If you are interested in the history of the river Wandle, the Wandle Industrial Museum in Mitcham is well worth visiting. The museum is located a short distance from the Wandle Trail, on London Road.
This post is all about Wandle Industrial Museum including its location and opening hours.
Wandle Industrial Museum in Mitcham
What is the Wandle Industrial Museum?
The Wandle Industrial Museum is a local museum in Mitcham that was founded in 1983. It is run by volunteers, and helps to preserve the rich history of the river Wandle.
The museum contains a wealth of information about the former industries around the Wandle, as well as archeological records, and recipes for herbs that grow around the river.
It has excellent online resources, such as a YouTube channel, and offers a range of talks, heritage walks and activities.
What Can You See at the Museum?
The museum has displays about:
- The Surrey Iron Railway
- The Wandle’s Watermills
- Merton Priory
- William Morris
- The Calico Printing Industry
- The Brewing Industry
- The Snuff Mills
- Herbs that grow near the Wandle
It also has historic books, and photographs of the river Wandle.
Surrey Iron Railway
The Surrey Iron Railway was a horse drawn railway that linked Wandsworth to Croydon and Mitcham. It was opened at the beginning of the 19th century, and was the first public railway in the country.
Today, the Croydon Tramlink runs along the same path that was once part of the Surrey Iron Railway, between Mitcham and West Croydon.
At the Wandle Industrial Museum you can see a model of what the Surrey Iron Railway once looked like, as well as a wheel from the railway that was discovered in the river Wandle.
Merton Priory was an Augustinian priory that stood next to the banks of the river Wandle for 400 years, until it was destroyed by Henry VIII.
Today the foundations of the priory are buried underneath Sainsbury’s car park in Colliers Wood, but some of the remains of the Merton Priory Chapter House can still be seen.
The Wandle Industrial Museum contains a model showing what the original priory would have looked like, which was created from old plans of the building. It also has an aerial photograph of the excavation work that took place on the site in the 1980s.
William Morris and Liberty
The museum contains displays about the textile industries that once existed along the river Wandle.
It has a model of the William Morris factory, and information about Liberty, which was once on the site that is today Merton Abbey Mills.
The river Wandle was once the most industrialised river in the world, with up to 50 watermills on its banks. The museum has a number of displays about the different mills, like the snuff mills and brewing mills.
You will find a collection of snuff boxes from the old snuff mills like the Ravensbury mill, and a display about the history of Young’s Brewery, known as The Ram. There is also a model which shows the location of the mills along the river.
How do You Get to the Museum?
The Wandle Industrial Museum is located at Vestry Hall Annexe, London Rd. If you are visiting the museum from the Wandle Trail, the map below shows you the route you need to take.
Wandle Industrial Museum Opening Times
The Wandle Industrial Museum is open at the following times (except on bank holidays). Entrance to the museum is free. Donations are welcomed.
- Wandle Industrial Museum’s website – has information about new exhibitions and events, as well as links to useful resources about the different industries that existed along the Wandle.
- Wandle Industrial Museum’s YouTube channel – has videos that cover a number of subjects about the Wandle.
- Merton Historical Society – the society organises monthly talks, and visits to places of historical interest.
- Merton Library – the Merton Heritage Service provides local history talks and exhibitions.
- An Overview of the History of the River Wandle – has information about the history of the river Wandle from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic Periods to the present day.
This post was about the Wandle Industrial Museum in Mitcham
Thank you for reading my post about Wandle Industrial Museum in Mitcham. The museum is a treasure trove of information about the local history and people of the river Wandle. If you are interested in the history of the industries, such as the dye industries, the museum also has a library of excellent books.
If you have visited Wandle Industrial Museum, please leave me a comment below and let me know how you got on.