Mills of the Wandle

Can't go back

Local researcher Peter McGow (he insists he is not a historian, but we can't see the difference) has been kind and generous enough to deposit with us his Notes on the Mills of the Wandle.

We are happy to publish these here. They set out the 42 sites (and 7 ancillary non mill sites) where a mill, or group of mills, stood and was worked by the waters of the Wandle

We can now test our standard list of the industries of the Wandle:

  • Corn
  • flour
  • fulling
  • dyewood/Brasil wood
  • gunpowder
  • copper
  • oil/oilseed,
  • leather
  • paperboard
  • chocolate
  • iron
  • paint
  • varnishes
  • oilcloth
  • fireworks
  • snuff
  • felt and fibre
  • calico
  • cloth printing
  • brewing/beer
  • cress/watercress
  • lavender
  • herbs

Peter's notes are dated to 2005. By way of comparison, we include here an ocr'd extract of the 1853 Survey by Braithwaite on the Wandle and its Mills. Our longer term plan is to create the database by which these two pieces, and the notes of Peter Harris, and all other material we hold about each mill/mill site can be quickly cross referenced.

The Appendix to the Braithwaite Survey is separately attached as a pdf document

Emma Lazarus meets William Morris at Merton Abbey Mills

Emma Lazarus, the writer and poet who wrote "The New Colossus" (the poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty which contains the immortal lines "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,.." meets William Morris at Merton Abbey Mills in cMay/June 1885


Peter McGow has researched the Surrey Iron Railway also, and you can access this work from here. He uses chapter 12 (the Route of the Surrey Iron Railway) to provide an overview of the Wandle Valley Mills. In due course we will cross reference this to the complete work.