Merton Park

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Abbey Recreation Ground

Called this after Merton Abbey which was in the area – it was never an Abbey but commonly called so.

Circle Gardens,

 Intended to have a church as its focus, was not built up until c. 1930. 

Church Lane

Dorset Hall elderly 1770.

Cottages. As Merton Park was also a farming estate, cottages designed by Quartermain for farm and estate workers are just round the corner from City men's homes. Pretty ones are in facing the churchyard, 1881. The result is great   diversity both of scale and size, far more so than in the more famous Bedford Park, for example

St.Mary. The old parish church of Merton.  According to the Merton cartulary, it was rebuilt by Gilbert, the founder of the priory  between 1114 and 1125. It is much restored - the exterior all refaced in flint - but the fabric of the nave is Norman. There is a Norman window in the wall near the end and a Norman door with zigzag, this includes an inner door and some nice ironwork. The aisle dates  from  1856 by F. Digweed and an arch from 1897 by H. G. Quartermain. The chancel is early c13 chancel, unusually long, and inside by tall blank arcading, a Surrey feature. It is thought to be by the same architect as early medieval churches at Mersham, Cliffe, Brasted and Gatton.  The chancel has a 13th- century priest's door, lancet windows in curious recesses and a  Hammerbeam roof. c15 timber porch with panels and bargeboards.  The reredos  is from 1889 by Ewan Christian.  There is a stained glass, window commemorating John Innes by Morris & Co., 1907. Monuments: Gregory Lovell 1597 cofferer to Elizabeth I and wives, alabaster, with kneeling figures;  Smith family, erected by the widow of Captain Cook, kneeling figure. By R. J. Wyatt, signed Rome 1832.  There are the hatchments of Lord Nelson and Sir William Hamilton, and in the vestry is preserved a bench on which Nelson sat during services. 

Churchyard.  Built into the churchyard wall is a Norman archway of about 1175 from the priory, discovered in 1914 and re-erected here in 1935. It has  three orders, with a number of elaborate boldly three-dimensional geometrical motifs.  Some other medieval fragments are built into the side of the archway facing the vicarage garden. Grave of Francis Nixon. Nelson's mounting stone near the church gate, used to stand near the bricked up entrance to church house,

Vicarage 1800, glebe land behind it,

Dorset Road

Main thoroughfare of the new estate, broad, generously planted avenues laid out c. 1870. The earliest development, very plain, yellow brick, of c.  1870-5 can be found. It contrasts sharply with what followed: the deliberate creation of a garden suburb, with generous planting of trees and holly hedges (a distinguishing feature of the area), allied to picturesque and artistic houses in the up-to-date Domestic Revival style by the estate architect. G. Quatermain. Examples can be found from c. 1880 to just after 1900 - tile-hanging, half- timbering, Queen Anne windows, gables and bargeboards, and much else.

18 John Innes's own house. A simpler red brick, roughcast, and terracotta style appears in his last buildings c. 1897-1904 - his own house. 1902.

High Path

St John the Divine, 1914 by C.H. Gage. Light and spacious interior.  Stained glass Lady Chapel window by Morris & Co., 1919.

'High Path' is actually Station Road, a good indication of where the one-time Tooting Merton & Wimbledon Railway premises at Merton Abbey were located. However 'Station Road' later gives way to the front of the "SavaCentre", part of a modern shopping complex, and the service road of which roughly corresponds to Merton Abbey Station approach.

High Path Estate.

Merton Place, In 1764 Richard Hotham, an East India Merchant, bought Moat House Farm and renamed it Merton Place. Later bought by Nelson who lived with the Hamiltons in 1801-5. After Nelson’s death Emma sold it and the grounds were sold for building in 1823.  At first 19th artisans’ cottages were built but they were gradually replaced according to a master plan of 1956 by Clifford Culpin & Partners and A. J.  Thomas. Near St John's church, four-storey flats around courtyards, in 1951-7 by A. J. Thomas. Then three high rise towers by William Ryder, 1964 and 1968-70.  Later still in 1975-7, low terraces by William Ryder & Partners.

Manor Club;

Merton Public Hall

Kingston Road

180 Almshouses, dated 1797, modest.

Long Lodge, later c 18, with a  brown brick front and a pediment with blind oculus, once the  home of Frederick Shields, the Pre-Raphaelite painter. Also home of J.S.Brocklesby architect  who designed arts and crafts style houses in the area after Innes’  death.   In 1934 it became Merton Park Studios where 130 B pictures  were made before  1976,. Site since developed.

Dorset Hall, also later c 18, brown brick with red brick  dressings.

Housing At the corner of Rutlish Road, pleasantly grouped  two-storey housing by the Borough Architect's Department. A.  Jadhar, D. Nicklin, 1975-81

Melrose Road

Melrose School

2-30;

4-20 prize winning entrants in John Innes competition for semi-rural houses. One by Sydney Bradley in A.N.Fen, these houses launched his career, he worked for Merton Park Estates, Queen Alexandra came to see the houses.

Merton Park

Interwoven with the old roads are the new roads of the suburb called Merton Park created by John Innes, a property developer who turned local landowner and benefactor. He bought Manor Farm for development in 1867 and remained until his death in 1904.  He wanted to develop the area but the railway companies were not happy, what is seen is his solution

Merton Park Station.1868. Between Morden Road and Dundonald Road on Croydon Tramlink.  Opened on the Wimbledon – Tooting line going via Merton. Originally it had no platforms. It was later developed by Innes in connection with his Merton Park Estate. Originally it was called ‘Lower Merton’ but Innes campaigned against this and in 1876 the name was changed, because of Innes, to Merton Park. It was on the Merton Abbey-Tooting Line but also adjoined the Wimbledon- Croydon railway.   Trains came from Wimbledon. The main building was constructed on the east side of the line, and provided direct access to the up side, Tooting, platform. There was a medium sized station house, with a short awning over the entrance, and a larger one facing the trains. There was a small brick shelter serving the down line, and the platform was widened for the West Croydon services in 1870. There was no footbridge so passengers had to walk across the line. In 1887 it was renamed as Merton Park. In 1929 the Tooting section was closed and the station went into decline following the introduction of trams and closed in 1949. It was then goods only until 1969, when that too closed. It reopened in 1998 as part of Croydon Tramlink. The tram stop is slightly to the north of the original station. Two platforms of the original have now vanished - they served the Tooting Junction loop, and later the Wimbledon - West Croydon branch, both of which have gone. In the the early 1970s, LBSCR type name boards survived with serif metal letters displayed on a wooden background, facing the Tooting line. After the Merton Abbey route was closed to freight, the track was lifted, and a wooden walkway provided to link the platforms which was later replaced by a heap of spoil. trains continued calling at the single platform for West Croydoon where passengers had to walk across the overgrown site before reaching the street.  the buildings remained and continued to offer booking facilities, but it soon became derelict.  The line up to Merton Abbey was controlled from here as if it was a long siding. By the time Tramlink open it was the only surviving original building on the branch, but it was a ruin..

The course of the Merton Abbey route is still discernable as it wanders off eastwards, but it is soon encroached by undergrowth and eventually disappears beneath a jungle of bushes and other foliage. Walk along the old track bed towards Merton Abbey. For the first two-hundred yards or so, it is now a clearly defined foot- path, and takes on a semi - rural aspect passing Nursery Road Playing Fields and Abbey Recreation Ground, becoming much less so as it nears Morden Road where the track bed disappears under what is now a dual carriageway,

Tramlink - The station building at Merton Park beautifully restored after many years of dereliction. The predominantly cream coloured building can be appreciated in particular from its front elevation facing Branksome Road, complete with an attractive entrance porch canopy, which, if not original, looks extremely authentic! Brand new housing now straddles the former Wimbledon side platform site, the whole of the former track bed having been filled in to platform level a few years ago.

Footpath carries on intersecting with another at right angles, which goes over the present Croydon branch of Tramlink by way of the original footbridge onto Dorset Road.

Old wall still there leading to school playing field,

Iron gates 18th century

Archway in Littler's grounds made people think the priory was on the west bank, the arch is probably entrance to hospice and is in Merton Churchyard .  Norman triple order dogtooth arch c.1175. Used as front door of house built under Henry VIII. 1912 house bought by Arthur Liberty from Edmund Littler and 1914 demolished. Saved the arch and Bidder paid for it. Other bits survived until 19th century

Stone threshold to gateway in the church wall, Led to Sheriden's calico warehouse

Morden Road

98 Prince of Wales. This medium-sized Young's pub dates from around the mid-19th century and has retained; its Victorian frontage.

Morden Road Station Wimbledon and Croydon Railway. 1855 by G. P. Bidder. Hipped roof, central chimney. Now tramlink

Morden Road station: 1857. Between Phipps Bridge and Merton Park on Croydon Tramlink.   This was originally on the Wimbledon and Croydon Railway, built in 1855 by G. P. Bidder. It was 1 ½  miles from Morden Village but was still the nearest station and 70 years later it was still very rural. This station was added in 1857. The original two storey house and ticket office remained for a long time with a hipped roof, central chimney. In at first traffic was slow and Sunday services were cut. Opened as ‘Morden’ it was demoted to ‘Morden Halt’ in 1918 and in 1951 ‘Morden Road Halt. It was renamed plain 'Morden Road'  on 5th May 1969.  It continued to be little used, and weekend Saturday services were cut in 1964. The main building was demolished in November 1982 and replaced by a shelter, which was vandalised. In 1997 the station closed and in 1998 opened on Tramlink..

Nelson Memorial Ground, cannons

Shopping Centre: mediocre

Crown House 1959/61 13 storeys

23-37 north cottages nineteenth century terrace built by Thomas Iron owner and rebuilt sheet metal works, tower, all of corrugated iron

31;

33

Nelson's Fields

Abbey Recreation Ground. ' Formerly land belonging to the canons of Merton Priory.

Railway Lines

Line between Croydon and Wimbledon. Immediately beyond the south-eastern end of the single platform at Morden Road trains passed beneath the bridge carrying Morden Road From Merton Park, the line continuing towards the south-east, the route skirts playing fields before reaching the station, which is sited 37ch away. 

Junction in 1868 was set up here when a line from Tooting joined the Croydon-Wimbledon Line.


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