The Wandle Industrial Museum was founded in 1982 with the main aim of creating a riverside museum which would reflect the rich heritage of of the Wandle Valley. The Museum, which is a registered Charity, has been housed in various temporary sites, but has been at the Vestry Hall Annexe since 1991. The Museum is mainly run by Volunteers with one part-time paid Administrator, and is supported by Merton Council with a small Annual Grant.
The Museum is administered by the Trustees and the Management Committee who meet quarterly to discuss Museum Policies and procedures. It also has an active Members Committee who meet regularly to plan social events and fundraising activities.
The Museum has an active group of about 20 volunteers who help run the Museum in a variety of ways. The Museum sets great store by its volunteers, without which it would cease to function, and it welcomes Volunteers from all cultures , abilities, backgrounds and age groups. They have quarterly meetings with Representatives of the Management Committee for exchange of information. The Museum has been offered a permanent home at the Ravensbury Mill in Morden which will be a more appropriate historic site.A Heritage Lottery Application is in preparation for this future proposed move to the Mill.
The present Museum's exhibits reflect the industries and famous people of the Wandle Valley. It traces the River Wandle from source to mouth through the London Boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth, with particular reference to our own Borough of Merton.
The Museum Exhibition concentrates on two of the Wandle's better known industries, namely the snuff and tobacco and textile industries, with particular homage to the area's best-known figures: William Morris and Arthur Liberty.
The Museum is open to schools and special interest groups by appointment for guided tours, and to individuals for research and private study with access to our archives and reference library. It is open to the public every Wednesday afternoon from 1.00 -4.00pm and the first Sunday of the month from 2.00 -5.00pm. There is an admission charge of 50p for adults and 20p concessions.
The Museum is housed in a single-storey building and is only able to display a limited number of exhibits because of lack of space. The Office behind the Museum has to serve as a multi-purpose flexible area for storage, office work, study, and archive research. It also serves as an area for educational printing sessions, meetings, and social events.Behind it is a small kitchen and toilet facilities.