Merton historical society 50th anniversary

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Wednesday 28th February will be the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Merton Historical Society. Several Wandle Industrial Museum members are also members of the Society, including local historians Eric Montague, Judith Goodman and Bill Rudd, as well as our Administrator Sheila Harris. The Society hold their committee meetings in the Museum, and the Society and the Museum enjoy a good relationship, often being involved in joint projects.

To mark the occasion, the Society are holding a special exhibition at the Merton Heritage Centre, at the Canons, Madeira Road, Mitcham about their activities over the past 50 years. The exhibition will be showing from Tuesday 20th February to Sunday 25th February during Heritage Centre opening hours.

There will also be a celebratory dinner on 28th February, at Morden Hall Beefeater Restaurant for members and guests, for which Wandle Industrial Museum member Mary Hart is baking a special 50th Anniversary cake.

MHS was founded in 1951, the year of the Festival of Britain. The former Merton and Morden Urban District Council set up a special committee to arrange events to celebrate the Festival. The District Librarian, Miss Evelyn Jowett MA (Oxon) was asked to produce a history of the District. This book, "A History of Merton and Morden" was the prime historical account of the District for many years to come.

A series of lectures were also planned in 1951 to cover the history of the area. A group of historically minded people got together encouraged by the Clerk of the Council, Mr Harry May, and the Merton and Morden History Society was founded on Wednesday 28th February 1951. Cllr Vincent Talbot was elected Chairman, Miss Jowett was Secretary, and Mr S. E. Cobbett was Treasurer. The first President was Lt. Col. Andrew Bidder. At the very first AGM it was recorded that there were 58 subscriptions at 2/6d each.

In 1953 the Society took part in a Coronation Carnival. This was a presentation of the marriage of Queen Eleanor to Henry III, and they won first prize of 10 guineas. Again in 1955 the Society helped with an Exhibition held to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. From then on a programme of lectures, outings, visits to places of historical interest and local historical walks have continued over the years. We offer our congratulations and best wishes for the next 50 years. We are indebted to Chairman Lionel Green, and Vice President Bill Rudd for the information in this report.

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