Merton Abbey Mills Developments
For those who don't know, Merton Abbey Mills is an idyllic riverside craft village, just down the road in Colliers Wood running along side the river Wandle.
Merton Abbey Mills offers a variety of markets on the weekend including craft stalls, a farmers market with free range eggs, organic meat, cheeses, savoury and sweet pies and more, there are also food stalls and a great selection of shops with an endless choice of goods from books and prints to herbs and pottery.
Merton Abbey Mills was formerly the home of the Liberty Print Works. The Liberty site, a collection of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings encompassing over two centuries of industrial history was sold by Liberties in 1977. It then stood empty and neglected for vandals and fly-tippers.
The Wandle Industrial Museum was formed in 1983 by local people interested in saving the site and its buildings from further dereliction. The aim was to turn it into a working museum reflecting the varied history of the whole River Wandle.
Initially the Wandle Industrial Museum team consisted of researchers funded by the Manpower Services Commission and headed by a voluntary management committee. The team produced comprehensive proposals for use of the buildings on site and mounted their first exhibition at Eagle House, Mitcham 1984.The proposals were well received by the Greater London Council and negotiations were proceeding for the GLC to purchase the site when the Government (of the day) announced plans to abolish the Council and froze all Council spending.
This brought this proposal to a dead stop but the site was purchased by the Savacentre Group as part of a major redevelopment scheme and the rest as they say is history. As the birth of the Wandle Industrial Museum was conceived at Merton Abbey Mills it was only the next logical step to record and publish this remarkable history.
The starting point to publish is to create a storyline and a mock-up of the proposed title The next step is to establish a printing run, costs and a timetable for the project. We approached Merton Libraries to support this project for printing costs and we were to fund all the research and production costs. We later obtained sponsorship from Tramlink to include their travel map. We decided to go for an initial 2000 copy print run and share the copies with London Borough of Merton. With future sales this was designed as a self financing project.
The painstaking research was appropriately undertaken by founder member Kevin Leyden who was acquainted already with the site and had carried out local studies along the river as a Merton Primary school teacher. The original script was checked by Eric Montague, Bill Rudd and Judith Goodman of Merton Historical Society to ensure accuracy. We then checked it in- house with our archivist Marguerite Lee-Deslisle who helped select the best photographs and artwork.
The final step is to take it to the printer. We took it to Merton Print and they project managed the whole process with the D&P Bureau carrying out all the typesetting and origination. They produced proof copies which we circulated to Monty and was proof read by Merton Historical's Editorial committee as well as the Author, the Archivist, Merton Libraries and Merton Abbey Mills. Our final act was to obtain a bar code, an ISBN which identifies one title, or edition of a title, and is unique to that title or edition. The best part is the launch which was kindly carried out by The Mayor of Merton Cllr Ian Munn on the 23rd November 2000, sponsored by Merton Abbey.
As those of you who still visit the market will know, the development continues apace. The Hotel and Virgin Sports centre are almost open, many of the apartments in that complex overlooking Bennetts ditch are in occupation, and some parts of the site are beginning to have that 'occupied' look.
Much work is still to be done, and, as these picture show, Merton Abbey Mills as a site has been much dragged down by these buildings, architecturally, financially and in ambience.
There are reports that the footfall within the market has reduced by 80%, and there can be no doubt that a combination of traffic jams created by the new junction, and the parking problems within the site, have exacerbated this.
It has to be said that I am now torn in my feelings. With the current slowdown in property prices, there must be doubt about the success of the overall scheme. Hating the unsympathetic architecture as I do, and the lack of any element in the overall planning of the development to acknowledge that one of the most important historic sites in England ever existed here, apart from the ransom payment forced on the developer under the s106 agreement, part of me would like to see the development fail commercially. This would force developers and planners alike to listen more closely to specialist and public opinion, and redefine 'sustainability' as the long term future of a site and its place in our heritage, rather than the immediate profit to the developer as it currently stands, and allow us to say 'we told you so'.
However, the one real chance for the market's survival would be a re-invigoration triggered by a the large influx of young flat owners with money to spend, and no commitments other than their mortgages. This requires the success of the development, and its associated commercial enterprises.
If we link this to a more sympathetic redevelopment of the Savacentre site in the relatively near future to a smaller, more human, layout (as currently suggested in the local newspapers) Merton Abbey Mills may yet have the future it deserves. I live in hope.
Every week visible progress towards the completion of the development at Merton Abbey Mills is apparent. The images here show that the new KFC, adjoining the now open burger restaurant, is almost ready to open, and, in the background, the new residential block reaching the heights of the completed hotel and Leisure Complex buildings.
On a more positive note, late in October, Visionworks, who are advising the Priory Trust on possible implantations of the proposed Priory Heritage Centre at Merton Abbey Mills, arranged for a group of trust representatives (John Hawks, Steve Llewellyn, Lone Levay and Dave Saxby) to visit the Coventry Phoenix initiative.
They were met there by George Demidowicz, the Coventry City council conservation officer, whose energy has enabled the great success of that scheme - parts of an article by him appear below. The whole of the Coventry scheme cost some £40,000,000, of which the Visitor Centre took about £1,000,000. That sum is within our reach here, with the £300,000 of funding from Countryside properties secured by LBM, and the proposed Heritage Lottery fund applications.
There are essential differences we have yet to overcome, most particularly in the running costs. Coventry is well funded, so the Cathedral project there is able to provide free entry and, as part of a much larger complex of attractions, as well as its city centre site, is guaranteed a good turnover of visitors.
The proposed site for our heritage Centre remains the area under the electricity pylon - and it is difficult to see how such a site could be anything but temporary, but we shall see.
I am the website administrator of the Wandle industrial museum (http://www.wandle.org). Established in 1983 by local people determined to ensure that the history of the valley was no longer neglected but enhanced awareness its heritage for the use and benefits of the community.
Copper Keels and Red Ochre
At 60 plus Amitabh Bachchan Rules! - A Vastu Study
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CHRETIEN DE TROYES:
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How Many Chinese Characters Are There?
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Brazil--Comments by a Gilliam Fan a Little Too Late
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The following is a general over view of African Masks.
The Automatic Champion
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Canada is an emancipated country in the relative scheme of things. But it has a dark history that some people aren't aware of, and others would like to keep it that way. In the early 20th century the last Beothuk Indian met her death after various parties encouraged other Indians (Micmac) to hunt people to their extinction. It is true that the Beothuk stole merchandise but it is also true that their culture assumed that what wasn't being used was for the common people to use and that those who weren't using the canoe or boat wouldn't mind if it was borrowed. In time they returned the goods if they were given a chance.
When Does Man Become God?
Some scientists argue over creation and evolution and they argue did man create god or did god create man. And without that ongoing and predictable out of debate, lets discuss our scientific advancements. When does Man cross the line and become a god? Or a creator or modifier of life to such a degree that he has changed the entire current scenario? Take this interesting development. To make ethanol better, simply modify the corn more. Call it Super Corn after this has been done. And regarding mosquitoes, modify them too, and then you have no malaria
History and the Cathars (Courtly Love):
This is an entry from my three volume encyclopedia.
A Short Biography on Some of Europes Most Loved and Hated Monarchs - Pt 1 Vlad Tepes (Dracula)
Vlad Tepes or Dracula was born in 1431, in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania. His father was the military governor of Transylvania and a member of the Order of the Dragon. The order was created in 1387 by the Holy Roman Emperor and his second wife, Barbara Cilli.
Opal Jewelry -- Your Own Personal Piece of Rainbow
Opal is a magnificent gemstone whose shades encompass virtually every hue in the color spectrum. The play of color is different on every stone, and its shimmering hues gave rise to the word 'opalescent.' Because it is such an entrancing and unique gemstone, it is no wonder that opal jewelry is very popular among collectors and fashion enthusiasts.
Peruvian Artist Shares Why Preservation of Culture and Rituals Sacred To His Art
My artistic endeavor have led me towards a personal sense of mission, because the visual arts are more than a passive representation of the life style and culture of the Incas, Aztecs, Mayas and Chinese of the Asian-pacific.
Top 10 Questions about Body Piercing
Body piercing has grown so much in popularity in recent years that it has become almost mainstream, with more and more people sporting navel rings and multiple ear rings. Facial piercings, surface piercings and lots of others to choose from can make things confusing. If you don't know what to expect when you decide to get a piercing, it can be even more intimidating. Here are some of the top questions people have about body piercing.
Inuit Drum Dancing Of The Arctic
Like many other aboriginal cultures around the world, the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic have made use of drums in some of their traditional music for centuries. Inuit drum dancing played a part in many special occasions such as births, marriages, an Inuit boy's first hunt, changing of seasons, greetings for visitors or to honor someone who had passed away. News of these special events was spread by word of mouth and many Inuit traveled great distances to attend.
Michael Jacksons Latest Album Has Flopped
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The Power of Words
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Fancy Dress Parties
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Mythology and Parables in Modern Communication - Part 1
Today there is a growing need to examine all our systems of thought and communication. We are witness to an information explosion. Never before has there been such a plethora of relevant and not so relevant information available on every subject imaginable. Most of us cannot even begin to fathom the depths of this apparent inexhaustible supply.
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