John Innes was a city merchant and JP who owned land in Merton which he developed for housing in the late 19th century, calling it Merton Park. He left funds and his home of Manor Farm in Watery Lane, together with its grounds for the creation of a horticultural institute. This moved to Norfolk in 1953 and the area is now parks and part of Rutlish School, which also uses the Manor House. The school was established in the 1890s with funds left in trust by William Rutlish, embroiderer to Charles II. Innes died in 1904 and is buried in the parish church as is William Rutlish.
The first architect was HG Quartermain who designed attractive large houses as well as smaller cottages for farm estate workers. He was followed by JS Brocklesby who added Arts & Crafts style houses. The estate was further extended in the 1930s.
The core walk from Merton Park tramstop to Morden tube station is about 3 miles but it can be extended in several ways (described in the text).
From Merton Park tramstop (east platform) take the footpath southwards. At the junction of paths go right crossing Tramlink with care.
For an optional
extension (about 1 mile) From Merton Park
tramstop (east platform) take the footpath northwards. Right at
Number 120 is a timber framed building of c1700 with a later brick front.
Right at Kirkley Road then
left along Melbourne Road. At the end continue along The Path.
Cross Morden Road at the lights to the left and go into High Path
St John the Divine Church designed by C H Gage in 1914 has stained glass by Morris & Co
Walk through the small park
fronting Morden Road
This is dedicated to Nelson whose estate of Merton Place which occupied the site was sold in 1823
Cross with care towards the
Wickes store and take the path between this and the recreation
The path follows the line of the railway opened in 1868 from Tooting and the area is now a nature reserve
At the junction of paths (with Melbourne Road to the right) go left crossing Tramlink with care
Both routes Right
into Dorset Road.
The conservation areas have road signs with holly motifs as many of the properties have holly hedges. Quartermain lived at number 18 (1902).
Left along Kingston Road
The former Dorset Hall is now used by Wimbledon House School. On the corner of Wilton Crescent is the former public hall founded by Innes. At number 180 on the left are almshouses of 1797. On the right Long Lodge is late 18th century and was the home of Pre-Raphaelite painter Frederick Shields (see plaque). The Old Leather Bottle pub (rebuilt 1898) is sited opposite a triangle called The Rush. This area was cleared for the construction of the Nelson Hospital. Fundraising began for a new hospital in 1905 (the centenary of Trafalgar) and land was purchased in 1909. The first phase was opened in 1911 and a new wing added in 1922 to commemorate men of Merton killed in WWI (see plaques).
Just past the hospital go
left along Blakesley walk.
A large house called Blakesley stood on the site now occcupied by the hospital car park.
At the end go left around
The Manor House was rebuilt for Innes in 1870-1900 and is now used by the school (blue plaque). Brocklesby lived opposite at number 15 (1907) then 17 (1908) which he designed.
Right into Sheridan Road.
Numbers 19, 38 & 40 were built in the 1920s and feature flint walls.
At the end go right into
Dorset Road then first right along Melrose Road
Numbers 2-30 of 1906-11 are by Brocklesby. The former National School of 1870 with 1901 additions (by Quartermain) has been converted to flats.
Left along Church Lane
A turning on the left gives access to St Mary's Cottages (1881).
Enter the churchyard and
walk through towards to west end of the church.
John Innes is commemorated with a fine table tomb and stained glass windows designed by Burne-Jones & Henry Dearle. Parts of St Mary's Church are Norman but the main framework is 14th century. It has a spendid Medieval roof and associations with Nelson who lived nearby. The east window of the chancel was replaced in 1950 having been destroyed by a flying bomb in 1944. The doorway from Merton Priory guesthouse has been re-erected in the grounds.
Left at Church Path.
On the right is a fine gate to number 10 (formerly a 17th century house) and an old wall. Opposite is the vicarage of 1800 and the church hall. There are some smaller cottages further along.
Left along Mostyn Road.
The former Manor House grounds are now a pleasant park, opened in 1909. Merton Cottage is Georgian with Victorian refronting. Number 35 (The Flint Barn) was supposedly constructed using salvaged materials from farm buildings. There is a view of the former horticultural site on the right. Further along the road was developed in the 1930s.
Go into Mostyn Gardens on
the left and take the path ahead.
The tall building visable is Merton's Civic Centre.
Walk between the playgrounds
and go right then bear left to exit (to right of closed toilets).
Left at Martin Way then continue along Crown Lane.
Numbers 23-37 were built by Thomas North and originally had corrugated iron roofs (only one remains).
Morden Station (Northern line) is on the left.
To visit Morden Hall Park
cross into Aberconway Road (between Iceland and the snooker
hall). At the end cross Morden Hall Road into the park.
The outbuildings to the right include a National Trust cafe and shop and a garden centre. Further along are the former stable block and snuff mills.
Follow signs to Deen City Farm and Abbey Mills. Where the path divides go right over the bridge to access Phipps Bridge Tramstop across the park. There is also the option of taking the Wandle Trail southwards from this point or continuing towards Merton (details on my Wandle route).
© london-footprints.co.uk 2010
The Buildings of England London 2: South - Cherry & Pevsner
St Mary the Virgin - Open 9-12 weekdays or Tel: 020 8542 1760 to arrange access.
A guide and history by Lionel Green is available in the church [website]
A Walk around Merton Rush in the early 20th century by Cyril Maidment & Peter Hopkins [click here]
LB Merton PDF files
Historic Maps of Merton Park [click here]
Architectural photographs [click here]
Merton Park Green Walks [click here]
[National Trust] [trails] [walkslist]