The Wrythe

The Wrythe, Sutton

A combination of council estate and conservation area situated at Carshalton’s northern cusp

Wrythe Green - geograph-2897515-by-Dr-Neil-Clifton

The name was first record­ed as ‘Rithe’ in 1229, and lat­er mis­spelt as ‘Rye’. It did not gain an ini­tial ‘W’ until the 19th cen­tu­ry. A rithe was a small stream, usu­al­ly one occa­sioned by heavy rain.

Grav­el was extract­ed here from late medieval times. The area was sub­ject to fre­quent flood­ing from an over­flow­ing pond on the west side of Green Wry­the Lane and this may explain why there was so lit­tle habi­ta­tion here for so long.

A cot­tage appeared and dis­ap­peared dur­ing the 17th cen­tu­ry but the first endur­ing struc­ture was a work­house, built in 1792. Lat­er named Leices­ter House, it went on to serve as a con­va­les­cent asy­lum and then as a suc­ces­sion of pri­vate schools. Beyond its grounds the Wry­the was com­mon waste that stretched con­sid­er­ably fur­ther north than the green does today.

Improve­ments in drainage in the ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry brought the begin­nings of a ham­let at Wry­the Green, which had two dozen dwellings by around 1850. A hand­ful of hous­es sur­vive from this era and now form the nucle­us of the Wry­the Green con­ser­va­tion area. The dis­used Rose­hill toll-house was rebuilt here around 1866 and giv­en an extra floor and dis­tinc­tive her­ring­bone weath­er­board­ing. It was renamed Bed­ford Cot­tage, lat­er changed to Wood­cote House.

A herb farm oper­at­ed near­by until after the First World War. Leices­ter House was vacat­ed in the 1930s and demol­ished after the Sec­ond World War owing to its neglect­ed con­di­tion – but Wood­cote House sur­vived a sim­i­lar threat and was restored.

The Durand Close coun­cil estate was pop­u­lar with young fam­i­lies when it was built in the 1960s but suf­fered a decline and was after­wards the sub­ject of a major regen­er­a­tion pro­gramme.

The Wrythe’s res­i­dents are rel­a­tive­ly poor by the borough’s stan­dards and 83 per cent are white, accord­ing to the 2011 cen­sus.

The Salvation Army’s Carshalton Corps has its church hall on Green Wrythe Lane. In the 1880s the corps held noisy open-air prayer and hymn meetings on Wrythe Green until locals bombarded members with soot, flour and abuse.

Postcode area: Carshalton SM5
Population: 10,163 (2011 census)
* The picture of Wrythe Green on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Dr Neil Clifton, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.
Dr Clifton draws the viewer’s attention to the ornamental sewer vent pipe in the centre of the top picture. ‘Yelfy’ discourses at length on the subject of Carshalton’s ‘stink pipes’ in a Faded London blog post.