Within a short walking distance of where we are staying on our current trip to London is Merton Abbey Mills. This is a historic water driven factory built on the site of Merton Priory where Arthur Liberty, founder of the famous London fabrics store once had his silk printing works. William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, and Dante Gabriel Rosetti, along with Ford Madox-Brown, and others set up Morris Marshall Faulkner and Co., a decorative arts company in 1861 designing chintz, stained glass and tapestries. While Morris was also closely linked to Liberty and Co., he, Burne-Jones and Rosetti were all associated with what became known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. All were fellow artists, some linked by friendship, to my great great grandfather Warwick Brookes who was also famous in his lifetime as an artist in the medium of pencil drawings. There are drawings of his in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum here in London, as well as in the British Museum, and Manchester Art Gallery. Back in 2003 this site was the subject of an episode of Channel 4's Time Team.
A fabulous, warm and sunny spring day today for this interesting walk through history. There is also another historic water mill further downstream.
Once an 18th century corn mill in the grounds of Wandle Park, which was once the gardens of the 18th century Wandle Park House, demolished in 1962. The land is now owned by the National Trust, and the mill has been re-developed into luxury apartments. In its recent past it was the leather works of Connolly's, famous for supplying material to the prestige motor industry. The building was designed and built by John Rennie, also famous for many canal building structures.