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The area around Wallington Green and Holy Trinity Church, Maldon Road, Wallington, Surrey – by Andrew Skelton

Although there are a few examples of speculative building from the late eighteenth century in Wallington, such as Wright's Row, speculative development on a large scale came only with the opening of Carshalton (now Wallington) Station in 1847, and the Inclosure of lands act (1853).  Before then, landowners owned thin strips of land difficult to manage, expensive to maintain, and useless for development; now their lands were rationalised into larger blocks by organised swapping between neighbours.  Some owners, such as the Longs of Carshalton, immediately sold their land as suitable for building, but it is interesting that within a decade only small areas had been developed for residential housing.  Rosemount (lost) in south Wallington, was developed with houses constructed by builder William Franklin along a single road, while John Crowley developed properties in Belmont and Clifton Roads before the building slump in the late 1850's.  The majority of these houses are large square/rectangular blocks with heavy porches, canted bays and classical ornament, of brick, rendered and scored as imitation ashlar.

Locally, the best recorded speculative development is that of the Lord of the Manor, Nathaniel Bridges, who built Holy Trinity church in 1866, and promoted the creation of the parish of Wallington in 1867.  Leaving the Manor House and surrounding lands intact, Bridges arranged for the development of the outlying lands of his Wallington estate around the Church.  Bridges appointed a surveyor, probably Loftus Brock, and specified that all details were . . subject in all things to his approval . In February 1869 Brock records that the whole of the land on the estate will be built over under our direction and refers to houses along the Alcester Road constructed by a builder of the speculative class.  The rules of construction were quite strict, the buildings were to follow approved plans, to be fronted with good picked stocks or red bricks.

The Bridges estate housing is of exposed brick, utilising details found in the Parsonage, such as pointed-headed openings, high gables, and diachrome and polychrome brick treatment.  One of the earliest and best surviving complexes is Danbury Mews (at Wallington Green), built by Henry Clarke, of Southbridge Road, Croydon; a terrace of fourteen shops and rear stables costing £800 each, and pair of houses or villas at each end of the terrace at £1,000 each, completed in the early 1870's.  The rear facade of the stables (visible from Harcourt Road) is excellent brickwork for so insignificant a detail.  Closer to the church the large detached houses of the richest occupants, along Manor, Harcourt and Alcester Road have now gone, demolished when their 99 year leases expired in the early 1970s.  A few survive in Maldon Road: the best example is Upton Lodge, now Collingwood School, built of red brick with a fretted canted bay parapet; next door is Northcote, of similar style but in yellow brick; while further east are the semi-detached Newton House and Ramner, built by 1880 with canted bays rising through all stories with a pyramidal cap and an ornate pointed door opening, similar to the house opposite.  To the north the lesser development of South Beddington - Elgin, Ross, Clarendon and St Michael Roads, and Francis, Charlotte and Hinton Roads, with the Windmill pub and parade of shops along Stafford Road - survive virtually intact.  Here and there the diachrome brickwork and high gables are clearly visible.

Other non-Bridges developments include Railway Terrace, Grosvenor Road and the fine mansions and semi-detached houses in Queen's Road; some isolated survivals in Manor Road, Springfield Road and more extensive survivals in Park, Belmont, Clifton and Bridge Roads.

Holy Trinity Church and Parsonage, Wallington

A fundamental element of the Victorian development of Wallington was provided, at his own expense, by the Lord of the Manor, Nathaniel Bridges.  Both Bridges and his father John (who died in June 1865) were enthusiastic Anglicans, supporting new local schools and generally looking after Wallington's inhabitants despite being essentially absent.  Bridges, having noted the rapid development further south towards Wallington (then Carshalton) station, decided to develop his lands for suburban housing immediately after his father's death, but first provided the embryonic settlement with a new church dedicated to his father's memory.  In November 1866 Samuel Simpson, of Tottenham Court Road, was contracted to build a church at a cost of £3,955 to a design by E Habershon, Spalding and E Loftus Brock, to be completed by July 1867, when it was handed over to the ecclesiastical commissioners.  Simpson had built the Holborn, Queens, Royal Alfred and Gaiety theatres in London.  One of his workmen at Wallington was Duncan Stewart, a Scot of some energy, who stayed in Wallington, became a successful local developer/builder (eg, Queen's Road) and the first Chairman of Wallington Parish Council in 1894, a position of high social standing.  Brock, believed to be the main architect, is described as one of the lesser lights of the Gothic Revival by Molesworth Roberts, and contributed to several churches in London and the Home Counties.  In the case of Holy Trinity his architectural preference, of the mid-fourteenth century, was based on architectural fragments recovered from the old Wallington chapel demolished in the late eighteenth century.

The church appears conventional in plan from the south-west where the composition is proportionally massed, comprising a west tower and spire, narrow aisle and woodwork south porch leading into the western aisle bay.  The materials used are roughly knapped flint, possibly locally quarried, with Bath stone dressings.  Photographs show a diaper pattern formed from contrasting colour roof tiles, now virtually gone along the south side but surviving, almost intact, along the north side.  This device was used by Brock at St Stephens, Hammerwood, Sussex in 1879-80, a church of comparable size and design.  Internally, the church has narrow aisles, and a wide nave and apsidal chancel within, creating a large central space emphasised by the roof structure.  The arcades are double chamfered, supported on drum-piers and stylised foliage capitals.  The chancel arch also rises from moulded capitals, short wall-shafts and moulded corbels set in the chancel wall.  The moulded tower-arch has no capitals.  A variety of 2-, 3- and 4-light windows, of flowing tracery of varying designs, are found around the aisle and chancel walls; most have glass (partly by Mr A.O. Hemmings) dedicated to past inhabitants of Wallington (eg, the Faringtons and Tyrwitts of Northwood Lodge, Manor Road - south aisle) with two Great War memorials each side of the east window, itself dedicated to the Rev. John Williams, local historian and first Vicar here (1867-79).  Other memorials include former Vicars, churchwardens and local inhabitants.  The wood fittings - communion rails, choir and clergy stalls and pulpit - were designed by Gerald Cogswell and carved by E Marus, date from the mid-1920s.  The font and brass lectern were added at about the same time.

A notable feature of the church is the arch-braced construction of the roof (ie, no tie-beams). The archbraces, alternatively cusped or plain, support a collar and moulded crown-post with crown-post bracing to the main rafters.  The structure is supported on wall-posts rising from plain cushion corbels.  The woodwork is decorated with trefoils and open-work spandrels in the cusps; the crown-post continues downwards as an ornamental pendant.  The roof structure in the apse, with painted patera on the converging rafters, is especially pretty.  The aisle roofs have open-work cross-braces.

The Parsonage, costing £1650, was ordered from Simpson in July 1867 to designs by the same architects, and was handed over in December 1870.  It has big, steep gables with decorative brickwork lozenge designs in knapped flint walls; the windows have two- and four-centred arched heads, and the porch is a smaller gabled projection of wood.  These and other details are characteristics found on other houses on the Bridges estate development, built from 1867 to 1881.

Although much damaged, the church and parsonage are set in a landscaped setting, with yew trees spaced close together in an arc respecting the south-east curve of the church apse, inside a partially demolished curving boulder wall.  I am fairly certain the trees are original plantings (the whole of the south frontage of the church is shown planted with trees in a photograph of 1903) and must be a fundamental part of the layout around the church in the late 1860's.


Images and text Copyright © Andrew Skelton and The Friends of Honeywood Museum 2015

A tour of old Wallington Hamlet

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Although most local people consider Wallington to lie around the Public Hall, the original Wallington Hamlet lay further north, beyond Wallington Green, up to and beyond Wallington Bridge.  The settlement has its origins in geology: like the parishes of Croydon, Beddington, Carshalton and Cheam, Wallington is a spring-line settlement, where man settled close to the clear springs which spurt out of the chalk, and the road leading to London crossed the Wandle River.

From the Wallington Bridge car-park, the visitor can walk into Beddington Park to view the remains of Alfred Smee's late nineteenth century WATER GARDEN, including a mid-eighteenth century MILL POND (now boating lake) which was given by Sir William Mallinson to the public in the 1930's.  The Wandle flows under WALLINGTON BRIDGE, ordered in 1809 and rebuilt in 1812 to a design provided by Mr J Still, Surveyor, with an estimated cost at £380; and again in the 1930s and 1990s.  Dominating the bridge is the fine yellow brick BRIDGE HOUSE built in 1782-6 by James Newton, proprietor of Merton Abbey Mills on lands leased from the Bridges family of Wallington, incorporating typical late eighteenth century details (e.g., the porch).  Formerly dilapidated, it has been recently repaired as a Care Home.  Excavations behind the building suggested occupation during the later medieval/early post-medieval period.  Following the paths from the Mill Pond, MANOR GARDENS contains a small LODGE, once part of the Wallington House (Bridges) estate, looking over a 1930s circular fountain and beyond this, a natural spring containing the cleanest spring water in the borough.  Further east lies a long pond along LAKESIDE, a survival from the landscaping to the entrance to Wallington Manor House, with a small stone pump house from a 1934 scheme.  Across the London Road is the fine early eighteenth century red-brick WANDLE BANK ('Wandle Manor') owned by the Dredge family during the late 18th/early nineteenth century.  Note the plat-band and small attic windows in the gable ends.  This south-facing 'showcase' facade is probably a later remodelling of an earlier building, the wings to the north are less majestic.  An extension to the east for a studio in the 1870s by Arthur Hughes, the pre-Raphaelite painter, includes a large Venetian or Serlian window

Along the frontage of Wandle Bank is a small leat or stream, which formerly carried water from the ELM GROVE pond, now dry, which lies at the corner of BUTTER HILL.  This pond, and the land around it, was sold by William Bridges to Francis Gregg of THE ELMS for £600 in 1799.  The 'rustic' flint bridge at the west end is early nineteenth century, as is the small yellow brick LODGE.  A short distance north was the medieval WALLINGTON CHAPEL, demolished in the 1790s; stone fragments can be seen in the wall of the church hall along Butter Hill.

A walk along Butter Hill (including the Rose and Crown), CALDON and WESTCROFT ROADs reveals part of the Bridges estate development of the late 1870s.  Westcroft Villas, built by Howe and White, is the best example, similar in style to examples at
Danbury Terrace and South Beddington.  Note the fine SEWER VENT, probably dating to c.1880, on Westcroft Road. On the same side a brick pier with a stone plaque stating C P / 1792 defines the boundary between the parishes of Carshalton (west) and Beddington (east), the attached walls form the north-western boundary of the Old Manor House grounds, which lay until the early 1930s along Manor Road North up to Wallington Green.

Originally called the Bowling Green in the later eighteenth century, WALLINGTON GREEN was once planted with walnut trees and, as waste, belonged to the Lords of the Manor.  THE DUKES HEAD, called the Bowling Green House, was privately owned until sold to brewers Young and Bainbridge in the 1830s.  The original Georgian building was extended to the west in c.1840-65, and has had a large extension built along the total frontage in 1998, on the site of a late eighteenth century terrace similar to that along WRIGHT'S ROW, developed c.1785-1792 of double pile plan, 2 up, 2 down (4 rooms), sharing a central chimney with a pretty brick dentil frieze below the eaves. A rent of £5 was charged in c.1800.  Nearby WHITEHALL PLACE, originally called OXDEN'S PLACE, was built for John Oxden after 1792, a view from here shows the rear of MANOR TERRACE.

Retracing steps to the Green the high gabled, diachrome brick shop and residential facades of DANBURY TERRACE can be seen across the Manor Road.  A Bridges’ development, built by Henry Clark from 1868, this ornamental facade hides a quieter, cobbled courtyard at the rear containing gabled stables and slaughterhouses.  A passage under a modern office development reveals the pretty ornamental back walls of these buildings.

Along Manor Road (passing the 1840s stable block for the pub) the fine MANOR TERRACE, lying back from the road, comprises eleven terraced houses built by January 1794, converted to five larger properties by c.1853, by the London cheesemaker William Juggins.  Further south are other detached and semi-detached properties of late eighteenth to early nineteenth century date, and ending with 20-22 MANOR ROAD (Victorian semi-detached villas) built before 1867.  In 1881 they were called Lorraine Villa and Harley House.  The brick wall facing the drive beside this terrace includes a re-set black Jubilee Brick (1887), and beyond is a Victorian barn/shed with honeycombed gable.

Images and text Copyright © Andrew Skelton and The Friends of Honeywood Museum 2015

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