Morden Park, Merton
A hilltop park and the comfortable residential district on its south-western edge, where the name has widely supplanted the less high-toned Lower Morden
There is evidence that a mound in Morden Park is a pagan burial site dating from early Roman times. This was monastic land belonging to Westminster Abbey before it was acquired as part of Morden manor by the Garth family in 1554.
In 1768 Richard Garth, in partnership with the London merchant and distiller John Ewart, procured a private act of Parliament permitting the creation of the Morden Park estate. The double-fronted Morden Park House was built immediately afterwards as a retreat for the Ewart family. The estate passed through a succession of hands until it came into public ownership in 1936.
At one time, the London County Council considered extending the St Helier estate into the grounds, but the LCC leader Herbert Morrison was so impressed by the park’s beauty that he declared it must be preserved. The LCC converted the northern half into playing fields, while the house became a headquarters for the borough’s parks administration. Also in the 1930s, GT Crouch Ltd built the Morden Park Tudor estate on the site of a former pig farm in Lower Morden.
Merton and Morden council added some houses in Tudor Drive in the 1950s. Fifteen acres on the east side of Morden Park were reserved for civic developments, where swimming baths were erected in 1967 and Merton Technical College was added five years later. The college has since become the Merton campus of South Thames College. Morden Park House has been restored and is used as the borough’s register office.