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News Archive

May 2017

Bank Holiday Closure

The museum will be closed on Sunday 28th May.

Merton Heritage Discovery Day

The museum will be taking part in this event which is happening on Saturday 13th May between 12:30 and 4:30pm at Morden Library and Heritage Centre. With over 20 plus organisations taking part it should be a great day. The museum will be there with a stall and we will holding block printing and stained glass colouring sessions. For a full list of activities taking place click here.

New Exhibition: Brewing Along the Wandle

Opening on Sunday 11th June our new exhibition looks at the brewing industry that existed along the River Wandle as well as what exists now. From Young's at Wandsworth to Mitcham Brewery and many others it gives an insight into the world of beer and how the Wandle helped shaped the industry.

Wandsworth Heritage Festival

Running from 27th May until 11th June this year the museum is involved with the festival. There will be a talk on the mills at Earlsfield Library and we are also opening our doors for an event on the block printing and textile industry. Details of the dates and how to book are available in the festival programme click here.

Did You Know?

That there are at least three different types of waterwheel.

March/April 2017

Bank Holiday Closures

The museum will be closed on the following Sundays during April and May:
Easter Sunday 16th April
May Day Holiday Sunday 30th April
Spring Bank Holiday Sunday 28th May

Exhibition by Turf Projects

Our friends from the Turf Project in Croydon currently have an exhibition in the Stable Block at Morden Hall Park. Weft and Warp is inspired by the textile industries of the River Wandle and runs until the 16th April. To learn more about Turf Project and their work go to

Poster about Weft and Warp exhibition

Mapping the Mills Project

We are pleased to announce that we are working with the Living Wandle Partnership and The Building Exploratory on a project to locate all the mills and works that have existed along the Wandle Valley. There has always been debate about the number of mills that were on the River Wandle. Some estimates have put it at over 100, our map at the museum shows 49 and Braithwaite in his report in 1853 listed 38 mills and 5 other works. A team of volunteers is being put together to work on the project. If you are interested in joining this team then please e-mail the museum.

Photo of volunteer doing research

Melanie's Walks

Our volunteer Melanie Nunzet has announced her Spring and Summer programme of walks. The walks take in much of the River Wandle. For details click here.

Mills of the River Wandle Talk

There will be a talk by our volunteer Mick Taylor to the Merton Historical Society on Saturday 8th April at 2:30 in Christ Church Hall, Christchurch Road, Colliers Wood. Non-members are welcome to attend for an entrance fee of £2.

Image showing a mill on the River Wandle

Merton Heritage Centre

Sarah Gould from the Heritage Centre has arranged a number of talks at West Barnes Library, Motspur Park for the year. The museum is pleased to have been invited to give some of these. Full details of the talks can be found on here.

Did You Know?

That there were five overshot waterwheels on the River Wandle. Three of these were at Waddon Mill.

February 2017

New Administrator

The museum is pleased to announce that we have a volunteer administrator. Steven Purvey joined during January and is getting up to speed with his new role. We look forward to him bringing his expertise in IT and his other skills to our volunteer team.

Talks to Groups

Photo of one of our volunteers giving a talk

A number of talks have been added to the list of talks that we can give to groups and organisations. We can offer talks on: Brewing along the Wandle Valley, Merton Priory, Ghost Trains of Merton, William Morris, and Merton Abbey Mills. All talks are free however we always welcome donations towards the running of the museum.

For further details of these and our full range of talks please go to our Outreach page.

Forthcoming Talks and Walks

Our volunteers are speaking at a number of venues and events in the next few months. Check out the Future Events page for dates and locations.

Victoria Cross Winner Honoured

Picture of George Edward Cates

As part of the UK Government First World War Centenary campaign, commemorative paving stones are being laid in the birth places of Victoria Cross recipients. At 2pm on Wednesday 8 March, 2017 at Wimbledon War Memorial, Parkside, there will be a ceremony to mark the unveiling of a one such stone, honouring the courage of George Edward Cates V C, who was born in Wimbledon.

This will involve the Mayor of Merton and her chaplain, the Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, the Leader of Merton council and representatives from the Rifle Brigade, Rutlish School and the local Scouts. You would be most welcome to attend what promises to be an historic and moving event, commemorating a truly courageous individual.

Did You Know?

It was reported that Lord Nelson used to fish for trout on the River Wandle.

January 2017

Forthcoming Events

The new year has arrived and with it brings a series of new events. Check out the 'Future Events' link to see what is round the corner.

Photo of our museum tent at the Morden Hall Country Show

Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society

Logo of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society

The society have a varied and full programme that may appeal to anyone interested in history and heritage. Their forthcoming events can be found in the attached newsletter from the group: Spring 2017 (3.97MB).

Consultation on the Future of the Canons, Mitcham

Poster giving details about the consultation on the future of The Canons

Did You Know?

In the 1670s Sir Edward Smith built a fulling mill at Merton Abbey. It restricted the water to other mills in the area and following a court case he was ordered to pull it down.

December 2016

Banner notice wishing everyone a happy Christmas

Christmas and New Year Opening

The last day in 2016 that the museum will be open is Wednesday 21st December. We reopen on Wednesday 4th January 2017.

Relief Map Opening

Photo of Joyce Bellamy cutting the ribbon on the Relief Map

Joyce Bellamy formally opened our refurnished Relief Map to a large audience of museum members and volunteers. We would like to express our thanks to Joyce for the funding she provided to make the work on the map possible.

Did You Know?

The 1847 Factory Act limited the working week in textile mills for women and adolescent children between 13 and 18 years of age to 58 hours.

November 2016

Revd Andrew Wakefield

Photo of Andrew Wakefield

It is with great sadness that we report the loss of our Chair Rev Andrew Wakefield. Andrew passed away on Wednesday 26th October. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues. He will be greatly missed by all those people he has touched.

A book of condolence is available for people to sign at the Merton Civic Centre.

His funeral takes place at St Andrew's Church, Herbert Road, Wimbledon on Tuesday 15th November at 11am.

Andrew's executors have asked people not to get flowers but would, instead, welcome donations in memory of Andrew to Faith in Action Merton Homelessness Project ( You can donate online at

Annual General Meeting

Our AGM is taking place on Thursday 10th November 2016 in the Vestry Hall, London Road, Mitcham at 7:30pm. Our guest speaker this year is John Hawks on 'The Lost Railways of Merton.' The meeting is being attended by the Deputy Mayor of Merton Cllr Stan Anderson. If you would like to attend the talk please e-mail: with your request.

Photo of Vestry Hall

Eric Montague

The museum is sad to learn that Eric Montague has passed away. He was well known for his publications and research into the history and heritage of Mitcham. His books are greatly used at the museum when we require answers to many questions we have on the mills and industries around Mitcham. Our thoughts at this time are with his family, friends and colleagues.

Cover of book by Eric Montague

Map of the Wandle Valley

Our work on the relief map model we have at the museum has now been completed by our volunteer Martin Roberts. There will be an event to formally reopen the model in the near future. Invitations to attend will be sent to members and volunteers in due course.

Photo of Wandle Valley model

Administrator Required

We are on the lookout for a volunteer with administration skills to fill our admin post at the museum. The individual will need to be available to work on a Wednesday either a half day or full day (10am-4pm). If you are interested or know someone who may be then please contact the museum on 020 8648 0127 or e-mail us at

Did You Know

That children who attend The Bermondsey Poor Law Institution for Children at The Old Church House in Merton were occasionally sent out on 'perambulation day' hygienic excursion to the River Wandle. This was one of the few days that the children left the workhouse.

October 2016

Museum Accreditation

The museum is very pleased to announce that as a result of an assessment by Arts Council England that we have retained our 'Full Accreditation' status.

Accreditated Museum logo

Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 10th November 2016 in the Vestry Hall, London Road, Mitcham from 7:30pm. Our guest speaker this year will be John Hawks who will be giving a talk titled "Ghost Trains of Merton".

Melanie's Autumn/Winter Walks

Our volunteer Melanie has announced her programme for this Autumn and Winter. Click here to see the list. Take part and help your fitness.

Photo of people on one of Melanie's walks

Members/Volunteers Outing

A visit to Parkstead House in Roehampton to see the Burne-Jones windows has been arranged for Monday 17th October at 1pm. If you would like to join us then please contact the museum by e-mail or telephone (leave a message).

Photo of Parkstead House in Roehampton

Did You Know?

That a bridge has existed over the River Wandle between Phipps Bridge Road and Morden Hall Park since the 1260s.

August/September 2016

School Outreach Opportunity

Are you a Primary school teacher from Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton or Croydon looking after your local history element of Key Stage 2? Then why not consider engaging with the museum. As part of our Outreach Programme we can offer an interactive session involving your pupils using the printing method used by the print works that existed along the Wandle Valley from Croydon to Wandsworth. Including a film of the printing taking place that the children love and a short talk we can visit your school or you make a trip to the museum. Contact the museum for more information.

Drawing by pupil of Wimbledon House School

Merton and Morden During the First World War

This exhibition at the Merton Heritage Centre at Morden Library includes information on some of the workers at Morris & Co as well as a fascinating look at Merton and Morden in the early 1900s. Very different to how we know it today.

Poster about exhibition of Merton and Morden during the First World War

1st Wandle Beer Festival

Arranged by the South West London branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) the festival takes place on the 15th and 16th September 2016 at Tooting and Mitcham FC in Bishopford Road, Morden. Don't forget that in the past water taken from wells along the River Wandle was used in the beer making.

Poster for first Wandle Beer Festival
Click on poster to see larger version

Wandle Fortnight

This is due to take place from 10th September to 25th September along the Wandle Valley. More details can be found either at the Wandle Valley website or the Living Wandle website.

Photo taken at Wandle Fortnight event

Mitcham Cricket Green Community & Heritage Open Day

This is due to take place on Saturday 17th September. The museum will be open between 10am and 4pm with free entry. For more news on other activities and events on the day check out the MCGC&H website.

Photo taken of Mitcham Cricket Green

Did You Know?

In 1760-61 John Arbuthnott took 16 girls from the Foundling Hospital to work at Ravensbury Print Works.

June/July 2016

Now Open

Our new exhibition 'The Calico People' is now open to the public. This exhibition explores the people who were involved in over 400 years of the development of the textile industry along the river. It looks at some of the individuals who played an important part in its growth and decline, the disputes, politics and techniques used.

Picture of the inside of a block printing workshop

Inside of a block printing workshop

Morden Fun Day

The museum will have a stall at this event which takes place on Sunday 17th July in Morden Park. Why not come along, pay us a visit and join in for a great day out.

Picture of race at last year's Morden Fun Day

Melanie's Summer and Autumn Walks

Our volunteer Melanie has announced her programme of walks for the summer and autumn. Join her to enjoy a pleasant stroll along the banks of the River Wandle and elsewhere. For a view of her programme click here.

People on one of Melanie's walks

Did You Know?

That the calico printer Samuel Makepeace ended up in a debtors prison after the failure of his culinary herb business in 1851.

May 2016

Museum Bank Holiday Closure

The museum will be closed on Sunday 29th May. We reopen on Wednesday 1st June.

Merton Heritage Discovery Day

This takes place on Saturday 28th May at Morden Library and Heritage Centre from 12:30pm to 4:30pm. Along with many other organisations across Merton we will be there promoting and recognising the rich history and heritage of the London Borough of Merton. In addition it is an opportunity to learn more about Merton's involvement during the First World War through the Carved in Stone project.

Image of Merton Heritage Discovery Day poster

Wandsworth Heritage Festival

This festival starts on the 28th May and lasts until 12th June. With many activities and events there should be something to suit everyone. Visit Explore borough's past with Wandsworth Heritage Festival to see the programme and learn more.

Heritage Festival logo

The Calico People

We open our new exhibition about the calico industry and the people who worked in it on the 11th June with a private view event. Pictured here is William Kilburn. The exhibition will be open to the public from Sunday 12th June. Join as a member and you will be invited to private views and other events at the museum. See the membership section of our website.

Painting of William Kilburn

Did you know?

Connolly Leather Works imported its hides from Scandinavia as the cattle roamed free so would not get cut by barbed wire which was used in the UK to contain cattle.

April 2016

May Bank Holiday Closures

Please remember that the museum will not be open on the bank holiday weekends - 1st May and 29th May.

Merton Heritage Discovery Day

On Saturday 28th May 2016 Merton will be holding its annual Heritage Discovery Day at Morden Library between 12:30pm and 4:30pm. The museum will be there along with many other organisations from across Merton and Surrey. Put the date in your diary and pay us a visit.

Photo of people viewing exhibition

New Exhibition

Our new exhibition will open with a Private View on Saturday 11th June 2016. Keep your eyes open for more information. In the meanwhile these photos may give you a little clue?

Photo of river

Morden Hall Country Show

The end of the month sees the Morden Hall Country Hall from 30th April to 2nd May. However for the first time in many years the museum is unable to attend. Our apology to anyone who visits wishing to see us.

Image of Country Hall event not taking place

Did You Know?

That Herons have only appeared along the River Wandle since fish stocking started in the 1980s.

March 2016

Easter Holiday

The museum will be closed on Easter Sunday 27th March 2016.

Museum Accreditation

The museum have applied for renewal of our accreditation from the Arts Council (England). We are now waiting to hear if our application is successful. Our thanks to all the volunteers involved with pulling together the information needed. Once we know the result we will publish it on this page.


In the last few weeks the museum has suffered from acts of vandalism. A number of the window panes have been broken. The council have decided to board the windows up making the building look derelict. However we are still there and currently waiting to hear what the longer terms plans are for the windows. We don't think it was the squirrels who had attacked the inside of the building earlier in the year!

Image of museum building showing boarded-up windows

Did You Know

That the brewing company of Watney Combe Reid and Co. Ltd has its roots in the mills of Wandsworth.