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News Archive

December 2017

Christmas and New Year Opening

The museum's last day of opening this year will be Wednesday 20th December 2017. We will reopen on Wednesday 17th January 2018.

New Trustee

At our AGM in November Father David Pennells was formally introduced as our new trustee. Father David is currently vicar of St Peter and St Paul church in Church Road, Mitcham. Since taking up his post in February 2015 he has taken a keen interest in the heritage and history of the local area and has been a member of the museum. He is pictured here with our other trustees John Hawks (centre) and Nicholas Hart.

New Logo

The AGM also saw us formally announce our new logo – see top of page. From a drawing by the late Peter Harris the use of a waterwheel and a chimney reflects the industrial past of the Wandle Valley. The picture is of the waterwheel and chimney at The Willows, Mitcham.

Members New Year Lunch

This will take place at Park Place, Mitcham on Wednesday 10th January 2018. Open to members, volunteers and partners only, it is an opportunity to mix and share your opinions about the museum. Invitations will be sent out.

Melanie's Walks

Our volunteer Melanie Nunzet has announced her 'Winter Walks'. These will take place on the following dates:
16 December 2017
6 January 2018
17 February 2018

Visit the ponds and hills of Mitcham Common on Saturday afternoons.
Easy 3-4 mile circular walks.
Meet 2pm at Mitcham Junction station (bus stop on bridge).

Beddington Park Friday walk

Come and join us for a free and friendly hour's walk around Beddington Park or Waddon Ponds every Friday morning at 10am. Meet by St Mary's Church, Church Road, Wallington SM6 7NJ (buses: 407 from Sutton, 463 from Mitcham). Refreshments available at church after walk. Voluntary contribution to church funds. Tour of church possible.

Please note that these walks are also on the Sutton & Wandle Valley Ramblers' programme and are open to all. To be added to my mailing list please email me on Please note the second letter is an ‘l’, not ‘i’. Any other queries please call 07944 833605. Thank you and happy walking!

Did You Know?

That there were cottages for the workers on the Littler's Factory site (now Merton Abbey Mills).

November 2017

Annual General Meeting

The museum will be holding its AGM on Thursday 16th November 2017 at 7:30pm. All members and volunteers are invited to attend.

Venue: 1st Floor Training Room, Vestry Hall, London Road, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 3UD

Please follow these links to see the documents relating to the meeting:

These will also be available on the day.

The meeting will be followed by a talk about Brewing along the River Wandle. A light buffet will be available.

Sheila Knight

We were sorry to learn of the passing of our volunteer Sheila Knight. A former Mayor of Merton and Labour Councillor she was a well known public figure, and a supporter of the Museum for many years. Her funeral took place on Tuesday 31st October at Lambeth Crematorium. Our condolences go out to all her family and friends.

More about Sheila's life may be found at: Merton council news page - "Council mourns former Mayor and Honorary Alderwoman"

Did You Know?

Edward Burne-Jones was the uncle, through marriage, to Rudyard Kipling and the former Prime Minister Sir Stanley Baldwin.

There was no News Archive for September and October 2016

August 2017


Banner image for Wandle Fortnight

The Wandle Valley will be having a Super September. The Wandle Fortnight sees many activities, talks and events taking place. A full list of what is taking place can be found in the festival brochure.

The fortnight kicks off for the museum with the Mitcham Heritage Day on the 9th September. The museum will be open on that day from 10am until 4:30pm.

Poster for Mitcham Heritage Day

To see what is happening on the day click on the picture.

The museum will be at the Merton Priory Chapter House on the weekend of 16th/17th September giving demonstrations on Block Printing. Pay us a visit and produce your own print.

Photo of visitors at museum

The Merton Heritage Centre is supporting the fortnight with two displays and a talk on the 23rd September.

Poster for Wandle Fortnight at Merton Heritage Centre

Why not spend the last day of Wandle Fortnight with our volunteer Melanie who has arranged a number of walks and activities including stained glass colouring at St Mary's Church, Beddington Park.

Poster for Melanie's walksPhoto of boy taking part in stained glass colouring

Before all of this there is an exhibition 'Discovering the Source of the River Wandle' at Merton Heritage Centre running until the 5th September.

Poster for Discovering the Source exhibition

Did You Know?

That the mills that produced dye for the textile industry were known as Drug Mills.

July 2017

Exciting new Wandle Valley project

Brewing Along The Wandle

Photo of Merton mayor opening our new exhibition

Our new exhibition was opened on the 10th June 2017 by the Mayor of Merton Cllr Marsie Skeete. Giving the history of the brewing industry along the River Wandle you will learn about the small, and not so small, brewers that used the river and populated its banks. Find out about how they slowly merged into the large companies that we know today. There is also a section on the growing number of micro breweries that are appearing within the Wandle Valley.

Volunteers Week

Photo of assorted volunteers

To celebrate Volunteers Week from 1-7 June our volunteers and their families were treated to tea and cake at Morden Hall Park Stable Block. This was followed by a walk across the new boardwalk over the wetlands. Without the support and help of volunteers the museum wouldn't exist. If you are interested in heritage and feel you could bring something to the museum then please complete our online application form.

We've Been Busy!

Photo of museum volunteer with schoolchildren

The last few months have certainly been a busy time for the museum. We have been out giving talks to a number of groups, demonstrating and talking about block printing to groups and schools, as well as leading walks looking at the history of the river. Other than the block printing demonstrations we do not charge for our activities. We do however always welcome donations. If your school or group would be interested in talk, walk or demonstration then please contact the museum. Visit our Outreach page for more information.

Mitcham Cricket Green

The annual 'Community on the Green' is due to take place on Wednesday 26th July 2017. To find out more visit their website at

Did You Know?

St Mary's Church in Merton Park has four stained glass windows made at the Morris Works.

June 2017

Wandsworth Heritage Festival

Wandsworth Heritage Festival logo

As part of the festival the museum will be offering the following:

(1) Sunday 4th June – 11.30am

Talk and workshop: Textile Printing in the Wandle Valley

The textile industry along the Wandle Valley was introduced by the Huguenots in the 17th century and remained for the next 300 years. You will have the opportunity to learn about the traditional technique of block printing and the chance to produce your own print.

The session will last for about 90 mins and is FREE (donations welcome).

(2) Tuesday 6th June – 6.30pm

Talk: The Mills of the River Wandle

Mick Taylor will explore the River Wandle's long tradition of manufacturing and industry. In the early 1800s it was described as 'the hardest worked river for its size in the world,' with industries such as corn milling and calico printing punctuating the landscape.

Venue: Earlsfield Library, 276 Magdalen Road SW18 3NY

Talk will last about an hour and a half and is FREE.

Learn more about the Mills of the River Wandle

There is another chance to catch a talk on 'The Mills of the River Wandle' at West Barnes Library on the 20th June. The talk starts at 10:30 and is part of the talks programme at West Barnes that takes place on the third Tuesday of every month.

Poster about a talk on the mills of the River Wandle

Volunteers Week

Logo for volunteers week

This takes place between the 1st and 7th June. We would to say thank you to all our volunteers who give their time in supporting our work to keep alive the rich heritage of the industries, and people of the River Wandle.

Did You Know?

That there was once a calico print works inside the grounds of Croydon Old Palace now Whitgift Girls School.

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.