Thames Tributaries – the River Wandle - Morden Hall

Thames Tributaries – the River Wandle
The Wandle flows north and west

Post to the north Merton Abbey
Post to the south St.Helier

Belgrave Walk
Belgrave walk tram stop. Built 1998 between Mitcham and Phipps Bridge on Croydon Tramlink

Benedict Road
Surrey Iron Railway Route. The line ran north west from Baron Path to the junction of Church Path and Ravensbury Lane. It then ran parallel with the west side of Benedict Road and then Followed Church Road
Benedict First School

Central Road
4 The Grange. Regency villa
Steel Hawes. Estate on the east side of the road with cottages and a main house.

Church Road
The road was locally called ‘Iron Road’.
The route of the Surrey Iron Railway from Benedict Road followed Church Road

Hallowfield way
Chemical plant replaced by anaerobic digester

Hengelow Avenue
Garages – site of Ravensbury Print Works. The print works extended along the north bank of the river, and the site is now occupied by the garages of the Hengelow Gardens housing estate. In the early 18th Peter Mauvillian, a Huguenot calico printer, employed over 280 people here and in Wandsworth. It was one of the sites where large scale block printing was done. In 1755 the print works was "a most extensive manufactory", and where that the calico bleached on the adjoining grounds was printed. In the mid 18th it was run by a John Arbuthnott, then Thomas Hatcher and then William Fleming. In the early 19th the Works was known for its brightly coloured Paisley shawls, Ravensbury print works stopped operating around 1860 when it was operated by Peter Dempsey and George Heard. In 1875 it was sold to Gilliat Hatfeild of Morden Hall and used as a store. It was bombed in 1940 and then bought by Morden Council and demolished. Nothing now remains except some red brick wall

Morden Hall Estate
Morden Hall Park was the private park for the mansion on the western edge of it. The Park occupies a site of ancient settlement. In the Saxon period and at Domesday Morden belonged to Westminster Abbey and this continued until the Dissolution. The Manor was then bought by William Duckett and Edmund Whitchurch for £699/18/1 in ready money". It was later sold to Richard Garth, a Clerk and this included Growtes`, a newqly bnuilt house. The later hall was built to the west of this area and ferequently leased out. In 1867 Richard Garth M.P. sold the Hall and property to Gilliat Hatfeild and he took possession in 1872. Most of the improvements to the grounds were put in place by him and he extended the estate, including the purchase of Bunce's Meadow, reclaimed marshland and created a deer park. His son, Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, planted the curved avenue of chestnuts and limes. The parkland thus covers 125 acres with the River Wandle meandering through it. There are hay meadows, wetlands, a collection of estate buildings and a rose garden with over 2,000 roses. There is also a ginko and a large yew. Workshops now house local craft workers.
Stane Street. The Roman road between London and Chichester runs across the park a few feet below the surface.
Snuff mills. Mills may have operated here for many years but the first records are for two snuff mills stood on each side of the river which last operated in 1922 and were cleared in the early 1940s. They were built in 1750s and leased to Peter Davenport. John Hatfeild, Alexander's father, had married Anne Taddy, daughter of the senior partner in Taddy & Co. Snuff Grinders. In 1811 Alexander Hatfeild formed Taddy, Tomlin and Hatfeild, Tobacconists Fenchurch Street. In the 1770s they were operated by Nathanial Polhill and in 1845 by James Taddy. The business expanded and moving into from Fenchurch Street to new premises in the Minories. By 1834 Taddy's had leased Morden Mill specifically to supply the firm with snuff. Gilliat Edward Hatfeild returning from plantations Virginia in 1902 and took take an active role in the management. In 1921 a strike in the Minories led to closure.
East mill. This is built in brick and weatherboard and here snuff was ground from the mid 1750's using vertical edge runner stones. One of two millwheels, narrow but with a large diameter, remains. It was used for emergency electricity during the Second World War. The building is now part of the London Borough of Merton Registry Office.
Environmental Centre - 'New' West Mill, This was built circa 1830. Here new technology was used in the form of mechanical pestles and mortars, arranged around circular wooden tables. The mill wheel was the twin of that on East Mill and drove the pestles with a central vertical axle. None of this machinery survives and changes to the river bed in 1968 means that the wheel could not operate in this way. The building is used as storage by the National Trust with two millstones displayed outside.
Kilns. These are built against the mill adjoining the Cottage in the shape of 'furnace' chambers. They were used to control humidity in tobacco before grinding. The leaves were stacked on copper shelves and fumes left through roof vents. This produced ‘toasted snuff’.
Morden Mill Cottage. This was accommodation for the Works Foreman, a position held by three generations of the Groves family over 125 years. Emma Groves, daughter of the last foreman, remained there until the 1970's. It is now used by National Trust staff.
Bothy. This is a single storey outhouse attached to Morden Mill Cottage. It has a pitched roof and chimney. It is thought that it comprised dormitory accommodation for estate workers.
Kitchen Garden. This walled area is used as a car park via an entrance in Morden Hall Road. The south facing section once had glass houses for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Walled Garden. Also used as a car park. Cast-iron railings have a vertical Greek key pattern.
Stable block. This is a quadrangle around a cobbled courtyard, with an arched gateway, over which is a clock-tower and a trout weather vane. Gilliat Hatfeild maintained a stable of hunters here and commuted to the City in a carriage and pair.
Dairy trout bred were bred in this building which is across the river from the stables.
Wall - Long red brick, older than the house. Much repaired
Cow house. With exhibition about the estate.
Garden Centre
Bridges over the mill stream. Light cast-iron bridges of early 19th type over it.
Railway Line – built through the park. This is now the Croydon tramlink.
Red Cottage
Saddlers End
Lodge. Grey brick, c. 1840, one-storeyed. Lodges in the park
Morden Cottage, 18th cottage with a 'Gothick' castellated facade. It now houses the London Borough of Merton Registrar's Offices. It was built as a shooting lodge. It was the home of Alexander Hatfeild and his wife Elizabeth Gilliat. Their son Gilliat bought Morden Hall itself and moving there replacing Garth as Squire of Morden. His son Gilliat Edward, a bachelor, moved back to the Cottage. It is partly weather- boarded, with castellations and obelisks, and Tudor dripstones over the windows
Wilderness Island, in the park on the east bank of the river opposite Morden Lodge. Abraham Goldsmith committed suicide here in 1810.
Barn, behind the Surrey Arms. A fine boarded timber framed structure, slate roofed, weather-beaten this farm building may be as old as the Estate walls. Burnt down in 1991
Blacklands was the area around the barn and used as vcommon fields. These were ‘poors allotments but now crossed by the railway line. The old field system and hedges can be traced. There were water meadows between the avenue and the river.

Morden Hall Road
Growtes. This was the Tudor House built by the original purchasers of the estate. Built in 1553 by Edward Whitchurch who published the first bible in English. Sold to Richard Garth in 1554. Peter Mauvillian calico printer lived there. It stood near the site of the present Morden Lodge
Morden House built by Mr. Groves which replaced Growtes. Built by Dutch financer Goldsmit in 1797.
Goldsmit’s villa built on the site of Morden Lodge, decorated by the same people as Brighton pavilion. Goldsmit killed himself in 1810 and the house became derelict.
Morden Lodge. Regency villa built on the site of Goldsmit's villa. Built by John Tyrell of the steam washing factory at Phipps Bridge and the first occupant was Edward Walmsley of the Ravensbury print works. Eventually in the 1920s it was bought by the Hatfeilds and is now owned by the National Trust. It is set back from the road in its own grounds.
'White Cottage' or 'Casabianca', a three storey timber framed 18th. Has an artesian well in the garden from which a mineral water called 'Ravens' Spring' been produced in the 1870's.
Surrey Arms. a refurbished early 20th building standing on the site of an older hostelry
Ivy Lodge. An 18th garden building converted to a two-storey cottage.

Morden Road
In 1690 William Wood was prosecuted for damaging the lane by building a new watercourse for his bleaching business
Morden Road. John Arbuthnot, 1753, diverted it without consent. The old road can be seen in the park between Perske Price building and the park. It had passed close to the house and disturbed his privacy.
2 The Gables. Part of old farmhouse. Former stables and garage block to Ravensbury House; c. 1910 by H. Porter and Percy Newton in a Lutyens-inspired neo-Georgian
Ravensbury Park House built by Bidder on the south of the river going up towards Rose Hill. This was superseded by a new "Ravensbury Manor House", built by his grandson Harold Bidder. An attractive house with lawns running down to the water's edge.
Private eighteenth century sham ruin - really a tower with a single brick on masonry. Folly.
Millstones – edge runners behind Ravensbury mill site.
Ravensbury Mill. The mill was apparently built in the 1680s by a Mr. Westbrook. The earliest calico works on the Wandle in 1690 begun by Peter Mauvillion. In 1758 it became a snuff mill with two wheels by 1800. IN the 1780s it was run by a Mr. Pearkes who probably built the18th buildings. Nathaniel Polhill, tobacco merchant from The Borough, operated it with Mr. Spencer from 1789 and then with John Rutter from 1810. Their Cheapside premises sold Mitcham Shag and later it was where Rutter's Mitcham Shag was made, which won a gold medal at a brewers' exhibition in 1906. They also made cigarettes. The Rutter tobacco and snuff manufactory lasted until 1926. During the Second World War to was hoped to generate electricity frose33333e33333m the wheels but they were not suitable. The building was later used by a manufacturer of sports goods. It dates from the later c 19, with two cast-iron low-breast-shot wheels inside. The mill is in yellow brick with a hipped slate roof. The largest of the buildings was the 19th snuff mill. The smaller building is probably the earlier snuff mill. It was reputedly the last working mill on the river, still operational in the 1960s, when the main stream was diverted for flood relief work. It was then used for wood- working machinery. The last owners of the Mill were Whitely Products who purchased the factory from Rutters in 1926 for £4200. They made sports goods but finally closed in the 80s. Two quarter breast- shot wheels are still housed inside the building and separated by a narrow gangway. Both have ribbed drive shafts and could have been operated separately or in unison by individual sluices.
Ranalah Ltd, small coach works
Harvey & Knight, floor cloth manufacturers
Lodge Grey brick, c. 1840, one-storeyed.

Phipps Bridge Road
"Bridge over a conduit', crossing an arm of the Wandle - possibly artificially diverted - and the main stream of the river ‘Pypesbrige’ 1535, ‘Pippebridge’ l548
Cherry Orchard Estate, borough housing of c. 1979, grouped around two greens opening off two spine roads, an informal type of perimeter plan derived from Watermeads
Phipps Bridge Tram stop 1998. Between Belgrave Walk and Morden Road on Croydon Tramlink
Varnish works. 1890s

Ravensbury Park
Channels built for the 17th bleach works can still be found and a diversion to the Wandle, made for this purpose, remains as an ornamental water area.

Ravensbury Path
Belgrave Walk Tram stop. 1998. Between Mitcham and Phipps Bridge on Croydon Tramlink
Ravensbury House. The name probably refers to a Norman owner, Rafe the Chamberlain. In 1531 it was purchased by a member of the Carew family. Part of old manor house, built in the 16th century remains in brick walls left in the shrubbery. By the early 17th it was the home of the Garth family lord of the Manor of Morden and later leased to an east India merchant. In 1753 it was in the hand of John Arbuthnot who diverted the road. In 1823 it was "an extensive ancient mansion”. In 1855 it was sold by the Carews and George Parker Bidder, the engineer and sometime calculating boy, bought the house and his grandson Harold built Ravensbury Manor House here - one of several with that name. By 1929 it was a ruin and the site bought by the local authority as a park.
162 Ravensbury Farm, the former Ravensbury farmhouse. Close by exit into Wandle Road. On the southern bank, close by the exit into Wandle Road, a house now much altered and lacking its outbuildings. From here, just within living memory, cattle crossed the Wandle Road to their grazing grounds


Hibernogirl said…
Thank you for that detailed account of Morden, an area long associated with my family.

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