Perpetuating the memory of one of the greatest figures of the Victorian age

“Morris? We send him our dirty water!”

September 8, 2018 14.15 at The Coach House, Kelmscott House

The history of Merton Abbey Mills, a textile factory near the medieval site of Merton Priory, dates back to the 1700s when it was established by Huguenot silk throwers. William Morris set up the Morris & Co. workshops there in June 1881, adapting the various buildings for stained glass making, textile printing, and fabric, tapestry and carpet-weaving. He employed a number of former Spitalfields silk weavers at Merton Abbey to produce hand-woven textiles, and used the gardens to grow dye plants and the water of the River Wandle to dye and rinse his fabrics.

In this talk John Hawks will focus on William Morris’s neighbour on the River Wandle, Liberty’s, and the rebirth of their abandoned printworks as the arts and crafts centre Merton Abbey Mills.

John spent 25 years in advertising before opening Merton Abbey Mills in 1989, which he managed for another 20.  Among his heritage commitments he is a Trustee of the Wandle Industrial Museum, manages Merton Priory Chapter House (see a 15 minute video on, and runs his long-running chamber concert series in the medieval Colour House Theatre.

Book now