Small outline map

Model of Liberty Site

This model shows those buildings of the original liberty site that still exist, and theoir original purposes.

The notes below are from our archive.For some reason the model maker omitted the Block Shop (now the William Morris pub), but that is included in the notes below for completeness.


From 1904-1972 Liberty occupied the site of a printing works established in 1724. The Colour House and The Wheelhouse (but not the wheel which is a later replacement), are both original buildings. Various printers worked on this site and in 1831 Edmund Littler settled at Merton Abbey Print Works, later printing on silk. They sold out to Liberty & Co. of Regent St. in 1904.

* THE SHOW HOUSE, built 1912 as a Design studio. It was also where the goods were checked and ironed. Part of it was also used for display - type of shop, and a block printing shop. It also contained the Managers Office with living accommodation above. Part of it was used for storage of the raw silk, and part used as a display area of finished goods. Now privately leased to a Company.

* THE COLOUR HOUSE A grade II Listed Building made of stone, brick and flint. Originally built in the 18th Century and used for mixing the colours and dyes for printing. Now converted into a Theatre. Dyes and colours were mixed and stored in the Colour House. Cloth was hung out to dry, after rinsing, in the Colour House. The walls of the Colour House are stone and flint (and brick), some of which was taken from the Priory. It has now been converted into a Theatre.

* COLES SHOP Dating to 1850. This was a block printing shop and was the first of the brick built workshops. Named after Arthur Coles -calico printer at Merton Abbey in the early 1900's. Now converted to shops.

* THE APPRENTICE OR 1926 SHOP, the LONG SHOP of 1906 and the 1929 SHOP ~ These were all part of the Liberty complex and used as printing shops. Now used as shops or indoor market stalls.

* THE BLOCK SHOP now The William Morris Public House was used for the storage of printing blocks. The William Morris pub opened in 1990. The name is unfortunate as this is not the Morris site.

* THE WHEELHOUSE -Grade II Listed Building - is of 18th century origin. The Wheel is 12 foot in diameter and is undershot and generates 15 horse power . Its date is uncertain, probably 19th century, replacing older wheels. It was used to power the rinsing spools, which passed newly printed and steamed silks through the river water to remove gum and excess dye from the material.