*Walks* A quick jaunt over the Sutton border brings you to Merton Abbey Mills.
Here, the River Wandle provides a powerful flow to feed an historic waterwheel. There’s been water-generated industry in this area since at least 1724Claim this banner space for your business
The wheelhouse has 18th century origins, whereas the wheel is newer, dating from 1850 to 1885. By 1904 the wheel and wheelhouse were being used by Arthur Liberty to help with the production of fine silks. Arthur benefitted as the River Wandle has a high concentrate of Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate), ideal for dyeing the specialist fabric. The company is still around today, known as Liberty of London.
Inside the wheelhouse are the remains of an earlier structure dating back some 500 years to the time of Merton Priory. This was an important monastery that covered a large area. Experts believe this was the floor of the old refectory (dining room), pictured below, used by the monks.
The waterwheel is occasionally in operation making it most likely the oldest working waterwheel in London.
The address is Merton Abbey Mills, Watermill Way, London, SW19 2RD. You can walk here from Carshalton. Follow the Wandle Trail (link below) to Morden Hall. Then continue on through Morden Hall Park, go over the tramline, past Deen City Farm and then over the Wandle into Merton Abbey Mills.
With thanks to the current custodian of this Grade II listed wheelhouse, potter Stephen Llewelyn, for talking through some of the history. Any questions? Please ask in the comments below. Thank you.
Claim this banner space for your business