The Wandle Industrial Museum
The Wandle Industrial Museum is the only purely industrial museum in this part of Greater London, possibly in the South East.
Founded in 1983 with a mission to preserve, store, and interpret the heritage and history of the industries of the River Wandle—which was in it's day the most industrialised in Europe.
The museum tells the stories of the different industries that used the River Wandle. Industries such as Young’s Brewery at Wandsworth, William Morris and Liberty’s at Merton, Connolly’s the leather makers plus the lavender, snuff and dye industries.
Displays reveal history of the mills which existed in Croydon, Carshalton, Mitcham, Merton, Wimbledon and Wandsworth that used the river. In addition, there is information about Merton Priory and the first public railway The Surrey Iron Railway.
Red House is the iconic Arts and Crafts home of William Morris - writer, artist, craftsman and socialist.
Red House is the only house to have been created by the great designer and he moved here as a young man in 1860, with his new wife Janey Burden. Built for William Morris by his friend Philip Webb, the house is a romantic essay in medieval-Gothic style, complete with steep red tiled roofs, higgledy piggledy layout, tiled fireplaces and, yes, a lot of red brick.
The interiors are not fully furnished but the original Arts & Crafts features, together with the odd piece of furniture by Philip Webb and William Morris and wall-paintings by Burne-Jones help to compensate. It was at Red House that William Morris began to work as a designer and examples of his famous wallpaper designs, like 'Trellis' and 'Daisy' are also displayed (`Trellis' was his first ever wallpaper and was used at Red House before William Morris moved out in 1865).
The surrounding garden was a source of inspiration for William Morris and today is something of a green oasis in suburban Bexleyheath, with its lovely old espaliered pears against the house, ancient apple orchard, croquet lawn and a productive vegetable garden. The café has recently moved into Morris' brightly coloured old kitchen, larder and pantry and serves light lunches, tea, coffee and cake on stylish blue and white crockery inspired by Janey Morris. The gift shop has been relocated to the more spacious surrounds of the Coach House, and is well stocked with Morris merchandise.