Nelson 2005 update

Air-fix model of the HMS Victory

Air-fix model of the HMS Victory [34.4kb]

A Glimpse of the Past

The damaged windows at Ravensbury
Connolly's leather works in Colliers Wood were a landmark in Merton for many years. Although they have gone now, forced out by changes in industrial practices, their name lives on. This example of early advertising, illustrated by the famous W. Heath Robinson, is a nice reminder.

The programme of events for celebration of the bicentary of Trafalgar is being co-ordinated by the LB Merton, with regular meetings of those planning their own celebrations.

In the next newsletter we would hope to print a summary of these, but, in the meantime would hope that anyone not already in touch, but planning an event of their own, will contact Nicola Meza or Sophie Heath at London Borough of Merton.

In the meantime, we hope to have our own booklet out on Merton Place in the near future, as a reprint of the 1995 article by Peter Warwick, together with hand outs, badges and bookmarks - all to be ready by the May Fair at the latest. More on this next newsletter, but, to keep the pot boiling, print our own provisional Merton Place time line below.

Merton place - timeline

1746

Roque's map shows a man-made watercourse cut at right angles to the River Wandle.

1748

June, Henry Pratt buys the site and subsequently constructs the original house (insured 1753)

1798

Sept. Nelson and Emma meet in Naples.

1800

Nov. Nelson and the Hamiltons arrive back in England.

1801

Jan. Horatia born.

1801

Nelson writes to Emma "I am very anxious for a house ...only do not have it too large, for the establishment of a large household would be ruinous". Nelson also fancied land suitable for farming, because it would be a source of income once he had left the Navy.

1801

In July, a purchase of a house in Turnham Green fell through. Then Emma found Merton Place, only eight miles, or a one hour carriage drive, from Westminster.

1801

Nelson first heard of their discovery on the 20th. August. The asking price was 9,000 for the house and 52 acres, with furniture at valuation (about another 1,000).

1801

September 13th. The purchase of Merton Place is completed.

1801

September 16th. Letter of congratulation sent by Sir William Hamilton.; "We have now inhabited your Lordp's (sic) premises some days.."

1801

October 23rd. A Friday, Nelson's first visit to Merton Place.

1805

Nelson was at Merton from 23rd. October, 1801 to 18th. May, 1803, and between 20th. August and 13th. September, 1805.

1802

Lord Minto's first visit to Merton in March, 1802. Lord Minto was struck by the museum atmosphere.

1802

July/Aug The initial building work appears to have been carried out during the six week tour of the Midlands, Welsh borders and South Wales. The remainder was undertaken during Nelson's long absence some time between May, 1803 and August, 1805

1802

November Nelson buys the whole of William Axe's farm of 115 acres for 8000 to extend the estate eastwards towards Merton Priory.

1803

April 6th. Sir William Hamilton dies.

1803 - 1806

Thomas Baxter, a young artist, went on a number of occasions between 1803 and 1806. His paintings are now in the National Maritime Museum.

1805

Horatia established at Merton.

1805

August 20. Nelson arrives for the last time.

1805

September, 13th. Nelson leaves "dear, dear Merton" for the last time.

1805

October 21. Death of Nelson at Trafalgar. Emma inherits the house and 70 acres at Merton Place.

1806

A deed dated 4th. March, 1806 includes a drawing which shows the 70 acres that Emma selected for herself plus two acres that she bought from Lord Nelson's trustees, Earl Nelson and William Haslewood.

1807

An indenture dated 5th. May, 1807 between Emma and Francis Giffard of Upavon, a moneylender, was purchased by Wimbledon Museum in 1991. Emma borrowed 1,000 to pay debts.

1808

Emma was at last forced to leave Merton and moved to Heron Court in Richmond.

1809

Asher Goldsmid acquired the estate in April 1809, and it was still possible to "stroll through the deserted rooms" as Nelson had known them, "and admire the beautiful furniture".

1815

January Emma dies in poverty in Calais..

1815

March 22nd, Advertisement that appeared in The Times is probably the best single description of Merton that exists. It did not sell.

1823

16th. September. The estate was eventually auctioned 'into lots adequate for detached villas' at the White Hart, Merton. Some villas were built, and Merton Place probably demolished.

1846

The traditional date for demolition. The earlier date is now preferred.

Related Ne;sion article

Meg Thomas

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