Morden Park

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

Hidden London: Morden Park House with jogger passing

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.

Postcode area: Morden SM4