This Newsletter contains printed materials recovered using OCR technology

NewsLetter # 25 - Winter 1999

1. Newsdesk
Newdesk and a report on the Christmas party
2. A Happy New Year for Ravensbury Mill
A meeting with SEMs, and the outlook generally
3. Tribute to John Viner
John Viner died suddenly at Christmas. A fine artist, creator of Vinerhand font, and a long time supporter of the Museum
4. The Way of the Wandle A poem by John Viner from 1996
5. Burne Jones Centenary
Sheila Harris reports on the visit to Birmingham
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The Vestry Hall Annexe - London Road - Mitcham -Surrey - CR4 3UD - Telephone - 0181 648 0127

Winter in Morden Hall Park



Museum open every Wednesday 1-4 pm and first Sunday of each month 2-5 pm

The Museum also welcomes schools and groups by appointment




There have been no school/group visits to the Museum over the Christmas and New Year period.

Outreach We had a successful day at the Vestry Hall Christmas Fair in November and again at Deen City Farm Christmas Open Day in 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 Savacentre on 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 Survey Thank 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 Shaw has volunteered to refurbish the William Morris exhibit

Ellen Eames has volunteered to help with fund raising

Reece Bell has 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 Viner who 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 Meetings are 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.


Members Events:

Past               Museum Christmas Party - see report on separate page


Present          New 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.

S.Harris 11/1/99


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 schedule.

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 (Company Secretary).

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.

Related articles

Wheels on the Web

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.

E.MaiJ:nhart@wandleindus Website:hrtp.7/www.

If you have any interest, ideas etc. to develop our website or design skills to offer, either contact Nicholas Hart directly by E.Mail or leave a telephone message at the Museum.

Ray Leyden 18.1.99

wheels on the web


A Tribute to John Viner

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 circuits.

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 much missed.

Sheila Harris 26/1/99



The Wandle - from Waddon to Wandsworth it slides Past meadow and park where the sparrow-hawk glides, Then tumbles through suburb and town as it rides To the Thames to be lost in the flow of its tides.

Shimmering, glimmering, fussing its way In slivers of sunshine and rainbows of spray, Or swiftly to settle from sprightly display In mysterious pools for a moment to stray.

It sparkles and glimmers then slips out of sight Into overgrown places as secret as night, Where stately grey heron and kingfisher bright For a moment's diversion will briefly alight.

Neath the flight of the swan and the swoop of the swallow The river meanders past thicket and hollow, Where mallard and moorhen indulgently wallow, And dragonflies hover o'er glistening shallow.

Through landscapes of history shifting and turning, Snuff and tobacco mills, waterwheels churning, Textiles and silks for the rich and discerning -Craftsmen, apprentices, teaching and learning.

Now caught in a culvert, still looping and bending, Past offices, tower blocks wistfully wending, From country to town it has finished descending -The river flows on but its journey is ending.

J. Viner

July 1996



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 Cathedral where 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 Window and The Window of the Crucifixion are considered by many to be examples of his greatest work. Later in 1896, at the West end of the Cathedral, The Last Judgement Window was 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 Boston.

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.

S.Harris 11/1/99

Paradise Barbrar Leighton, photograph of sir Edward Burne-Jones

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