to make a detour, either to the north by way of
what is now Merton High Street, or along a predecessor of Liberty
Avenue and south to Phipps Bridge. The latter idea seems the more
plausible, and is supported by the fact that, as late as 1808, the bridleway

f ormer ly Pyppes Meade
and Pypis Gro ve
Wo rks
H o w ard s F ield
f ormer ly Pyppes Meade
and Pypis Gro ve
Wo rks
H o w ard s F ield

Site of

< of Print PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW Grove Field (former bleaching grounds) Annotated extract from 25-inch OS map of 1894 formerly Phipps Bridge Close? PHIPPS BRIDGE beyond the bridge was known as 'Merton Abbey Lane'. The river would certainly need to be crossed, either by way of a ford or a forerunner of the present bridge, which dates to the mid-1950s and replaced a World War II 'Bailey' bridge. Phipps Bridge finds mention in the court rolls of the manor of Biggin and Tamworth between 1606 and 1699, and a deed of 20 January 1612 records the sale by Sir Henry Burton of Carshalton to Thomas Goldwyer of a meadow called Pippes Bridge Close abutting on Pippes Lane in Blacklands and a parcel of land called Headacre in Mill Furlong.10 The Blacklands was the name commonly applied to virtually the whole of the open West Field of the parish of Mitcham, extending in an arc from the vicinity of Ravensbury Park in the south to Western Road in the north. Mill Furlong was, presumably, in some way connected with Pippes Mill, of which more later. The Archaeology 'Batsworth', an enclosure in the West Field, is mentioned as early as 1229. A derivation from the personal name Baecci or Baetti has been suggested,11 but who this character was we are now unlikely to discover. From his name, however, we may deduce he was Saxon rather than Norman. It is quite certain that Baecci was not the first to work the soil in this part of Mitcham, for widespread evidence is now emerging that in the Roman period the fertile alluvial soils of the Wandle flood plain were cultivated by farming communities for whose animals the riverside pastures would have provided rich grazing. Bones of cattle and other domestic livestock, with indications of butchery, plus drainage ditches, pottery fragments and other domestic refuse spanning the first four centuries of the present era, have come from sites between Phipps Bridge Road and the parish church,12 whilst in the vicinity of Haslemere School and Varley Way a Romano-British cemetery has been excavated.13 Slightly further afield, a well containing a fine Roman pitcher was found on the site of Mitcham gas works a century ago.14 On the Merton side of the river, and seemingly on the line of Stane Street, a large number of coins and a significant quantity of occupational debris was recovered during gravel digging in 1922. The latter discovery has led PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW several authorities to suggest that here, on what is now the Lombard Road industrial estate, there might have been a roadside settlement of some importance during the Roman period.15 The records of the Mitcham tithe survey of 1846/7 confirm that Batsworth (sometimes corrupted to 'Batchworth') was part of the old common field which survived until late in the 19th century, and that like the rest of the 'Blacklands' it conformed to the general pattern of long narrow strips grouped in furlongs, typical of medieval open field agriculture. Baecci's 'worth' had been subdivided at some time into Long and Short Batsworth, and both enclosures are recorded in the tithe register. Phipps Mill Although a near-modern spelling of 'Phips Bridge' was used by John Rocque in his map of London produced between 1741 and 1745, the name is rendered as 'Pipes' bridge in the court rolls of the manor of Ravensbury as late as 1801.16 There is also a hint that variations in pronunciation were current nearly a century later, 'Pipps, otherwise Phipps Bridge', being referred to in a land tax redemption certificate dated 1871,17 and a 'Pippys Mill' during the hearing of a dispute between the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and those representing the interests of the late James Bridger, a local landowner, in 1890.18 The earliest known mention of the mill occurs in the record of an inquisition post mortem conducted in 1263, which confirmed Eustace, the 12th prior of Merton, to be a free tenant of the deceased Baldwin de Insula (or 'de L'Isle'), earl of Devon and Wight, paying a rent of assize of 20 shillings for "the mill which is called Pippesmoln".19 There is no reason to believe that this mill was other than the un-named mill at Mitcham in which, three years previously, the earl had presented a moiety or half-share to the prior.20 Baldwin's family, the de Redvers, had been in possession of lands in Mitcham since the beginning of the 12th century. Richard de Redvers, father of the first earl of Devon, supported Henry I in his struggle for the crown of England against Robert of Normandy, and was rewarded PHIPPS BRIDGE with, amongst other property, the Surrey estate of the count of Mortain, who was dispossessed after the battle of Tenchebrai (Tinchebray) in 1106. A major element in this holding was an estate at Lambeth, formerly in the hands of Waltham Abbey, and known as the manor of South Lambeth. Part of this manor comprised a tithing in central Mitcham (quite possibly the un-named holding of two hides and one virgate in Wallington hundred which had been held by Aelmer at the time of the Conquest),21 and eventually this detached portion of the estate came to be absorbed into the manor of Vauxhall.22 By the late 12th century Merton Priory was probably already in possession of a substantial estate in north Mitcham which, initially as fuedal tenants of the earls of Gloucester and their successors, the prior and convent were to retain for nearly 400 years. At the time of the Dissolution this property was emerging as the manor of Biggin and Tamworth, which Brayley23 suggested had its origins in an estate in Mitcham held by FitzAnsculf, son of William Ansculf or Ansculf de Picquigny, one of the great Norman landlords, who was appointed sheriff Haslemere Primary School, built on the Short Batsworth Romano-British burial site, dug in 1965/66 by Merton Historical Society (Photo c.1970. ENM) PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW of Surrey soon after the Conquest. Brayley offered nothing in support of his contention, and it is difficult to find a justification for seeing FitzAnsculf's Domesday holdings in Whitford and Lower Mitcham as becoming part of the 16th-century manor of Biggin and Tamworth. That said, it is possible to demonstrate a somewhat tenuous connection between a small part of an estate in Lower Mitcham held by the Ansculfs in the 11th century and lands in the priory's possession four centuries later. Whether or not this is what prompted Brayley's supposition we have no means of telling. Since before the Conquest, when it was the property of a Saxon named Ledmer, part of the Ansculf estate in Lower Mitcham had included a half share in a watermill. This is unlikely to have been anywhere but on the Wandle, and it seems logical to assume it was the Pippesmoln since the evidence suggests Ledmer's lands extended from today's Mitcham Bridge as far as Phipps Bridge. This estate became the core of the manor of Ravensbury, and by the early 13th century had passed into the hands of the de la Mare or de Mara family. According to Heales, around 1242 Sir Matthew de la Mare made a gift to Merton Priory of nine acres of land which he owned in Mitcham together with buildings and appurtenances. This could well have been the meadow of Pyppes by the Wandle near Phipps Bridge which remained in the priory's possession until the Dissolution. Heales also tells us that in 1275 or 1276 the mill "at Pippes" was bought by the priory for £23 6s 8d.24 If we are correct in believing this was the mill that can be traced back to Ledmer, the priory's acquisition would have been the half share. In 1301 the mill or, more accurately, the moiety belonging to the manor of Vauxhall, was recognised as being held of the Crown. The prior of Merton, as a tenant in chief, paid homage to Sir Ralph de Marton on behalf of Edward I, to whom the hereditary lordship of the Isle of Wight and the rest of the de Redvers manors, including that of Vauxhall, had reverted in 1293.25 What appears to be the last reference to the watermill at Phipps Bridge is dated 1318, when the prior was again recorded as a tenant.26 From these early documentary references it is evident that the name Phipps or Pipps is of considerable antiquity. A topographical derivation from the Old English 'pipe', or a small stream, seems likely, as has PHIPPS BRIDGE been suggested for the Pipp brook at Dorking, and the 'Puppemulle', or 'Pippemulle' recorded in the Dorking court rolls.27 As already noted, land in the neighbourhood of the mill remained the property of Merton Priory until the 16th century. In 1533 a lease was granted transferring to a John Hokelandis what had become the Grange estate situated "without the gates of the Priory".28 The bulk of this holding lay in the parish of Merton, but it included "a meadow called Pyppes meade, together with a grove called Pypis Grove" over the border in Mitcham. Subsequently 'Peppesmede' and 'Peppesgrove' were treated as a single entity of ten acres in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535. In 1564 the whole of the Merton Grange estate was granted by letters patent to Sir Henry Sydney and Rafe Knight.29 A moiety of the estate, mostly in Merton but including the "meadow called Peppesmed als. Pypesmeade and Grove called Peppesgrove in Mitcham, east of the Wandle, near Pypes bridge" amounting to ten acres, was sold simultaneously to Richard Garth I of Morden.30 The ten acres of 'Pippesmeade' receives further mention in a document preserved by Surrey History Centre recording its lease from 1588 to 1597.31 In 1607 Robert Garth bought the adjoining 16-acre Southmead in Merton.32 The Garth family retained ownership of these 26 acres until the late 19th century, though they were renamed as Mill Mead, Arnold's Mead, Crabtree Mead and The Three Slips. Part of the meadow survives as the Bunce's Meadow we know today, and to which we shall return. The lease of 1533 made no mention of Pippes Mill, and there is no documentary reference to it after this date, so it would seem to have fallen into disuse and disappeared before the beginning of the 16th century. Its position, one might suppose, was in the vicinity of the bridge that shares its name, but the earliest map of the area, produced for Richard Garth V in 1750,33 gives no hint as to where the mill might have been. Garth's map shows three watercourses converging immediately above the bridge, the most easterly being a small meandering backwater which became redundant in 1769 following the construction of a new 'cut' to PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW serve bleaching grounds on Grove Field, to the north-east of Phipps Bridge. The main channel of the Wandle occupied the central position and, as today, flowed in a north-easterly direction to the bridge, whilst a third watercourse joined it from the west. The latter, as we have already observed, can be seen on the 1894 Ordnance Survey map, and defined a short section of the parish boundary which Chart described being walked by the Mitcham officers in 1833. The unnatural straightness of the central channel, which has remained virtually unaltered since 1750, is an obvious indication that it owes more to the hand of man than to nature. Its construction was a major undertaking, and yet all record of by whom it was financed, and for what purpose, seems to have been lost. As we have seen, the land through which it was dug – Pypesmeade – had been the property of the Garths since the mid-16th century, and there can be little doubt that one of the family was responsible. In 1564 Pypesmeade was described not only as being in Mitcham, but also east of the Wandle,29 which confirms that the diversion of the river into its present channel must post-date the Dissolution, and Garth's purchase of the land. It is easy to see from the number of natural and artificial watercourses to be found in Morden Hall Park today that in the past the land was vulnerable to flooding. Improved drainage of the estate, probably combined with some land reclamation, would therefore seem to have been a likely objective. Whether this took place in the mid-18th century, shortly after Richard Garth V inherited the estate, or earlier, we cannot say, but it is worth recalling that the 17th century was the period when large areas in the fens of East Anglia were drained, notably by the Russell family, who employed the expertise of Dutch engineers. Their success was not lost on landowners throughout the country, and what we now see in Morden Hall Park and Bunce's meadow suggests that one of the Garths of Morden was encouraged to follow their example. There may also have been some additional industrial enterprise in mind, but of this there is no evidence. Whereas the precise site of Pippes Mill must now be considered lost (an elderly witness, born in Mitcham in 1817, went so far as to declare when cross-examined at the enquiry in 1890 that he had never heard of PHIPPS BRIDGE the mill),18 one can hazard a guess that in all probability it was located immediately upstream from today's bridge. It may have been powered by the Bull Ditch, which still drains into the Wandle behind Wandle Villa, and is possibly a better candidate for being the 'pipe' or small watercourse than the Wandle itself. Suitably impounded to ensure a working head, such a stream should have been quite adequate to power a late Saxon corn mill. At one time it might have been possible to test this theory by excavation, but the likelihood of any structural evidence now remaining is extremely remote. The work in 1769 would certainly have destroyed much of what survived. Two hundred years later, in an 'improvement scheme' conceived by Mitcham Corporation, much of the top soil between the cut and the old river was stripped and set aside, and ashes and clinker were deposited in a deep layer across the site. Replacement of the soil created a new land surface less liable to flooding, and in the 1960s the river banks themselves were drastically altered by Surrey County Council, the authority then responsible for flood control. At the same time extensive engineering works, including realignment and deepening of the channels and strengthening the banks, were undertaken to secure an improvement in the flow of the river above Phipps Bridge. During the course of these activities any vestiges of the medieval mill left undisturbed would have been finally obliterated by the excavators and pile-drivers of the County's contractors. In 1993, when proposals were approved for the relocation of Deen City Farm on Bunce's Meadow, close by the bridge, exploratory excavations were conducted by the Museum of London Archaeology Service within the area to be disturbed by the new buildings. These confirmed that the original stratigraphy had been almost completely destroyed, and apart from the odd medieval potsherd nothing of significance was found.34 PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW New Landowners and the Industrialists Merton Priory had other lands near Phipps Bridge. In the Ministers' Accounts of 1538 there is an entry for a un-named close containing eight acres by 'Pyppisbrigg' in the occupation of John Holte.35 Perhaps this was the 8-acre Grove Field, noted during the Mitcham tithe survey in the mid-1840s lying to the east of the bridge and fronting Phipps Bridge Road. No longer used as a bleaching ground, it was then meadowland, and is now covered by the 1930s housing estate of Homefield Gardens. "Pippes lane in Blacklands" is referred to in a deed of sale dated 1612,10 and also a meadow called Pippes Bridge Close, which abutted it. Held with it was "Headacre in Mill Furlong" which sounds very much like a holding in the West Field, and its association with the mill implies that Headacre was on the river side of the lane. The tithe register makes no reference to either Headacre or Mill Furlong, but Howard's Field, the shape of which suggests that it was created by the merging of several strips lying between the lane and the river, is shown on the 1847 tithe map, and could well have incorporated them both, becoming a single enclosure. Howards Field (it was named after Howard & Co, calico printers at Phipps Bridge from 1793 to 1811) is now occupied by allotment gardens south of Wandle Villa. The site of Wandle Villa itself was owned by Henry Byne of Carshalton in the latter part of the 18th century and, bearing in mind the 'sale' (or more likely lease) of Pippes Bridge Close by Sir Henry Burton (also of Carshalton) in 1612,10 one suspects that this could, in fact, be the same parcel of land. The name certainly implies the close was near the bridge, as are the grounds of Wandle Villa today. Although, as we shall see in a later chapter, only a few small fragments of old common land now survive in the vicinity of the bridge, the parish 'waste' in this part of Mitcham was at one time quite extensive. As late as 1805 a map of the Merton Abbey estate marked land to the west of Phipps Bridge as "Waste land in Mitcham",36 and the enclosure of various parcels of common land bordering the river was sanctioned in the mid-19th century by the manor of Biggin and Tamworth. It was for PHIPPS BRIDGE the offence of taking the tail of his recently constructed 'Cutt' through a small part of the waste of the parish before it rejoined the Wandle near Phipps Bridge that John Anthony Rucker of Carshalton was called to account by a vigilant Mitcham vestry in 1769. Rucker was required, as a condition of consent being given, to pay the sum of one guinea per annum to the churchwardens (the money to be applied to the relief of the poor), to erect a bridge over the new channel at his own expense, and to maintain both bridges for a period of 61 years thereafter.37 The 'New River' of 1769, above Phipps Bridge, c.1910 (Reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) For centuries the quiet waterside meadows around Phipps Bridge must have remained little changed. Not conducive to permanent settlement because of their liability to flooding, and with too high a water table for cultivation, their principal function in the economy of medieval and Tudor Mitcham would have been as a source of fodder and for summer grazing. The term 'mead' applied to several of the enclosures implies they were managed as watermeadows, allowed to flood each winter to encourage a rich growth of new herbage for cutting as hay the following summer. Reeds for thatching and rushes for the floors of PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW village homes would have been gathered in season from the river margins, and from pollarded willows and other trees came the raw materials for baskets and hurdling, and spars for building. The Wandle itself, as the haunt of wildfowl and the home of an abundance of fish, was the jealously guarded preserve of those claiming riparian rights, early evidence for which comes from the coveted grant of 'free warren' in their demesne land to the de la Mare family of Ravensbury in 128338 and the right of free fishery given to George Smythe in 1595 by the Whitney family, who then held the lordship of the manor of Biggin and Tamworth and exercised jurisdiction over the old priory lands in the vicinity of Phipps Bridge.39 A little over 250 years ago a transformation began, brought about largely by the growing popularity of printed linens and calicoes as opposed to the more traditional woollen materials. The process of bleaching textiles had been stimulated locally by the migration of Dutch and Flemish families from the Spanish Netherlands towards the close of the 16th century, but it was the arrival of Protestant Huguenot refugees from France during the late 17th century that hastened the establishment of what became a flourishing calico printing industry along the banks of the Thames and its tributaries such as the Lea and the Cray. Water for use in the bleaching and printing processes, and as a source of power, soon attracted manufacturers to the Wandle, and by the middle of the 18th century comparatively large factories were operating in Mitcham at Ravensbury, and also within the walls of the former priory at Merton.40 Mill Mead (7a.3r.) Crabtree Mead (5a.2r.) Arnold's Mead (2a.2r.) and The Three Slips (9a. 4r.), late in the tenure of Jonas Lowgee, had been leased to a John Bishopp of Morden, described as a 'Husbandman', for 21 years in June 1678.41 From their location shown in a lease of 1864 it would appear that these parcels of meadow were, in fact, the 'Pippesmeade' and 'Southmead' of the previous century, now subdivided, presumably by diversion of the river into the new channel mentioned earlier. The meadows were referred to in 174542 and again in 1769 when, on 9 June, all but Mill Mead was the subject of a 61year lease granted by Richard Garth to John Rucker, who was a London merchant and partner in the firm of Nixon and Amyand, calico printers, PHIPPS BRIDGE of Merton Abbey.43 In the 1780s Rucker was paying land tax on these meadows, which he was leasing from the Garth family.44 Mill Mead reemerges as a bleaching ground, seven acres in extent and offered for sale by auction in 1801, when another firm of calico printers, Howard, Hellier and Company announced in The Times their intention to sell the lease of their works behind Wandle Villa. As a field name 'slip' is most likely to be descriptive of the elongated shape of the enclosure. On the other hand, in some parts of the country 'slipe' is a term for muddy land on the banks of a river, and both the tithe map and Crawter's map (on pages 6-7) show clearly that Rucker's 'new cut' passed through an area of boggy land. One suspects that it might well have been in this vicinity that "the messuage called Marsh Garden", held by George Carewe and mentioned in 1585,45 was located. In 1846 sixteen unnamed acres at Phipps Bridge were recorded in the tithe survey as being meadow owned by the Revd Richard Garth and leased to Welch and Margetson, who had replaced Howard & Co at the Phipps Bridge printing works. In 1864 a 21-year lease of 13a. 11p. of land "formerly Arnold's Mead, Crabtree Mead and Five Acre Mead, Three Slips between the Wandle and the New Cut" plus other land now part of Morden Hall Park, was granted by Richard Garth to Breach, Smith and Hartog of "Phipps Bridge Mills".46 The cut constructed by Rucker in 1769 conveyed water to the Grove Field, which he used as a bleaching ground, and the establishment of a calico-printing works at Phipps Bridge shortly afterwards heralded a period of industrial activity which was to last for 100 years. Rucker's Wandle Villa, built in about 1788, and now owned by the National Trust, is a visible link with this period, but his factory buildings and those of the later silk-printing works which stood behind the house were demolished many years ago. Only their foundations remain, buried beneath riverside allotments and the back gardens of Wandle Villa and the adjoining property, No. 96 Phipps Bridge Road. The waterside meadows in both parishes continued to be leased to the proprietors of the printing works, and were eventually cut in two when the Wimbledon to Croydon railway was constructed in 1855. Five Acre PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW Plan drawn in 1864 showing the meadows in the vicinity of Phipps Bridge and the parish boundary following an old course of the Wandle. Areas are given in acres, roods and perches. Copyright Surrey History Service (K85/2/234), reproduced by permission PHIPPS BRIDGE Mead and part of the Three Slips now form part of Morden Hall Park to the south-west of the railway, whilst to the north-east Arnold's Mead and Crabtree Mead lie beneath Deen City Farm. The remainder of the Three Slips forms the long wooded island between the two arms of the Wandle visible from the riverside path. Wandle Villa was sold by auction in May 1870, the buyer being Gilliat Hatfeild, a prosperous London snuff manufacturer and tobacco merchant. Over the next few years Hatfeild acquired from Garth not only Morden Hall itself, but also a considerable acreage of riverside land lying either side of the railway. Much of this he enclosed to form Morden Hall Park. Bunce's Meadow Textile printing at Phipps Bridge ceased completely in the 1860s, and Arnold's Mead, Crabtree Mead and the northern half of the Three Slips were in Hatfeild's ownership by 1870. He redeemed the Land Tax on the meadows in February that year, and used them as pasture, his cattle making their way over the railway by level crossings. One of these crossings still exists, linking the two parts of the Three Slips, and is used by the National Trust. A footbridge used by the public until it was removed in 1998 was probably erected around 1896, when Royal Assent was given to a private Bill which empowered the London Brighton and South Coast Railway Company to widen their land to take two tracks. This second track was never constructed, and the Wimbledon to Croydon tramlink is now crossed on the level. With the passage of time some confusion has arisen as to the name of the land now occupied by Deen City Farm. To at least one family living nearby early this century it was known as the 'Bulls' Meadow',47 but it seems to have had various other nicknames, including 'Hither Meadow', and the name 'Bunce's Meadow' seems to have been adopted, or revived, relatively recently. In the 1870s a George Bunce was the tenant of some 64 acres of the old Axe estate, north of the railway and east of Morden Road, and still remembered at that time as Nelson's Fields.48 Today this land is occupied by industrial estates, but in Bunce's time it was owned by C R Smith, to whose predecessor it had been sold after Nelson's death. Other members of the Bunce family farmed in Mitcham PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW The view upstream from Phipps Bridge in 1975. John Rucker's 'new cutt' of 1769 can be seen on the left, with the older river joining it from the right. The principal channel of the Wandle, as it appeared above Phipps Bridge c.1910. Bunce's Meadow is on the right. (Reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) PHIPPS BRIDGE and Morden, and there seems to have been a general practice of turning out cattle to graze on meadows in the vicinity of Phipps Bridge, including the redundant bleaching grounds now covered by the factories off Windsor Avenue. Collectively, the various enclosures all seem to have been known by locals at different times as 'Bunce's Meadows'. Both before and after the first World War the riverside was popular at weekends with families from the new suburban housing estates in areas such as Colliers Wood, and parents would take their children on walks along Phipps Bridge Road to the banks of the Wandle, where they could picnic and fish for tiddlers. At the same time Bunce's Meadows were acquiring a less attractive reputation, for their seclusion rendered them particularly enticing to local toughs from Mitcham as a venue for illicit gambling and prizefights, fought with bare knuckles. Concern had been expressed during Rural District Council meetings both at the unsavoury character of participants and spectactors and the bad language used, but for many years the Phipps Bridge area was considered as 'rough', and law enforcement always presented a problem. Together with Morden Hall and much of his Morden estate, the Bunce's Meadow we know today was bequeathed to the National Trust under the terms of the will of Hatfeild's son, Gilliat Edward Hatfeild of Morden Hall, who died in 1941. Since then it has been under the general management of the Trust. Ordnance Survey maps based on surveys conducted as late as the 1930s indicate a system of parallel 'drains' running the length of the meadow. Such features are usually clues to former use as crofting or calico-bleaching grounds and, as we have seen, until the mid-19th century the land was rented by Welch and Margetson. By this time, however, industrial bleaching had largely replaced the old crofting process, and the meadow is more likely to have been used as grazing for the firm's horses. All trace of the ditches were obliterated in the late 1950s, when the National Trust allowed Bunce's Meadow to be used for controlled tipping by Mitcham Corporation. With reinstatement of the topsoil it was believed the land might be used for allotment gardens, but interest failed to materialise, and once the plots were abandoned Bunce's Meadow soon began to revert to scrub. This needed to be controlled if PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW it was not to become woodland, and the Trust's maintenance policy in the 1980s and early '90s was directed towards creating an open wildlife habitat by regular scrub clearance, and delaying mowing until after seeds have ripened and fallen, to encourage the growth of a diversity of wild flowers and grasses. Both the meadow and Morden Hall Park itself were included in the Merton (Wandle Valley) Conservation Area, declared by the London Borough of Merton on 13 March 1991, and together they constitute a major element in the linear park extending through the Borough of Merton from the Wandle Meadow Nature Park at Colliers Wood to the Watermeads at Mitcham. Two thirds of Bunce's Meadow were leased by the Trust in 1994 to Merton Corporation to enable relocation of Deen City Farm from Aberdeen Road (off Church Road) to take place, but it still forms a visually attractive and historically interesting section of the Wandle Trail, a long-distance public pathway extending upstream from the Thames at Wandsworth to the sources of the river at Carshalton, Beddington and Waddon. View of Bunce's Meadow in 1991, before the land was leased to Deen City Farm. PHIPPS BRIDGE Fishing for tiddlers in a ditch alongside Phipps Bridge Road, 1919. (Photograph reproduced by courtesy of Miss Dorothy Ashurst of Ashtead.) Chapter 2 THE CALICO PRINTERS Francis Nixon (c.1757-1765) Although the principle of printing from engraved copper plates had been known and practised since the 15th century, it was not until the mid-18th century that it was applied to the printing of textiles, with a considerable saving of labour. The principle was simple enough; after inking the plate was wiped clean, leaving a deposit of colour in the incised lines which was drawn out by the textile to which the plate was applied under pressure. Amongst the finest English printed fabrics surviving from the period 1756 to 1790 are examples produced using this method,1 and foremost amongst the printers was Francis Nixon of the Drumcondra Printworks near Dublin, to whom credit most probably is due for developing the process at Merton. Nixon died in 1765, but the firm of Nixon and Amyand, of which he was a partner, continued to operate at premises known as 'the Phippesbridge Works', believed to have been located in the south-western corner of the Merton Abbey estate, until 1789. Francis Nixon was buried in St Mary's churchyard at Merton, where the epitaph on his tomb claims (perhaps with a little exaggeration) that he was the first to have perfected copperplate calico printing.2 There is nothing in the parish records to show that Nixon or his firm ever held land in Mitcham, and in his will he styled himself as "of the parish of Merton, calico printer". In addition to Sir George Amyand of Carshalton he did, however, mention another partner, John Anthony Rucker, who had very definite connections with the Phipps Bridge area of Mitcham. Nixon and Rucker give the appearance of being more than mere business partners, and Nixon's widow Hester appointed Rucker as one of her executors. In her will dated February 1769, in which she bequeathed to Rucker, then living at Carshalton, her set of prints of the Apostles' heads, she was said to be "of Mitcham".3 However, her residence cannot be located in the surviving Mitcham poor rate books for 1768 and 1769, which record her neither as a ratepayer nor as a householder in the parish.4 The explanation probably lies in Hester Nixon's house being PHIPPS BRIDGE on the parish borders and, although in fact within Merton, physically nearer to Mitcham. (Such ambivalence towards their addresses can be demonstrated to have existed amongst several families living in the area in the mid-18th century). Hester Nixon, the infant daughter of Francis Nixon's brother John and sister-in-law Mary, was baptised at Merton in 1767, one of those present being William Henry 'esq.' of 'Merton Abbey' (another of Mrs Nixon's executors), but from the evidence of an examination for settlement conducted in the neighbouring parish of Tooting around 1773, the family had moved away from Merton by that time.5 John Anthony Rucker (c.1768-1793) and Wandle Villa John Anthony Rucker, who is afforded the style of 'esquire' in Hester Nixon's will, was a London merchant, reputedly of German origin. He is known to have been a resident of Carshalton since 1764, when he took a lease of Strawberry Lodge, a large brick-built house in Mill Lane, owned by John Dewye Parker.6 His name also appears in the Mitcham poor rate book of November 1768 as the occupier of land in the vicinity of Phipps Bridge held on a 61-year lease from Richard Garth of Morden and until a short time before occupied by a Thomas Grey.7 A year later Rucker was assessed for poor rate by the Mitcham overseers as the occupier of a house, also near Phipps Bridge, valued at £35 p.a. (and therefore of good size) "late Brown's".8 Rucker's partnership with Nixon and Amyand could well have dated from the early 1760s, and it is evident that shortly after Hester's death in or about 1769 he set about improving and extending the crofting grounds lying on the Mitcham side of the river. As we have seen in the previous chapter, the Hatfeild estate papers show that land formerly known as the Three Slips at Phipps Bridge on the south-eastern side of the Wandle was leased by Richard Garth of Morden to John Anthony Rucker on 9 June 1769, together with Crabtree Mead and Arnold's Mead, both on the north-western side of the river in the parish of Mitcham.9 In the 1780s Rucker was paying land tax on these meadows leased from the Garth family.10 THE CALICO PRINTERS It is evident that Grove Field, which is now covered by the 1930s housing estate of Homefield Gardens opposite the bridge over the river, was in use as bleaching grounds before 1769. Once the terms of the lease from Garth had been settled, Rucker set about improving the supply of water to the land, and this caused the brush with Mitcham vestry referred to above (p20). The minutes record that in November 1769, after an inspection had been made of an encroachment by him on the parish waste or common land near Phipps Bridge, the vestry gave consent "that Mr. John Anthony Rucker may carry the Tail from his new Cutt through a small part of the waste below Phipps Bridge into the river; in consideration of the said John Anthony Rucker paying the sum of one guinea per an. to the Churchwardens for the time being to be added to the Poors Rate; and that the sd. Rucker do erect and keep in repair the sd. Phipps Bridge and likewise another bridge over the sd. new Cutt, and from time to time keep the said bridges in repair at his own proper costs and charges during the term of 61 years."11 The relevant page of the vestry minutes is signed by Rucker, signifying his acceptance of these conditions, which are typical of those imposed by the vestry when sanctioning private enclosures of common land in the mid-18th century. A small part of the waste encroached upon by Rucker can still be identified, now a broadening of the public footpath from Phipps Bridge to Morden just beyond the bridge. As explained in the previous chapter, at one time the parish waste in this part of Mitcham was considerably more extensive than it is now, and a map of the Merton Abbey estate drawn in 1805 shows the watermeadow to the west of Phipps Bridge as "Waste land in Mitcham".12 When the land tax records commence in 1780 we find that, in addition to the lands he leased from the Garth family, Rucker was leasing and occupying a small plot of land (assessed at £4) at Phipps Bridge, and also neighbouring parcels of varying size, owned by different people, including one by Mitcham vestry. The tax books show no change in this position until 1788, and make no specific reference to a house or any other buildings before that date, although it would appear from the evidence of the poor rate books that Rucker was in occupation of a house in the vicinity in 1769. PHIPPS BRIDGE Field names changed over the years, and it is not always easy to identify the land to which they referred with later plots and enclosures. No such difficulty exists with the site and grounds of Wandle Villa, off Phipps Bridge Road, for which a series of deeds and leases survive from its sale in 1821 by the executors of Henry Byne until its purchase by Hatfeild in 1870.13 In his will of 1815 Henry Byne of Carshalton referred to it as "All that piece or parcel of land enclosed situate lying and being in the Parish of Mitcham in the County of Surrey near a Place called Pippes otherwise Phipps Bridge containing by amount 2a. 0r. 18p. (be the same more or less) formerly in the tenure of Peter St. Eloy, Esq., and afterwards Jno. A. Rucker ..."14 Peter St Eloy of Doctors Commons had purchased the old Tudor mansion and estate of Colliers Wood (about ¾ mile to the north-east) in around 1739, and lived there with his wife Margaret from the 1740s until his death in 1760.15Very little is known about him (apart from the fact that he was a lawyer), although his surname gives good reason for assuming the family were Huguenots. Immigrant Flemish and French merchants and craftsmen had been prominent in the establishment and development first of bleaching and later printing of linens and calicoes in the Wandle valley in the 17th and 18th centuries, and in her History of Merton and Morden Evelyn Jowett16 recalled the local tradition that two of the calico-printing mills on the site of Merton Priory were founded by Protestant families fleeing from religious persecution. Lysons, without giving any names, asserted that the industry had been established there in 1724.2 Prior to his move to Colliers Wood St Eloy is said to have lived in Merton, and his nephew, John Andrews, was printing calico at West Sheen in the 1760s.17 Nothing, however, apart from his brief tenure of land at Phipps Bridge, has come to light so far to justify associating St Eloy with the printing works nearby. In about 1788 Rucker seems to have erected factory premises at Phipps Bridge, the Mitcham tax records for the following year showing him for the first time to be in occupation of 'buildings' and not merely of land. The rental assessment of the new tenement was £160, and the THE CALICO PRINTERS landowner is given as "Mr. Bines". Rucker continued to occupy the other plots as before. The first entry to refer unequivocally to a "house" – on land of which "Henry Bines Esq." was the "proprietor" and Rucker the occupier – does not appear in the books until 1792. This would imply that Wandle Villa had been built the previous year, although it could have been erected as early as 1788, when Rucker entered an appeal at Southwark quarter sessions against the valuation placed by Mitcham vestry on his property for the purposes of levying the parish poor rate.18 The impression given is that since his brush with the vestry in 1769 Rucker continued to be out of favour with those in authority in Mitcham. It has to be said that the land tax records are not always completely reliable when seeking a date for the erection of a new house, and clerical inconsistences do occur – for instance, there is no mention of Rucker's new house in 1793, although it was definitely in existence at that time, and tax was paid for it. The sharp increase in the assessment of Rucker's property for the year 1789, coupled with the first reference to "buildings", is probably sufficient justification for assuming that the house, which is known today as 'Wandle Villa', had been built around the same time as the new factory premises. Edwards, in his guide compiled around 1789, confirms Rucker's ownership at the time with the following observations: "About half a mile south of the Abbey" (i.e. the still visible remains of Merton priory) "is a callico manufactory belonging to Mr. Rucker. It has a good brick dwelling house which overlooks the common fields towards Mitcham".19 The accompanying map indicates a group of buildings betwen Phipps Bridge Road and the river, with "Rucker" inscribed against them. Nairn and Pevsner, presumably relying on a date of erection given in the list of buildings of architectural or historic importance prepared by Mitcham Borough Council,20 describe Wandle Villa as a "five bay house of stock brick, dated 1770".21 F G Price, an architect who visited the house in 1954, was not impressed, commenting: 34 PHIPPS BRIDGE "Shrouded by tall trees, painted in dark colours, and built in dark red stock bricks the house has a dismal and forbidding aspect. The absence of cornice to the parapet accentuates the height of the second storey giving a top-heaviness to the second story and dwarfing the entrance doorway. "By the time the building was erected the broad-framed sash window had had its day, tiles were giving way to slates, (at least near London) and even dado rails were becoming less common. Here we find recessed windows with rendered and painted reveals and cambered arches, above a slated roof, and inside walls entirely faced with plaster. The date of the house must accordingly be placed late in the century, probably within ten years of 1780."22 The firm of Nixon and Company was offered for sale in 1789,23 and within four years of what we have assumed to have been the erection of Wandle Villa, Rucker too had moved away from Mitcham, Lysons finding him in 1792 in occupation of Putney Bowling-Green, the site of a once-fashionable place of entertainment for public breakfasts and evening assemblies.24 By 1793 land tax was being paid by Howard & Wandle Villa, Phipps Bridge Road, Spring 1968 (ENM) THE CALICO PRINTERS Co, a firm of calico printers new to the Phipps Bridge Area, but it is not until 1797 that it becomes clear from the tax books that the Phipps Bridge works and Wandle Villa were sub-leased from Rucker. His name does not appear thereafter in the Mitcham tax records. Rucker's financial and social standing by this time was obviously considerable. He had mostly likely profited from the sale of Nixon & Co, as well as from the disposal of his interest in the Phipps Bridge works. Shortly before 1792 he had built for himself West Hill House, a "very handsome villa" at Wandsworth near Lord Spencer's park, standing on the site of another house erected in the second half of the 18th century for Lady Rivers.25 The grounds were laid out by 'Capability' Brown, and at its height the estate covered 200 acres. West Hill had passed from Lady Rivers to the 7th Viscount Stormont, and by 1792 it seems to have been rebuilt rather than merely enlarged by Rucker to produce one of the most impressive houses in the neighbourhood. A contemporary description conveys something of its appearance: "This villa is about five miles from London and is delightfully situated on an eminence commanding the whole of the rich vale which extends from London to Richmond; part of the landscape is enlivened by a view of the Thames and the whole is bounded by the hills of Surrey and Kent. "The gardens, hot-houses, pleasure-grounds and numerous accompaniments of the villa, furnish a magnificent specimen enjoyed by English merchants when they occasionally retreat from the industrious labours of the compting-house to share their well-earned wealth with their friends, in the hospitality of their country seats."26 John Anthony Rucker died in May 1804 at the age of 85, and lies buried in Wimbledon churchyard. He bequeathed West Hill to his nephew, Daniel, who renamed the house 'Melrose Hall' by way of a compliment to Sir Walter Scott. It now forms part of the Royal Hospital for Neuro Disability. PHIPPS BRIDGE Howard and Company (1793-1813) The name of Howard & Co, the new occupiers of Rucker's calico print works at Phipps Bridge, occurs annually without variation in the Mitcham and Merton land tax books from 1793 until 1811. A 'house' is also referred to regularly in the Mitcham books, and occasionally, as in 1807, a 'factory'. The overall assessment remains unchanged, and throughout this time Henry Byne continued to be the firm's principal landlord, but a small parcel of land in Merton was held on lease from Rucker. Like Rucker before them, Howard & Co also rented a small plot of land owned by Mitcham vestry. Part of the land occupied by Howard & Co was the old bleaching ground known as Grove Field, lying to the east of Phipps Bridge Road. A map produced in 1870 shows it being supplied with water by a "water archway", or culvert, leading from the Wandle immediately above a sluice at the rear of Wandle Villa, and passing beneath the road. Water from the Grove Field discharged into the ditch at the side of Phipps Bridge Road, and flowed on to Jacob's Green, where it joined the so- called 'Back River' or 'Pickle Ditch', and finally the Wandle itself by Merton Bridge.27 Before Rucker diverted the river in 1769, the field was supplied by a backwater from the Wandle which actually flowed across the lane – now Phipps Bridge Road – between what were to become the sites of Wandle Villa and the terrace of cottages known as 'Everett's Place', built in 1824. The strips of grassland, or 'crofts', between the parallel waterways on the bleaching ground played a key part in the bleaching of fabrics before printing. Here linens, fustians and calicoes were laid out in the sun after being treated with lye made from wood ash, followed by 'souring' in buttermilk, and then being repeatedly drenched with water until white. Grove Field became the site of Homefield House in the 1850s, and later the houses of Homefield Gardens, built in the 1930s. In 1793 a dispute arose between Mitcham vestry and Howard & Co over the assessment for parochial taxes of the "land and premises late in the occupation of John Anthony Rucker". On 18 August an offer (presumably in the hope of negotiating a new assessment) had been made by Howard's original partners, Gould, Reynolds and Company, THE CALICO PRINTERS but this was rejected by Mitcham vestry. Reynolds soon moved to premises in Willow Lane and Gould to Isleworth, but a subsequent appeal by Howard & Co met an equally uncompromising response. On 29 December the vestry affirmed that "the assessment to Parochial Taxes for the premises held of Henry Bynes Esq. by the late John Anthony Rucker" should remain at £160 p.a.28 This was a time of acute economic stress nationally when, as Eden wrote, "the distresses of the Poor were unsually great", and the annual amount expended on their relief "beyond all former example".29 In an effort to alleviate the situation, Samuel Whitbread's Poor Relief Act was passed in 1795, but the financial burden remained, and parishes struggled to meet their obligations. In time-honoured manner, the assessments were based on an estimated rental value of properties, and the difficulty encountered by Howard & Co is rather interesting. The valuation placed by the vestry on Rucker's manufactory was to a degree arbitrary, influenced by the officers' expectation that his successors would prosper as he had done. The year 1789 had been at the height of the boom period enjoyed by the calico printers in the Home Counties, but there were already signs that the industry was migrating to the north of England.30 Britain was, moreover, now at war with France and many of her former export markets were denied her. Gould, Reynolds and Company, later Howard & Co, were no doubt already experiencing increasing competition within the industry, and would also have been apprehensive that the lucrative export trade would decline. The need to reduce their overheads wherever possible was obvious if reasonable levels of profit were to be maintained. The vestry, on the other hand, was in a state of chronic alarm at the increasing burden of the rates on the parish as a whole, and could be expected to resist anything which threatened to favour one section of the community to the detriment of the rest. A more detailed history of Howard & Co can be constructed from announcements in the London Gazette in 1793, which disclose that the partnership was in a state of flux during the autumn of that year.31 Peter McGow's work in this field has shown that on 21 September 1793 "the partnership between George Gould, Richard Howard and Robert Reynolds, calico printers at 'Phippard's Bridge near Mitcham'", was dissolved. Disruption of overseas trade as a consequence of the war PHIPPS BRIDGE was continuing to create difficulties for industrialists, and on 16 March 1794 an offer of £100 was made by Howard & Co "in respect of their being assessed to the rates" for the land and premises. Not surprisingly, this was refused by the vestry.28 Robert Reynolds, in the meantime, had gone into partnership with Thomas Chesson of Beddington Corner, but this venture failed to prosper, and they were declared bankrupt on 10 April 1799. As we have seen, the strain had already brought about the dissolution of the Gould/Howard partnership. Richard Howard then joined John Rivers and Isaac Hellier, the latter a calico printer from the Merton Abbey works, to form the firm of Rivers, Howard & Co.32 The firm of Howard & Co, Howard and Rivers, or Rivers Howard and Hellier, as it was variously known, occupied the Phipps Bridge calico printing works for 18 years.33 John Rivers senior died in 1797 at the age of 57, and was buried at Mitcham,34 but his son continued in the business until 1811. Richard Howard, the senior partner, lived until 1820, dying at the age of 80, and is buried in the family tomb in Morden churchyard.35 The firm was predominantly a family concern, Richard Howard junior marrying Ann Rivers at Mitcham in 1799, thereafter working in partnership with his brother-in-law, James Rivers, and, of course, his own father. Richard Howard senior was a member of the original committee of the Surrey Iron Railway as constituted on 4 June 1801. The first plans of the railway included a connection from his works at Phipps Bridge to the main line between Colliers Wood and Mitcham, but there is no evidence the branch line was constructed, and the nearest the railway ran to Howard's factory was along Church Road. During the passage of the Surrey Iron Railway Bill through Parliament, the Lords inserted an amendment expressly prohibiting any extension of the branch to Howard's works beyond Phipps Bridge.36 The reason for this amendment is obscure. The snuff mills at Morden and Ravenbury stood to benefit, as did the calico printing works at Ravensbury run by William Fenning and Son. Possibly Howard himself was the instigator, wishing to withhold from a competitor the advantages of reduced transport costs. On the other hand, representations may have been made by influential THE CALICO PRINTERS residents like Sir Robert Burnett of Morden Hall, or Henry Hoare of Mitcham Grove who, each with a fine house and estate in the path of a possible further extension of the track, considered their property would be affected adversely by any industrial development the railway might encourage. In July 1801 the sale by auction of the lease of the "Premises of Messrs. Howard, Hellier and Co., Callico Printers and Bleachers, dissolving Partnership" at Phipps Bridge, was advertised in The Times. The auction was to be held on 14 September 1801. The premises were described in some detail as "... consisting of Two very convenient and well-finished Brick Dwelling-houses, one of which has recently been erected, and both in perfect repair, with suitable offices, excellent gardens, pleasure grounds, and every other requisite family accommodation, together with very spacious and substantial brick-built erections, judiciously arranged, well connected and forming together as complete a set of works as most in this kingdom; fitted up in a very superior stile, in complete repair, and possessing every convenience for carrying on Trade to almost any extent. They contain a printing shop 107 feet by 20, 2 others 60 by 28, pencilling shops of very large dimensions, cylinder room, copper-plate shop that holds 8 presses, plate rooms, stove-room, stamping-loft, white loft, town loft, store houses, madder-house, print room, very capital copper house 85 feet by 26, that holds 10 coppers, blue house 62 feet by 26, colour houses, callender shop, light drawing, cutting and engraving shops, drying mount 56 feet by 26, mill-room, large water and wash-wheels, horse works and gear, very large water reservoir, and pipes to supply various parts of the premises, carpenter's and turner's shops, counting-house, very roomy store cellars, stabling, waggon and cart lodge, and other out-buildings, spacious yard &c. A Bleaching Ground of near 16 acres, another of 7 acres, and about 12 acres of rich meadow land, also a neat messuage and sundry cottages for workmen, right of fishery, &c. The very valuable Plant, Fixtures, Copper Plates, Blocks, and Utensils in Trade of every description will be included in the purchase."37 PHIPPS BRIDGE On the instructions of the auctioneer a second notice was published in The Times on 26 August 1801 stating that the premises "are disposed of". Although the advertisement had referred to the dissolution of the partnership, the official notice referred only to Isaac Hellier leaving. This was dated 29 August, by which time Richard Howard junior had joined the firm. McGow comments "Obviously Howard & Co. decided not to relinquish the lease after all, but to carry on the business".38 Isaac Hellier served as surveyor of highways in Mitcham from 1799 to 1800, and held office as churchwarden from June 1802 until April 1804. In 1802 he generously donated a silver plate, inscribed 'I. Hillier', to Mitcham parish church. During the Napoleonic wars he was captain of the 3rd Company of the Loyal Mitcham Volunteer Infantry, a local defence force raised under Major James Moore, which remained active until it was stood down towards the end of 1813. He lived for several years at Tamworth House, off Commonside East, leaving for a new address in Wimbledon in about 1813. Isaac Hellier died 25 February 1842, aged 79 years, and was buried at Mitcham on the following 4 March as of Wimbledon.39 By 1811 the firm of Howard and Rivers was in financial difficulties, and notice of their bankruptcy was published in the London Gazette on 29 June. The lease of the premises at Phipps Bridge was advertised in The Times of 17 August to be auctioned on 19 August 1811, "by order of the Assignees". The sale of certain effects followed later, on 5 and 6 September. Apparently no acceptable bids for the premises had been received by 19 August, for a further advertisement, this time for the auction of the lease in six lots on 8 October, appeared in The Times on 25 September 1811. The auction was again deferred, this time until 15 October, when plant, implements, etc, were also to be offered for sale.40 The reasons for the failure of this well-established firm are unknown, but many local print works closed down in the period 1800-1830 in the face of competition from Lancashire and elsewhere. Conveyance of the estates of Richard Howard the elder, John Rivers, Richard Howard the younger and James Howard, bankrupts, was effected in May 1813. Dividends to the firm's creditors were made at intervals until 1822. Chapter 3 DIVERSIFICATION Peter Wood, Silk 'Throwster' Following the auction of Howard and Rivers's business in 1811, the unexpired portion of their lease was acquired by James Moore and his brother Henry. James, who by inheritance had become the proprietor of the firm of Potter and Moore, 'physic gardeners' and distillers of essential oils, farmed some 350 acres scattered about Mitcham. Although not from one of the old landed families, he had thereby secured a position of some importance in the village, and had recently purchased the lordship of the Mitcham manor of Biggin and Tamworth.1 James lived at the manor house, Upper Mitcham, and obviously had no use himself for Wandle Villa, but it is possible that for a while Henry may have taken up residence. In the land tax books from 1812 to 1814 the brothers are referred to as 'occupiers' of both the house and former print works, but when the assessment book for 1815 was prepared the factory was empty, and Henry is not mentioned. James Moore, however, continued to hold the lease of the premises, and was, presumably, farming the adjoining land.2 Henry Byne's death in 1815 did not immediately affect the situation at Phipps Bridge, but in 1821 James Moore purchased from Byne's executors the freehold of Wandle Villa, together with the premises to the rear.3 By this time the printing factory was occupied by Peter Wood, a silk spinner, as an under-tenant of James Moore. Wood seems to have remained at Phipps Bridge until the early 1830s, and the location of his works, to the rear of Wandle Villa, is confirmed by a map of c.1821, which shows 'Mr. Wood's Silk Mill' astride the river immediately behind the house.4 On 10 September 1830 the London Gazette published notice that the "partnership of Thomas Watkins Wood and Edmund Peck of Phipps Bridge, Mitcham, Silk Throwsters" was dissolved,5 but Wood (presumably Peter's son) evidently continued the business for a while, and Thomas Wood, "Silk Throwster, Phipps Bridge" is listed in Pigot's Directory for 1832-4. The business was in decline, however, and by the end of 1834 the mill buildings were again empty.6 PHIPPS BRIDGE The Patent Steam Washing Factory at Phipps Bridge, Mitcham For years the precise function of this impressive building, erected in 1824 behind Wandle Villa on the Mitcham, i.e eastern, bank of the Wandle above Phipps Bridge, presented a puzzle for the local historian, for the usual records throw no light on its original purpose and it lasted for barely a quarter of a century before being destroyed by fire. The two watercolours painted by Yates in 1825 show it with a large chimney belching black smoke,7 confirming that somewhere within the building there was at least one and possibly two boilers, for which coal would have been conveyed from the wharves at Wandworth on the Surrey Iron Railway. The size of the building alone indicates that someone had money to invest in what, it was obviously hoped, would prove a profitable venture. Events were to prove otherwise. Two years after his purchase of the late Henry Byne's estate at Phipps Bridge, James Moore granted, with John Oxtoby (another Mitcham landowner and senior partner of a local building firm), a lease of a large plot of land at the waterside to a John Tyrrell of Morden and Stamford Street, Blackfriars. The property, then vacant, was described as comprising ground 237 feet by 74, and buildings, formerly a calico printing factory, land and a cottage.8 On this land, immediately downstream from Wood's silk mill, the 'London Patent Steam Washing Factory', measuring 214 feet by 61 feet overall, was erected the following year. Locally, textile bleaching and printing were still important, and there was a steady flow of inventions recorded at the Patent Office aimed at securing improvements in the various processes employed in the industry. At least one, that patented by Lemuel Wellman Wright in 1825, involved the use of steam in the washing of fabrics,9 and it seemed a reasonable assumption that the proprietors of the new factory at Phipps Bridge hoped for lucrative contracts from the nearby print works. This was the theory put forward in my study of the local textile bleaching and printing industry, published in 1992.10 However, research by Peter McGow of Croydon, to whom I am greatly indebted for bringing his findings to my attention, now suggests, rather surprisingly, that despite its size the building was nothing more than a domestic laundry and dyeing works. McGow's DIVERSIFICATION 'View of the Patent Steam Washing Factory near Mitcham, Surrey' (above) and 'N.E. View of the Patent Steam Washing Factory near Mitcham, Surrey' (below). Watercolours by Yates, 1825, reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service. PHIPPS BRIDGE work thus removes what seems to have been a serious misconception on my part, and has also provided an amusing story which deserves a place in local history. With his kind permission, his observations are reproduced verbatim: "The first reference I have to this company" (The London Patent Steam Washing Company) is a short article in The Times, 28 June 1824, under the heading, 'Washing by Steam'. Having commented on the large number of public companies recently formed, the writer went on to nominate The London Patent Steam Washing Company, 'to be added to the list of those to which the present year has given rise.' "The article continued, 'The object of this company is, as the name imports, to wash clothes of all descriptions by the application of steam. For this purpose an extensive establishment has lately been erected at Phipps-bridge, near Merton, Surrey.' A brief description of the process was given, and the report then went on to say 'The works at Phipps-bridge are not yet finished, and of course the Company have not fully established the practicability of the process; but from what we saw of the plan, we have no doubt that clothes can be washed much whiter, in a shorter time, and with much less injury from rubbing, than by the common applications of the tub, and wrists of the laundress.' "The next notice is in the form of an advertisement issued by the company, published in The Times of 6 July, 1824, which described the advantages of their steam washing method. It concluded with the information that 'the works are nearly completed' (and) 'will very soon be in operation.' The offices of the firm were given as 7, Chatham-place, Blackfriars. "By October 1824 the works were up and running, although apparently not entirely smoothly. Another notice published by the company was in the form of an apology to their customers. They assured them, that although the company 'have, from the sudden pressure of business on the one hand, the defective condition of new machinery and the inexperience of their labourers on the other, DIVERSIFICATION found it impossible to prevent delays and disappointment,' they would 'soon be able to meet, in the most ample manner, the wishes and expectations of their friends.' (The Times 29 Oct. 1824) "A report in The Times of 17 Nov. 1824, described the process of steam washing in some detail. Basically, steam generated by two steam engines was conducted into cylindrical drums (which) contained wheels of wood and copper, presumably on spindles. The articles to be washed were placed in the drums and circulated, with the steam, by the rotation of the wheels. At the same time, soap was added. After an hour, the steam was shut off, and cold water was admitted, to rinse the articles. These were then passed through a 'cylindrical squeezer' and afterwards starched and ironed by hand. It was noted that 150 women were employed at the works. "At this time, the company were still experiencing operational difficulties, judging from the complaints of one dissatisfied customer, Dr. Patterson, whose case was heard at the Marlborough Street magistrates court on 27 November 1824. The proceedings there, as reported in The Times of 29 Nov., were highly farcical. "Dr. Patterson testified that he had sent off to the company sundry articles of linen to be washed, on 18 October, expecting them to be returned within three days, in accordance with the company's guarantee. Not having received the articles after a fortnight, he wrote to the company, and wrote again several times afterwards, without receiving any reply. Finally he called at the office of the company, and the following day some of his linen was returned, but he had never received the remainder, despite several more letters. "Mr. Julius Smith, who described himself as one of the managers of the company, attempted to explain the delay. There were two main factors. One was that the company had tried in vain to obtain an ink that could withstand their washing process, with the result that the identifying marks they made on each article when received were eradicated soon afterwards. The other factor (which seems inconsistent with the first) was that the employees were innumerate, and that the doctor's number in the register, P.18, had been PHIPPS BRIDGE transcribed as P.81, and no customer could be found to correspond with this number. The magistrate here intervened to remark that if the company had articles for which no owner could be found, and the doctor had constantly enquired about the same articles, it might have occurred to someone that the unidentified articles belonged to the doctor. "Mr. Smith went on to imply that Dr. Patterson was making an unnecessary fuss insofar as the missing articles consisted only of one shirt, one tablecloth, one towel and one night-cap. 'Really', he said, 'one would suppose the Doctor was left without a change of linen.' "Dr. Patterson replied that it was a matter of principle and the magistrate agreed, and 'thought the Doctor had much reason to complain.' It was finally adjudicated that the company should make a further attempt to find the missing items, and if unsuccessful, compensate the doctor to the amount of their value. "Smith went to the trouble of writing to the editor of The Times; his letter, published on 1 Dec. 1824 was signed Junius Smith, not Julius. He corrected some minor errors in the court report, and stated that the company had now adopted the practice of marking the articles when received, then leaving them overnight to give time for the ink to dry. "The London Steam Washing Company issued another advertisement (The Times, 7 Feb. 1825) informing the public that they were now able to undertake the dyeing of woollen, cotton and silk articles, and that carpets, blankets, curtains, etc. could be cleaned at reduced prices. They also assured their customers that contrary to 'falsehoods and slanders' that had been made, they used no 'acids or chymical ingredients' in their cleaning process; and that the difficulties they had initially experienced were now 'entirely superseded'. Their London office was now given as Stamford Street, Blackfriars. "The following month, the company advertised for 30 first rate ironers; candidates were to apply at 1, Stamford Street or at the DIVERSIFICATION works at Phipps Bridge. On the same day, they gave notice that shares in the company at £25 each were available. The name of the firm was then given as The Patent Steam Washing Company. (The Times 23 March 1825) "The change of name was explained a few days later, when a notice was published, that no further share applications could be received, and stating that, 'The Directors having learned that an apprehension exists, that this Company is established to oppose that which has been for some months in question, at Phipps-bridge, Mitcham, beg to inform the public, that the present is the identical company, merely extended and formed anew, for the purpose of carrying into effect those additions which the vast increase in demand renders necessary, at an expense far beyond the limits of individual capital.' (The Times 28 March 1825) "On 3 June 1825 the company advertised in The Times for 'several active females' to act as superintendents, able to 'manage a large number of women who will be placed under their directions.' Later in the month they advertised for several 'respectable women, competent to assist and pack linen, who can write a legible hand ... Encouragement will be given to superior ironers.' (The Times 20 June 1825) "A further notice from the company advertised that 'the very considerable extension and improvement of their works, at Phipps Bridge, with which they have lately been very much occupied, are now completed.' (The Times 25 Nov. 1825) "Things seem to have been going well with the company, and one can only wonder what reverses occurred which resulted in a commission of bankruptcy being issued against John Tyrrell on 14 Aug. 1826 (London Gazette, 15 Aug. 1826). The creditors were invited to meet the assignees on 12 Feb. 1827 'for the purpose of assenting to or dissenting from an arrangement proposed to be made between the said assignees and directors and shareholders of a certain company or partnership, called the London Steam Washing Company,' (sic) 'for adjusting, settling or agreeing certain claims, PHIPPS BRIDGE demands, and disputes, depending between the said assignees and the said Company.' (London Gazette, 2 Feb. 1827) "Starting on 31 March 1827, and repeated at intervals during April and early May, The Times published a notice of the forthcoming sale of 'The Patent Steam Washing Company's valuable and extensive Premises, at Phipps-Bridge, Mitcham ... by order of and before the Commissioners.' The premises were described as 'comprising a newly erected Building, about 150 feet long and 61 feet wide ... together with two steam-engines one of 8-horse and the other 6-horse power, two large washing wheels, an hydraulic press, with ironing and calendering apparatus, and all other suitable fittings and machinery for the various departments ... Also very extensive stabling, coach or waggon houses, yards, etc. The above premises are holden by lease for 90 years at £31.10s. per annum. Likewise a new brick erection fitted up as a dyehouse ... And a field of meddow [sic] land, about 15 acres ... with a timber building about 110 feet long and 21 feet wide fitted up as a canteen.' The date of the auction was to be given later. "This advertisement was repeated on 14 July and subsequently, with the date of the auction being given as 14 August and 'by the direction of the Assignees with the consent of the Mortgagees.' There were some small variations from the earlier version, the major one of which was that the main building was now 214 feet long. "Following this, the creditors were called to meet the assignees to consider their proposal for entering into an agreement for the sale of the property and effects, 'the property of the said bankrupt.' (London Gazette, 18 Sept. 1827) "A few months later, it would seem that the former Steam Washing Works was the subject of the following advertisement: 'To be disposed of ... the valuable and extensive Leasehold Premises, held under two leases from Michaelmas 1823, for a term of 199 years ... situate on the banks of the River Wandle at Mitcham ... comprising a newly-erected building of three floors, divided into various rooms for manufacturing purposes, drying lofts, engine DIVERSIFICATION rooms and work shops, a drying house, stable, smith's shop and manager's dwelling ... There are two steam engines, boilers, etc ... (The Times, 11 Feb. 1830)" Thus ended the short life of what was, quite clearly, an ill-conceived and over-ambitious enterprise. A plentiful supply of clean water and fuel delivered to the factory gates were clearly assets but hardly unique in the vicinity of London at the beginning of the 19th century. If, as McGow's researches suggest, the laundry was orientated purely towards serving households in the metropolis, there seem no obvious advantages in the Phipps Bridge area. The reasons for the venture's failure are not recorded and are similarly puzzling. One is led to assume either that the problem of recruiting a suitable work force proved insoluble, or perhaps that the round trip of some 20 miles to collect and return the laundry to London contributed to the company's problems, and yet both must surely have been foreseen. Whatever the reasons behind the failure of the enterprise, the London Patent Steam Washing Company was no more. In the land tax assessment for 1829 "J. Nicholls" is named as the occupier of part, if not the whole, of the building. His business evidently also failed to succeed, for "James Nicholls, of Phipps Bridge in the Parish of Mitcham, Silk Manufacturer", was declared bankrupt on 27 August (London Gazette, 1 September 1829) and the former steam washing factory thereafter fell vacant. What is known of its subsequent history until the building was destroyed by fire in 1848 is examined in the next section.10 No further building took place on the site, and the land is now owned by the National Trust. Of John Tyrrell, "dyer, bleacher, calenderer, dealer and chapman", we can say a little more. Shortly after 1824, on the evidence of the Morden land tax records, he purchased a villa (later known as 'Hazelwood') previously owned by the banker Abraham Goldsmid. Tyrrell did not take up residence himself, however, but granted a tenancy of the property to Edward Walmesley, the owner of the nearby Ravensbury Print Works. In 1829, nearly three years after Tyrrell's bankruptcy, Walmesley's name appears in the Morden tax books as the "proprietor"(i.e. landowner). 11 PHIPPS BRIDGE The Silk Printers By 1828 the leases held by John Tyrrell were assigned by Henry Maudsley the engineer, and Peter Roll, a timber merchant of Cornhill, to Matthew Smith, a London merchant. Smith mortgaged to Christopher Kymer, a captain in the service of the East India Company for whom various addresses are given, including Camberwell, Brighton and Greenwich. The leases were subsequently assigned to Maximillian Kymer, a salt manufacturer, merchant and chapman, of Rothampstead Park and St Desire, France.8 In the land tax assessment book for 1829 a 'J. Nicholls' is named as the occupier of the factory, but on 1 September that year the bankruptcy of "James Nicholls of Phipps Bridge in the Parish of Mitcham" was announced in theLondon Gazette. The following year the tax book has no entry at all under 'occupier', and in 1831 the factory was stated to be 'empty'. The industrial premises were still vacant in 1834.6 The fate of the former steam washing factory (and, indeed, of the silk mill) in the early 1830s is far from clear. There are signs, however, of an industrial revival occurring around 1839, for in Pigot's directory of that year, under 'Calico, Silk etc. Printers' there appears the entry "Collins and Whiteman (silk and woollen) Royal Factory, Phipps Bridge". In a survey of the parish conducted in 1837/8 by Crawter and Smith, the former steam washing factory was described as a 'block printing establishment' with a 'counting house', or office, and a yard, occupied by Charles Collins and with the 'proprietor', i.e. landowner, given as James Moore.12 The names of Charles Collins and Jasper Whiteman, who were described as 'printers', occur in a lease of 1839. In Pigot's Directory of that year under 'Calico, Silk etc. Printer" there appears the entry "Collins and Whiteman (silk and woollen) Royal Factory, Phipps Bridge". The proprietors' names are also listed under 'Gentry', and one or both of them were, presumably, living at Wandle Villa or nearby, since their address is given as 'Phipps Bridge'. Maximillian Kymer was himself bankrupt by 1843, and his creditors' assignee negotiated a new lease from the ground landlord, James Moore, to Williams Deacon's Bank, the mortgagees. This was granted in March 1844, for 79¾ years, and at the time of the tithe survey in 1846 what DIVERSIFICATION was still being described as the "block printing factory, counting house and yard", was in the occupation of Benjamin Helps and William Palmer. Their tenure was soon to be terminated, however, for in 1847 a new sub-lease for 21 years was negotiated by Thomas Taylor of Merton, a 'hot presser' or calenderer.8 Taylor was already a tenant of James Moore, occupying part of the Grove Field opposite as a meadow and garden. Nothing more is known about him, but the factory was recalled as a "large stocking factory, employing a large number of hands, mostly women" by Ben Slater, an old resident of Mitcham, in his reminiscences written in 1911.13 In April 1848 the factory was destroyed by fire, and was not rebuilt. When Moore's estate was auctioned by his executor and his mortgagee in August 1853, Lot 15, the "late Calico Printing Factory and Premises" was described as "Let on lease to Messrs. Williams, Deacon and Co. for a term which will expire at Michaelmas 1922".14 In August 1853 a lease was granted to the bank by Moore's executors on a covenant to build two villas and three cottages on the site of the factory,8 and the auctioneers noted that "The Factory Buildings which formerly stood on this Lot were, a few years ago, destroyed by fire, and the Lessees are under covenant to expend £1500 in the erection of new Buildings, by October 1854." The following year the land was sold to Williams Deacon and Company, from whom Gilliat Hatfeild of Morden bought the property in 1870. There is no evidence that the villas and cottages were ever built, and the site remains open land to the present day, in part comprising the rear garden of No. 96 Phipps Bridge Road. Meantime, Wood's silk mill, which we have seen was empty in 1834, fared a little better. In 1838, as a "printing establishment", together with Wandle Villa and its garden, it was tenanted by Richard Bensley. The landlord was James Moore, and by 1846 tenure of the silk printing factory had changed, tenancy having been granted to Joseph James Welch and John Stewart Margetson, warehousemen and silk mercers of Cheapside. Welch was then living at Wandle Villa, but when the census was taken in 1851 he had left and the house was unoccupied. PHIPPS BRIDGE Ben Slater remembered the works behind Wandle Villa as "Mr. Asprey's silk printing factory" and the census return indicates that part of the building was used as living accommodation by a Francis Asprey, listed by the enumerator as a 'block cutter', and John Banford, who was recorded as a block printer.15 The manager, Edward Asprey, and his family lived in a house in the grounds, almost certainly that now numbered 96 Phipps Bridge Road. The Asprey family had long been connected with the printing of textiles, William Asprey of Morden having been working as a calico printer at Merton in the 18th century. A second William Asprey (the precise relationship is not established) was a printer at Mitcham and married Ann Sewell, the daughter of another Mitcham calico printer. It was a younger son, Edward, whom we encounter printing silk at Phipps Bridge around 1850. In 1781 William Asprey, his father, had founded the family business of Asprey and Company which Charles Asprey junior, son of Edward's older brother Charles, moved to New Bond Street. Asprey of Bond Street, described as "the classiest and most luxurious shop in the world", of course survives to the present day. The firm has for long enjoyed a worldwide reputation for silver and luxury goods of the highest quality, and it is likely that in the late 1840s fine printed silks for the lining of the expensive dressing cases and similar goods sold by the family business were being produced at Mitcham under Edward's supervision.16 Edward Asprey died in 1852 at the age of 56, and we find the house he and his wife Ann had occupied described at the auction in 1853 as "The Foreman's House and Lodge, containing together Eight Rooms, lean-to wash-house, Garden-yard, double Coach-house, and four-stall Stable." Ben Slater's description of the Phipps Bridge factory as "belonging to Mr. Asprey" can be seen to be a little misleading, since it is quite clear that in 1853 the whole of the silk factory, Wandle Villa and the foreman's house were still let to Messrs Welch and Margetson, the annual rental being £84. DIVERSIFICATION By good fortune the description written by Crawters the auctioneers of what they glowingly called the "Most Valuable and Improvable Freehold Property at Phipp's Bridge, on the banks of the much-admired River Wandle" have survived. From it a good impression may be gained of the extent and complexity of the "Silk Printing Establishment" lately managed by Edward Asprey. It was "... substantially brick-built, consisting of a large Building, containing Print-room, Wax-shop, Blue-house, Cutting-shop, Silk- room over part, Hot-mount, and Printing-shop; also Plate-shop, Three Colour-rooms, Printing shops, and Store-room; lean-to Cotton Blue House, and Wheel, Copper, Soap, Steam, Padding, and Winch Houses; also Print-room, Madder-house, and Carpenter's shop; lower Store-room, Coal-cellar, and Yard."17 In 1854 Lot 14 in the catalogue produced for the sale of the Moore Estate, comprising the freehold Wandle Villa and the silk printing works, was purchased by Welch and Margetson, under whose ownership production continued at Phipps Bridge until the early 1860s. We are indebted to Braithwaite18 for a further contemporary description of the works, from which one can form some idea of the scale of production in the mid-19th century. It is also clear from this account that not only was the river a vital asset in the manufactory, but that it was already abused and heavily contaminated with trade effluent. The mill tail from the snuff mill in Morden Hall Park, which formed the eastern arm of the Wandle, was embanked until it reached Welch and Margetson's premises, whilst the western arm of the river, after "circulating" through the ornamental grounds of the park, rejoined the main river at the mill tail of the print works, at Phipps Bridge. In 1853 Braithwaite noted that at the print works "... considerable quantities of water are used, in rinsing and washing the goods; in short, the whole of the eastern division is required. The mill head has a regulatory sluice, and another waste on the eastern side, which, after passing through some ornamental grounds, PHIPPS BRIDGE enters the stream called the Pickle" (a "dirty stream, receiving sewage, and refuse water from Messrs Welch and Margetsons'"). "The small water-wheel required for these works is of 8 H.P. Messrs. Welch and Margetson use weekly, about three carboys, or 6 cwt., of sulphuric acid, ½ ton of alum, three carboys of muriate of tin, besides small quantities of other chemicals. For the supply of water to the vats, a pump is constantly at work which raises about 6,000 gallons daily, all of which is contaminated and discharged into the eastern waste water. Besides this, there is an absolute necessity for a large supply of water in the washing process, for without it, the excess dye washed out of the printed part of the fabric, would spoil the plain part."18 Welch and Margetson had ceased silk printing at Phipps Bridge by 1862, for in that year the factory and land was leased for 21 years at £150 p.a. to John R Breach, Charles Samuel Hartog and Edward Smith, all of Blackley, Lancashire, a firm of bleachers and dyers, and John Wade of Leeds, wool merchant.19 There was an option to purchase it for £2,500 in 1865. On Hartog's being declared bankrupt in 186420 the partnership was dissolved in 1865.21 The premises were assured to John Breach in 1866, who conveyed them to Wade, and the following year Wade mortgaged the property for £3,300.22 Although the 1867 Ordnance Survey map shows the premises as 'Bleach Works' on the river bank behind Wandle Villa, the business had already collapsed, Breach and his associates having surrendered the unexpired portion of their lease to Gilliat Hatfeild, a wealthy tobacco and snuff merchant, who had recently inherited the family business on the death of his father Alexander Hatfeild. In 1870 the freehold waterside property known as 'The Phipps Bridge Bleaching and Carding Works', which included Wandle Villa, were bought by Hatfeild from Wade's creditors for £3,000, and industrial use of the land came to an end.23 Chapter 4 THE HATFEILDS AND WANDLE VILLA Wandle Villa, "the substantial brick-built Private Residence underlet to Mr. William H. Carling", was described by Crawter in 1853 as "containing Hall, Dining and Drawing Rooms, Wine and Beer Cellars, Kitchen, China Pantry, Scullery, Wash house, Three best Bed-rooms, Three Servants' Rooms, and Water-closet; well arranged Lawn, Flower-garden and Shrubbery, partly walled in; with Carriage- drive, Kitchen garden, Hothouse, Poultry-yard etc."1 In 1866 and 1870 the Post Office directories listed John Robert Breach, the proprietor of Breach and Company, as the occupier of the house. On the evidence of Hatfeild's redeeming the land tax in 1871, he must have left soon after the property was auctioned in May 1870.2 Plans prepared at the time of the sale by Henry Crawter survive in copy at Surrey History Centre, together with the sale particulars prepared by W A Bowler the auctioneer. They contain a full description of the "business portion of the premises" and, fortunately, these and other particulars were preserved by the solicitors in view of a dispute which arose as to whether or not Hatfeild was entitled to take up an option on the fixtures and fittings.1 Recalling that when it was offered for sale in 1853 the property had been "in a most flourishing condition", Henry Crawter was evidently surprised when he revisited the premises in 1870 and found them "much out of repair", and with the roof needing attention. The need for extensive repairs prompted Mrs Jessie Ellen Hatfeild's repeated letters to the solicitors complaining that men were still working on the roof of "Breach's old factory" after the purchase, and that they appeared to be taking down the clock tower.3 In 1871 Gilliat Hatfeild, as the new owner-occupier of Wandle Villa, redeemed the land tax on the "silk factory with a messuage or tenement and lodge adjoining, and another messuage late in the occupation of Messieurs Breach & Co".4 His residence at Wandle Villa was only of short duration, however, for in 1872 Hatfeild finalised the purchase of the adjoining Morden Hall and park from Sir Richard Garth.5 Over the next 30 years he was to acquire many hundreds of acres in Morden, together with the lordship of the manor. PHIPPS BRIDGE When Wandle Villa was auctioned in 1870, the attention of potential buyers was drawn to the large garden and well-timbered pleasure grounds. Bordering the Wandle, the latter must have been very attractive. A plan of the Morden Hall Estate6 prepared for Gilliat Hatfeild by Robert Masters Chart in August 1883, shows the ground plan differing little from that which appears in the 1951 OS map, except for a bridge across the river near the site of the old silk mill, which was removed by Hatfeild. When visited by the writer in the 1950s, nothing remained of the mill building, apart from a few bricks bordering the allotment gardens that occupied the site, and a small section of footings visible at times in the bed of the river. In the early 1960s even the old mill pool and tail race vanished when the course of Rucker's 'new cut' of 1769 was altered by Surrey County Council engineering department. The local directories carry no further references to Wandle Villa until 1899, when a Henry William Butler was in residence.7 Butler was, presumably, the William Henry Butler (or perhaps his son) who, in the 1860s, had established a floorcloth manufactory in the grounds of William Harland and Sons' paint and varnish works on the opposite side of Phipps Bridge Road. Butler and his wife continued to reside at Wandle Villa until the 1914-1918 war,8 and were succeeded by the Pennell family. In 1941, under the terms of the will of Gilliat Hatfeild's son, Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, Wandle Villa, together with Morden Hall and the park, passed into the hands of the National Trust, and now lies within the eastern borders of the 124 acres owned by the Trust on both sides of the river. The house, categorised Grade II, was officially listed as a building of architectural and historic interest in 1954, but following old Mrs Pennell's death in 1976 it was left empty for a number of years, at the mercy of vandals from the large municipal housing estate of Phipps Bridge, which overlooks the grounds. Attempts to secure the house against unauthorised access proved quite ineffective, and lead was stripped from the roof and much damage done to the interior, from which everything of any value was removed. In the meantime the Trust, unable to sell the property and with insufficient income from the Morden Hall estate to finance repairs to its usual standards, endeavoured to THE HATFEILDS AND WANDLE VILLA find a suitable tenant who would be prepared to undertake the necessary structural rehabilitation at his own expense. Several enquiries were received, but none came to anything, interest evaporating when the conditions laid down by the Trust, the restrictions imposed by the local planning authority, and the objections of local residents to anything other than purely domestic use became known. In the meantime the property continued to deteriorate. Eventually, in the early 1980s, a belated effort at salvage and a degree of restoration was attempted with Wandle Villa in about 1973 (ENM). One of the last photographs taken before it was severely vandalised. PHIPPS BRIDGE the assistance of the Manpower Services Commission, using men on the unemployment register. Regrettably the labour was largely unskilled and poorly supervised, with the result that the work proved far from satisfactory. Further deterioration was, however, halted, and within a year or so new tenants for the house were found. However, in 1992 Wandle Villa was once again on the market, £350,000 being asked for an 85-year lease by Barnard Marcus, the Trust's agents. Two years later (by which time the front boundary wall had been damaged and partially demolished) it was readvertised but, happily, a purchaser was found and within 12 months, with the wall rebuilt and the garden tended, the house was beginning to look less neglected. Renovations by the previous leaseholder had not progressed far, and in most instances left much to be desired. Consequently the new occupiers embarked on an ambitious programme of rehabilitation, including re-roofing, which was completed in 1996. In the 1980s the former gatekeeper or gardener's lodge to Wandle Villa, numbered 98a Phipps Bridge Road, was restored after standing empty and derelict for many years. In style it is 'Gothick', but the date of its erection has not been established. Probably datable to the early 19th century, it pre-dated the tithe survey, and is shown on the map produced in 1847. Slightly later in date, No 96, the adjacent foreman's house – Edward Asprey's former home – was also restored, although in the process it was somewhat reduced in size. Both buildings had a neglected air about them by the early 1990s, but much work has since been done to both houses and their grounds and they have now regained some resemblance to the attractive and interesting properties bequeathed to the Trust in 1941. Chapter 5 EVERETT'S PLACE No account of the environs of Phipps Bridge would be complete without mention of the terrace of five cottages known as Everett's Place, and the 'folly' which adjoins them. As far as we can tell, John Rucker's workpeople walked across the fields from Mitcham and Merton, for there is little evidence of any small dwellings in the vicinity of Phipps Bridge until several years after the establishment of his calico printing works. In about 1795 four cottages were erected by James Potter, the Mitcham 'physick' gardener, on a site which is now part of the garden of No. 96 Phipps Bridge Road. By the early 1820s a lodge (perhaps the gatekeeper's lodge one can still see) and two further cottages had been added to the group of buildings that then clustered by the printing factory.1 Next, in 1824, Henry Everett built a terrace of four more cottages, abutting Phipps Bridge Road between the silk works and the bridge. Who Everett might have been we have no idea, but it could be of significance that he elected to occupy one of the cottages himself. Everett's Place, Phipps Bridge Road (photograph by South London News Group c.1975) PHIPPS BRIDGE The others were let to Robert Everett (perhaps his son?) and two tenants by the names of Smith and Brown.2 With evident pride of possession he named the cottages 'Everett's Place', and fixed a dated tablet to the front wall of the southernmost cottage, now numbered 94 Phipps Bridge Road.3 There is nothing to suggest Everett had any connection with the print works, but we know from the 1851 census return (by which time both the Everetts had departed) that the four cottages were tenanted by block printers, silk printers, carpenters and artisans. Undoubtedly several of them would at this time have been employed at Welch and Margetson's works behind Wandle Villa. By 1846 the cottages built by Potter, still owned by his family, had undergone conversion, the tithe register recording the property as a "house, shop and garden". Eight years later, described as a beerhouse, it was sold to Alexander Wood of Epsom. James Chandler, a brewer of that town, bought Wood out in 1860, and in 1872 the property, known as 'The Running Horses', was bought by Gilliat Hatfeild. 1 He had the buildings demolished before 1875,4 and incorporated the cleared land in the grounds of Wandle Villa. Hatfeild also had the buildings of the old silk printing works removed, and within a few years all that survived from the industrial era was Wandle Villa, the two lodges and Everett's Place. Grottoes and sham medieval towers became popular embellishments of the grounds of gentlemen's houses during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and are still common enough in Surrey although many have vanished, for their usually shoddy construction was ill-designed to with-stand the ravages of weather and time. Since it was the intention that the semi-derelict appearance of such 'follies' should lend a romantic atmosphere to the estate and induce a mood of gothic melancholy, they were as a rule uninhabited, their glass-less windows and eerie silence heightening the desired effect. The two examples known to have existed in Mitcham departed from the norm, for with a proper regard to the practicalities of life, both were built to be lived in. Only one remains today, and that is to be seen near Phipps Bridge; the other, the Woodite Towers on Mitcham Common, was destroyed in an air raid during World War II.5 EVERETT'S PLACE No. 84 Phipps Bridge Road in Spring 1968 (ENM) PHIPPS BRIDGE As follies go, the tower at Phipps Bridge is comparatively recent, having been built in about 1875. Far from being purely a whimsy, it was strictly functional, acting as a buttress to the adjoining cottage as well as providing a compact little home for its tenants. Mitcham's only surviving 'castle', the quaint little building may be a fraud, but its story is worth recounting. A fifth cottage can be seen to have been added to Everett's Place at some time prior to the survey being conducted by the Ordnance Survey in 1866, but after the preparation of the Tithe Map in 1847.6 When the census was conducted in 1851 only four families were listed at Everett's Place, giving further confirmation that the fifth cottage was relatively late. In style, however, it is very similar to the other four, and on appearance alone could with justification be dated to the 1820s or early '30s. In July 1870 all five cottages, occupied by tenants Evans, Wheatley, Nicholls, Sweatman and Burlin, were sold to Robert Mann by William Everett, described in the conveyance as a newsagent "of the Royal Exchange".7 Mann, 'of independent means', lived with his family at New Close, a mid-Victorian house to the south of Wandle Villa, to which we shall return later. Local tradition holds that in the 1870s the fifth cottage showed signs of settlement and was in danger of collapsing. With commendable resourcefulness the owners conceived the idea of buttressing the cottage with a folly, using in its construction flint and brick and, according to local residents, masonry rubble retrieved from worked- out gravel pits in the neighbourhood which, it was alleged, had been used as dumping grounds at the time old London Bridge was being demolished.8 A more likely source was the nearby site of Merton priory which, ever since the Dissolution, had been treated as a quarry by local builders. The first tenant of No. 84 was Mrs Pull, and after she moved to the lodge of Wandle Villa the folly became the home of Mr and Mrs Loines. It is natural that the bizarre appearance of the tower should attract curiosity, and even before it had celebrated its centenary, it gathered a quite extraordinary body of folk-lore. As one writer cautiously remarked in 1960: EVERETT'S PLACE "There is no more strength than rumour or legend to the notion that the tower is made of materials from, and imitates the style of, the Tower of London's guard rooms. If Merton Abbey had a postern gate it may have stood on or about this part of Phipps Bridge, and the tower may be someone's idea of what the gatehouse may have looked like, but this, like the notion that it was built with stones from the estate of Lord Nelson at Merton, is amongst the more insubstantial theories." 9 Robert Mann died in 1893, and ten years later his trustees sold the six freehold cottages to Gilliat Hatfeild of Morden Hall. The sale particulars describe the folly as a "substantial stone, flint and brick-built castellated cottage containing one bedroom, living room, coal cellar, wash-house, water-closet and garden." The rent was four shillings a week.7 The front door opened straight into the living room, 15 feet square with a single window at the rear. The single bedroom above was the same size, reached, in the words of the writer quoted above, by a "suitably medieval spiral stairway which winds its way up the tower. It almost seems as though the rooms and everything else are merely accessories to give a function to the powerfully dramatic spiral of steps – which is in the best folly tradition."9 Everett's Place and the folly are now part of the Wandle properties of the National Trust, to which they were left under the terms of Hatfeild's will. Until the 1960s Rucker's Cut ran closer to the back of the cottages than it does today, each dwelling being connected via its own little bridge to an island at the rear. When in spate the river was liable to flood, and it was to remove this threat that a new channel was cut and the confluence of the two arms of the Wandle altered by the then rivers authority, the Surrey County Council. An added bonus was the extension of the back gardens of the cottages, taking in the back-filled length of the cut. Shortly afterwards the cottages were re-roofed by the Trust and provided with modern bathrooms and indoor sanitation, ensuring their survival into the 2lst century. PHIPPS BRIDGE Looking downstream towards Phipps Bridge from one of the footbridges crossing the 'New Cutt' at the rear of Everett's Place, c.1900. The chimneys are of Homefield. (Photograph reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) Chapter 6 WANDLE HOUSE The attraction of what was undoubtedly a pretty riverside setting, together with the proximity of Morden Hall, Ravensbury Manor House and other seats of the local gentry – all lending an air of social distinction to the neighbourhood – prompted the erection of several medium-sized houses in the vicinity of Phipps Bridge during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Wandle Villa we have considered already, and its near neighbour, Wandle House, can be seen on the tithe map of 1847 and the first large- scale OS map of 1867, standing on the eastern side of Phipps Bridge Road. What appears to be the only surviving photograph, taken in the late 1940s shortly before demolition, shows it to have been a two- storeyed five-bay stuccoed brick house with attic rooms under a tiled mansard roof. Its style is indisputably of the mid-18th century, and with its stables and outbuildings it was originally surrounded by almost three acres of gardens and meadow land.1 The original owner has not been identified, but the house could well have been the property which first appears in the Mitcham poor rate book for December 17692 as a "house and garden formerly Brown" occupied by John Anthony Rucker. The land on which it stood was once part of the Grove Field, used by Rucker for calico bleaching. Wandle House might also be the "fine house at Phipps Bridge, suitable for a gentleman's residence," which was offered for sale in 1822 when the rest of the estate of the late James Perry of Wandle Bank, Merton, was auctioned.3 It was then in the occupation of 'Mr. Rivers', probably John Rivers junior of the firm Howard and Rivers, calico printers, whose business at Phipps Bridge had failed ten years previously. Little information of moment has been found concerning the next two occupants of Wandle House apart from their names, which occur in various directories and records of the mid-19th century. From such sources one can glean that in the mid-1840s Edward Sturdy, the owner of the house, had leased it to George Revill, a local linen draper4 and that by 1848, or soon afterwards, Revill had left, to be succeeded by Thomas Horn(e) who, according to the 1851 census, was a retired gentleman of independent means from Stratford, Middlesex. In the Post PHIPPS BRIDGE Office directory of the same year he appears as "Horne, Thomas esq., Phipps Bridge" under the general classification of 'Gentry' as distinct from 'Traders'. Whereas the census enumerator recorded Horn as an owner/occupier he was in fact holding the property on a lease, for on the Moore estate sale plan of August 1853 the surveyors noted Wandle House (not subject to the sale, but an adjoining property) as being owned by "Mr. E. Sturdy". Around 1860 Jerman Nobes, a senior partner in the firm of Nobes, Homan and Hunter, leather merchants and curriers, whose premises were in Rockingham Street, Newington Causeway, moved into Wandle House and his name is recorded in the Post Office directories for 1866, 1870, and 1874. Nobes was a leading worker in the temporary mission church and Sunday school in Colliers Wood prior to the dedication of Christ Church in 1874. As a mark of appreciation of his efforts, when the new church in Christchurch Road was finished the teachers and children presented Nobes with a "handsome silver centre piece for the dinner table called 'Epergne' with four branches standing 20 inches high with pretty glass vases for flowers".5 For 12 years Jerman Nobes served as churchwarden at Christ Church, and he was commemorated by a stained glass window which was unfortunately destroyed by enemy action during World War II. Although not verified from the directories or later census returns, it is a reasonable assumption that Wandle House remained the Nobeses' residence until Jerman's death in 1893. He was buried at Mitcham, where the tombstone marking the family grave in the parish churchyard describes him of Mitcham and Newington. The OS map produced in 1932 shows that by this time the land to the rear of Wandle House was in cultivation as allotment gardens, a use which continued until the southern portion of the former meadow was taken for the erection of Windlesham House and Sunningdale House as an extension of the Phipps Bridge estate in the late 1960s. After being damaged severely by bomb blast during German air raids in the 1939/45 war Wandle House itself was demolished in 1948, and its site is now occupied by two 1950s houses, numbered 271 and 273 Phipps Bridge Road, and their back gardens. WANDLE HOUSE The remaining portion of the grounds of Wandle House were retained as allotment gardens until 1993, by which time it had been decided the land should be used for a new housing development. Excavations conducted by the Museum of London Archaeology Service during September 1994 as part of an evaluation exercise before building began showed that for centuries the land had been somewhat marshy and subject to periodic flooding. There was also some evidence of human activity during the Roman period, "primary butchery waste" and some domestic pottery being left in depressions in what seemed to have been a slightly drier area, but thereafter the land remained open and devoid of buildings until the mid-18th century. Wandle House, demolished in 1948. The roofing of felt and battens was fixed as a first-aid repair following damage during air-raids. The houses in the background are in Homefield Gardens. (Photograph by D C Harrod) PHIPPS BRIDGE New Close, Phipps Bridge, c.1910 (Photograph reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) Clarkson's Refuse Tip in the 1920s – uncontrolled open tipping at its worst. (Photograph reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) Chapter 7 NEW CLOSE The municipal housing estate of New Close, commenced by Mitcham Council in the early 1930s and completed post-war, took its name from an early Victorian house occupying land the history of which can be traced back with assurance as far as the mid-18th century. The site may, however, be that of the "messuage or tenement called Marshe Garden in Mitcham, with houses, barns, stables, dove-houses, orchards, garden and land" in the possession of George Carewe in 1585.1 Carewe, distantly related to the Carews of Beddington, was probably of the West Country branch of the family and, having followed a career in the army, was created earl of Totnes by James I. In November 1585 the Mitcham property was leased for 60 years by Bartholomew Clerke, a fellow of King's College, Cambridge, doctor of civil law and Dean of the Arches, to his brother Francis Clerke, Procurator of the Arches, and Frances his wife. Dr Clerke had become the owner of a large estate in Lower Mitcham and Wandsworth on his marriage in 1576 to Elener, the widow of Thomas Smythe, "clerke of ye Greencloth".2 The Board of the Greencloth was a department of the royal household which in Elizabeth's day had control over various matters of expenditure, besides legal and judicial authority within the sovereign's court-royal. Men in both families thus held important positions in the judiciary but, as far as is known, none of them actually lived in Mitcham: they merely treated their property in the parish as a source of income. On a map produced in 1750 for Richard Garth of Morden a building on the site of New Close is indicated, described as "Sir Nicholas Carew's New Mill", standing in the corner of what was, presumably, a large meadow on the Mitcham side of the Wandle. The mill was served by a leet taken from the Wandle below Westbrook's mill at Ravensbury, which in part seems to have followed the course taken today by the tree-lined drive leading from the Morden Road gate of Morden Hall park.3 After the mid-18th centurythe mill disappears from the records. In the 1820s the site of Carew's mill, by then meadow, was in the hands of the Rutters, proprietors of the Ravensbury snuff mills, and at the time of the tithe survey in 1846 it was devoid of buildings. It is also PHIPPS BRIDGE shown, without any structures on it, in a plan post-dating the opening of the Wimbledon to Croydon railway in 1855.4 By 1866, however, the north-eastern corner of the meadow had been enclosed and was occupied by a house named, appropriately, 'New Close'. Towards the rear were various outbuildings, and the rest of the land was divided into separate paddocks. Photographs exist of the house, the style of which accords well enough with the assumption that it was built around 1860, and it seems likely that the development was undertaken by new owners following disposal of the land during the break-up of the Carew estate in the 1850s.5 New Close was the home of Robert Mann and his family, perhaps from around 1870 when, as we have seen, he bought Everett's Place. The history of the property in the years immediately following his death in 1893 has not been researched, but by the early 1920s, if not before, New Close was the home of the Clarkson family. Clarkson, a horse dealer and cartage contractor, held the contract for house refuse collection within the Urban District of Mitcham.6 Several open horse- drawn carts were used, and after crude sorting to remove the rags and bones, which were sold, the refuse was tipped in the vicinity of New Close, most likely in worked-out gravel pits nearby. The system was crude and unhygienic in the extreme, and from two early photographs of 'Clarkson's tip' it can be imagined that the putrefying refuse was a prolific source of smells and a breeding ground for vermin. Eventually Clarkson's contract ended, and Mitcham's refuse collection service was reorganised, coming under the control of the local authority's engineer and surveyor, using direct labour. A modern incinerator was built in the 1930s at a new municipal refuse depot off Homewood Road (now gone), and Clarkson's tip was closed. Old Mrs Clarkson died in 1928, and the following year the house at New Close was pulled down,6 providing after levelling the site for the present council housing estate. The area never recovered from the stigma which had attached to it during Clarkson's days, and for years afterwards New Close was regarded as one of the roughest and least desirable districts of Mitcham. Chapter 8 THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS Origins The firm of William Harland and Son, varnish and japan manufacturers, appears to have been one of the first of a number of similar enterprises attracted to Mitcham during the middle of the 19th century, sharing with Charles Turner of Merton Lane (now Western Road) the distinction of being the only varnish makers appearing in the Mitcham section of the Post Office Directory for the Six Home Counties in 1845 – the first year the trade actually received mention in the local directories. The Harland family were not newcomers to Mitcham, however, for Elizabeth, who was William Harland junior's wife, died in 1827 and was buried in the parish churchyard.1 Furthermore, the firm of William Harland and Son had appeared in the land tax books as early as 1828, assessed for £30 tax as the new occupiers of three cottages and land in the general vicinity of Phipps Bridge, leased from James Moore, a major land owner in the parish.2 Uncertainty exists as to precisely where and when the Harland business had been established, although old employees of the firm, including the former general foreman whom I interviewed in 1967, were convinced that it had been founded in Mitcham in 1791.3 If so, production must have been on a very small scale at this time, for neither William Harland nor his works were deemed worthy of mention by any of the topographers who compiled quite detailed accounts of Mitcham around the turn of the century. In advertisements of the 1920s the company itself certainly claimed to have been established in 1791, but did not say where. It would have been satisfying to have been able to confirm oral tradition from the written records, but, disappointingly, neither the poor rate books nor the land tax records for Mitcham provide any evidence for the Harlands having what can be identified as a factory in the parish at this early date. Moreover, even in the late 1830s they still failed to appear in the Mitcham sections of either Pigot's or Robson's directories. By this time, however, the firm must have been quite well known in London, for "Harland and Co., varnish and colour manufacturers" of 476 Strand are listed in the Post Office directory for PHIPPS BRIDGE 1829, and ten years little later Pigot and Co have entries for William Harland and Son, varnish manufacturers, with premises at 15 Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, in their London directories for 1839 and 1840. The earliest reliable indication that the Harlands had established a varnish works in Mitcham comes from the tithe survey of 1846. Here William Harland was noted as being in occupation of a 12pole plot fronting Phipps Bridge and next to his house, on which there was a "cottage and varnish factory". The premises were so very small one has to assume that William had larger works elsewhere, presumably in London. Family history research conducted recently by Jane Ford,4 a descendant of the Harlands, leads to the conclusion that the founder of the firm was probably the William Harland who, in 1770, married an Elizabeth Mary Buckett at St Giles' church, Cripplegate, and whose first son, another William, was born in 1774 and christened early the following year at St Paul's, Covent Garden. By 1841 the Harland family were certainly established as residents in Mitcham, and in the census of that year William Harland junior, then a widower in his middle 60s, was recorded as living at Grove Cottage, Phipps Bridge, with his son Samuel Robert, described as a 'varnish maker', and his daughter-in-law Elizabeth. Two young grandsons, Robert aged 8 years, and Thomas William aged 6, assured the continuance of the business into the fourth generation. How long this had been their home is not known (once again, poor rate and land tax records are not helpful), but Grove Cottage, which stood on the east bank of the Wandle, is marked prominently on Bryant's map of Surrey, published in 1823. What appears to be the same property is also indicated in Edwards' map of c.1789, but is not named. If it is not easy to say precisely when William Harland and Son started to produce varnish at Mitcham, it is almost as difficult to identify with any confidence the factors which may have prompted them, sometime in the late 1840s, to sacrifice the acre and a half of orchard at the back of Grove Cottage, and ultimately much of the meadow as well, in order to concentrate the firm's production on the Phipps Bridge site. Until it was closed down in 1843 the Surrey Iron Railway, which passed close THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS Robert and Sarah Harland (seated) with William Henry Peake and his wife Clara, nee Peck, younger sister of Sarah Harland, c.1867. (Photograph kindly supplied by Miss Jane Ford, a descendant) PHIPPS BRIDGE to the sites occupied by both the Harlands and Turner, may have facilitated movement of heavy goods from the wharves at Wandsworth, but otherwise Mitcham seems to have had little to attract the varnish makers. Power from the Wandle was not a factor, neither was a supply of water itself of importance. Admittedly, there had been oil mills on the Wandle at Carshalton since the 18th century, but there is little reason to suppose that even in their early days the Harlands could have relied entirely on home-produced oils, and most of the essential raw materials like resins, gums and turpentine, were almost certainly imported. Similarly, until coke became available locally by the middle of the 19th century, coal brought by coastal colliers to the Thames-side wharfs was the only fuel practicable for industrial purposes. In an era when all goods had to be transported on horse-drawn vehicles, proximity to the docks would thus appear to have offered distinct economic advantages, and it is not so much a surprise to find that as late as the mid 1840s the varnish industry in Mitcham was represented only by two very small works as to find that anyone should have considered starting to manufacture varnish there at all. What, then, were the factors which led to the dramatic expansion of the industry in Mitcham within the next two decades or so? Probably the most important was the opening of the London and Southampton Railway Company's line from Nine Elms to Woking in 1838, with a station at Wimbledon, barely two miles from Phipps Bridge. In the case of Harland and Son, the expansion of the Mitcham works seems to have commenced shortly after the death in September 1847 of William Harland, and with the passing of control of the business to his son, Samuel Robert. Two of the oldest buildings to survive into the 1960s at their Phipps Bridge works were the former stables, which bore the date 1848, and another which was dated 1853. As we shall see later, when considering the history of some of the other varnish makers who moved to Mitcham at about this time, pressure was being brought to bear on a number of old-established firms to vacate areas of central London then being redeveloped. Although we have not discovered where the Harlands' works were situated in the 1830s, it is evident that soon after his father's death Samuel Robert Harland took the decision to use the THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS land already in the family's occupation at Phipps Bridge, and it was here that the business was to expand and achieve an international reputation during the next half century. William Harland's Contemporaries In 1846 Charles Turner, to whom reference has been made already, was sharing premises in Merton Lane (now known as Western Road) near its junction with Church Road, leased to Robert Mears, a brickmaker, and from the reference to a "cottage and garden, now varnish factory" in the tithe register, the works were obviously newly established. During the course of the next five years Turner left Merton Lane, setting up a new works at Phipps Bridge where, by 1851, a third varnish manufacturer had arrived. This was Paul Addington, whose speciality was the black japan varnish much in demand by coach builders. In fact his premises on the west bank of the Wandle were within the parish of Merton, on a site which in 1892 was acquired by George Hadfield, another paint manufacturer of international repute. The actual location of Turner's new works at Phipps Bridge has not been ascertained, but since his name does not occur in the Post Office directory for 1855, he may have been bought out by Addington. His former premises in Merton Lane were taken over by yet another varnish maker, William Latham – one of the four Mitcham varnish and japan manufacturers listed by the Post Office in 1851. In 1841 a cottage in William Harland's grounds, presumably that which is recorded in the tithe survey, had been occupied by his gardener, Joseph Latham and his wife and family. Like his father, the eldest of the Lathams' three sons, William, then aged 15, was also in the Harlands' employ, and it seems not unreasonable to identify him with the William Latham who, within a few years, was to set up in business as a varnish maker in Merton Lane at the premises vacated by Turner. Sale particulars of 1853 show that this land was held by William Harland on a 62-year- lease granted by James Moore in 1838, and that in 1853 the "varnish manufactory and sheds", cottages, garden and brickfield were underlet by Harland to the Mears and "Mr. Latham".5 This is a little surprising, and we can only assume that the old man was confident that in what PHIPPS BRIDGE Varnish House, Western Road, 1967, probably erected by William Latham c.1851, or by his immediate predecessor, Charles Turner. (ENM) THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS was obviously an expanding industry he had no reason to fear competition from his gardener's son harming the family business. In the event, William Latham's enterprise did, indeed, prosper and in 1898, when the property was again being offered for sale by auction, the varnish manufacturing firm he had founded nearly half a century before was still very much in production as William Latham & Co Ltd. The company continued for another half century, but by the late 1960s Latham and Co Ltd had gone, and the premises, numbered 280 Western Road, were occupied by a group of light industrial concerns, The Kelsey Factories Ltd, Kelsey Roofing Industries Ltd, and Multicore Solders Ltd, none of them having any obvious connection with the paint and varnish industry. Latham's old varnish house, with its distinctive chimneys topped with rotating cowls, was still standing intact in the mid-1960s, when it was used for storage. Regrettably, this interesting and unique survival from the early years of the industry in Mitcham was demolished in the mid-1970s. The growth of the Mitcham varnish industry continued apace during the mid-19th century, seven separate firms being listed in the directory of 1862, including an old name in a new guise – "Turner, Charles and Son, varnish and paper mnfrs., Merton Lane" – and that of a newcomer, Thomas Parsons.6 The 25-inch OS map of 1867 marks Turner's works, a small group of buildings on a narrow enclosure stretching back from the road. It also shows, in addition to a floorcloth factory adjoining Harlands but abutting Church Road, a further but so far unidentified varnish works on the eastern side of the road, on the site of the later Belata belting factory demolished to provide land for housing in the 1970s. In all probability, the history of several of the Mitcham varnish manufacturers closely parallels that of Thomas Parsons, whose story was recounted in 150 Years of Paint and Varnish Manufacturing, published privately by Thomas Parsons and Sons Ltd in 1952. As a boy, early in the 19th century, Thomas Parsons' father George had learned the trade of varnish maker with Edward Wood and William Innell of Long Acre. Their business expanded, and by 1811, when George Parsons came of age, Woods and Innell had established a factory PHIPPS BRIDGE at Battle Bridge, near Islington. This was an unwholesome area, notorious both as a haunt of thieves and murderers and for its mountains of ashes and filth, rendered even less savoury, if that was possible, by what a contemporary writer described as "bonestores, chemical works and potteries". It was from these surroundings that in the mid-19th century George Parsons and his son Thomas decided to move their works to the quiet Surrey village of Mitcham. The Battle Bridge area, known as 'King's Cross' following the erection of a memorial to George IV, had developed into a centre of the paint and varnish manufacturing industry by the 1830s, and yet during the decade that followed there appears to have been a general exodus to the outskirts of London. The reports of the Health of Towns Committee of the House of Commons in 1840, and the Poor Law Commissioners in 1842 on The Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population of Great Britain were followed by Chadwick's report in 1844 on The Health of Towns and Populous Places, and resulted in a spate of public health legislation designed to secure the removal of nuisances and the prevention of disease. Whether or not the dispersal of the paint and varnish manufacturers was a consequence of the subsequent activities of the improvement commissioners or the local boards of health is not clear, and there is an equally strong possibility that some of the firms were obliged to move by the clearance of some 45 acres for the redevelopment of the King's Cross area to provide a terminus for the Great Northern Railway. Folk memory of an enforced removal was still strong in Mitcham some 30 years ago, and old paint workers and residents with whom I discussed this point were convinced that several of the Mitcham varnish manufacturers had been obliged to move from inner London by the public health authorities. Whereas many of the displaced varnish manufacturers moved to Stratford and Bow, the Parsons family, and perhaps others whose origins have not been recorded, moved to Mitcham. In the case of William Harland and Son, the reasons for the choice of Mitcham are perhaps understandable, for the family was already settled in the village. It is even possible that the Harlands created a precedent which others followed, confident that the Mitcham vestry and neighbouring THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS landowners were unlikely to create difficulties. Another factor might have been the chronically depressed state of the local textile printing industry, which meant that unemployment was widespread and anything offering the prospect of work was welcomed. Demand for unskilled labour was probably not great, however, and the works manager of George Purdom & Co, another Mitcham paint and varnish firm interviewed in 1966, told me he had heard it said that when Purdom's factory was originally established production had been seasonal, taking place mainly in the winter months when Gypsy and other casual labour employed on the physic gardens during the rest of the year was available at very low rates. It may be of some significance that both George Purdom and the Parsons chose sites for their works in Church Road between Fox's Path and Miles Road abutting the track of the old railway. Three years after its closure the surveyors working for the tithe redemption commissioners recorded in 1846 that the disused trackway was in the process of being sold to the owners of the adjoining land. Although the tithe map of 1847 shows no buildings on the land adjoining Church Road later occupied by Purdom and Parsons, there was a tradition amongst the workmen that stabling used for the railway horses and mules had been taken over by the early varnish manufacturers. Attractive as this story might be, there is no real evidence that the stables were a legacy from the railway, and the tale probably owes more to romance than to fact. Since inevitably all road transport to and from London in the 19th century was horse-drawn, it is not surprising that remains of stables were in evidence both at Purdom's and Parsons' premises. Nevertheless, it does seem quite likely that the land came on the market at a time when the manufacturers in central London were seeking alternative sites. Until they were repainted in 1967 the gates of George Purdom & Co Ltd's Church Road works bore the words 'Established 1842', a claim one would like to accept, despite the fact that the firm is not mentioned in the Mitcham directories until 1866. If Purdom's had come originally from Islington, one would have expected to find some reference to a George Purdom in the London directories of the 1840s but, according to the Islington reference library, this is not so. PHIPPS BRIDGE Contemporary directories are obviously a poor guide, as one can demonstrate in the case of the Parsons, whom we believe from the published history of the firm to have been in the King's Cross area before moving to Mitcham, and yet are not listed. George Purdom's varnish house in Church Road survived into the 1970s, no longer used as such and much altered, but betraying in its external brickwork the position of old flues. The Floorcloth Manufacturers The Mitcham section of Post Office directory for 1862 provides the first reference to the manufacture of 'floor cloth', an industry closely associated with the varnish works. Harvey and Knight of Morden Road, Lower Mitcham,7 appear to have been the first in the field, but they were not alone for long, being joined within four years by three other firms, Henry William Butler at Phipps Bridge, Hesee and Smyth, and John William Townsend, both of Church Road. The floorcloth and linoleum manufacturers used considerable quantities of the 'foots' of matured varnish, together with condensed 'gum fumes' and 'black oil', obtained from the vapours evolved during the boiling of varnish and the making of black japan lacquer. They thus provided a useful outlet for waste products from the varnish works, and a small linoleum factory, probably that of Henry Butler, was established within the Harlands' grounds in the 1860s. The two-storied building, which survived until the site clearance of the early 1970s, was located a prudent distance from the family's residence, close by the north-eastern boundary of the estate. Inside, the floor of the building was of earth, excavated to below ground level to allow the maximum length of treated floorcloth to hang drying from supports high in the roof. The 1860s were a period of dramatic change in Mitcham. Although they were to continue for another 30 years or so under James Bridger, the physic gardens and distillery of Potter and Moore, for which Mitcham had become renowned, entered a period of steady decline, and piece by piece the estate was sold. Other changes were heralding the advent of industrialisation and speculative house building which, over the next half century, were to alter what had been essentially a THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS rural community into a rapidly expanding suburb of London. In 1849 Moore had sold a plot in Western Road to the newly formed Mitcham Gas Light and Coke Company, and within a year production was in full swing and contracts for the supply of gas for street lighting were being negotiated with Mitcham vestry. Of benefit to the Harlands, coke, a fuel used extensively by the varnish manufacturers, now became available locally at 17shillings per ton ex works. The transport of goods was also improving. Wimbledon, as we have seen, had acquired its first railway station in 1838, and Mitcham station, on the Wimbledon to Croydon line operated jointly by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway and the London and South Western Railway, was opened in 1855. The Harland Family's Houses The 'Old White House', as Grove Cottage eventually came to be known locally, was the home of the Harlands for many years. Its date of construction is uncertain, but it was undoubtedly extant before 1847, for it is shown on the tithe award map with its associated garden and outbuildings, orchard, meadow – in all, totalling a little over 5 acres. Occupying a separate plot of 12 poles was the gardener's cottage and the varnish factory. The land was held on lease from Jemima Scriven, one of James Moore's natural daughters. William Harland died in 1847 at the age of 73, and was buried beside his wife in the family grave on the south side of the parish church. Moore died in 1851, and two years later much of his extensive estate in Mitcham was offered for sale by auction. By this time Jemima Scriven had married, somewhat late in life, her husband being the widowed Revd Daniel de Boudery, who had a living in Lancashire. Her tenure of the manor house in Upper Mitcham, ownership of which passed to her half-brother James Bridger, terminated with her marriage and in all probability the land occupied by the Harlands' varnish factory changed hands around the same time. Although, as we have seen, the Harlands had been living in the parish for over a quarter of a century and were certainly at Grove Cottage in 1841, the first reference in the local directories to a member of the family residing in Mitcham is in the Post Office directory for 1862. PHIPPS BRIDGE The family were not recorded there in the 1851 census, presumably because they were away from home at the time. Ten years later two Harlands are listed: Samuel Robert Harland, 52 years of age, head of household and varnish maker, together with his wife Sarah Elizabeth and two domestics and, in another house to the south, his son Robert and his daughter-in-law Elizabeth with their two servants. Robert also was described as a 'varnish maker'. Earlier editions of the Post Office directory had recognised only two classes of parishioners, 'gentry' and 'traders'. "Harland, William & Son" appeared regularly under the latter heading, but being engaged in commerce were not, so it would appear, eligible for inclusion amongst the group of residents then regarded as being in the upper stratum of village society. A new classification came into use in the directory for 1862, and in this year "Harland, Saml. Robt. esq., Phipps Bridge", was listed, together with the local gentry, under 'Private Residents'. At the same time, the firm continued to be listed separately under the classification 'Commercial'. It is not until four years later that, in addition to a repetition of the former entries, we have "Harland, Robert, esq., Homefield". A great-grandson of the founder of the family firm, Robert had married Sarah Isabella Peck in or a little before 1860, and it was probably for the newly married couple that Homefield had been built. There were no children of this marriage, but in 1866 Robert became the guardian of his nephew Robert Thomas on the death of his brother, Thomas William. Robert Harland died in August 1892 aged 59, and his nephew in 1911. Robert's grave can be seen in Mitcham churchyard, to the south of the tower, where his father was also buried in 1847. Ownership of the firm eventually passed to George Harland-Peck of Belgrave Square, a distant cousin, after whose death in 1920 the business was managed by his friend Sir Francis Hercey on behalf of Agnes Harland-Peck. On her death in 1939 Sir Francis succeeded Agnes Harland-Peck as the owner of William Harland & Son, and in his turn left the business to his friend and former manager of the works, David Russell.3 In 1955 Russell sold out to Ault and Wiborg Ltd, whose paint manufacturing division continued production at Phipps Bridge under the Harland name for a few years before the premises were closed down and the land sold for redevelopment to the Greater London THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS Council. The site of the factory was used for the Harland Primary School and the houses facing it in Brangwyn Crescent. Homefield House can be seen on the 25-inch OS map of 1867 located where the back gardens and rear accessway of 211-221 Phipps Bridge Road are today. The site had been known as the Grove Field, and in the earlier part of the century was used as a bleaching ground in association with a calico printing works at Phipps Bridge. When the tithe commutation survey was conducted in 1846 the northern part of Grove Field, then subdivided into various plots of land, was rented or leased as meadow and a garden to Thomas Taylor – presumably the same "Thomas Taylor of Merton" who, in 1847, negotiated a lease of the former steam washing factory above Phipps Bridge. After the fire at the factory Taylor appears to have relinquished the land he held from James Moore, and on the latter's death in 1851 it became the property of his daughter, Mrs de Boudery.8 She either leased or sold the meadow and garden to a member or members of the Harland family very soon after her late father's estate was auctioned in 1853. In April 1857 the court baron of the manor of Biggin and Tamworth, lordship of which had been inherited by Moore's natural son James Bridger, granted to Samuel and Robert Harland the right to enclose the strip of waste land fronting the Grove Field and bordering the river.9 This would suggest that at about this time Homefield House had either been built, or was contemplated. The house itself, complete with its lodge and stables (the latter surmounted by a bellcote and clock) stood opposite the bridge. It was an ornate, multi-gabled residence in the gothic revival style much favoured in the 1860s, and was approached by a curving gravelled drive from two gateways giving on to Phipps Bridge Road. There were large convervatories on the southern and south-eastern sides of the house and the broad lawn at the rear was graced by a fountain. In the paddocks beyond could still be seen the parallel depressions of the ditches that had once supplied water to the bleaching grounds. The front lawn contained an ornamental pond, fed by a stream piped beneath the stable block from the old culvert which, in years gone by, had taken water to the Grove Field. After passing through the grounds, supplying various ornamental waters, the stream finally discharged into the Pickle Ditch, flowing alongside Phipps Bridge Road. PHIPPS BRIDGE Homefield, Merton (from The Builder 26 February 1881) Built in the 1860s for Robert Harland, it was altered and extended with a new wing in 1880/1 THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS Homefield survived until the late 1930s, when it was demolished prior to the building of the Homefield Gardens housing estate.10 Grove Cottage, standing within the factory grounds, remained intact a little longer. Believed by local children to be haunted, it was uninhabited for many years, gradually deteriorating until the loss of its roof during the 1939/45 war left the interior exposed to the elements. The remaining structural timbers soon decayed, rendering the house unsafe, and it was finally demolished in the late 1940s to make room for a car park for Harland and Company's employees. The late Arthur W Bond, who had been general foreman to William Harland & Co Ltd until the closure of the works, remembered Homefield as impressive not so much by reason of its size but, as befitted the residence of a prosperous paint and varnish manufacturer, for the richness of its interior decoration. The entrance hall, entered from a flight of five or six steps, was paved with a fine mosaic, laid by Italian craftsmen. The principal rooms were graced by magnificent marble fireplaces, and the walls and ceilings were hand-painted in ornate designs executed by painters said to have been brought over from Italy specially for the purpose. The river Wandle, looking north from Phipps Bridge, September 1991 The houses were built on the former Grove Field. (ENM) PHIPPS BRIDGE The house had a westerly aspect, and Arthur Bond remembered that it overlooked a lawn of the finest Cumberland turf, bordered by gravel walks and shrubberies. Ornamental lakes, fed by a sluice in the banks of the Wandle, were a feature of the grounds, in which there was a boathouse where a punt was kept. The waters were stocked with trout, bred in a hatchery in the care of the ground staff. The gardens also contained two summer houses, and there was a pair of statues, one of Bacchus, and the other of a female figure, so placed that her head and shoulders caught the first light of the rising sun in summer. The Bacchus statue is believed to be now in the grounds of Radnor, Holmbury St Mary, to where it had been removed by David Russell, but the other figure was overturned and smashed by children trespassing in the Mitcham gardens many years ago. In their heyday the lawn and borders were separated from the kitchen gardens, potting sheds and greenhouses by an immaculately trimmed box hedge, seven feet high and four feet thick, which ran in an easterly direction from the house towards the buildings of the factory from which the family derived their wealth. William Harland & Son Ltd, c.1920 – The interior of a gum-running shop (Photograph kindly supplied by Arthur Bond) THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS As late as the summer of 1967 the section of Phipps Bridge Road in the vicinity of Harlands' former premises still retained something of its former rural appearance. Regrettably a picturesque white-painted weatherboard house – once occupied by members of the Peck family – which stood on the banks of the Pickle ditch opposite the factory gate had long since gone, and its site was occupied by an untidy conglomeration of sheds known as 'The Nook'. To the east of the road, behind Harlands' fence, the site of the house was marked by a weed- grown stretch of gravel and fine brick rubble. No other trace remained. The former lawn was breast-high with thistles and rank grass, and the rose beds and shrubberies had been engulfed by a dense growth of saplings and brambles. Only fragments of the wrought-iron balustrading of two ornamental bridges and a brooding semi-circle of tall trees remained as evidence of what was once a garden of great charm and seclusion. Surprisingly, in view of the neglect and disturbance they have suffered over the ensuing years, there are still a few traces of the Harlands's gardens to be found today in a pleasant patch of greensward at the end of Phipps Bridge Road, where a group of old yew trees shades the remains of a little brick bridge over a dried-up water channel. The premises of William Harland & Son Ltd, Phipps Bridge Road, Spring 1968 PHIPPS BRIDGE Extract from 25-inch OS map of 1894 THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS The last days of William Harland and Sons' works11 William Harland and Sons' name board, proclaiming them to be 'Manufacturers of Paints, Enamels, Varnishes, Cellulose and Synthetic Finishes' was still fixed to the wall of their old offices when I was shown round the empty factory by Arthur Bond in June 1967. His association with the premises dated from 1911, when he began work for Harlands as a boy at nine shillings a week. With the exception of a break for service in the forces during the 1914-1918 war, he spent the whole of his working life in the employment of the firm, and on retirement stayed on with his wife at No. 115 Phipps Bridge Road, the gate-keeper's lodge, which adjoined the former offices. He was amused when I commented that I had heard the White House was said to be haunted, and recalled the many nights he had spent patrolling the grounds during the Sinn Fein troubles after the Armistice in 1918, and again during the air raids of the 1940s, without encountering anything remotely supernatural! His main concern when I met him was his losing battle with vandals and scrap metal thieves who were rapidly reducing Inside William Harland & Son Ltd's works c.1920, showing the Enamel Department in the background and a group of varnish houses on the left. (Photograph kindly supplied by Arthur Bond) PHIPPS BRIDGE the buildings to windowless shells. In due course all would be demolished, but for the time being Arthur Bond fought his rearguard action with the aid of the police who, it seemed to him, always responded to his calls too late to catch the intruders. To the stranger, the factory site in 1967 appeared a confusing maze of overgrown paths and a multitude of small stock-brick buildings scattered over an area of some 13½ acres extending from Aberdeen Road in the east to Phipps Bridge Road in the west. Set in the walls of several buildings were dated stones, possibly from older, reconstructed buildings outgrown by the processes they had sired. Two, seeming to confirm the traditional date of the establishment of the factory and yet not on the site of the varnish works of 1846, were marked 1791. My guide conducted me through building after building, recalling with nostalgia their past functions. As might have been expected in a man so intimately associated with the business (his service with Harlands Moveable coke fires heating 200 gallon boiling coppers (later replaced by gas) (Photograph kindly supplied by Arthur Bond) THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS totalled 53 years, of which 25 were as dispatch foreman), his knowledge of the processes was prodigious. He explained that the resins and oils, imported from all over the world – turpentine from North America, linseed oil from India, gums from New Zealand and resins in large quantities from the Baltic – arrived in Mitcham in 'pipes', or large barrels, and how they were heated in batteries of copper and iron vats. In his youth each vat had beneath it a rectangular cast-iron fire trolley, fitted with firebars and mounted on wheels running on rails set in a pit. The pits extended from beneath the 'making houses' to the outside, whence the trolleys could be withdrawn by hand for kindling or refuelling. Since coke was the fuel, smoke emission was no problem, but fume extraction was primitive. The vapours arising from the coppers of boiling linseed oil and gum were trapped by exhaust hoods and conveyed through trunking to simple but effective condensers. These consisted of four-inch diameter salt-glazed earthenware pipes immersed in water contained in tanks adjoining the boiling rooms. The condensate was drained into sumps to await pumping into barrels and sale to the floorcloth manufacturers. The distilled 'gum fumes' had a most The works of George Purdom & Co, Church Road, Mitcham, in 1967 (ENM) PHIPPS BRIDGE unpleasant smell, and Arthur Bond recalled how the development of a defect in one of the sumps once allowed quantities to escape into a nearby stream draining to the Pickle ditch. The ensuing pollution soon attracted the attention of the local authority, and the upper part of the sump had to be rebuilt. Although this was effective in stopping further leakages, the ground remained saturated for many years. The vapour produced during the boiling of oil, spirits and pitch was collected in a similar way, the condensate being known as 'black oil'. The atmosphere inside the rooms containing the vats was extremely unpleasant for the workers, and exhaust hoods and stirring gear became glazed with a thick deposit of glistening, sticky gum condensate. The nuisance to occupiers of nearby houses occasionally gave rise to complaints, usually from newcomers, as older residents tended to be more tolerant. Largely because of the fire hazard, the various buildings were as far apart as possible, and consequently the transport of materials from one part of the works to another involved considerable labour. Whenever possible, liquids were conveyed below ground, and the site became a largely uncharted warren of pipes and pits, severely hampering future developers. Extensive use was also made of iron tanks fitted with hand-operated pumps and flanged wheels. A light railway network connected many of the buildings, each with its own turntable, and the heavy tanks were manhandled from point to point, to be filled or discharged of their contents. Nineteenth-Century Varnish Manufacturers At George Purdom and Company's premises I was told that in its essential features the process of manufacture had changed little in 100 years. Linseed oil was still boiled in large open vats to drive off impurities which would delay or impair hardening. The main source of oil was India, but in the very early days much of the oil had been extracted from seed ground on the premises. After boiling for several days the oil was poured over natural gum or resin, such as 'Manila gum', which it dissolved. The resulting cloudy solution then had to be stored in vats to clarify. The clear varnish was separated from the 'foots', which were used for purposes where clarity was not important. THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS It was clear from Arthur Bond's remarks that in the days of his youth varnish and paint manufacture had been a skilled craft, learnt by the men through years of experience. Controls were primitive, and for many years even thermometers were unknown, feathers being dipped in the hot resin and oil to determine the temperature. When thermometers were eventually introduced, they were not graduated conventionally, but bore secret marks, the significance of which was known only to the varnish maker. There were of course other 'tricks of the trade', and Mr W G Scarffe, formerly on the staff of Thomas Parsons and Sons Ltd, told me he well remembered the old foremen chewing tobacco, and spitting in the varnish to judge its consistency. Before the advent of the chemists, varnish makers were the elite of the labour force, their judgement and skill alone determining the length of time an ingredient should be boiled, the proportions in which the various constituents should be mixed, the degree of stirring and filtration required, and the length of storage necessary before the product was ready for canning and dispatch. Like whisky and wine, varnish improved with keeping, and many of the great storage tanks used by Harlands were housed in centrally heated buildings. Some of their finer varnishes were held as long as six years to mature, and at one time the stocks of varnish, gold size and black japan at the Phipps Bridge works totalled over 200,000 gallons. 'Gelling' of the varnish, or an error of judgement, could means the loss of hundreds of pounds' worth of material and many hours of labour. It may have been more than a coincidence that at least two of the Mitcham varnish makers remembered by Bond were rumoured to have committed suicide. In the early days of the industry several of the varnish makers were not employees but journeymen, touring from factory to factory, working a few months in each. The processes used by each were shrouded in secrecy, and at Parsons it was a custom for a bell to be rung as a signal for everyone except the journeyman to leave the varnish house. Not until he was on his own would the varnish maker add the special ingredients on which he, or the firm, built their reputation. It was many years before the management at Harlands was persuaded to establish a small laboratory, staffed by a chemist. Thomas Parsons PHIPPS BRIDGE and Company appear to have employed a chemist before the 19141918 war, but the modern paint laboratory really dates from the postwar years, when the search for synthetic resins as substitutes for increasingly scarce and expensive raw materials, and the introduction of cellulose finishes for motor vehicles, made the provision of full laboratory facilities a necessity. Even then, these newcomers were viewed with suspicion by older members of the workforce, and Mr Scarffe recalled the disgust with which one of the old hands complained to him in the early 1930s "Boy, them chemists have spoilt beer, and they've spoilt baccy. Now they are trying to ruin varnish." The End of the Family Businesses The multiplicity of Harlands' buildings was matched only by the great variety of their products, and by the close of the 19th century paints and varnishes from Mitcham were being exported all over the world. William Harland and Son maintained branches in Paris, Brussels, Italy, Germany, Sydney, Cape Town and Buenos Aires, and their products had a name for the highest quality and durability. The requirements of expanding production and worldwide distribution called for an ever more complex organisation, resulting eventually in the amalgamation of competing companies. Family firms, established by the enterprise of the father, and expanded by his sons, gave place under subsequent expansion to first private, and then public companies with limited liability. The pattern, which is a familiar one, and not peculiar to the paint and varnish industry, is well illustrated in the history of Thomas Parsons and Sons Ltd.12 Two of Thomas Parsons' three sons were born in Mitcham, spending their boyhood within a stone's throw of the family business, living for many years in No. 6 Baron Grove (now re-numbered 484 London Road). Thomas Parsons died in 1884, worth £34,000, leaving the business in the hands of his two eldest sons, Thomas and George. The business became a private limited liability company in 1930, and continued in the hands of the family until 1952, the 150th anniversary of the apprenticeship of its founder, George Parsons. The early death of Basil Parsons a few years later hastened the eventual end of the family's drainformer Pepper Factory Allotment Gardens former Linoleum Factory The Nook 115 "1848" (former stables) site of kitchen garden and orchard sluice River Wandle "1853" "1791". site of The Old White former House cowsheds F.B. F.B. F.B. pond site ofPlan of William Harland and Sons' factory, Homefield N THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS Phipps Bridge Road, Mitcham. August 1967 PHIPPS BRIDGE control of the management, and within a few years Thomas Parsons and Sons Ltd was bought out by Donald MacPherson and Co Ltd. The premises at 92 Church Road, Mitcham, were finally closed down in August 1964 – a little over a century after several of the original buildings had been erected by George and Thomas Parsons. Redevelopment of the site followed rapidly on its acquisition by a property investment company. Several of the original buildings, including part of an old varnish house abutting Church Road, were still standing in 1974, but all have now gone. The story of the varnish works established by Paul Addington in the 1850s is much the same. Shuttered against vandals, the modest villa he built as his residence survived on the west bank of the Wandle below Phipps Bridge until 1979. In the late 1960s it was being used as a staff canteen by another local paint firm, Hadfields (Merton) Ltd, whose works were to the rear, but within a few years of the latter's closing down both the house and works had disappeared. George Hadfield the third had acquired use of these premises in 1892, and when he died in 1900 the business of 'George Hadfield' was carried on by his two sons, George Hugh and Samuel Rogers Hadfield. The company of Hadfields (Merton) Ltd was registered in 1917 following acquisition of land in Western Road, Mitcham, formerly occupied by Charles H Bloom. The new, more extensive, premises they built here were, in fact, functioning by 1915, when Kelly's Directory for the first time lists them as 'japan and varnish manufacturers' at No. 1 Western Road.13 In the summer of 1969, scarcely 18 months after Mr R S Hadfield, Samuel Rogers Hadfield's son, had expressed interest in my research, kindly outlining the history of the family business for me, it was reported in the national press that in a deal worth £547,000 the United Kingdom paint interests of the company, which had diversified to embrace chemicals and processing, had been sold to the Slough-based Bestobell organisation. Hadfields had already been obliged to make substantial operating economies following a net loss of £130,000 in the half-year to April 1969, and it was expected that further economies would emerge with the transfer of Bestobell's subsidiary Carson-Paripan to the Hadfields site in Western Road. THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS With demolition of the house at Phipps Bridge Road imminent, the opportunity was taken by Merton parks department in 1975 to save an elegant little wrought iron gate, with an 'A' for Addington worked into its overthrow, which had stood at the front entrance. It was rehung at the lower entrance to the Italian garden at Cannizaro Park, Wimbledon. All signs of Hadfields (Merton) Ltd have now vanished from the Phipps Bridge area, and the site of Addington's house and its grounds is traversed by the access road to Deen City Farm, laid down in 1994. Amalgamation of old established firms with more progessive concerns, and the transfer of some production to factories outside Mitcham did not mean an immediate decline in the importance of the paint and varnish industry in the area, and no fewer than 16 major factories intimately connected with the industry were operating in Mitcham in 1965, and are listed in the table overleaf. Fifteen years later the situation was much the same, but by the close of the century all except two, manufacturing synthetic resins, had left the district. Gateway to Paul Addington's Villa near Phipps Bridge, 1922 (Reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) PHIPPS BRIDGE PAINT, VARNISH, AND ASSOCIATED MANUFACTURERS IN MITCHAM IN 1965 Ault & Wiborg Ltd, Paint manufacturers Phipps Bridge Road, SW19 Bomacel Ltd, Paint, varnish & distemper manufacturers 'Homewood Works', Homewood Road, Mitcham Bowleys Paints Ltd, 326 Western Road, SW19 The British Nitrolac Co Ltd, Cellulose manufacturers Prince George's Road, SW19 Coloquid Paints Ltd, Paint manufacturers 'Harlequin Works', Willow Lane, Mitcham James Ferguson & Sons Ltd, Synthetic resin and ebonite manufacturers 278 Western Road, and 'Lea Park Works', Prince George's Road, SW19 Hadfields (Merton) Ltd, Paint and varnish manufacturers Western Road, Mitcham R J Hamer & Sons Ltd, Paint and varnish manufacturers Miles Road, Mitcham T S Jackson & Co Ltd, Manufacturers of paint, varnish and Block B, James Estate, Western Road, Mitcham polishes Keiner & Co Ltd, Manufacturers of cellulose and fine Church Path, Mitcham chemicals John T Kemp and Sons Ltd, Paint manufacturers Prince George's Road, SW19 Donald MacPherson & Co Ltd, Paint manufacturers 'Cock Chimney Works', Batsworth Road, Mitcham W A Mitchell & Smith Ltd, Manufacturers of polyester and synthetic Church Path, Mitcham varnish resins W Morgan & Sons Ltd, Varnish manufacturers 96 Church Road, Mitcham George Purdom & Co Ltd, Varnish manufacturers 96 Church Road, Mitcham Chapter 9 NORTH OF PHIPPS BRIDGE Common Land On the east bank of the Wandle, extending from Everett's Place downstream as far as Brangwyn Crescent, the wide roadside verges are fragments of the ancient common lands of Mitcham – 'waste of the parish'. Another very small piece of common lies on the west bank immediately beyond the bridge, where it is crossed by the Wandle Trail. Both were once part of the much more extensive common meadow or rough pasture lying within the manorial estate held by Merton priory, which extended eastwards from Phipps Bridge to the Streatham borders and embraced much of north Mitcham. After the Dissolution, what had become known as the manor of Biggin and Tamworth passed into lay hands. Over the years, as land was sold manorial rights were extinguished The River Wandle, immediately below Phipps Bridge looking upstream. The land on the left is former common land. (Photograph c.1952, reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) PHIPPS BRIDGE and the physical extent of the estate diminished, but as an administrative unit the manor survived, and in 1804 lordship of Biggin and Tamworth was purchased by James Moore. Following his death in 1851 this passed by inheritance to his natural son James Bridger, and within a few years a number of grants of enclosure were made, usually to owners of adjacent land, involving parcels of common land, deemed to be manorial 'waste'. Details of two such grants of land in the vicinity of Phipps Bridge can be found in the manor court rolls. One, to Samuel and Robert Harland, has been noted already; the other was to Paul Addington.1 Both were recorded by the manor steward in April 1857, but in neither case was the land fenced off, with the result that it remains open space to the present day. The House of Paul Addington, Varnish Maker The site of Addington's house lies on the west bank of the Wandle, in the parish of Merton, and is shown on plans of the Merton Abbey estate, such as that prepared following a survey in 1802.2 It was then occupied by a cluster of buildings belonging to the leaseholders, Newton Leach and Co, calico printers at Merton Abbey. Yates, a watercolour artist, painted the picturesque riverside scene in 1825, showing a group of pantiled and weatherboarded cottages standing at the water's edge.3 In appearance they are typical of the late 18th or early 19th century, but who built them is uncertain. A little bridge can be seen upstream and this, together with a bend in the river in front of the cottages, places them with reasonable certainty on the Addington site. The caption reads 'Mr. Anson's. Near the Steam Washing Factory, Surrey', which further confirms their location, although the name 'Anson' was evidently later recognised as an error, and 'Ancell' was added in a pencil in a different hand. Joseph Ancell had acquired the remaining portion of Newton and Leach's lease of the Merton Abbey works during the early 1820s, and carried on the business for ten years or so. What contemporary plans show as the 'Great Bleaching Field' belonging to the Merton Abbey works lay on the west bank of the river behind the cottages, and extended southwards as far as Phipps Bridge.4 One hundred and fifty years later it was to become the Merton Industrial Estate. NORTH OF PHIPPS BRIDGE 'Mr Anson's. Near the Steam Washing Factory, Surrey'. Watercolour by Yates, dated 1825, reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service. Paul Addington's house, photographed in 1967, when used as a staff canteen by Hadfields (Merton) Ltd. (ENM) PHIPPS BRIDGE The cottages were evidently demolished during the middle of the 19th century, for the Ordnance Survey map published in 1874 shows an entirely different building on the site, with a "Japan and Varnish Works" indicated nearby. This was the typical detached Victorian villa which survived until 1979, and the adjacent varnish works were those of Paul Addington. His white-painted house, double-fronted with two principal floors and a basement, was in the style of the 1860s and ended its days as the staff canteen of Hadfields (Merton) Ltd. The 'Pickle Ditch' Set in the east bank of the Wandle, 100 yards or so downstream from the bridge, is a disused penstock valve. At one time this allowed a flow of water to pass into a ditch which, after following the short stretch of Brangwyn Crescent that was once part of Phipps Bridge Road, was piped underground and disappeared from view. This sad little watercourse was the start of the 'Back River' or 'Pickle Ditch', which seems to have followed a channel taken by the Wandle long before the river was diverted in the Middle Ages to serve a mill or mills on the site of Merton Priory. In the mid-19th century the Pickle was described as "a dirty stream", receiving sewage and refuse from Welch and Margetson's works at Phipps Bridge in additon to the outfall from the ornamental gardens behind William Harland's house.5 Various explanations have been sought for the name, which may be a corruption of pightle, an old Surrey word meaning a small parcel of land. Merton Pightle, Pickle Common or, in the 18th century, Jacob's Green, was such a piece of land, another part of the parish waste, which at one time extended along the western side of Christchurch Road from its junction with Church Road to as far as the present roundabout and Merantun Way. At the junction of Liberty Avenue with Church Road the Pickle Ditch reappears briefly as it turns northward, augmented by surface water from Mitcham flowing through what was once known as the Western Ditch, now also piped underground. Until the early years of the 20th century the Pickle followed a gently meandering course northward alongside what was known as the Brook Path, until by Merton bridge it rejoined the Wandle. NORTH OF PHIPPS BRIDGE In late Saxon times, as the "Mitchamingemerke", this watercourse (perhaps then a major arm of the Wandle?) was a sufficiently prominent feature for it to be adopted as the boundary between the royal estate of Merton and Mitcham.6 When the ecclesiastical parishes were formed, perhaps in the early post-Conquest period, the stream was retained as a recognised boundary, and its lowly remnant still served to delineate the border between the Urban District of Merton and Morden and the Borough of Mitcham until the two districts were amalgamated as part of a new London borough in the local government reorganisation of 1965. Throughout the Middle Ages the stream also marked the south-eastern and eastern limits of the priory precincts. Extending over an area of 65 acres, these were enclosed by an eight-foot flint and stone wall which afforded a degree of security and privacy to the great priory church and its conventual buildings. The wall survived, still virtually intact, throughout the 18th century, maintained by the industrial tenants of the Merton Abbey estate as a condition of their leases. Observance of this arrangement lapsed in the late Victorian era, and by the mid-20th century all that remained to be officially listed as being of special architectural or historic interest were crumbling sections of the wall in the back gardens of maisonettes in Windsor Avenue, near Merton bridge, and alongside Merantun Way. Precinct wall of Merton Priory, with the Pickle Ditch running parallel with Phipps Bridge Road. The factory buildings to the left were part of the Liberty site. (Photograph c.1900, reproduced by courtesy of the Wimbledon Society Museum) PHIPPS BRIDGE The Nook At the beginning of the 20th century 'The Nook', or 'White Cottage', standing between Phipps Bridge Road and the river, was another attractive weatherboarded house surviving from the early 19th century. The cottage first appears in the Merton land tax books in 1804, when it was occupied by a Thomas Bartlett.7 It is shown on the plan of the Merton Abbey estate produced in 1805, and is described in the surveyor's notebook as a "Dwelling House consisting of Kitchen, pantry, two parlours, washhouse and four bedrooms", held on lease by John Leach of Newton, Leach, Greaves and Hodgson, the calico printers.8 After standing empty for a couple of years or so, the house was re-occupied in 1812, the tenant being William Haité, who worked for one of the calico printers in partnership at Merton Abbey.9 His son George, born in 1825, was an accomplished artist and prolific pattern designer, who died of smallpox in 1871 whilst living in Mitcham. George Charles Haité (18551924), William's grandson, inherited much of the family's artistic talent, and became president of the Society of English Decorators.10 'Littler's or White Cottage', Phipps Bridge Road (Photograph 1914, reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) NORTH OF PHIPPS BRIDGE 105 By the mid-20th century 'Mr Littler's Cottage', as it was known in its final years, had vanished, and for over 40 years the site was occupied by an unsightly collection of sheds and motor vehicle repair workshops. These in their turn were demolished in 2002, and replaced with a block of flats. Sundry Cottages To the north of Harlands' japan and varnish factory old strip fields, remnants of the medieval West Field of Mitcham which had become part of the estate of James Moore, were offered for sale by auction in 1853. Lot 23, a long narrow field opposite the junction of present-day Windsor Avenue with Liberty Avenue and Brangwyn Crescent, became in part the site of a pair of small semi-detached houses, built soon after the sale.11 They survived for a hundred years, ivy-covered and rural in appearance, although in their later years the old field at the rear and side had become the concreted yard and lorry park of a steel stockholder. Lot 20, another medieval strip field lying between Lot 23 and Harlands' works, was in October 1824 leased for 70 years by James Moore to Thomas Pratt. The land was tithe free, which suggests that, like much of the land lying to the east of Liberty Avenue, it had once been part of the estate of Merton priory. Pratt, a calico and silk printer turned boot and shoe shop 'Pratt's Folly', 97-99 Phipps Bridge Road, photographed c.1967 (ENM) PHIPPS BRIDGE proprietor, used the land for the erection of a terrace of six brick-built, slate-roofed cottages. As the plot was so narrow, he was obliged to set them at a right-angle to the road, and they were approached by a path from the highway. Particulars produced at the time of their sale in 1855 describe them as each having two 'chambers' (i.e. bedrooms), living- room, kitchen, closet and wash-house adjoining, with ground at the rear.12 Five were let at four shillings a week. The internal arrangement was typical of the period, the front door leading directly into the wainscotted living room, with its open coal fire. A door in the partition wall led to the rear room, used as a kitchen and complete with a cast- iron range. Facing the range, tongue-and-groove boarding reaching from the floor to the 7ft 6in-high ceiling hid the staircase leading to the two bedrooms. A ledged and braced door in the panelling closed off the foot of the stairs from the kitchen, whilst another gave access to the coal store in the under-stair space. In the kitchen, with its bare brick walls and no ceiling to hide the underside of the roof, there was a shallow Yorkstone sink and, in one corner, a coal-fired copper set in brickwork, where the family's laundry was boiled, and water heated for baths. The yard door afforded access to the external closet. For some reason, the cottages were dubbed 'Pratt's Folly' by local residents. Pratt died in 1854, and in 1888 the terrace was offered for sale following the death of James Bridger.13 Despite their lack of amenities the cottages remained in use for another 80 years, but by 1972 they were derelict and empty. Demolition ensued within a few years and the site was cleared by the Greater London Council to make way for the new housing development of Brangwyn Crescent. Thomas Pratt was held to be a 'rare character' by his contemporaries. He was a founding father of the Congregational Church in Mitcham, and it was largely due to his efforts and devotion that the Zion Chapel flourished in Western Road during the second quarter of the 19th century. The Sunday School adjoining the chapel also owed much to his pioneering zeal, for Deacon Thomas Pratt was an educational stalwart in days when self-help and the voluntary movement offered the only prospect of academic advancement to the great majority of ordinary people. The 'Pratt Trust', established for the higher education of children of all denominations, perpetuated his memory well into the 20th century.14 Chapter 10 THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE 1850-1920 Throughout the 19th century vehicular traffic could only reach Phipps Bridge from Mitcham, somewhat indirectly, by one of two roads leading to Jacob's Green, and then via Phipps Bridge Road. Western Lane from the Fair, or Upper, Green skirted the northern edge of the West Field to meet Church Road at the point where the old Saxon 'Eastern Merkepool' had marked the limits of Mitcham.1 Church Road, little more than a bridle track across the centre of the west field, led directly from the parish church. Not at this time known as Church Road, the track was dubbed by the locals the 'Iron Road', for until 1843 this had been the route followed by the Surrey Iron Railway from Wandsworth to Lower Mitcham and beyond. Phipps Bridge Road ceased to be a through road in 1975, when it was closed by the Greater London Council and the northern sections were renamed Liberty Avenue and part of Brangwyn Crescent. Today, only the southern portion retains the original name. For centuries a field path from the neighbourhood of the parish church had cut across the furlongs of Long and Short Batsworth to provide a pedestrian link with Phipps Bridge. A second path, now Batsworth Road, continued the line of Fox's Path (itself a bridle track across the West Field) whilst a third, still a footpath, preserves the course of Lewis Road westwards in the direction of the bridge. As the river was approached the land became increasingly susceptible to flooding, and at times the paths were probably impassable.2 Wandle House, Wandle Villa and Grove Cottage, joined later in the century by Homefield and New Close, thus formed, with the nearby print works and cottages, a hamlet physically separated from the rest of the parish, and orientated more towards Colliers Wood and Merton than to Mitcham. As a consequence, it was to Merton Singlegate that Jerman Nobes of Wandle House directed his evangelism, and when Mitcham's daughter parish of Christ Church was created in 1874, its boundary extended almost as far as Phipps Bridge, and included the Harlands' factory.3 With the departure of families like the Manns, Nobes and Harlands the neighbourhood of Phipps Bridge declined in social status and 108 PHIPPS BRIDGE respectability. Although through its isolation and the creation of Morden Hall Park in the 1870s the immediate vicinity of the bridge was to remain pictuesquely rural until the early years of the 20th century, in the end the peripheral influence of the increasing industrialisation to the west of Mitcham church and at Merton Abbey was inescapable. The gradual spread of the factories, many of them, like the varnish works and floor cloth manufacturies, capable at times of emitting highly offensive smells was, however, only one factor in the area's fall from grace. The sale of the Moore estate occurred at a time when 'physic' gardening, one of the mainstays of the Mitcham economy since the middle of the 18th century, was at its peak. The widespread cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants had, without a doubt, been a factor in perpetuating the medieval pattern of land holding, the long narrow field strips or 'lands' being well-suited to herb growing without modification or enclosure. For close on 100 years the industry flourished, meeting the demands of the London pharmacists and perfumiers. From the middle of the 19th century, however, the pattern of cultivation began to change, increasing emphasis being placed on market gardening and horticulture Keen's Terrace, 100-104 Church Road, built 1865, photographed c.1965 (ENM) THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE in response to the mounting demand from the capital's wholesale markets for fresh vegetables, flowers and bedding plants. Much of the rich dark loam of the West Field continued under cultivation for the remainder of the Victorian period, but gradually individual landowners were attracted by more lucrative ways to exploit their holdings. Commencing with land fronting Church Road, which came on the market following the closure of the Surrey Iron Railway in 1843, terraces of small houses were built. Those abutting the road, more typical of a northern industrial town than a Surrey village, were some of the last to be demolished, surviving until the mid-1970s. Development in the mid-Victorian period was completely uncontrolled and, with no conception of the need to separate residential properties from industrial premises, cottages and factories were jumbled together, at first in little groups, and then, gradually, as an amorphous mass of roofs and chimneys which eventually was to link Mitcham with Merton. Considerable ingenuity was displayed by the individual builders in cramming cottages and small villas into peculiar little streets and alleys, preserving the outline of the fields on which they were erected. Intended Dwellings and shops on the southern side of Church Road. Postcard c.1912 (Reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) PHIPPS BRIDGE Charles James Simmons, beer retailer and carpenter, Church Road, Mitcham, c.1885. (Reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE almost invariably for letting, the dwellings were commonly built as investments by local shopkeepers or tradesmen, hoping to secure for themselves a retirement income from the rents. As many as possible were thrown up on the land available, and a diversity of style, even within one street, provided evidence of the sporadic nature of this activity, which often extended over several decades before a whole terrace or road was completed. Although from the 1870s compliance with new building byelaws became mandatory, standards of construction remained generally poor and, given their environment, the eventual decline of these houses into slums was almost inevitable. It must be stressed that not all landlords were solely seeking a profit, and houses erected towards the end of the century by the Quaker shopkeeper George Pitt and his son John Marsh Pitt, for instance, were noticeably to a lower density per acre and better built. Some might even boast small gardens at the front and rear and, with evident pride in their property, it was the Pitts' common practice to name them, setting an inscribed stone tablet high on the front wall, perhaps adding their initials and the date of construction. Incoming tenants, it is said, were welcomed to their new homes with packets of flower seeds with which to beautify the tiny front gardens. Backyards were intended for more practical purposes but, where there was sufficient space, vegetable seeds might also be provided. Nothing, however, could mask the distinctive smells of boiling oils and molten gums which from time to time pervaded the atmosphere, mingling with the pungently concentrated scent of peppermint oil or vanilla from Bush's distillery in Batsworth Road, or the acrid, tarry fumes from the gasworks in Western Road. Some landowners exploited the value of their land in other ways, for beneath the loams of the West Field lay the flood plain terrace of the Wandle, comprising a deep stratum of sands and gravel deposited during the late glacial period. Moreover, here and there pockets of good brickearth were to be found, the legacy of periglacial deposition. Both, at a time when building materials found a ready market, offered easy profits and, everywhere across the former West Field, pits appeared as the more readily available deposits were removed. During these excavations local antiquaries were able, over a period of some 20 years PHIPPS BRIDGE Stone Age tools from Mitcham, typical of implements recovered from local gravel pits in the 19th century. (Copyright the Trustees of The British Museum, reproduced by permission.) from the late 1880s, to retrieve a considerable quantity of prehistoric mammalian remains, including such species as wild oxen and horses, mammoth, reindeer and rhinceros.4 Once the best deposits were worked out, further money could be made by backfilling, and the water-filled pits soon became rubbish dumps. To this unsavoury landscape one must add a generous admixture of piggeries, the animals growing fat on food waste collected from the metropolis or the more affluent households in Mitcham. Finally, seemingly tucked away on any available corner of derelict land, were the caravans of Gypsies and travellers, attracted to Mitcham by the annual fair and the expectation of seasonal work in the market gardens. Tanned faces and dark eyes spoke of many a family's Romany ancestry, and their ponies and donkeys, turned out on any patch of vacant land offering meagre grazing, became a common sight. General dealing and 'totting', or hawking pegs, baskets and flowers from door to door, offered means of earning a few coppers, and eventually many families were to settle more or less permanently in caravan yards, or the little houses of what became known as 'Redskin Village'. The Inter-War Years The manner in which the district to the north-west of Church Road evolved in the latter half of the 19th century accentuated the isolation THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE of Phipps Bridge itself and the houses near the river. Wandle Villa and Everetts Place owe their survival to their acquisition by Gilliat Hatfeild, who was also responsible for removing defunct industrial building from his estate in the 1870s and thereby enhancing the rural setting of the bridge. In contrast with the wooded deer park across the river, by the late 1930s the general area lying between Church Road and New Close had become one of the most disreputable and notorious in the district, avoided and shunned by most Mitcham residents and associated in the public mind with some of the worst slums in the emerging township. It had not always been so, and although its inhabitants might be poor, there was a genuine expression not only of nostalgia, but also of pride, detectable in letters published in the local press 50 years on, when some of Mitcham's older residents were encouraged to recall their memories of childhood in 'Rocky' during the 1920s. 'Off to the Races', Rock Terrace, Mitcham, c.1910. (Reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) PHIPPS BRIDGE In a typically philanthropic gesture, in 1924 Gilliat Hatfeild presented 11 acres of land off Phipps Bridge Road to the Urban District Council of Mitcham for the purpose of providing a recreation ground, children's playground, and additional allotments for the benefit generally of the inhabitants of Queen's Road, Bath Road and Belgrave Road. The gift was received with gratitude by the Council, and 'Rock Terrace Rec.' and the adjoining allotment gardens remained open space, very much as Hatfeild had intended, until the 1960s. Philip Huxley, writing in 1975,5 corrected two typical misconceptions which had arisen when he emphasised that 'Rock Terrace' was, strictly, the small area of shops and other small businesses extending from the Bath Tavern to the corner of "old Bill Stopher's butcher's shop". 'Redskin Village' was the tag bestowed on the area covered by Bath and Queen's Roads, but it also included that part of Belgrave Road destroyed by the explosion that occurred at W J Bush & Co's factory in the spring of 1934. "To be a 'Redskin' one had to live and to have been born in the area between the 1914/18 War and the time of the explosion", he explained. "It was then that the break came, old residents being moved away, and new often shiftless people coming into the area. The old sturdy pride and independence, and the strong sense of community that had typified the area and was typical of Redskin Village was destroyed, and the area rapidly deteriorated." A report in the Croydon Advertiser of 16 May 1931 affords a fascinating glimpse of this community engaged in one of its favourite diversions – watching a prizefight on Bunce's Meadow: "A real old-time open air prize fight with bare fists took place at Mitcham before breakfast on Sunday morning. They were frequent on Mitcham Common on Sunday mornings a few years ago. "Last Sunday morning's set to was between a well-known Rock- terrace boxer and a Carshalton man. Both were aged twenty-two. It was the fourth time they had met. On two previous occasions they fought with gloves on. "The fight began at 8.30 a.m. in a quiet corner of Bunce's Meadow off Rock-terrace and lasted twenty-five minutes. It was a fight to a THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE finish. The Mitcham man won after a fight gamely fought by both men, stripped to the waist, and the winner, according to eye-winesses, bore more marks of the scrap than the loser. "The only ring was that kept by the spectators among whom were a large number of women. One of the most enthusiastic of the women lookers on told the "Advertiser" that she had seen many a championship fight in London, but that not one of them was as interesting to watch as the local battle. "Several policemen, it is stated, appeared on the scene, but were powerless to interfere, for the crowd numbered well over a thousand and were clearly determined to see the fight through. Their excited shouts could be heard for a great distance. Some sat in the branches of trees. Nearly a score of motor cars were on the ground, and any number of pony vehicles. From Croydon came a lorry load of spectators and scores cycled or tramped from Carshalton and Tooting. "The amount of the stake varies according to the person telling "the whole truth and nothing but the truth". It is certain the fighters were well backed, and that men with money organised the contest. "The Carshalton man was an ex-naval boxer. At the end of the fight the pugilists shook hands with one another, had a drink together and parted very good friends." The worked-out pits from which sand and gravel had been excavated since the late 19th century were, by the 1920s, uncontrolled landfill sites. Clarkson's tip at New Close has been mentioned in an earlier chapter, and was closed following the introduction of a municipal refuse collection service. Marshall's tip, at the rear end of Bath Road, was another in which the decaying refuse was a prolific source of smells and vermin. Less noxious was the clay dumped by the contractors working on the extension of the City and South London's underground railway to Morden.6 Never properly consolidated, however, these backfilled pits were to cause problems from settlement for many years to come. PHIPPS BRIDGE For centuries, flooding had been a feature of the lower-lying parts of the area in the vicinity of the Phipps Bridge itself, but whilst the land remained for the large part meadow, periodic inundation presented no great problem and, in fact, actually improved the quality of the grazing. There had been a general improvement in district drainage since the late 19th century, involving the laying of an extensive network of surface water sewers discharging into the Wandle via the old land drainage system of brooks and ditches. Typical of these was, and still is, the 'Bull Ditch' which, taking water from the southern side of Mitcham Common, flows piped beneath the southern side of the Cricket Green to Church Road, and thence under Church Place northwards to discharge into the river behind Wandle Villa. As was normal practice at the time, provision was made for the system to receive not only surface water but also the storm water overflow from foul sewers. The result was that during periods of heavy or prolonged rainfall the sewerage system became overloaded. With the Wandle already in spate at such times, the outfalls often ceased to function and the sewers surcharged, occasionally flooding streets with dilute, but nevertheless untreated, sewage. This situation was clearly intolerable and, after prolonged consultations with the technical staff of the Urban District Council, the London County Council in the early 1930s undertook the construction of a massive soakaway designed to take the excess storm water from the surface water sewers. A trench was dug from the edge of Phipps Bridge Road, where it is said to have been approximately ten feet deep, running towards the Council depot at the end of Homewood Road. Here, with a depth of 50 feet, a huge soakaway was constructed into which a square- sectioned concrete pipe discharged. The system worked, and the streets never flooded again.7 All this constructional activity was, of course, an irresistible attraction for small boys from the surrounding area, and Philip Huxley, a young lad at the time, well remembered playing with his mates on the workmen's railway and the trucks used to transport the spoil. The explosion at W J Bush's works brought a foretaste of the far more extensive destruction which Mitcham, along with much of Greater THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE London, was to suffer during the Blitz of the 1940s. Bush's, distillers of essential oils, were continuing the tradition of extracting perfumes and essences from various herbal sources which had its beginnings in Mitcham with the business established by Potter and Moore in the 18th century. Much of the material held on the premises was highly volatile, and in the dramatic explosion which occurred in 1933 one child was killed, roofs were stripped from dozens of houses in the surrounding streets, and many families were made homeless. Some houses were repaired, but others were demolished and their sites were either left vacant or redeveloped for industry. The introduction of an efficient refuse collection and disposal service was a major advance of the inter-war years, and the tall red brick chimney of the refuse destructor at the Council's Homewood Road depot was to dominate the surrounding streets for 30 years. 'The Dust' as the locals called the depot, was entered via large wooden gates, near which were the weighbridge and offices. The whole installation was Belgrave Road after the explosion at the works of W J Bush & Co Ltd in 1933. (Reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library Service) PHIPPS BRIDGE Extract from 25-inch OS map of 1894 THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE surrounded by a high brick wall, above which could be glimpsed the roof covering the discharging bays, where the collection vehicle delivered their loads. Of undoubted benefit to the rest of the expanding township of Mitcham, the refuse depot unfortunately did nothing to improve the status of the immediate neighbourhood, and by the outbreak of war in 1939 much of the remaining housing had already been identified for slum clearance. Apart from damage caused during the air raids, however, nothing much was to change for another 20 years. Post-War Reconstruction In the late 1940s the streets clustered to the north and north-east of the Homewood Road depot presented a depressing sight. Loose refuse blown from the vehicles passing to and from the depot scattered into side steets like Belgrave Walk, and the approaches never looked clean. Above the depot walls could be seen a growing mound of ash and clinker from the incinerator, the chimney of which, although fitted with a waterbath and hanging chains to entrap the worst of the flying particles from the flue gases, distributed a fine dust over the houses downwind. For years the Victorian terraces had received little other than essential repairs at the hands of their owners, and to the accrued dilapidations now had to be added the legacy of the air raids. The result was that the majority of the dwellings in Bath Road and Queen's Road were little more than semi-derelict hovels, patched and bodged by their despairing tenants and landlords alike. For the sanitary inspector and the relieving officer the area was a regular port of call, their tasks never ending and too often all they could offer was only palliative. Caravans were everywhere, either in licensed yards, where a semblance of order was maintained, or on patches of waste ground, the vicinity of 'Rocky' seeming to hold a particular attraction. Around them played hordes of grubby-faced urchins. Odd corners and vacant sites were used by totters as scrap metal dumps or for sorting rags, activities which added to the area's general atmosphere of sordid dereliction. Fights, more often than not over winnings at 'pitch and toss' or other illegal street betting activities, were common. The police, it is said, patrolled only in pairs after dark. Rock Terrace 'Rec.', occasionally to be seen PHIPPS BRIDGE performing its intended role as a training ground, albeit impromptu, for aspiring young footballers and cricketers, was more often than not occupied by a few tethered horses. Throughout the war the Homewood Road incinerator had been kept going by 'make do and mend', but by the late 1940s it became obvious this state of affairs could not continue indefinitely. The need to renew the firebrick linings meant the plant was frequently out of action, whilst the dust arrester gear, deemed adequate when installed in the 1930s, was grossly inefficient by post-war standards. Having persuaded the Board of Conservators that the low-lying areas of Mitcham Common would be 'improved' by controlled tipping, Mitcham Corporation used the opportunity as a cheap alternative to rebuilding the destructor, delaying the inevitability of having to transport Mitcham's refuse to more distant landfill sites. Once the new tipping sites were in operation, incineration of refuse ceased at Homewood Road, and the installation was soon demolished. Bunce's Meadow provided another site for 'improvement', and with the agreement of the National Trust this was used as a tip for inert ash and clinker from the Homewood Road depot. With the clearance and levelling of the depot site it became possible at long last to reactivate the Council's pre-war slum clearance programme. All private building had been stopped on the outbreak of war in 1939, and thousands of existing houses had been either demolished or were in need of substantial repair. Stringent rent controls had been enforced since the outset of hostilities and were to remain for many years, with the result that the provision of new accommodation to rent became completely uneconomic for the private landlord. Furthermore, many private houses were requisitioned by the Council during the emergency, and it was obvious that eventually these would need to be released and returned to their owners, who were often servicemen due for demobilisation, or others returning from war work away from Mitcham. As a result, like all local authorities in the Greater London area, Mitcham faced a massive post-war housing problem, for with little or no prospect of finding accommodation in the private sector, most families turned to the Council for help and, if they qualified, were placed on the 'Housing Waiting List'. THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE By the 1950s Mitcham Borough Council was able to take pride in the number of new dwellings it had built, and the fact that in this its performance had outstripped that of most, if not all, of the authorities in urban Surrey. Some temporary 'pre-fab' bungalows had been built by the Council on vacant land off Queen's Road in the mid 1940s, and the New Close estate off Phipps Bridge Road was completed soon after the War. However, even with the needs of the homeless so pressing, nothing had been done to tackle the problems of this most neglected corner of Mitcham, for which demolition and wholesale redevelopment provided the only real solution. The land released by the clearance of the Homewood Road depot now provided the opportunity for embarking on Mitcham's first post-war slum clearance programme and the comprehensive redevelopment of the whole area as the Borough Council's showpiece Phipps Bridge Housing Estate. High-rise blocks of flats were at this time much in vogue, and work proceeded apace throughout the 1950s. Upon the reorganisation of London Government in April 1965 the Borough of Mitcham ceased to exist, its functions being absorbed with those of the Borough of Wimbledon and the Urban District of Merton and Morden into the new administration of the London Borough of Merton. That summer, in a series of coach tours organised by the Civic Society to foster a better awareness of the new Borough, a visit to the Phipps Bridge Estate was included, complete with a guided tour of one of the recently completed blocks of flats and the communal laundry provided for the tenants. By the time the second edition of the Official Borough Guide was published in 1968, the Phipps Bridge Estate was nearing completion. The scheme had comprised a mixed development of 776 units ranging from terraces of houses in Oxted Close to four-storied blocks of maisonettes and five- and six-storied blocks of flats, from the upper floors of which many of the tenants had magnificent views over the parkland beyond the river. A small group of shops was included in the development, a major element being a new Bath Tavern, designed by architects Colcutt and Hamp and with interior decor by Copes Taverns, which was opened by Charringtons, PHIPPS BRIDGE The old Bath Tavern, Belgrave Walk, on the Phipps Bridge Estate May 1966 (above) and the new pub c.1970 (below). (ENM) THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE the brewers, in February 1968. John and Elizabeth Cawdery, the resident managers, had moved into the old Bath Tavern some three months before, and were already well-known amongst many of their future customers. The old building was taken over by the Phipps Bridge Tenants' Association, who were to use it as a community centre and temporary youth club until new purpose-built premises became available in the mid1970s, after which the original Victorian tavern was demolished. Allocation of the new units was strictly on the basis of need as perceived by the lettings department, following policy laid down by the Council's housing committee which used a points system giving priority to couples with children. Little regard could be had to personal preferences, and few tenants were pleased to be allocated flats, particularly when they had young families. The old stigma attaching to the neighbourhood also proved difficult to erase, and for many, hoping for a house of their own on one of the more popular Council estates, the offer of accommodation at Phipps Bridge came as a bitter disappointment. An active tenants' association, supported by the ward councillors, strove to create a new community spirit but, tragically, within ten years parts of the estate, plagued by teenage vandalism and daubed with graffiti, were already deteriorating into new slums. Phipps Bridge – The Recent Past For one whose personal knowledge of the Phipps Bridge Estate really ends with the 1960s, and who still remembers the hopes this fine new concept engendered, with its modern but not too avant-garde architecture and 'units' designed to meet Parker-Morris standards, it is difficult to remain objective when attempting to compile an account of its recent history. The task is not made any easier when, no longer resident in the Borough, one's main sources of information are fragments gleaned from the local press. To go further, and attempt to make sense of what has happened over the last 40 years, would require an appreciation of the deeper sociological and politicial issues, and is best left to a future writer benefiting from the perspective of time. Was the original design so wrong? At the time the need for more housing, to a good standard, was undisputed. Virgin land was finite, and the PHIPPS BRIDGE remaining open space valued, so clearance of slums and the reclamation of land despoiled in the past, and much of it already in public ownership, made sense. Furthermore, only with municipal redevelopment could the required mix of units be assured and control exercised over the selection of tenants. The die was thus cast, and Mitcham pressed ahead with what was to be a show-piece estate arising, literally, from the ashes of a past which was far from laudable. Dissatisfaction with their lot was already becoming evident when, in the early 1970s, tenants were regaled with promises of "more than £60,000" being spent by various council departments on the building of a youth centre, playing fields and a children's playground on the old Rock Terrace recreation ground. "Provisions have been made" said the Parks Department's young spokesman at a public meeting "for tennis, putting, football, bowls, netball, squash ball and a range of activities for any age." His appeal to residents "to help us in our work – by clamping down on vandalism and by taking pride in what is, after all, going to be part of your own home" must to many have sounded patronising and, with the cynicism born of experience, doomed to failure. Exterior of factory. J J Schweizer & Co, Ltd, Mitcham. Postcard c.1930 THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE A "cockroach invasion" of the Phipps Bridge estate in 1976, affecting in particular the flats, provided the press with headline material. It also prompted one-time residents of 'Rocky' to recall the history of the site and to attribute the infestation to the nature of the ground over which several of the blocks had been erected. "I warned in the 1960s" said one elderly man, "that if these flats were ever built, then it would cause the gravest social problems ever known in the area, and it has happened, I am sorry to say. ... The only remedy is to pull the lot down, and let nature take care of the decaying refuse. Erect houses on the allotment area to the rear of Church Road, and leave the old Dust and Rocky to be landscaped and clear for all time."7 In March 1978 it was disclosed in the press that Phipps Bridge Primary School, built in the late 1960s, was to change its name to Haslemere to overcome the stigma which many parents obviously felt still attached to the old name. The following year the recommendations of a working party established by the Council to suggest improvements to the battered estate had its ideas, which included carpeted stairs, closed-in balconies, unbreakable polycarbonate windows, a local rent office, improved sports facilities, entry 'phones and resident caretakers, rejected by many tenants as "a waste of time and money".8 Meanwhile, radical changes were taking place in the wider commercial world, and firms long-established in the neighbourhood, and on which many local people still depended for their livelihood, were either amalgamating with larger concerns, or closing down altogether. In July 1968 the local paper announced that W J Bush of Batsworth Road had merged to form a new organisation, Bush Boake Allen, with an estimated annual turnover of £20m., making it "the world's largest suppliers of flavours and perfumes". Closure of the works followed soon afterwards, ending Mitcham's association with the distillation of essential oils which had lasted over 200 years. In 1969 Donald MacPherson & Co Ltd vacated the 'Cock Chimney Works' in Batsworth Road, which had a history of paint manufacture extending back to the middle of the 19th century, when the factory had been in the hands of J J Schweitzer and Co. Within six months the Council was reported to have "started procedure" for redeveloping the site, and that of the adjacent works, for housing. PHIPPS BRIDGE The wisdom of segregating residential districts from those used by industry was emphasised dramatically in September 1970, when a fire and the ensuing explosions at a Calor gas storage depot in Church Road sent gas cylinders hurtling into the air, causing considerable damage to nearby houses and alarm amongst their occupants. Extinguishing industry in the area between the Phipps Bridge estate and Church Road had, in fact, been provided for in the first review of the Initial Development Plan (IDP) submitted by the London Borough of Merton to the Minister of Housing and Local Government. The Council was by no means unanimous in this decision, many members considering that substantial parts of the area should be retained for light industry. The cost, moreover, of purchasing established industrial land for housing was expected to prove prohibitive. Inevitably, the argument became politicised, with councillors arguing until the end of the decade over the correct balance to be achieved between the provision of housing for those unable to make satisfactory arrangements for themselves and the need to secure at least a prospect of future employment by setting aside land for light industrial and commercial development. Whilst ministerial reaction to the IDP was awaited plans for new housing schemes forged ahead. In the autumn of 1973, following the holding of a public enquiry the previous April, the Minister confirmed a Compulsory Purchase Order made by Merton involving nearly 80 houses in Church Road and Chapel Road.9 Having received surveyors' reports on the properties concerned, some of which dated back to the mid-19th century, the Council had been persuaded the dwellings were not in sufficiently good condition to justify improvement, and that the most satisfactory way of proceeding was by way of a scheme of clearance and wholesale redevelopment proposed by the Greater London Council. The structural condition of the houses was not the only consideration, and a potent factor influencing Merton councillors in arriving at their decision was the long-planned widening of Church Road to improve what had become a major traffic route between Colliers Wood and Lower Mitcham. With Merton acting as agents for the Greater London Council, which assumed responsibility for the overall development, the requisite notices THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE were served by the Borough Council who, it had been agreed, should also make arrangements for the necessary rehousing. Once the houses and other premises fronting Church Road had been demolished and their sites cleared, roadworks proceeded. Land on the western side of the road not immediately required for new housing was allocated temporarily to Deen City Farm, an educational 'farm' established some years previously in Aberdeen Road, where redevelopment was about to take place. The largely disused Batsworth allotments at the rear of the farm were utilised for rough grazing, and it was here that in 1993 excavations conducted by the Museum of London Archaeology Service in advance of the erection of new houses exposed a further area of the Romano-British cemetery enclosure, part of which had been found at the rear of the then Phipps Bridge Primary School by Merton Historical Society in 1965. To meet the requirements of English Heritage the burials were left in situ, covered by a protective layer of inert material, and the housing scheme was modified in the hope the burials might remain undisturbed.10 In 1973 yet another redevelopment scheme, this time involving land to the southeast of the old Homewood Road depot, was under way. In March the Greater London Council granted outline planning permission for 70 dwellings to be built on former railway sidings between Benedict Road and Morden Road. At this stage it was envisaged the development might comprise medium rise blocks, similar in size to those on the original Phipps Bridge estate. Merton councillors, however, having decided against any further high rise development in the Borough, were adamant that the land should only be used for traditional housing. The scheme was planned as a joint venture between the two authorities, Merton having in mind a concurrent development on the adjacent Wandgas sports ground, and whilst discussions were in progress with a view to resolving the issue, the Borough made it known that if agreement could not be reached it was prepared to 'go it alone'. To cover this eventuality the Council submitted a planning application on its own behalf, included in which was the retention of the old footpath from Benedict Road to Morden Road – the ancient Ravensbury Lane which, since the Middle Ages, had led from the vicinity of Mitcham parish church to the neighbouring village of Morden. Provision was also made PHIPPS BRIDGE for setting aside land for a new link road connecting Church Road to Morden Road, thus diverting through traffic from that part of the Cricket Green Conservation Area lying between the church and Lower Green. Two years lapsed before the subject once more became news-worthy. For some time the former 12-acre Wandgas sports ground off Benedict Road had only been used for coal storage by the Gas Board, and by 1974 ownership was in the hands of Merton Council. The Council's scheme for this area included a primary school with nursery annexe and 378 homes in a mix of three-storey houses with integral garages and gardens, plus self-contained 2-and 4-person flats, the design being very similar to that of the Council's recently completed Watermeads housing estate on the former Locomotors site in Lower Mitcham. The Council was now anxious for its contractors to commence work, but a start on site was delayed by the presence of an illegal caravan encampment, established on the land whilst it was lying derelict and, it must be said, tacitly accepted as a temporary use of the land by some Council members who were not unsympathetic to the travellers' cause. In March 1975, after a three-year wrangle with British Rail, the Greater London Council was reported to be hopeful of purchasing the remaining seven acres needed for its proposed redevelopment scheme (now modified to meet Merton's objections) "within the next 6 months".11 In the meantime the travellers, whose numbers had increased, were showing no signs of moving from the Wandgas site. Their presence was also causing growing annoyance to the tenants of the nearby houses, who in April began withholding their rents in an effort to induce the Borough Council to take steps to secure the removal of the caravans and their occupants. By August 1975 the travellers' stubborn refusal to vacate the land was alleged to have already added over £400,000 to the redevelopment bill, and the start of work on the Wandgas site had been put back to September or October. In the realisation that a stalemate had been reached, and that a housing scheme which, in its latest form, comprised 188 3bedroom houses, 12 4-person 2-bedroom flats, 186 2-person 1-bedroom flats and 24 lock-up garages, was at risk of being delayed indefinitely, Merton Council was obliged in September to apply to the court for an THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE eviction order. The travellers' case was now being championed by the Gypsy Council, who saw the dispute as providing an opportunity to press for a commitment from Merton to provide a permanent campsite in the Borough, but at the hearing the court found for the Council, and the application was granted. Removal of the caravans from the Wandgas site did not secure the immediate disappearance of the travellers from the Phipps Bridge area, however, and in February 1978 the Greater London Council was grappling with the nuisances arising from the noise and rubbish generated by itinerants camped on vacant land in Batsworth Road. As late as June 1979 David Richardson, the manager of the 'Wheatsheaf' off-licence in Church Road, in an isolated position following the demolition of the terraces of houses between Haslemere Avenue and Batsworth Road, was reported to be 'under siege' from travellers camped on vacant land opposite.12 In 1976 a compulsory purchase order had been made by the Greater London Council involving 25 houses and maisonettes, six factories and about a dozen other premises in the neighbourhood of Batsworth Road and Church Road. At the ensuing public enquiry, held in March 1977, counsel for the GLC emphasised the great need for housing in the London area and outlined his council's proposals, after clearance of the site, for the erection of low-rise accommodation comprising a mix of three-storey family houses with gardens and purpose-built maisonettes for the elderly. The redevelopment scheme had been four years in preparation, and opposition expressed at the crowded meeting was strong and vociferous, proprietors of the several small commercial concerns affected protesting at the disastrous effect the order would have on their businesses and the employment they gave to local people. The order was confirmed, but in the redevelopment provision was made for light industry by the erection of new commercial units. Throughout the 1980s progress continued with the various redevelopment projects, the emphasis being predominently on houses and small blocks of flats or maisonettes arranged in closes or quiet cul- de-sacs, the popularity of which had become evident in other contemporary schemes. The problem of the old Phipps Bridge estate PHIPPS BRIDGE and, in particular, of the high rise flats remained, however. For a time in the early 1990s the Council believed it had found a solution in the possibility of transferring ownership of 930 dwellings on the estate, including New Close and Cherry Tree Close, to an independent Housing Action Trust, run partly by the tenants. The high-rise blocks were to be demolished and replaced by houses and low-rise flats, whilst the remaining units would be renovated and improved by a consortium which included the Nationwide Building Society and Lovell Homes, sales to tenants exercising their right to buy being seen as providing the necessary income to fund the project. Whilst the Council was prepared to forgo any payment for the proposed transfer, it expected to be given the right to nominate tenants to the new flats. To the Council's dismay the proposal, which would have cost the taxpayer nothing, and relieved the local authority of any further responsiblity for the estate, was rejected by the government in 1991, since it failed to meet the requirement that projects involving properties which had been built initially with public money, should make provision for sale to the new owners at tenanted market value.13 Once again obliged to reconsider its proposals for the troubled estate, by midsummer 1993 Merton Council had resolved to demolish four of the 1960s high-rise blocks, retaining one, Frensham Court, which was to be renovated along with the remainder of the low-rise properties forming the original development. In place of the demolished blocks it was hoped 346 new dwellings of various sizes, 60% of them houses, would be erected by housing associations. Having obtained the existing tenants' observations, the Council was able in 1994 to embark on the new 3-year, £21m scheme, £7.5m of which was funded by the Borough, and the remainder by the Housing Corporation and four separate housing associations, each of which was to build 90 new dwellings.14 The redevelopment is now completed and, with the advent of the Tramlink service in 2000 providing easy access to Wimbledon and Croydon, the area has high hopes of becoming a stable and desirable residential neighbourhood. NOTES AND REFERENCES Abbreviations Used Braithwaite Braithwaite F, 'On the Rise and Fall of the River Wandle; its Springs, Tributaries and Pollution', Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 20 (1861) Edwards Edwards J, Companion from London to Brighthelmston (1801) II F of F Feet of Fines (Pedes Finium) Francis Francis T, 'Old Mitcham' (Notes on a collection of Lantern Slides) (MLSC) Heales Heales A, The Records of Merton Priory (1898) Lysons Lysons D, Environs of London (1792) M & B Manning O and Bray W, The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey MC Mitcham Census Returns (MLSC) MHS Merton Historical Society MoLAS Museum of London Archaeology Service MLSC London Borough of Merton Local Studies Centre MPR Mitcham Poor Rate Books LA/5/4/- (SHC) MLT Mitcham Land Tax Records (SHC) MoLT Morden Land Tax records (SHC) MoTS Morden Tithe Commutation Survey (SHC). See also Morden in 1838 The Tithe Apportionment Map, MHS Local History Notes 13 (1998) MVM Mitcham Vestry Minutes (SHC) SyAC Surrey Archaeological Collections TNA The National Archives SHC Surrey History Centre VCH Victoria County History of Surrey 132 PHIPPS BRIDGE 1 PHIPPS BRIDGE, PHIPPS MILL, AND BUNCE'S MEADOW 1 Charter of King Edgar, granting lands in Merton to Ealdorman Ælfheah. Jowett E M, A History of Merton and Morden (1951) 17 2 Chart E, Ms Notes of the Beating of the Bounds of Mitcham in 1833. (Original last seen when in care of Merton Chief Executive's Office. Now reported 'missing'). Published by MHS as Local History Notes 26:Beating the Bounds (2005) 3 MLSC Contemporary newscutting in Tom Francis's Scrapbook 4 SHC Hatfeild Papers K85/4/171 5 Wimbledon Society Museum 'Plan of some property on the River Wandle from Mr. Polhill's snuff mill to Merton Bridge'. 6 Since 1993 this backwater has been officially re-named Bennett's Millstream, after Thomas Bennett and his son, John Leach Bennett, whose calico print works stood on the north bank of the stream in the early 19th century. 7 "Toting cum Pypesbrige" - Valor Ecclesiasticus, Royal Commission (1834) II 48 8 London County Council,The Court Minutes of the Surrey and Kent Sewer Commission I (1909) 102 9 Jowett E M, A History of Merton and Morden (1951) 76 10 SHC 599/- transcribed in the 1960s by A M Turner, former librarian in charge at Mitcham, and supplied in a personal communication. 11 The Place-Names of Surrey English Place-Names Society (1934). 'Battesworth' also finds mention in 1234-5, Pedes Finium 225-9-30 19 Henry III, cf Gray H L, English Field Systems (1915) 367. 12 TQ 2699 6857. MoLAS. Preliminary Report of Archaeological Evaluation Work at Benedict Primary School, Mitcham (1992); Archaeological Evaluation by MoLAS on the Windlesham and Sunningdale Allotments Site, Mitcham (1994) and an Archaeological Evaluation (also by MoLAS) following excavation of Deen City Farm Grazing, Varley Way, Mitcham in 1993. 13 TQ 2673 6918. Excavation in 1965 by Dennis Turner and members of Surrey Archaeological Society and local societies. Not published. Also: TQ 26747 69144 Deen City Farm Grazing, dug by MoLAS in 1993. 14 MLSC Cutting in Tom Francis's Scrapbook – the discovery was first reported in the Croydon Advertiser in 1882. 15 TQ 2607 6918. SyAC II (1934) 23-4 16 VCH II (1905) 374 NOTES AND REFERENCES 17 SHC K85/5 Certificate of the Contract for Redemption of Land Tax No. 44,535 18 MLSC Typescript notes: Ecclesiastical Commissioners v. Bridger and others, 1890. A further copy is at SHC. 19 Inquisitions p.m. 47 Henry III No. 32b 20 M & B II (1809) 499 and VCH IV 231 F of F Surrey 45 Hen III no.36 21 Morris J, Domesday Book: Surrey (1975) 17:3 22 VCH IV (1912) 55 23 Brayley E W, History of Surrey IV (1841) 88 24 Heales 157 citing Cart. No. 305, fo. cxxx iiij v. It was entered in the Treasury Roll of that year. 25 "1301 Dec. 3. On the Monday after the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, the Prior paid homage to Sir Ralph de Marton on behalf of the King, for the mill of Pippes" Heales 189 citing Cart. No. 519, fo. cxcv v. 26 Lewis F B, 'Pedes Finium' 87 11 Ed. II in SyAC Extra Vol. 1 (1894) 233 27 English Place-Names Society, Place-Names of Surrey XI (1934) 5 28 Heales 336 29 Pat. Roll 6 Eliz. Pt. vi m. 18, TNA C.66/1001 30 SHC K85/3/28 pp. 25 & 27 31 SHC K85/2/21-2 32 TNA/A4/9 fo.197 (Transcribed by John Wallace) 33 MLSC 'A Plan of Part of the River Wandel in the Parish of Morden and County of Surry, Survey'd 1750' 34 MoLAS 'Excavations at Bunce's Meadow, Phipps Bridge' (1993) unpublished typescript at Museum of London 35 TNA SC 6/HenVIII/3463 mm15ff 36 SHC Plan 3875. Map of an Estate called Merton Abbey 37 MVM Rucker seems to have been a relative newcomer to Mitcham, his name appearing in the poor rate books for the first time in Nov. 1768, renting land late Thos. Gray from "Esq. Garth". SHC LA5/4/8. 38 VCH IV (1912) 232 39 VCH IV (1912) 231 40 Montague E N Textile Bleaching and Printing in Mitcham and Merton 1590-1870 MHS (1992) 38–, and 77– 41 SHC K85/2/34 42 SHC K85/2/51 43 SHC K85/2/35 PHIPPS BRIDGE 44 SHC Merton Land Tax Records Rucker was also in occupation of a "freehold meadow field of two acres near Pepis Bridge" as a tenant of Messrs Sale and Baynes when the estate of the late William Myers II was offered for sale in 1775. (SHC 599/254) 45 SHC 212/73/2 The map of 1750 (Ref. 31 above) marks "Sir Nicholas Carew's New Mill" on a site close to that of New Close in the late 19th century (by which time the mill was no longer shown). 46 SHC K85/2/233 47 Information from Mrs Madeline Healey of Merton Historical Society, granddaughter of William Williams, Gilliat Hatfeild's bailiff, who at one time lived in a cottage in Phipps Bridge Road. 48 In the 1860s a John Henry Bunce was the tenant of Swains Farm, Mitcham, and 'turned out' his cattle to graze on Figges Marsh. According to the late Mrs Caroline L Bunce, of Tavistock Crescent, Mitcham, interviewed in 1993, in the 1920s the Bunce family had three 'farms', which she described as being in Mitcham, Morden and Wimbledon. 2 THE CALICO PRINTERS 1 Montgomery F M, Printed Textiles. English and American Cottons and Linens 1700-1850 (1970) 212 et seq. 2 Lysons D, Environs of London I (1792) 348 3 VCH (1905) 373; will proved 1777 PRO Prob. 11/993 fo. 439 Rucker was described as "of Carshalton". 4 MPR LA5/4/6-9 5 Wandsworth Local Studies Centre, Tooting Settlement Examinations 35, quoted by John Wallace in a personal communication, 30 January 1994. 6 Jones A E, An Illustrated Directory of Old Carshalton 211 7 SHC LA5/4/8 8 SHC LA5/4/9 9 SHC K85/2/35 10 MLT 11 SHC Mitcham Vestry Minutes. 19 November 1769. The vestry seems to have realised there might be some doubt as to the legality of its decision, for the minutes preface the assent "so far as in them" (i.e. the vestry) "lies". NOTES AND REFERENCES SHC K85/5/8 & K85/5/15 Certificate of the Contract for the Redemption of the Land Tax No. 43,374 dated 17 February 1870, refers to a meadow between the Old and New Rivers, and a plan attached to Certificate No.44,535 shows the eastern, or new river, as "The New Cut of the River Wandle made in 1769". 12 SHC 3875 Map of Merton Abbey Estate 13 SHC K85/4/158-247 14 Henry Byne was a member of the large family of Byne or Bine of Sussex. He was born at Morpeth in 1746, and obtained his BA at St Johns, Cambridge, in 1769. He married Ann, daughter of Sir Robert Heskech of Rufford, Lancs, and became Sheriff of Surrey 1791-2. Owner of properties in Carshalton and Mitcham, and the manors of Howleigh and Horley in Surrey. Died 1815. Renshaw W C, Byne or Bine of Sussex (1913) 185-6 15 SHC K85/4 Court Rolls of the Manor of Ravensbury 16 Jowett E M, A History of Merton and Morden (1951) 93 17 John Wallace – information in a personal communication 30 January 1994 18 SHC QS 2/1/27 430 19 Edwards 25 20 The list, produced initially under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947, was confirmed by the Minister of Housing and Local Government in January 1954. (Reference P.1602. Sheet and number on the map: 3/27). 21 Nairn I and Pevsner N, The Buildings of England: Surrey (1962) 316 22 MLSC Price F G, unpublished typescript thesis: "Eagle House and Eighteenth Century Architecture in Mitcham" 1954. (Price ultimately became the Town Planning Officer of Bloemfontein, S.A.) 23 Faulkner's Dublin Journal 23 June 1789, quoted by Longfield A K, in the Burlington Museum (1949) 71/73 24 Lysons 427/428, quoted in VCH II (1905) 373 25 Lysons 518, quoted in VCH II (1905) 373 26 Quote from Wandsworth Borough News 30 April 1976 27 SHC K85/4/171 Copy of Plan in possession of Henry Crawter May 1870. (Original c.1830-40) Crawter, who had offices at 1 Thanet Place and 7 Southampton Bldgs, was a member of the long-established 19th century firm of Thomas Crawter & Son. (Eden P, Dictionary of Land Surveyors etc, Great Britain & Ireland 1550-1850, Wimbledon Library 526.092) 28 MVM PHIPPS BRIDGE 29 Eden F, M, The State of the Poor (1797), Roger A G L, (Edit.) (1928) 30 Turnbull G, A History of the Calico Printing Industry in Great Britain (1951), and VCH (1905) 368 31 Peter McGow, of Clarendon Road, Croydon, in a pers. comm., February 1997. McGow's full notes are available online at www.wandle.org. 32 "In the Ravensbury Court Rolls at a Court Baron held on 7 February 1801, mention is made of 'all that close, parcel of meadowland, situate near Pipes Bridge in the parish of Mitcham, now used as a calico ground in the occupation of Messrs Howard, Hellier and Company, calico printers'. The Mr. Hellier who thus appears as a partner in this business was Isaac Hellier of Merton Abbey, calico printer ..." VCH II (1905) 374 33 VCH II (1905) 374 states that the Howards' factory premises "were the large printing works at Phipps Bridge, which were destroyed by fire about 1850." This is not correct – the fire destroyed the former 'Steam-Washing Factory' erected in 1824. Howard and Co's works became the silk printing works firstly of Peter Wood, and later Messrs Welch and Margetson. 34 "Mr. John Rivers was buried at Mitcham 16 May 1797. The inscription over his vault is as follows: 'Sacred to the memory of Mr. John Rivers of this parish Calicoe Printer who died 9th May 1797, aged 57 years.' In his will he is described as 'John Rivers the elder of Mitcham, gent.'." VCH II (1905) 374 35 "The Howard family has a high railed tomb in Morden churchyard, from which it appears that 'Mr. Richard Howard formerly of Phipps Bridge, Mitcham, died December 19th, 1820, in the 80th year of his age'."VCH II (1905) 374 36 Lee C E, "Early Railways in Surrey" in Transactions of the Newcomen Society XXI (1940-41) 52 37 The Times 18 July 1801, (McGow, in pers. comm. Feb 1997) 38 London Gazette 29 Aug-1 Sept 1801 39 Montague E N, Pollards Hill, Commonside East & Lonesome MHS (2002) 73-74 3 DIVERSIFICATION 1 Montague E N, North Mitcham MHS (2001) 55 2MLT 3 SHC K85/4/158-9: The transaction included 2a.18p. of enclosed land at Phipps Bridge with messuage and buildings used by calico printers; land in Flemings (? Mead) called Upper America or the Shoulder of Mutton Field NOTES AND REFERENCES (5a.12r.16p.), land in Flemings or Blacklands called Lower America (9a.1r.20p.) – all the estate of the late Henry Byne. It was conveyed by George Adams of London to James Moore in 1821. 4 MLSC 'Plan of some Property on the River Wandle from Mr. Polhill's Snuff Mill to Merton Bridge' (Photocopy made in 1956 of original then in the possession of Liberty and Company, formerly of Merton Abbey). (Copy also in Sutton Library) 5 Information from Peter McGow 6 SHC QS 6/8/164 'Book of Reference', dated 29 November 1834. This lists the "Owners etc. of Property, taken under the authority of an Act of Parliament for the extraction of water from the Wandle at Waddon Mills". Two factories listed for Mitcham, numbered 1 and 2, are marked on the accompanying map on the north-east side of the river at Phipps Bridge. Both were owned by Major Moore, and leased to William Kneller. They were described as 'empty'. 7 MLSC Extra-illustrated Copy of Brayley's History of Surrey 8 SHC K85/4/158-247 9 Patent No. 5154, registered 20 April 1825. This concerned the "invention of certain improvements on the Machinery or Apparatus for Washing, Cleansing, or Bleaching of Linens, Cottons and other fabrics", and utilised steam pressure to force a mixture of soap and water, or "pearlash", soda, etc., through the textiles. Rinsing was with hot water, and drying with steam. Wright advocated the use of a final blast of cold air through the treated textiles to complete the process. 10 Montague E N, Textile Bleaching and Printing in Mitcham and Merton 1590 - 1870 MHS (1992) 64/65 11 MoLT 12 SHC 6089/1/47 See also Mitcham in 1838 A Survey by Messrs Crawter & Smith, MHS Local History Notes 21 (2002) 13 Bidder H F, (Edit.) Memories of Old Mitcham (1923) Article by Ben Slater 14 MLSC Sale Particulars of the Moore Estate, 29 August 1853 (Transferred from Croydon Local Studies Library) 15 MLSC Copy of Mitcham Census Return, 1851. PRO Book 46 2b. Francis Asprey and John Bamford are given as occupants of Welch & Co's factory, which is described as "Partly inhabited as a dwelling house". Wandle Villa is not mentioned at all – possibly because the Welch family were absent on census night. PHIPPS BRIDGE 16 Hiller B, Asprey of Bond Street 1781-1981 (1981) 15-21 17 SHC K85/4/161 18 Braithwaite 201 19 SHC K85/4/162 20 SHC K85/4/163 21 SHC K85/4/168. Notice of the dissolution of Breach and Smith's partnership appeared in the London Gazette in 1865 22 SHC K85/4/166 23 SHC K85/4/170 and 188 4 THE HATFEILDS AND WANDLE VILLA 1 SHC K85/4/174 2 SHC K85/4/210 Land Tax Redemption Certificate No. 43,374, dated 17 February 1870 3 SHC K85/4/210 4 SHC Land Tax Redemption Certificate No. 44,535, dated 13 April 1871 5 SHC K85/2/353-372 6 Morden Hall Park: Estate Manager's Office, Snuff Mills. 7 Kelly's Directory 1899 8 Information from the late Mr Loines, formerly of Everett's Place, Phipps Bridge Road. 5 EVERETT'S PLACE 1 SHC K85/4/158 - 247 2 SHC Mitcham Land Tax assessments. £10 each 3 A local tradition holds that this cottage was once a small public house, known as the 'Running Horses', but corroberative documentary evidence seems not to have survived. The bressemer built into the front wall at first floor level certainly suggests it may not always have been used for purely domestic purposes. Could it be that the name and business was transferred to the end cottage in the 1870s after the original beer house had been demolished? 4 SHC K85/4 The Land Tax Redemption Certificate No. 48792, dated 6 May 1875, relates to land on which formerly stood the 'Running Horses' beershop. This property is quite distinct from No. 94 Phipps Bridge Road, and the certificate suggests that if the latter cottage became a public house, it must have been sometime in the last quarter of the 19th century. NOTES AND REFERENCES 5 Situated at the junction of Commonside East and Windmill Road. See Montague Eric, Mitcham Common (2001) 75 6 The Mitcham Tithe Map of 1847, admittedly on a small scale, shows nothing resembling the distinctive round tower of the folly. Furthermore, it was not standing when the survey for the first edition of the 25-inch OS Map was conducted in 1866. 7 SHC K85/4/288 The trustees were Andrew and Robert Mann junior. 8 Information given to the writer by the late H E Loines (b.1884), resident at Everett's Place, Phipps Bridge Road in 1967. Loines would have heard the story of the folly from his parents. The Surrey Iron Railway was still in operation when old London bridge was demolished, and it is possible that sand and gravel from Mitcham pits was transported to the Thames at Wandsworth and then by barge downstream to where the new bridge was being built. If so, it is conceivable that stone from the old bridge may have been carried back to Mitcham, but one would have thought a disposal site closer to hand would have been more convenient. 9 Mitcham and Distict Advertiser 7 April 1960. Article by 'J. O'C.' 6 WANDLE HOUSE 1 MLSC Mitcham Tithe Commutation Survey Register 1846 & Map 1847 See also Mitcham in 1846 The Tithe Apportionment Map, MHS Local History Notes 22 (2002) 2 MPR SHC LA5/4/9 3 SHC G85/2/1/147 'Sale Particulars of the Estate of the late James Perry of Wandlebank House, Merton' 4 Post Office Directory 1845, and tithe register Revill was listed in the directory under 'Traders'. His name does not appear in the 1851 directory. 5 Letter from Nobes to his cousin, recently emigrated to New Zealand, 1874. (Copy supplied to writer by descendant, undertaking family history research) 6 MoLAS An Archaeological Evaluation at Windlesham and Sunningdale Allotments Site (1994) PHIPPS BRIDGE 7 NEW CLOSE 1 SHC 212/73 2 British Library Harl, 1.444, fo. 186b 3 MLSC Plan of Property at Morden drawn for Richard Garth in 1750 4 SHC K2/6/20 Records of the manor of Biggin and Tamworth 5 Wandle Industrial Museum. Collection of photographs and notes deposited by Wilfred Prentis. The paired, round-headed windows of the first floor above the front porch suggest a date in the mid-1850s. 6 Merton Borough News October 1970. Report of retirement of Mr Mount, former refuse foreman. 8 THE PAINT AND VARNISH MANUFACTURERS 1 Memorial in churchyard 2 MLT 1829, p.17. 3 Mr Hines of Phipps Bridge Road, for instance, and Arthur Bond, the former general foreman. There is no mention of the firm in the Mitcham section of Pigot & Co's directories for 1832-1834 or 1839, nor does the name occur in the Robson's Commercial Directory of the Six Home Counties for 1839. Despite the incorporation of two stones dated 1791 in Harlands' buildings at Phipps Bridge, it seems likely that Wm Harland & Son's original works were situated elsewhere. 4 Miss Jane Ford, a Harland descendant, in a pers. comm. 5 MLSC Sale particulars of the Moore Estate, 29 August 1853 (Ex Croydon Local Studies Library. Harold Williams Collection) 6 The seven firms listed were Addington, Paul, varnish maker, Phipps Bridge Harland, Wm & Son, japan & varnish manufacturers, Phipps Bridge Latham, William, varnish and japan manufacturer Noble, John, varnish manufacturer, Lower Mitcham Parsons, Thos, varnish manufacturer, Lower Mitcham Schweizer, Spong & Co, varnish & japan manufacturers. Factory, Church Street; Offices, 28 Poole Street, Hoxton Turner, Charles & Son, varnish and paper mnfrs., Merton Lane 7 The site was occupied by W H Armfield Ltd, structural steel stock holders, in the mid 20th century, but later became a car auction centre. NOTES AND REFERENCES 8 It is shown in her ownership on the map produced in 1853 when her late father's estate was auctioned. 9 SHC K2/6/10 The Manor of Biggin and Tamworth records 10 SHC Photograph 'SCC cc. 2/5', with note on back 'Surrey, Mitcham, near Phipps Bridge Road. Demolished c.1938' 11 I am indebted to the late Arthur W Bond, once general foreman of William Harland & Son Ltd, for the description in this section of Harland's house, and for much of the other information concerning the production of varnish at Harlands. 12 For most of my information on the history of Thomas Parsons & Sons Ltd, I am indebted to the book 150 Years of Paint and Varnish Manufacturing, which the firm produced in 1952. 13 SHC 2640 9 NORTH OF PHIPPS BRIDGE 1 SHC K2/6/10 Manor of Biggin and Tamworth records 2 SHC 3875 3 MLSC Extra-illustrated Brayley's History of Surrey 4 Wimbledon Society Museum 'Plan of some property on the River Wandle from Mr. Polhill's snuff mill to Merton Bridge' 5 Braithwaite 201 6 Jowett E M, A History of Merton and Morden (1951) 17 7 SHC Merton Land Tax books 8 London Borough of Lambeth Minet Library. Surveyor's notebook with details of Merton Abbey Estate in 1802 and 1805 9 John Wallace of the John Innes Society, in pers. comm. c.1980 10 MLSC Tom Francis lecture notes, Goodman J, 'George Haité of Mitcham' in MHS Bulletin 125, (March 1998) 12, and Young H, Designs for Shawls, Victoria and Albert Museum, (1988) 11 MLSC Sale map of the Estate of the late James Moore, 1853 12 MLSC Miscellaneous Sale Particulars, Box B 13 SHC 2327/1/1 14 MLSC Tom Francis Scrapbook, local newspaper article headed 'The Surrey Pulpit' and also a cutting headed 'Mitcham Notes' by 'A Commoner' PHIPPS BRIDGE 10 THE PHIPPS BRIDGE ESTATE 1 Jowett E M, A History of Merton and Morden (1951) 17 2 Excavations by MoLAS at Varley Way in 1993 and on the Windlesham and Sunningdale Allotments in 1994 produced evidence of repeated flooding in the past in the form of strata of silt and old watercourses. 3 Until 1975, when the site was cleared, a parish boundary stone stood at the side of Phipps Bridge Road against William Harland & Sons Ltd's fence. 4 Montague E N The Archaeology of Mitcham MHS (1992) Appendix vii- viii 5 Merton Borough News, August 1975 6 Merton Borough News September 1974. Letter from Mr Blackey. 7 Merton Borough News 17 December 1976. Letter from Philip Huxley. 8 Merton Borough News 11 May 1979 9 The properties included in the Compulsory Purchase Order were: 165-171, 175-179, 183-193, 197-241, 100-142, 146-150, 154-168 Church Road, 143, 145, 137, 139, 127 and 129 Church Road, 2-10 Chapel Road and 4 Homewood Road. Merton Borough News 9 November 1973 10 MoLAS Excavations at Deen City Farm Grazing, Varley Way, Mitcham (1993) 11 Prolonged negotiations with British Rail in the hope of securing a new station for the Phipps Bridge estate on the Wimbledon to Croydon railway proved less successful, and in September 1979 it was announced that the Board considered a station at this point would not be financially viable. Twenty-one years later, in May 2000, the area's isolation ended with the opening of two stops, Phipps Bridge and Belgrave Walk, on the new Croydon Tramlink. 12 Merton Borough News 1 June 1979 13 The Times 16 July 1991 14 Merton Messenger April 1994 INDEX Addington, Paul, varnish manufacturer Addington's gate – at Cannizaro Park Aelmer, Saxon landowner Amyand, Sir George Ancell (or Ansell), Joseph Ansculf family, Norman landowners Archaeology Excavations: Benedict Primary School Bunce's Meadow Deen City Farm Phipps Bridge Primary School Short Batsworth Wandle House, site of Museum of London (MoLAS) Pleistocene mammalia Romano-British cemetery Romano-British settlement Stane Street Stone Age tools Arnold's Mead Arthur, James, physic gardener Asprey, Charles Edward Francis William Asprey & Co Ault and Wiborg Ltd Axe, William 'Back River', the Baldwin de Insula (or de Redvers), landowner Banford, John Bartlett, Thomas Bath Road Batsworth Belata Belting Factory Belgrave Road Bennett's mill stream Bensley, Richard 143 75, 96, 97, 100-1, 102 97 14 29 5, 100 14-15 132 18 18, 132 127 12-13 67 67, 127, 132 112 12, 127 12 12 112 10, 16, 21, 22, 24, 30 5 52 52-3, 58 52 52 52 82, 98 5 36, 102 13 52 104 114, 119 12, 13, 107 77 114 132 51 PHIPPS BRIDGE Bestobell of Slough 96 Biggin and Tamworth, manor of 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 83, 99, 100 Bine(s) see Byne Bishopp, John of Morden, 'husbandman' 21 Blacklands 12-13 Bleaching Field, Great 5, 8, 100 Bleaching, introduction of 21 Bloxam's Meadow 4 Bomacel Ltd 98 Bomb damage 60, 66 Bond, Arthur W 85-92 Boudery, Mrs de 81, 83 Bounds beating 3-8 Bowler, W A 55 Bowleys Paints Ltd 98 Braithwaite, F, civil engineer 53 Brangwyn Crescent 4, 83, 99, 105-6, 107 Breach & Co 54, 55 Breach J R 54, 55 Breach, Smith and Hartog 22, 54 Brickearth 111 Brickfields 75 Bridger, James 13, 81, 83, 100, 106 British Nitrolac Co Ltd 98 'Bull Ditch' 18, 116 Bunce family, graziers 24-26, 134 'Bunce's ditch' 8 Bunce's Meadow 3-5, 16, 18, 24-7, 114-5, 120 Burnett, Sir Robert, of Morden Hall 39 Burton, Sir Henry, of Carshalton 12, 19 Bush, W J & Co Ltd 111, 114, 116-7, 125 Butler, William H, of Wandle Villa 56 Henry William, floorcloth manufacturer 80 Byne(s), Henry, landowner 19, 32, 33, 36, 37, 41, 135 Calico printers 21, 29-40 Carew, Sir Nicholas, owner of new mill 69 Carewe, George, landowner 22, 69 Carling, William H, Wandle Villa INDEX Carson-Paripan, paint manufacturers Chandler, J, brewer Chart, Edwin Robert M, plan by Chesson, Thomas Christ Church, Colliers Wood Church Road Clarkson family Clarkson's tip Clerke, Dr Bartholomew, landowner Francis Cock Chimney Works Collins, Charles, textile printer Collins and Whiteman, textile printers Coloquid Paints Ltd Common land Common waste, enclosure of / encroachment on Copperplate printing Crab Tree Corner Crabtree Mead Crawter, Henry Croydon Tramlink, – see Tramlink Cut(t)', the 'New Deen City Farm Deer Park Road Eloy, Peter St Enclosure of common waste – see Common waste Eustace, prior of Merton Everett, Henry Robert William Everett's Place Ferguson, James & Sons Ltd 145 96 60 3, 4, 5 56 38 66, 107 79, 80, 126 70 70, 115 69 69 125 50 50 98 19, 99-100 19, 31, 83 29 4 10, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 30 4, 53, 55 4, 16, 22, 31 5, 18, 24, 27, 97 5 32 13 59 60 62 36, 59-64 98 PHIPPS BRIDGE Field Names: America, Upper and Lower Arnold's Mead Batsworth Blacklands Bloxam's Meadow Bull's Meadow Bunce's Meadow Crabtree Mead Five Acre Mead Great Bleaching Field Grove Field Headacre in Mill Furlong Howard's Field Linton's Meadow Marsh Garden Mill Furlong Mill Mead Phipps Bridge Close Pippes Meade Pypes Grove Southmead Three Slips FitzAnsculf – see Ansculf family Five Acre Mead Flooding, liability to Floorcloth manufacturers Folly, Phipps Bridge Road Free warren, grant of Garth, family Richard Richard V Richard, the Revd Sir Richard 136-7 10, 16, 21, 22, 24, 30 12-13, 107 12-13 4 24 3-5, 16, 18, 24-7, 114-5, 120 10, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 30 22, 24 5, 8,100 17, 19, 22, 31, 36, 51, 65, 83 12, l9 10, 19 4-5, 10 22, 69 12, 19 16, 21, 22 11, 12, 19 10, 16, 17, 21 10, 16 16, 21 16, 21, 22, 24, 30 22, 24 8, 17, 18, 107, 116 56, 80-1 60-2 21 16, 17, 21, 22, 24 16, 69 16, 17, 30 5 55 Gasworks – see Mitcham Gas Light and Coke Co Goldwyer, Thomas, landowner 12 Gould, George 37 Gould, Reynolds & Co, textile printers 36, 37 Gravel digging 111, 115 Greater London Council, compulsory purchase by 129 Grey, Thomas, landholder INDEX 147 Grove Cottage Grove Field Gypsies and 'travellers' Hadfield, George H R S Samuel R Hadfields (Merton) Ltd, paint manufacturers Haité, George, artist Haité, George Charles Haité, William Hamer, R J & Sons Ltd Harland, Elizabeth Robert Samuel Robert Sarah Elizabeth William William & Son, varnish manufacturers Harland Primary School Hartog, Charles, senior Harvey & Knight, floorcloth manufacturers Haslemere School, Hatfeild, Alexander Gilliat Gilliat Edward Mrs J E Headacre in Mill Furlong Hellier (or Hillier), Isaac Helps, Benjamin, calico printer Henry, William 72, 81, 85, 89 17, 19, 22, 31, 36, 51, 65, 83 112, 119, 128-9 75, 96 96 96 75, 96, 97, 98, 102 104 104 104 98 71, 82 82, 83, 100 72, 74, 82, 83, 100 82 81, 82 56, 71-94 83 54 80 12, 125 54 24, 32, 51, 54, 55, 60, 63, 113, 114 26, 56 55 12, 19 38, 40, 136 51 30 Hesee and Smyth, floorcloth manufacturers 80 Hidebourne, the river 3 Hoare, Henry 39 Hokelandis, John, landholder 16 Holte, John, landowner 19 Homefield Gardens 19, 31, 36, 85 Homefield House 36, 82-3, 85 Homewood Road Depot 9, 70, 115-21 Horn(e), Thomas 65-6 148 PHIPPS BRIDGE Howard & Co, calico printers 22, 34-40 Howard, Richard 37, 38, 136 Howard and Rivers, calico printers 19, 65 Howard's Field 10, 19 Huguenots 21, 32 Insula, de, family – see de Redvers 'Iron Road' – see Surrey Iron Railway Jackson, T S & Co Ltd 98 Jacob's Green 36, 102 Keiner & Co Ltd 98 Kemp, John and Sons Ltd 98 Knight, Rafe 16 Kymer, Christopher 50 Maximillian 50 Latham, Joseph 75 William, & Co Ltd, varnish manufacturers 75, 77 Leach, John 104 Ledmer, Saxon landowner 15 Liberty & Co 8 Linton, Robert 4, 5, 8 'Littler's Cottage' (and see 'The Nook') 4, 105 Lodges at Wandle Villa 58, 59 Lombard Road factories 8, 12 London Bridge – stone from 62, 139 London Patent Steam Washing Co 42-49 Lovell, Sir Gregory, of Merton Abbey 9 Lowgee, Jonas, landholder 21 Loyal Mitcham Volunteer Infantry 40 MacPherson, Donald & Co Ltd, paint manufacturers 96, 98, 125 Mann, Robert, of New Close 62, 63, 70 Mara, de / de la Mare, family 15, 21 Margetson, John Stewart, silk merchant 51 Market gardening 108 Marsh Garden 22, 69 Marshall's tip 115 INDEX 149 Marton, Sir Ralph de Mears, Robert, brickmaker Merton Abbey estate 'Merton Abbey Lane' Merton Grange Merton Place Estate Merton Priory Michamingemerke Mill Furlong Mill Mead 15, 133 75 5, 19, 100 12 16 5, 24 4, 9, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 62, 99, 102, 103, 105 3, 103 12, 19 16, 21, 22 Mill, Phipps – see Phipps Mill Mill, Sir Nicholas Carew's 69 Mitcham Gas Light and Coke Co 81 Mitcham Vestry 31, 33, 36-7 Mitchell, W A & Smith Ltd 98 Moore, Estate sale Henry James Morden Hall Morden Hall Park, drainage of land in Morgan, W & Sons Ltd National Trust 53 41 40, 41, 42, 50-1, 71, 75, 81, 83, 100, 105 Nelson, Lord – see Merton Place New Close 'New Cutt', the Newton, Leach & Co Nixon, Francis Hester John Nixon and Amyand, calico printers Nixon & Co, calico printers Nobes, Homan and Hunter, leather merchants Nobes, Jerman 'Nook, The' 'Old White House' – see Grove Cottage 24, 26, 55, 56 1, 3, 4, 22, 24, 26, 55-6 17 22, 24 98 26, 56, 58, 63, 120 62, 69-70, 130 4, 16, 22, 56, 135 100 29 29, 30 30 21, 29, 30 29, 30, 34-5 66 66, 107 87, 104-5 Oxtoby, John PHIPPS BRIDGE Paint and varnish industry Palmer, William Parish boundary Parker, John Dewye Parsons, George Thomas Thomas and Sons Ltd, paint manufacturers Peck, George Harland- Sarah E Pennell family Perry, James, of Wandle Bank Phipps bridge Phipps Bridge Close Phipps Bridge Estate Phipps Bridge Primary School Phipps Bridge Road 'Phippesbridge Works' Phipps mill Physic gardeners Pickle Common 'Pickle Ditch' Piggeries 'Pightle' 'Pipes' / 'Pypes' / 'Pippes' Pippes Grove Pippes Meade Pippesmoln Pitt, George John Marsh Potter, James, 'physic' gardener Potter and Moore Pratt, Thomas 'Pratt's Folly' Prefabricated houses Prizefighting Purdom, George, & Co, paint manufacturers Pyppisbrigg – see Phipps Bridge Queens Road 71-98 51 3-8, 16, 103 30 77, 78, 94 77, 78, 94 77, 79, 93, 94 82 82 56 65 4, 9, 12, 30, 31 11, 12, 19 107-130 125 22, 107 29 13-18 108 102 4, 36, 83, 102-3 112 102 13, 15-16 10, 16 10, 16, 17, 21 15 111 111 59 41, 80, 117 105-6 106 121 26, 114-5 79-92, 98 114, 119 INDEX 151 Railways (see also Surrey Iron Railway and Tramlink) 22, 24, 70, 74, 81, 115 bridge level crossing Ravensbury Lane manor of mills 'Redskin Village' Redvers, de, Baldwin family Richard Refuse collection and disposal Revill, George, linen draper Reynolds, Robert Rivers, Ann Howard and Hellier James John Rivers, Lady Rock Terrace Rock Terrace Recreation Ground 'Royal Factory' Rucker, John Anthony 'Running Horses' beerhouse Runnymede Rutter family, snuff millers St Eloy, Peter 22, 24 22, 24 127 13, 15 21, 69 112, 114 13 13, 15 13 26, 117, 120 65 37, 38 38 38 38 38, 40, 65, 136 35 113, 114 114, 119, 124 50 20-2, 29-37, 65, 133, 134 60, 138 8 69 32 Scriven, Jemima, landowner (see also de Boudery) 81 Silk mill 41 Silk printing 50-4 Simpson, William 3 Slater, Ben 51, 52 Smith, C R, landowner 24 Smythe, George, grant of fishery 21 Thomas, landowner 69 Snuff mills 38 Southmead 16, 21 Steam Washing Factory – see London Patent Steam Washing Factory PHIPPS BRIDGE Sturdy, Edward Surrey Iron Railway Swain's Farm Sydney, Sir Henry Taxes, assessment Taylor, Thomas Three Slips Townsend, John William, floorcloth manufacturer Tramlink Turner, Charles & Son, varnish manufacturers Tyrrell, John Varnish makers Vauxhall, manor of Wade, John, wool merchant Waite, cottage of Wandgas sports ground Wandle House Wandle, river pollution extraction of water Wandle Trail Wandle Valley Conservation Area 65-6 38, 42, 72, 107, 109, 139 134 16 31, 36 51, 83 16, 21, 22, 24, 30 80 5, 8, 24, 130, 142 71, 75, 77 42, 49 92-8 14-5 54 4, 5 127-8 65-7 4, 5, 8, 15, 18, 21, 24, 36, 53, 56, 69, 111 53-4, 102, 106 137 27 27 Wandle Villa 18, 19, 22, 24, 30, 32, 33-5, 41, 51, 52, 54, 55-8, 60 Welch, Joseph James 51 Welch and Margetson, silk printers 22, 26, 51-4 102 Westbrook's Mill 69 West Field 12 West Hill House, Wandsworth 35 White House or 'The Old White House' – see Grove Cottage Whiteman, Jasper 50 Whitney family 21 Williams, Deacon & Co 51 Windsor Avenue 8 Wood, Alexander 60 Peter 41 Thomas, 'silk throwster' 41 Wood's silk mill 41, 51