News Desk

Visits to the Museum

Visitors have continued to enjoy free entry to the Museum on Wednesdays and first Sundays while the new Surrey Iron Railway Exhibition was being prepared. However since the opening of our new Exhibition, entry is once again 50p adults and 20p concession - which is cheap at the price!

In June we had a visit from Stanford Primary School on the Streatham borders enjoying their first printing workshop at the Museum. Thanks must also be given to Volunteer Stephen Ashcroft who led a Wandle Walk from Merton Abbey Mills to Morden Hall Park. There were over 50 children from Broadwater Primary School in Tooting so he was kept busy, but says he enjoyed it.


Once again the Museum had a stall at Mitcham Carnival in June when the theme was Transport Throughout the Ages. It was a lovely sunny day and over 80 was raised for Museum funds. The Wimbledon Village Fair was another successful event in which we participated and 136 was raised which was nearly double that raised the previous year.

Ray Leyden being informative.

Ray Leyden being informative [Full image 9.61kb]

Thanks to all the Volunteers, friends and members who helped make these events so successful.

During Wimbledon week we were please to provide support for the information stand at Wimbledon Station set up by the Library Service in conjunction with the All England Club. The idea was to ensure that visitors to Wimbledon for the Tennis were aware of Merton's other attractions. Although the Tennis was the overwhelming subject, our volunteers knowledge of the area was helpful to many.

In July we were pleased to loan some of our mounted material for a display about William Morris, to Roger Wates, Managing Director of E&A Wates, furniture restorers of Streatham. As part of the Furzedown Festival the company had arranged for an illustrated lecture by the senior archivist at Sandersons on The Art and Craft of William Morris. The event was held at Mitcham Baptist Church and attracted a large crowd of visitors who were interested in our displays and the artifacts supplied by Sandersons.

Since writing this article we note with sadness that Sandersons has gone into receivership. The crisis raises the question as to what will happen to the archive of designs and patterns by well-known names such as Morris, Voysey and Pugin. When Morris and Co went into liquidation in 1940 Sandersons bought the patterns.

Volunteers Connie and Ellie at Wimbledon Village Fair.

Volunteers Connie and Ellie at Wimbledon Village Fair [Full image 26kb]

The receivers are hoping to sell the business as a going concern, but the future of the archive remains uncertain. Sandersons' classic look appears to have fallen victim. to the minimalist approach and the Ikea "chuck out your chintz" advertising campaign.

There is a coincidence about the timing - the BBC's Essentially English team are preparing a program about William Morris, and had been in touch with us about use of our model of the workshops. More importantly, they had been in close touch with Sandersons about their archive at Denham, and (with a small nudge from us) were able to get in immediate touch with the liquidators to ensure no hasty action was taken to put the archive at risk.


A successful Volunteers' Lunch took place in July with a full attendance and delicious refreshments provided by Volunteer Mary Hart. A Volunteers' Outing remains to be arranged, but since Wimbledon Theatre is now closed for some time we are looking for alternative suggestions.

Members' Events:

The main event of the year was the opening of the Surrey Iron Railway Exhibition and launch of the Bicentennial Anniversary Publication The Iron Railways of the Wandle Valley (see separate article on page) The new booklet, priced at 2, is now on sale in the Museum shop.

Future event:

A visit to the Maidstone Museum and Bentley Art Gallery where Simon Lace, our Curatorial Adviser, now presides is being arranged for Saturday September 27th. Please ring the Museum for arrangements. Provisional arrangements are to meet there at 1.30, travelling by car, with those who need a lift and those with space in their cars contacting Sheila at the Museum between now and then.

A Date for your Diary

Saturday October 25th

Make a note of the details of the Annual General Meeting to be held at the Snuff Mill Environmental Centre on Saturday October 25th at 12.00 noon. Lecture by member Colin Saunders on The Vanguard Way. More details available nearer the time.

Sheila Harris Aug 2003

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