Local History

Until the Northern Line was extended in 1926, Morden remained a sleepy backwater made up of cottages and a handful of farms. The original Morden village is located around St Lawrence Church one mile away from the town centre. The arrival of the new station transformed the rural landscape, which overnight became within easy commuting distance of central London just seven miles away. People flocked to the area and the St Helier Estate, named after London County Councillor, Baroness Susan Mary St Helier, was built to cater for the fast growing community.

Building work on the estate – the largest local authority development in south London – started in 1928, as the population of Morden spiralled from 1,355 in 1921 to 12,618 just ten years later. Morden Hall Park survived this suburbanisation. A number of historic buildings dating back to the 1770s remain, including Morden Hall and its watermills where tobacco was once ground into snuff, until as late as 1922.

Morden Hall was owned and occupied by the wealthy Garth family for generations until it was sold to tobacco merchant Gilliat Hatfeild in the 1870s. His son Gilliat Edward Hatfeild left the core of the estate – including the house – to the National Trust when he died in 1941.

Morden Hall Park has been described as a green oasis in the heart of suburbia beside the meandering River Wandle. Only a short walk from Parkview Apartments, it’s just one of the many attractions of this ever-changing area.

jon greenLocal History