I’m trying to find the locations of the Open Spaces Society lantern slides at MERL. Can you help with the more tricky images? They are labelled very generally, or just show a tree or a field. Comment below with suggestions.
Information on the Roman Road south of Croydon by Pengeology:
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
This is the same image on the lantern slide, a postcard titled ‘Field Surrey series 224’. This one is off Ebay:
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.
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:
An obituary notice from 1912 gives the life history of one of the occupants of the farm:
The District Council in 1903 sent the surveyor to check the condition of the steps:
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: https://digital.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/nodes/view/815
“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:
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.
Looks like the Church family had moved next door from Keilawarra house. Here’s the entry from 1891.
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.
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.
On 5 February 2021, I was honoured to give a lecture to the Royal Historical Society, on the history of the right of public meeting. It has been recorded and will be posted on their website soon. https://royalhistsoc.org/events/
Ironically the lecture came the day after a video of Handforth Parish Council went viral on Twitter and other social media. My choice of Isaac Cruikshank’s 1828 cartoon of a select vestry meeting being interrupted seemed especially relevant:
I was asked to talk specifically about the impact of WWII on the capital. There’s already been quite a bit of research done on this, particularly by Marti Hannikainnen, so I’m not going to be presenting anything massively original, rather an overview survey of the main issues, including access to parks and squares, military requisitioning, playgrounds and the reconstruction plans’ open space targets.