Merton Working Heritage

Our completed Heritage Lottery funded project was based at the historic heart of Merton in Colliers Wood and Mitcham. The heritage focus was local work and industry and the working lives of local people. More information is available on

The River Wandle within Merton was a key industrial site since the 1700s, where its fast flowing water provided power for the milling process. By 1750 Merton Abbey and Mitcham had become the main centres of calico cloth printing in England, and was later the site of both William Morris and Arthur Liberty’s workshops and factories.

The area remained a key industrial site of note into the 20th Century through the paper making and paint industries in addition to the Lines Brothers toy factory, which was once the largest toy factory in the world.

Our key partner on the project was Circle Housing Merton Priory (CHMP), the main social housing landlord in Merton. CHMP took over ownership of council housing in the borough from Merton Council in 2000. In addition to working with CHMP, their residents and community groups, we also worked with the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, Merton Historical Society, Wandle Industrial Museum and the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre.

The project outreach was targeted at residents of five local housing estates identified with Merton Priory Homes and adjacent primary schools. These were Glebe Court, Sadlers Close, Watermeads, Phipps Bridge and Cherry Trees estates, whilst the primary schools were St Peter & Paul RC, Cranmer, Benedict and Merton Abbey.

The Heritage walk and map is a key output of this project. Over the course of the project, we have developed the walk route and highlights with advice from partners including the Wandle Industrial Museum and the Friends of Ravensbury Park. It details a walk route from Colliers Wood to Mitcham along the Wandle recording key work and industrial heritage sites. The map can be downloaded from or is available free of charge by contacting us at