There have been no school/group visits to the Museum over the Christmas and New Year period.
OutreachWe had a successful day at the Vestry Hall Christmas Fairin November and again at
Deen City Farm Christmas Open Dayin December. At both these events the Museum had stalls selling
Museum publications and souvenirs. At very short notice we were given a Collection Day at Savacentreon
Saturday January 2nd 1999. Many thanks to all those members who responded to our appeal for help and
helped us to raise £128 for Museum funds despite opposition from a double glazing company, a Health
Club and a well known Motoring Organisation!
Members SurveyThank you very much to all members who took the time and trouble to complete this
questionnaire. To date we have had 20 replies. If you haven't yet filled in yours please do so, or if you have
lost it and would like another please telephone the Museum. Several members have offered to help in various
ways and these offers are being followed up.
Eric Shawhas volunteered to refurbish the William Morris exhibit
Ellen Eameshas volunteered to help with fund raising
Reece Bellhas offered help for Sunday opening days, as has David Rymell,who is
also offering help with carpentry.
Newsletter - Appeal for Dlustrator/Artist
We are very sorry to report the death of long standing volunteer John Vinerwho died suddenly at Christmas
of a heart attack. John had been associated with the Museum since its formation and his work as an artist and
writer with the quarterly Newsletters will be very much missed. If anyone can offer any help with layout,
lettering or illustrating please ring the Museum.
If any more members are willing to join a rota for Sunday afternoon openings (first Sunday of the month
only) please let us know at the Museum
A tribute to John Viner appears on a separate page.
Security Meetingsare still ongoing with Museum staff and volunteers. We recently had a visit from P.C.
Warwick, Crime Prevention Officer from Wimbledon Police Station, who gave us a lot of sound advice
We have now installed a door viewer or "fish eye" in the Museum door for security purposes, which will be
particularly useful if staff are working alone in the building.
PastMuseum Christmas Party - see report on separate page
PresentNew W.I.M. Members, Margaret and Maurice Groves of Merton
Scientific Society, have suggested we join in with their coach outing to Medwav's
Live Industrial Museum and Fort Amhurst at Chatham on Saturday 24th April.
Cost £12 and £10 concessions including entrance fees.
Meet at Merton Adult College, Whatley Avenue at 9.10 a.m.
Lunch can be obtained at Fort Amhurst, but they need to know numbers in advance.
Please telephone the Museum by 1st March for Booking Form and further details.
Payment due by 22nd March
Please support this special event
Donation to Museum
We are very pleased to record a very generous donation
towards the purchase of a photocopier for the Museum from the Marie Helen Luen Charitable Trust. This
photocopier will be installed in the office shortly and the donor acknowledged with the Trust's Logo.
Wandle Industrial Museum Membership
Thank you to all those members who responded so promptly and renewed their subscriptions for
1998/99. A Renewal Form is included for those who have not yet replied.
W.LM. CHRISTMAS PARTY
The Christmas Party was again held in Vestry Hall. Sumptuous food was supplied by Mary Hart and
Andrew Wakefield produced his delicious mulled wine. Gentle Christmas music was playing in the
background thanks to Sheila Harris.
This pleasant ambience was conducive to much jolly conversation, and encouraged people to dig deep into
their pockets to buy raffle tickets. There were lots of really Tab' prizes, a spectacular cake in the shape of
a watermill, most appropriate, made by Mary, a basket of fruit, a flower basket, several bottles of wine,
chocolates, biscuits and an electric can opener. We made £65, even though there were not as many
people there as we had hoped there would be.
We were very pleased to welcome the Mayor, Linda Kirby, who managed to fit us into her hectic
She brought with her some CDs on which were recorded two Christmas songs written by her and sung by
children she taught. After regaling us with a lively account of how the songs came to be recorded, the CD
Christmas Cracker was played and we all sang along. They Mayor then proceeded to sell the CDs to us,
all for a good cause of course!
It was a very enjoyable event and a good time was had by all. Meg Thomas
In the Newsletter, Summer 1998 edition, we reported that "M.P.urges Mill Grant
rethink". To refresh everyone's memory, Siobhain McDonagh M.P., supported by her
colleague Roger Casale, M.P., had written to the Heritage Lottery Fund asking for a
meeting to discuss how to further the Ravensbury Mill bid.
The Mitcham and Morden M.P. had to write on a number of occasions before the
H.L.F. conceded there was a case to be answered. As a direct consequence of the
Parliamentary enquiry, the H.L.F. wrote to us on the 12th August 1998 with an offer
to hold a meeting which would provide an opportunity for them to explain the issues
of concern in the original proposal and explore options for taking forward a fresh
application. S.E.MS., the Statutory Advisor, was also to be invited.
We had a very positive meeting with H.L.F. on 29th September 1998, when it was
agreed that they would fast track a new application if it was £500,000 or below.
Information from our original bid would be transferable and they would offer
assistance in presentation. To move the process forward they also agreed to provide
existing assessor comments and to have a further meeting with S.E.M.S., the Statutory
Advisor, to assist in improving a resubmitted bid.
This meeting with S.E.M.S. took place on 2nd November 1998, with the W.I.M. team
consisting of Lisa Connor (then Treasurer), Nicholas Hart (Solicitor) and Ray Leyden
We tabled, at the meeting, a chart with our comments on the H.L.F. list of material
points, which high-lighted the fact that all the reasons for rejection were addressable
from the original submission. From the outset the list of points and the W.I.M.
commentary were put on one side by the S.E.M.S. team, and in particular they
stressed they were looking for a plan which would permit a phasing of grant
applications on the basis that multiple smaller bids had a greater chance of success
than one major bid. Although we considered it impractical to phase the capital works
for Health and Safety reasons, and the doubling up of project management time and
cost, we did agree to a slower start which would allow the incremental growth
S.E.M.S. are seeking.
We are pleased to advise that Siobhain McDonagh M.P. has agreed to this approach in
her letter to the H.L.F. on 10th December 1998 and H.L.F. have agreed to keep our
M.P. fully briefed with our reapplication. We wish to acknowledge not only the hard
work of our M.P.s' enquiry to achieve such a satisfactory outcome, which takes into
account our grievances with the previous bid, but also the support of her
parliamentary colleagues, Roger Casale, M.P., Tony Coleman M.P., Anita Pollack
M.E.P. Also, Merton Council Chief Executive Roger Paine and Deputy Leader
Councillor Sheila Knight, who have so forcefully prosecuted our case.
We still have the hard work ahead of us to resubmit our application but, with the
concessions that have been won, the application is now set-up to hit the target to win
the lottery funds and this time we can look forward to a Happy New Year.Simon
Lace, our Curatorial Adviser, has stated in his annual report that steady progress has
been made this year at the Wandle Industrial Museum and he continues to be
impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the Museum's Volunteers.
Thanks to our executive committee member Nicholas Hart, we have now joined the
Cyber Space Race. We have now opened a freeserve internet connection which
anyone can use to promote Ravensbury Mill and our services.
John Viner, who died suddenly at Christmas, originally came to the Museum in 1984
as a designer and artist, when the Museum was funded by the Manpower Services
Commission. This funding ceased in 1988, so John's paid job came to an end. He
later returned to the Museum as a volunteer and in recent years was particularly
involved with setting up and illustrating our quarterly Newsletter, as well as designing
the Wandle Trail Map. His work was invaluable to us here, not only as an artist, but
also as a writer of many articles which have been printed in our Newsletters. In his
memory we reprint with this issue his poem "The Wav of the Wandle" and a page
of his beautiful lettering from "The Earthly Paradise" by William Morris.
It was for his lettering that perhaps John was most famous, although fame was not
something he sought. He learned the craft of lettering in the late 1940's while
working for a firm that produced posters for the Gaumont and Odeon cinema
After serving in the Royal Air Force, he moved to London and worked as a lettering
and general artist in various studios. In the mid 1950's he worked at the Savoy Hotel.
where he produced posters to promote performances of the Savoy Cabaret. For this
work he devised a style of brush lettering based on the Budoni typeface which is now
marketed by ITC - or International Typeface Corporation, which also features his
Viner Hand lettering which was often used to enhance Museum posters, invitations
and Museum exhibits. From the ITC Magazine, we learn that John's hobbies were
illustrated books, cinema of the 1940's and 1950's and art deco design. His favourite
food was grilled trout and his favourite quote was "Its a poor sort of memory that only
works backwards" (Lewis Carroll : Through the Looking Glass).
From his sister Anne, we learn that his favourite landscape was the Lake District, but
that he very much enjoyed walking round the Epsom Race Course area in the last few
years of his life when he settled happily in a small flat in Epsom.
He was a modest man, who never sought prestige. He was kind, generous and
humorous. He was happy with the simple things of life and had no desire to be
wealthy. He loved second hand book shops and spent many happy hours browsing
through them, sometimes picking up the odd bargain, which he might promptly give
away. He was basically a loner, but was also very sociable, enjoying meeting friends
for a drink in local pubs. He was a very likeable person who enjoyed chatting to all
the Museum volunteers. He was the youngest of a family of five born in Oldham,
Lancashire. He never married but always remained close to his family, especially his
sister of whom he spoke with much affection.
Ray Leyden and I were privileged to be able to represent the Museum at his cremation
service in Leatherhead and to meet some members of his family. I hope Museum
volunteers and members who knew John will appreciate this tribute. He will be very
I was fortunate to be able to join this outing arranged by the William Morris Society
in November 1998 in memory of the death of Burne-Jones.
Our first visit was to Birmingham Cathedralwhere the Provost, the Very Reverend
Peter Berry M.A. of the Pre-Raphaelite Society, guided us round perhaps Burne-Jones'
greatest achievement in stained glass.
Burne-Jones, born in Birmingham in 1833 and educated at King Edward's School,
Birmingham, later continued his education at Exeter College Oxford, where he met
William Morris, both at that time intended to enter the Church.
Of course, this meeting changed the course of both their lives and Burne -Jones did not
return to Birmingham, a city he did not hold in high regard.
In 1884, when the Cathedral Church of St. Philip was enlarged at the East end, an
endowment made it possible to install three new stained glass windows designed by
Burne-Jones and made by the firm of Morris & Co. at Merton Abbey. The three
windows - The Nativity Window, the Ascension Windowand The Window of the
Crucifixionare considered by many to be examples of his greatest work. Later in
1896, at the West end of the Cathedral, The Last Judgement Windowwas
constructed. This is probably his most dramatic window, showing the Archangel
Michael sounding his trumpet for the end of the world.
After a very detailed explanation of the windows by our enthusiastic guide, we left the
Cathedral for our visit to Birmingham Museum and Art Galley to see the only
centenary exhibition to celebrate the life and work of Sir Edward Burne-Jones 1833 -1898, presented in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
and Musee d'Orsay, Paris.
We saw a very helpful slide presentation in the Lecture Theatre first and were then
free to explore the excellent and varied Exhibition of 170 works on show including
paintings, water-colours, drawings, tapestries and decorative art. Major loans from
the Tate Gallery and British Museum joined other works from New York, Dallas and
This was the largest Bume-Jones exhibition seen in England for over a generation and
it was good that it was presented in his home town of Birmingham.
It is interesting to note that although Burne-Jones initially turned his back on
Birmingham which held no fond memories for him due to an unhappy childhood, that
in 1878 he became the first President of the Birmingham School of Art. He later
encouraged the founding of an Art Gallery in the city and the City Fathers
commissioned an immense water-colour "The Star of Bethlehem"in 1887.
Completed in 1891, it was shown in Birmingham Art Gallery as part of an exhibition
"The Pre-Raphaelites and their Followers"
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is well worth a visit if any members are ever in
the city. There are many Burne-Jones paintings and exhibits relating to Morris and De
Morgan permanently on display and the Gallery boasts an excellent restaurant.
The Cathedral and Art Gallery are only five minutes walk from Birmingham New
Street Station with frequent trains from London. If visiting the city do try and find
time (as I did) to visit the Symphony Hall and the new canal-side developments.