Wandle Villa, Morden Hall Park

Record ID:  125006*0 / MNA129721
Record type:  Building
Protected Status: Listed Building: Grade II
NT Property:  Morden Hall Park; London and South East
Civil Parish:  None Recorded
Grid Reference:  TQ 2644 6911
Choose map:
Map Aerial
Choose labels:
No label ID SMR No.


Classical detached villa house constructed in about 1778 by Edward Rucker. The house has a basement, ground, first and attic storey. The house is constructed in stock brickwork with roof parapet and a hipped slate roof.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • CALICO PRINTING WORKS (Late 18th C to Early 19th C - 1788 AD to 1821 AD)
  • PRINTING WORKS (Early 19th C to Mid 19th C - 1821 AD to 1853 AD)
  • BLEACHERY (Mid 19th C to Late 19th C - 1853 AD to 1870 AD)
  • VILLA (villa (Non Roman), Late 18th C to Late 19th C - 1788 AD to 1900 AD)


This house was not visited as,part of the survey although it is clearly
of historical value and will need to be covered some time, in the future.
The government listing gives a date c.1770, grade II4


D.O.E. listing states:

Circa 1770. Two storeys, stock brick, five sash windows with cambered
heads. Band between storeys. Central open pedimented doorcase
approached by 3 stone steps having iron rails, with Doric pilasters,
triglyph frieze and mutules. Six fielded panelled door, semi-circular
radiating fanlight, panelled reveals. Capped parapet, hipped slate roof,
three flat topped sashed dormers. Canted two storey bay to S end, N end
with four sash windows each floor. An unaltered late C18 house, in
surroundings largely industrial and slum property, save for the rear
which overlooks Morden Hall Park.

KNOWN HISTORY No intensive research has yet been done but the 1877
ordnance survey map for the area shows a substantial bleach factory
existed at that time on the river behind the house. The plans ,
illustrated are thought to be correct, they are taken from a series of
alternative conversion plans over recent years. Much of the; internal
timberwork was replaced during this work.

REGIONAL OFFICE COMMENTS A full survey of this house is needed, perhaps
when the lease is next re-assigned.

(Martin Higgins, July 1988)

General Description

Classical detached villa house constructed in about 1778 by Edward Rucker. The house has a basement, ground, first and attic storey. The house is constructed in stock brickwork with roof parapet and a hipped slate roof. The property has suffered extensively from vandalism due to it laying vacant for a number of years in the 1970's followed by an unsympathetic tenant. These combined factors have reduced the properties historical value substantially. And only the external appearance of the house retains any historical significance.

Internally no fixtures survive of any virtue (except some timber spandrel decoration on the staircase) and externally only the solid structure of the walls and the front doorway opening and door case are original.
Photographs taken by the Mitcham Historical Society by Eric Montague show the building shortly after vandalism of the building in the late 1970's. These photographs have not been seen for this survey.

Internal Description

Due to the poor internal preservation of any historical interest in this property a room by room description is not given. Instead reference will only be made to the present and original internal layout and surviving detail.

The interior of the property appears to have no original timberwork except for some applied carved spandrel decoration on the open string of the staircase. The staircase itself has been recently replaced.

The house consisted originally of a three-room ground floor plan of kitchen, living and dining room set in an L shape. The living and dining rooms are set facing the road to the east side of the property with the kitchen / service range to the rear of the house accessed from a central positioned through passage joining front and rear doors.

The dining room has a large full height bay extending to the first floor on the south side leading down steps to the garden. It is interesting to note that the windows to the bay window appear to have been blocked at the time of construction of the house.

A number of opening have been created and wall constructed in the ground, first and attic floors, but these are only minor. The only major alteration to the original layout was the demolition in 1974 of the rear lean too and demolition of the corner bathroom and laundry in the 1980's. The poorly matched brickwork modern extension block in the SE corner replaced this.

External Description

The house is constructed in dark red / brown bricks throughout - except the modern work to the parapet at roof level and the SE extension which are of yellower reused and unmatched bricks. The original bricks were pointed with lime mortar and tuck pointed. The vast majority of this work has been redone badly in cement mortar. A small section to the rear of the house survives showing the original pointing. (see photograph).

There is a raised brick string course three bricks deep between the ground and first floor on the north, east and south elevations.

Segmental arched window heads and the reveals of the windows are rendered.

The front doorcase has a broken pediment over with Doric pilasters and fielded panel in the reveals of the doorway opening. There is a three light fan light over the door. The front door is the original six panel door. The steps in front of the door are of white marble with wrought iron railing either side.

Windows throughout are Georgian sliding sashes, except the modern attic casement windows.

There is a large tapered chimney stack to the rear of the property which serves the kitchen. In addition there is a chimney stack against the rear walls of the living and dining rooms to the front of the house.

External Buildings

There are no external buildings.

The front iron railings, wall and gates should be maintained.

The garden towards the river is the site of a large printworks. The possibility of industrial pollution and the archaeological impact of any work in this area should be considered in the management of this garden area.

There is a large mound in the centre of the lawn towards the river which may be for simply ornamental tree planting or may have had a small garden building on it.

Landscape Impact

This house is set back from the public road and is visible through railings and undergrowth. It is set in an area of otherwise urban sprawl on the edge of the river Wandle. The house does not posses any particularly important aspect in the landscape and is really too hidden to be notice by most people. This should not however detract from the general management principle to maintain the external appearance to the highest standards as it will still be visible to many people as they pass. This is particularly so in winter when the surrounding trees loose there leaves.
Historical Analysis

Anthony Rucker who lived in the property for 4-5 years is reputed to have constructed Wandle Villa in 1778. The 1840 Tithe map shows that Wandle Villa (1139) was owned by James Moore and tenanted by John Welsh. 1140 is similarly owned by James Moore and tenanted by John Welsh and John Margetson and is a 'printing establishment' (SMR no. 125038). 1141 is owned by James Moore and tenanted by Benjamin Helps, William Palmer and Starey and is described as a 'block printing factory, counting house and yard' (SMR No. 125039). The descriptions of these two demolished factories with close associations with Wandle Villa has been included below - taken from the National Trust Sites and Monument entries for the two properties. The site of the 'printing establishment' (see 125038 below) lies in the garden of Wandle Villa and is presently pastured by goats.

It appears that this house remained largely as it had been constructed under the long-term tenant Mrs Parrat until her death in 1974. It was subsequently left vacant for about five years and was vandalised with the removal or destruction of many internal fixtures and fitting.

The rear infill block in the angle between the front range and the rear range was removed in the late 1980's by the tenant and replaced with a larger block which today fills the whole of the space between the two ranges to form a near square building. This block is made from reclaimed bricks of mixed coloration and is not at all sympathetic to the original brick colour.

The present tenant Mr Atha moved into the house in 1994 and they have reconstructed the entire interior fixtures and fittings of the house in a period style with the exception of the attic rooms which are in a modern style. The tenants also have plans to add a modern conservatory to the rear of the house.

Historical analysis of the adjacent demolished factories taken from the survey by the Oxford Archaeological Unit : -

Printing Establishment -

Site:125038*0 No standing structure remains of the various factories that were sited on the banks of the river behind Wandle Villa. The site may have been occupied as early as 1752 for a calico printing works set up by George Amyand and Francis Nixon using a pioneering technique of printing material from engraved copper plates. This factory is located as being at "Phippsbridge near Merton" and has not been more closely pinpointed. There is concrete evidence of a factory founded by John Anthony Rucker on the site c 1788. Before he built the factory itself he spent time purchasing the land around and improving the water supply by the creation in 1769 of "Rucker's new cutt", the southern channel of the Wandle seen running through Morden Hall Park. The factory complex also included a residence for the proprietor (Wandle Villa, 125006), a foreman's house (96 Phipps Bridge Road, 125030), a gardeners lodge (125030), coach house, stables, loose box and hen house.

The factory has a complicated history of leases and sales which E N Montague of the Merton Historical Society has researched. Rucker sublet the works to Howard and Company who went bankrupt in 1811. The decline and diversification of the factory is seen against a national backdrop of change within the textile industry. Northern mills were taking over from those of the home counties with increased competition, the war with France had cut off a large export market and changes in fashions forced many of the local print works around Morden Hall Park to close between 1800-1840.

A map of 1825 shows the factory labelled "Mr Wood's Silk Mill". Peter Wood who leased the works from James and Henry Moore undertook this diversification. By 1834 the mill was again empty being reoccupied by Welch and Margetson who leased the factory and maintained its use as a silk printing works. Later in 1854 they purchased the complex and continued in production until the early 1860's. The sales particulars of 1854 describe the works: "...substantially brick-built, consisting of a large building, containing Print-room, Wax shop, Blue-house, Cutting shop, Silk room over part, Hot mount and Printing shop; also Plate shop, Three colour rooms, printing shops and Store room; lean-to Cotton Blue house, and Wheel, Copper, Soap, Steam, Padding and Winch Houses; also Print room, Madder house and Carpenter's shop; lower Store room, coal cellar and Yard."

In 1862 the factory was leased to a firm of bleachers and dyers and a wool merchant all from the north of England. However by 1867 "Phipps Bridge Bleaching and Carding Works" had folded and Gilliat Hatfeild had taken up the lease. He bought the property in 1870 when it was described in the sales particulars as "an extensive brick and tiled factory of three storeys, ... a carding house, ... [two storeys], a one storey building and boiler house, forge house, bleaching house, managers office.....". Hatfeild had not purchased the property as a business venture he wanted the land as part of his park creation scheme, the industrial use of the land had come to an end. The main bulk of the factory was demolished between 1870-1883, with the only surviving part being demolished c1988. This building was known as a dairy and was situated in the grounds of 96 Phipps Bridge Road. It is unclear if any archaeological remains survive of the building, Montague notes that a few bricks are visible in the allotment gardens that now border the site and that a small section of brick footings are visible at times in the bed of the river. The mill pool and race were destroyed in the 1960's when Rucker's cut was re-routed to prevent flooding and improve the flow of water after heavy periods of rain.

It is unclear what if any connection the factory had with the nearby "Patent Steam Washing Factory" (125039) founded in 1824.

Block Printing Factory -

Site:125039*0 The Patent Steam-Washing Factory was built in 1824 behind Wandle Villa (125006). It is shown in two watercolours by Yates of 1825. The building was huge by the standards of Mitcham, described as being 214 feet by 61 feet. The industrial process of textile dying was becoming more chemical based resulting in need for more efficient washing processes. This is presumably the market that the factory was trying to corner however it may have had an additional function as experimentation with steam dye fixing was being tested as a new printing technique. However the textile printing market in the south was in depression with the mills of the north becoming more competitive and the Napoleonic war limiting export sales and so the factory was never successful. Attempts at diversification included stocking production and block printing but none of these ventures had any success. The factory finally burnt down in April 1848 and was not rebuilt.

The relationship with the nearby textile-printing factory is unclear (125038). For a period James Moore owned both the properties but seems to have acted only as landlord.1

Plans, drawings and maps
The following plans and elevations are amended to show the present floor plans from the original drawings found in the VBS report by Martin Higgins which pre date the present floor layout.

The maps below show the location of Wandle Villa (lower right side) and the associated bleaching works.

Figure 1 - 1840 Tithe map - 1139 (Wandle Villa) was owned by James Moore and tenanted by John Welsh - 1140 is similarly owned by James Moore and tenanted by John Welsh and John Margetson and is a 'printing establishment' - 1141 is owned by James Moore and tenanted by Benjamin Helps, William Palmer and Starey and is described as a 'block printing factory, counting house and yard'

Figure 2 - 1866 O.S. map

Figure 3 - 1895 O.S. map

1 Extract taken from - Morden Hall Park, An Archaeological Assessment, Oxford Archaeological Unit, 1997 - internal draft report for the National Trust
Southern Region VBS - Building code - MDD13

(Mayes 1998)

'Wandle Villa is a Grade II stock brick building of two storeys with five sash windows with cambered heads. A brick band stands proud of the main wall face and punctuates the storeys. The main entrance is on the eastern side of the building and is central placed. Being at a higher level than ground surface three stone steps with iron railings lead up to it. The panelled door has a semi-circular fanlight above it and to either side is framed by Doric pilasters. The capped parapet may be of a different phase of build as a distinct difference in brick type is apparent between it and the main body of the building. The roof is hipped with a covering of slate, it has three flat topped dormer sash windows.

The villa is thought to have been built by John Antony Rucker possibly in 1788 when he founded Phipps Bridge Calico printing works (125037) on the river behind although the dwelling is first documented in 1792. The Villa was part of the industrial factory complex and was repeatedly sold and leased with it, being used for a little over 90 years to house the factory proprietor.

Sales particulars of 1853 describe the building as
"containing hall, dining and drawing rooms, wine and beer cellars, kitchen, china pantry, scullery, wash house, three best bedrooms, three servants rooms and water closet; well arranged lawn, flower garden and shrubbery, partly walled in; with carriage drive, kitchen garden, hot house, poultry yard etc"

In 1870 the factory and villa were purchased by Gilliat Hatfeild, who lived there for a short time before purchasing the Hall. The factory buildings appear to have been demolished by 1883 as they do not appear on a map of the area of this date. It could be that Hatfeild demolished the complex as part of his creation of the park scheme. The villa continued to be occupied although there were some vacant periods. After the death of a tenant in 1976 the house was left empty, deteriorating to a ruinous state, until finally restored and reinhabited around 1980.'

(Newel 1996)

Archaeological Comments - Site:125006*0 Tracing the occupiers of the villa is complicated by the fact that it was leased out so much. A rough list of tennants and owners has been sketched out in the associated persons field this however is not exhaustive. In 1853 Crawters produced sales particulars describing the villa as "the substantial brick-built Private Residence underlet to Mr William H. Carling".

Sales particulars of 1870 describe the house and other associated buildings in some detail: "A substantial brick and slated residence known as Wandle Villa standing in the midst of a large and well-timbered pleasure grounds....."

Vernacular Building Survey reference is MDD13. Plans and rough notes were made but the need for a full survey was noted.

In 1899 Wandle Villa was occupied by Henry William Butler who remained there until the first world war. The Pennell family replaced the Butlers and where there until Mrs Pennel died in 1976.

Additional information about the factory complex as a whole can be found under the 125038 entry.

NMR Number TQ 26 NE NBR Number 82344 Unique Identifier 541460


  • SNA63112 - Conservation Plan: Rees Bolter Architects. Sept. 2007. Morden Hall Park, Document 4 - Gazetteer (CMP Appendix 6). Document 4.

  • SNA66629 - National Trust Report: J T Blight. Aug 1997. An archaeological assessment, Morden Hall Park, Merton.

  • SZL10502 - Document: Surrey Record Office. 1870. Sales particulars of Wandle Villa and Phipps Bridge Factory.

  • SZL11392 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - modern steps into the cellar. NONE. 28.

  • SZL12180 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - east facing external elevation. NONE. 18.

  • SZL15139 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - interior of the front door. NONE. 20.

  • SZL18370 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - kitchen north wall. NONE. 26.

  • SZL23345 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - detail of brickwork and original pointing at the rear of the houise. NONE. 1.

  • SZL24525 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - west wall of the dinning room. NONE. 22.

  • SZL28212 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - base of staircase on ground floor. NONE. 21.

  • SZL32158 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - west facing external elevation. NONE. 14.

  • SZL32159 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - patio on the west side of the house. NONE. 15.

  • SZL32491 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - attic passageway. NONE. 24.

  • SZL32492 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - first floor landing. NONE. 25.

  • SZL3307 - Document: Mitcham Library. 1853. Sale plan of James Moore's estate, includes Wandle Villa. Morden Hall Park.

  • SZL33891 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - front door and steps external. NONE. 3.

  • SZL37653 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - steps down from the pation at the rear of the house with dog statues. NONE. 2.

  • SZL38331 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - north facing external elevation. NONE. 13.

  • SZL397 - National Trust Report: Katie A Fretwell. 1994. Morden Hall Park Park and Garden Survey.

  • SZL40323 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - living room. NONE. 19.

  • SZL4314 - Map: Ordnance Survey. 1876. 1:2500. 2500.

  • SZL45631 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - south and west external elevations showing modern brick infill block. NONE. 16.

  • SZL45696 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - spandrel detail on the open string staircase. NONE. 23.

  • SZL45805 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - partition wall timber framing and brick nogging at head of cellar stairs. NONE. 27.

  • SZL47715 - Photograph - colour: Ian Mayes. 01/06/1998. Morden - Wandle Villa - south facing external 'bay' elevation. NONE. 17.

  • SZL6252 - Document: Surrey Record Office. 1870. Purchase of Wandle Villa and Phipps Bridge. (Morden Hall Park.).

  • SZL7478 - Map: Tithe Commissioners. 1847. Tithe Map and Apportionments for Mitcham..

  • SZL7841 - Map: Ordnance Survey. 1913. 25" Map Surrey Sheet XIII.3..

  • SZL8281 - Map: Ordnance Survey. 1895. Second Edition 1:2500 map. Surrey Sheet XIII.3..

  • SZL8837 - Unpublished document: M J Higgins. 1988. Morden Hall Vernacular Buildings Survey..


Other Statuses and References

  • Conservation Area
  • National Monuments Record Reference: TQ26NE

Associated Events

  • ENA2173 - Field Survey, Vernacular Buildings Survey,1988
  • ENA2257 - Field Survey, Morden Hall Historic Landscape Survey
  • ENA4784 - Field Survey, Conservation Management Plan produced for Morden Hall Park

Associated Finds

None Recorded

Related Records

None Recorded