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Ravensbury Park Merton
   

Ravensbury Park

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Ravensbury Park is on the site of Ravensbury Manor dating back to the C13th. In the mid C18th a house called Ravensbury Manor House on the north bank of the Wandle River, together with calico printworks established in the early C18th, were leased to a John Arbuthnott, who diverted the road around his estate. The house was later demolished and in c.1910 a new house was built, itself now gone. When the estate was broken up for housing development in the 1930s, the Councils of Mitcham, Merton and Morden purchased the remaining grounds to safeguard it for public recreation, and it opened as Ravensbury Park in 1930. It is managed as a nature reserve, and has a riverside walk along the Wandle.
   
Previous / Other name:
Site location: Ravensbury Lane, off Morden Road, Mitcham
Postcode: CR4
Type of site: Public Park 
Date(s): C13th onwards; 1930s
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
Borough: Merton
Site ownership: LB Merton
Site management: Leisure and Culture Services
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: 8am - dusk (weekdays); 9am - dusk (weekends, bank holidays)
Special conditions:
Facilities: Play area, car park, toilets
Events:
Public transport: Tube: Morden (Northern) then bus. Tramlink: Mitcham. Bus: 118, 280.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.merton.gov.uk/environment/openspaces/parks/parks_in_the_morden_area

Fuller information:

The park is on the site of the old Ravensbury Manor, which dates back to the C13th. The area had important industrial use associated with the Wandle River in the C17th and C18th. Ravensbury Mill was established on the river banks at the western end of the current park, and in the early C18th calico printworks were set up by a Huguenot, Peter Mauvillian, employing 280 people here and at Wandsworth. The factory was to the north of the public park, the river diverted in the C19th to supply the factory. On the north bank of the river was Ravensbury Manor House, an C18th mansion with 'pleasure grounds and plantations . . of great extent', one of a number of houses with that name associated with the Manor. Some remnants of this house remain in the park. In 1755 the print works and Ravensbury Manor House were leased by John Arbuthnott who laid out gardens and created riverside walks. During his occupancy he also diverted the old road to Morden so that it went around his estate to the west; until then it had passed in front of the manor house, crossing the river by a small bridge.

Ravensbury Manor House was demolished c.1860 when George Parker Bidder, a civil engineer and friend of George Stevenson, bought the estate and built Ravensbury Park House on the south of the river. The Bidders were the last private owners of the Ravensbury Park Estate. George Parker Bidder's grandson built a new manor house near Wandle Road in c.1910 that existed until the 1930s when the Estate was finally broken up and developed for housing. In 1929 the Councils of Mitcham, Merton and Morden purchased the remains of the grounds in order to safeguard it for public recreation and the new park opened on 10 May 1930, called Ravensbury Park.

The Wandle River continues to run through the park and in the north of the park is the late C19th Ravensbury Snuff Mill. Although much of the south-east part of the original estate has been lost to housing development, there are the remains of an C18th sham ruin, a large single block of stone all that remains of the tower. The lake in the eastern part was added in the 1970s when Watermeads (q.v.) was built and the riverside walk was extended to Bishopsford Road. Around Ravensbury Mill a new weir and by-pass channel to the Mill were also created. There are numerous fine trees within the park, some dating back 200 years, as well as exotic trees planted by previous owners that include ginkgo and swamp cypress. The park suffered badly in the storms of October 1987, when a number of very large plane trees were lost. A new play area was opened in 2008.

Sources consulted:

Jones; 'An hour passed at Ravensbury Park', The Wandle Industrial Museum (n.d.); 'The Wandle Trail' produced by The Wandle Industrial Museum, LB Merton, 1992; 'Mitcham, Ravensbury', Merton Town Trails 6 (Merton Town Trails Association, 1979); Barry Nicholson/London Conservation Services Ltd for LB Merton 'Ravensbury Park Local Nature Reserve' (2001)
Grid ref: TQ267680
Size in hectares: 6.68
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: Yes
Conservation Area name: Wandle Valley
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: Yes - Metropolitan Importance (Upper River Wandle)
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: Yes - Archaeological Priority Zone
Other LA designation: Public Open Space. Green Corridor. Local Nature Reserve
   

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