Old museum displays - a brief description

For a photo of an item marked with a * please click on the 'Other Photos' link at the bottom of this page.

This page is no longer maintained. See new interactive version

Link to large image A new visitor to the Museum might be shown the three-dimensional map of the course of the River Wandle through the Wandle Valley from source to mouth. This serves as a good introduction to the purpose of the Museum. Brown pegs mark the position of the mills in existence on the Wandle at the height of its power .
[Full size image 35,4.1kb]
Link to large image Close by the map is a display about Merton Priory, Merton's most historic sire, of which only the foundations of the Chapter House remain to be seen. Next to that is a display about the Surrey Iron Railway*, the world's first public railway, founded in 1803, which passed through Mitcham and followed part of the route which the present Tramlink covers today.
[Full size image 32.9kb]
Link to large image Past the Wandle Valley map, we have a display about snuff and tobacco containing a collection of snuff boxes and bottles donated to the Museum to reflect the snuff mills on the Wandle such as Ravensbury Mill and Morden Snuff Mill in Morden Hall Park, which still exist today.
[Full size image 45.5kb]
Link to large image In the centre of the Museum is the large table model of the William Morris Workshops at Merton Abbey which now no longer exist. This model was made especially for the Museum and is the only model of the workshops in existence. On the walls behind the model are pictures and information about Morris, his life, skills and achievements*, especially during his time at Merton. On the other side of the Museum is a small architect's model of the Arthur Liberty workshops now redeveloped as Merton Abbey Mills.
[Full size image 36.3kb]
Link to large image Close to the shop is an illuminated window display about lavender to reflect the once-thriving Mitcham industry of lavender growing and distilling. Note the cleverly designed stained-glass window made especially for the Museum. It is a pictorial representation of the industries, history and ecology of the Wandle Valley* and contains the coats of arms of the four London Boroughs through which the river flows.
[Full size image 38.7kb]
Link to large image In the centre of the Museum is a display about Lord Nelson who with Sir William and Lady Hamilton resided in Merton close to the river for a short while before his death at the Battle of Trafalgar. There is also a display of pen and ink drawings by the late artist P. D. Harris of the Mills of the Wandle, including some which are still in existence.
[Full size image 27.9kb]
Link to large image Finally there is the Museum Shop, which contains a varied collection of local history publications, some produced by the Museum. There are also pens, pencils, postcards, badges and colouring cards on sale for children and School Parties to purchase at reasonable prices. There is also a Visitors' Book which we try to encourage interested visitors to sign. A Visitor Survey Form is available for them to complete if they wish, and a selection of local attractions leaflets is always freely available.
[Full size image 36.6kb]