Open Spaces Society lantern slides locations update 3: the Wandle river, Surrey

The closest locations of the OSS lantern slides to where I live are Waddon Ponds and the ones marked ‘Wandle Mill’. The images are a bit vague, so I am still working out exactly from where they were taken.

Waddon Ponds, 22 November 2020
wandle 1896
OS Surrey XIV.SW 6 inch to mile, 1898

Wandle Mill was the manorial corn mill. Looking on the OS map, a large corn mill, with watercress beds, alongside the river Wandle just downstream from Waddon Ponds. It no longer exists but is the site of an industrial estate, including a pomo multi-storey carpark full of cars stored by a second hand car dealer, and various small workshops.

Wandle, by Wandle Mill industrial estate, 14 February 2021

A court case was pursued in 1854 by the owner of Wandle Mill, about the rights to use and divert the water to power the mill. The 1849 Public Health Act had enabled the local Board of Health to dig a well as part of the major improvements in sanitary and water provision for Croydon. Indeed, Croydon became known as the first town to implement a comprehensive sewage system and water supply under the powers.

See this analysis of the Croydon sewage improvements by Nicholas Cambridge:

Also the parliamentary report on the Board of Health improvements:

Wandle Stream, by Waddon Mill industrial estate, 14 February 2021
wandle mill
Wandle by Wandle Mill industrial estate, 14 Feb 2021

The river was diverted at the end of the 19th century, creating watercress beds, and later allotments. The corn mill closed in 1928.

From a Croydon council leaflet:

“In 1910 records show that Waddon Ponds belonged to two estates, Waddon Court, which was owned by Mr Crowley, and Waddon Lodge which was owned by Miss Mary Waterall. When the two owners died the Corporation bought part of both estates in 1928 following a vigorous campaign by Mr Pescott Row an author of books about the beauties of England. To commemorate the efforts of Row another local author H.M. Tomlinson donated a sundial to the park. The rest of both the estates was sold to developers and new houses were built in Waddon Court Road, Lodge Avenue, Limes Avenue and Wandle Side.”

The mansion house is Waddon Court. It is on the 1914 map but gone by the 1936 map.

waddon court map
OS Surrey 6 inch to mile, 1914
OS 6 inch Surrey XIV.SW 1936,

The Ridgeway and other streets were built on the new streets in the 1930s:

One view that hasn’t changed much since the lantern slide is this one of the cottages and snuff mill by the Wandle as we cross into Beddington.

Beddington cottages and snuff mill, 14 February 2021

History of the Snuff Mill:

John Hassell in 1817 described what had previously been a pleasant walk along the Wandle:

Open Spaces Society lantern slides locations update 2: Whyteleafe

For an introduction to the OSS lantern slides project at MERL, read:

13 February 2021 – Another of the more obvious locations in the lantern slides was listed as ‘Warlingham steps, Surrey’. This is Jacob’s Ladder, near Whyteleafe South station, Surrey.

Jacobs Ladder, Whyteleafe, 13 February 2021

This is the same image on the lantern slide, a postcard titled ‘Field Surrey series 224’. This one is off Ebay:

back of postcard

Here is the location, a steep climb of around 200 concrete steps, leading from Well Farm Road (round the back of a new looking Travellodge and flats) through a deep railway bridge, up to Westview Road.

It’s marked on the 1912 OS map 25″ to the mile:

map of Whyteleafe

The Bourne Society leaflet on the area states that it was built in the 1880s on the route to Westhall Farm:

It was very slippy and icy underfoot!

Lantern slide and 2021 compared:

As with many of the slides, there isn’t much information on the photo, not even a date.

Jacobs Ladder was built on the route of a public footpath from Well Farm to Westhall Wood. Here’s the OS map from 1871, showing the route starting from an embankment and railway tunnel, although the railway line had not yet been laid:

Ordnance Survey, Surrey XX 6 inch to mile, 1871,

An obituary notice from 1912 gives the life history of one of the occupants of the farm:

Major P. L. Jones
Homeward Mail from India, China and the East, 21 December 1912

The District Council in 1903 sent the surveyor to check the condition of the steps:

surveyor had received instructions to attend to the steps
Croydon Chronicle and East Surrey Advertiser, 15 August 1903

It’s a very suburban middle-class area, with large villas perched on terraces overlooking the steep drop into the Whyteleafe and Warlingham villages. The Victorian OS maps from 1897 show huge houses on large plots spread across the hill. I was intrigued by the street name Kooringa, and comparing with the 1912 map, you can see large houses named Kooringa as well as Kumara and Keilawarra.

Looking the houses up in the census shows the Australian connection. Kooringa and Keilawarra were occupied by coal factors or agents who had evidently made their fortune in the copper mines of south Australia. This 1849 map from the State Library of Australia shows the basic plan of the town built on the Aboriginal site for the settler colonists to live and exploit the natural resources:

“The town of Burra began in 1846 as the company town of Kooringa, surveyed and built for the South Australian Mining Association. It was the first such company town in Australia and remained so until the closure of the mine. An Aboriginal word Kooringa (kuri-ngga) means ‘in the locality of the she-oak’. The neighbouring hills of Kooringa and the mine were stripped of their trees for the mine works.”

Let’s look in the census. The first entry I can find for Kooringa is 1901:

1901 census kooringa
1901 census, Warlingham, Keilawarra and Kouringa,

By 1911, the Church family had been replaced by the Johnson family, but the head of the household was also a coal agent, who had married the daughter of the previous occupant.

1911 census, Kooringa, Warlingham,

Looks like the Church family had moved next door from Keilawarra house. Here’s the entry from 1891.

1891 census, Keilawarra, Warlingham,

Here’s an account of their wedding from the Croydon Chronicle, 29 Sept 1906. Worthington Church is described as the ‘owner of considerable property in Surrey and Essex’. According to another report in the Daily Mirror, the house was worth £300 a year, with extensive ornamental grounds.

croydon chronicle
Croydon Chronicle, 29 Sept 1906

On the other side of Jacob’s Ladder is the White House, still there and of some local notoriety as the site of a naturist retreat since the 1930s.

Joseph Lindley’s Survey of 1793 records there being a White House off Godstone Road. The Huguenot Society’s proceedings, vol 7, 1905, record a Huguenot descendant living in the White House.

Open Spaces Society lantern slides locations update 1

whitgift almshouses