Morden Hall Park

July 29th 2015
By: Mary.Wilkins
Morden Hall Park

To enjoy a free day out, why not visit Morden Hall Park?  It’s open every day of the year with no entrance fee.  “It’s a green oasis in the city which gives you a taste of a country estate with a glimpse of its agricultural and industrial history.”  It was left to the National Trust by Gilliat Edward Hatfeild,  and he stated that 'a fee shall not be charged so that my Morden estate shall be open to the public.'

The park has historical links going back to 1802 when Admiral Horatio Nelson purchased Merton Place together with a farm and woodland from the widow of Charles Greaves.  Nelson continued to expand the estate until the land covered most of the area west of the Wandle and north of Morden Hall Park.  He lived here, between his trips to sea, with his mistress Emma Hamilton.

Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805 and his brother was made Earl Nelson and Viscount Merton in November of that year in recognition of his brother’s success and sacrifice at Trafalgar.

After Nelson’s death, Emma Hamilton was unable to maintain Merton Place so it was sold off and demolished.  The part of the Merton Place estate south of the high street, became known as Nelson’s Fields and was developed as small scale housing.

Morden Hall Park used to be a deer park and lines the banks of the River Wandle creating a haven for wildlife.  There are snuff mills which used to generate the park’s income and the western mill has been renovated and is a learning centre.  Many of the estate buildings are used by local craftspeople and artisans as workshops.  There’s a café, second hand bookshop and a living green centre as well.

The park offers English countryside in the city.  With meadows, trees, running water and wildlife, it’s a perfect day out. Take a picnic and go on a bug hunt – enjoy the country on your doorstep as well as appreciating the part it played in our local history.