Little holland house

A Glimpse of the Past

From ‘Merton Reminiscences', Wimbledon and Merton Annual 1903

"My grandmother was born in the latter part of the century, when Nelson and ' Bony' were names to conjure with, and she had left a famous south country smuggling village with all its excitements to come to quiet Merton. But we must not delay our walk too long, although my grandmother has stopped for a moment to speak to a shepherd in a smock frock. As he is a native not of Merton but of Malden, she finds it very difficult to understand him, for Malden folk have a dialect of their own. On the left hand side as she returns from Tooting is Collier's Wood House, belonging to Mitcham it is true, but all the same the home of a Lady Bountiful of the village, Mrs. Miller, who found places for all the cottage girls at that end, and looked after the morals of the boys. Further down, and nearly opposite, is Bye Grove, belonging to Merton College, Oxford, which can still be seen, though much of its once lovely grounds has been built over."

Was the home of local artist, craftsman and designer Frank Dickinson (1874-1961).

The house which is grade II* listed was designed by Dickinson and inspired by the works of William Morris. All the furnishings and fittings inside the house were also designed and made by him. He chose Carshalton to build his house because of the writings of John Ruskin, who had visited Carshalton and liked its rural charms.

Frank Dickinson built the house himself with the aid of two of his brothers and moved in with his wife Florence in 1904. After his death in 1961 and that of Florence in 1972, Sutton Council purchased it for £17,000 and later opened it to the public.

It contains Dickinson's paintings , hand made furniture, metalwork and furnishings and is a unique example fo the English Arts and Crafts movement.

Sheila Harris

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