Skip to Content

5 Famous People Connected to the River Wandle

Over the centuries the River Wandle has attracted entrepreneurs, authors, anglers and artists. This post lists five famous people connected to the Wandle.

Famous People of the Wandle

5 Famous People of the River Wandle

River Wandle
River Wandle. Photograph by Olivia Herlihy

1. William Morris

In 1881, the fabric designer William Morris bought a textile mill by the River Wandle. It remained open for 59 years, finally closing its doors in 1940. The old factory was located where the Sainsburys and Marks & Spencers is today, in Colliers Wood.

William Morris. Image source: Canva
William Morris

2. Arthur Liberty

Arthur Liberty, the visionary behind the iconic Liberty department store, founded Liberty Print Works on the banks of the River Wandle in 1904. His workshop was located in Merton Abbey Mills, next door to William Morris’ factory, and remained in operation until the 1960s.

The Apprentice Shop, Merton Abbey Mills
The Apprentice Shop, Merton Abbey Mills. Photograph by Olivia Herlihy

3. Izaak Walton

Izaak Walton, the author of “The Compleat Angler”, regularly fished on the River Wandle. His book, published in 1653, is the first-ever fishing textbook, and mentions the Wandle for its brown trout. He describes them as having “marbled spots like a Tortoise.”

The Compleat Angler.  Image source:  Amazon
The Compleat Angler

4. Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson lived in Merton from 1801-1805, and regularly fished on the river Wandle. His house, Merton Place, stood near to where South Wimbledon Station is today, not far from the river. Today the Nelson Arms pub marks the site of the original lodge and entrance gates to Merton Place.

Horatio Nelson. Image source: Canva
Horatio Nelson

5. George Elliot

George Eliot, the renowned novelist, lived in Merton at Holly Lodge, 31 Wimbledon Park Road, when she published “The Mill on the Floss”, in 1860. Her home was located close to the River Wandle, and it is believed that the mills on the river inspired her novel.

Watermill at Merton Abbey Mills
Watermill at Merton Abbey Mills. Photograph by Olivia Herlihy

More Information About the River Wandle