Gorringe Park

Gorringe Park, Merton

A rarely used name for the far northern part of Mitcham, south-east of Tooting station


Gorringe Park pub sign
Who said there’s no word that rhymes with ‘orange’?

Gor­ringe Park Avenue was the site of Big­gin Farm in the 15th cen­tu­ry, with fields extend­ing over what is now Streatham Road and east towards the present rail­way line. To the west, its land bor­dered that of Pound Farm.

Big­gin Grove was a grand house occu­pied by var­i­ous illus­tri­ous own­ers dur­ing the 17th and 18th cen­turies, includ­ing Sir Nicholas Carew and Sir John Mit­ford, lat­er 1st Baron Redes­dale.

After sev­er­al failed attempts to find a buy­er, Big­gin Grove (lat­ter­ly called Tam­worth House) was pulled down in 1821. Its grounds were returned to agri­cul­tur­al use and occu­pied by ten­ants until the late 1860s, by which time their farm­house had gone and a three-storey Ital­ianate vil­la named Gor­ringe Park had replaced it. The new dwelling was pre­sum­ably named in hon­our of (and by) the man who com­mis­sioned its con­struc­tion, but this author has been unable to iden­ti­fy him despite research.

By 1898 the vil­la was owned by the Wil­son fam­i­ly, who pro­gres­sive­ly devel­oped their estate with sub­ur­ban hous­ing. The shops of Streatham Road­’s Grand Parade were built to serve the new res­i­dents.

The Wilsons sold an acre of their land for the erec­tion of an ‘iron room’, and lat­er a mis­sion hall, where church ser­vices were held. These were soon replaced by St Barn­abas church, which was designed by local archi­tect Hen­ry Philip Burke-Down­ing. His impos­ing Goth­ic struc­ture on Gor­ringe Park Avenue is now Grade-II list­ed.

At the same time as the church was being built the insti­tu­tion now called Gor­ringe Park pri­ma­ry school opened at the junc­tion of Sandy Lane and Streatham Road.

After the Wil­son fam­i­ly moved away, Gor­ringe Park served as a con­va­les­cent home dur­ing the First World War, then as the Bar­bi­can (Chris­t­ian) Mis­sion to the Jews and sub­se­quent­ly as an orphan­age. The vil­la was demol­ished around 1930, by which time the process of fill­ing the entire Gor­ringe Park estate with hous­ing was vir­tu­al­ly com­plete.

Hav­ing moved here from Black­fri­ars ear­ly in the 20th cen­tu­ry, the Pas­call con­fec­tionery com­pa­ny was a major local employ­er until its clo­sure in 1971. Mitcham indus­tri­al estate now occu­pies its site.

The Gor­ringe Park pub is locat­ed on Lon­don Road, just by Toot­ing sta­tion. Charles Wells acquired the prop­er­ty from Young’s brew­ery in August 2012 for an undis­closed sum. Work­ing with the Yum­my Pub Com­pa­ny, the new own­ers refur­bished and reopened the Gor­ringe Park in Decem­ber 2012.

Tooting and Mitcham United football club used to play on land belonging to the Gorringe Park estate. The site of the club’s ground is now a housing estate, with roads named after former players, including Mitcham-born Alex Stepney.

Postcode area: Mitcham CR4

 

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