Wandle Villa, Morden Hall Park

Record ID:  125006 / 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
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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)


Internal Description

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 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 openings have been created and walls 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.

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 pediment over 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.

The garden towards the river was 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.

Historical Background

The 1840 Tithe map shows that Wandle Villa was owned by James Moore and tenanted by John Welsh. The neighbouring property was similarly owned by James Moore and tenanted by John Welsh and John Margetson and was a 'printing establishment' (125038). The property to the north was also 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' (125039).

It appears that the house remained largely as it had been constructed under the long-term tenant until their death in 1970s. 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 1980s 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.

During the 1990s, the tenants 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.

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 (125038) 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.

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....."

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 were there until Mrs Pennell died in 1976.

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


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

  • --- SNA66629 - National Trust Report: Oxford Archaeology. Aug 1997. Morden Hall Park, Merton, An archaeological assessment..

  • --- 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 - Vernacular Building Survey: M J Higgins. 1988. Morden Hall Vernacular Buildings Survey.


Other Statuses and References

  • Conservation Area
  • National Monuments Record Reference: TQ26NE

Associated Events

  • ENA2173 - Heritage Assessment, Vernacular Buildings Survey at Morden Hall Park, 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