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Latitude: 51.3958 / 51°23'44"N
Longitude: -0.1722 / 0°10'20"W
OS Eastings: 527253
OS Northings: 167889
OS Grid: TQ272678
Mapcode National: GBR DB.WST
Mapcode Global: VHGRJ.Y5TT
Plus Code: 9C3X9RWH+84
Entry Name: Wandle House
Listing Date: 16 January 1954
Last Amended: 1 April 2020
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1286053
English Heritage Legacy ID: 205138
Location: Ravensbury, Merton, London, CR4
Electoral Ward/Division: Ravensbury
Built-Up Area: Merton
Traditional County: Surrey
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London
Church of England Parish: Mitcham St Peter and St Paul
Church of England Diocese: Southwark
House of around 1790, attributed to Robert Mylne (1733-1811).
Villa of around 1790, attributed to Robert Mylne (1733-1811).
MATERIALS: brown tuck-pointed stock brick with gault brick window headers, stucco sill band, and slate-tiled mansard roof.
PLAN: there are two principal stories with a cellar and attic. The house is rectangular in plan (with a bowed southern projection), arranged with principal rooms to the south and an entrance hall and stairs to the eastern bay of the north side; this giving access to secondary north-west room on each floor.
EXTERIOR: restrained Palladian villa, oriented towards the River Wandle to the south. The western elevation is of three bays, with flat gauged-brick headed windows; those to the ground-floor windows with blind arch reveals. The south elevation has a bowed front with three windows to both storeys, each set under flat gauged-brick headers. To the north elevation there are two bays also with blind arch reveals to the ground floor and gauged-brick headed window openings. The west bay of this elevation has blind windows to both stories and the east has a pair of sash windows (the ground-floor window having been inserted in place of a former stepped entrance; demolished by 1963). There is a continuous stucco band between the storeys and a cornice with brick dentils above the first floor. A parapet with intermittent balustrading screens the slate-tiled mansard roof, replacement (or inserted) dormer windows and the central brick stack. The windows are mostly original sashes with glazing bars, although some are later replicas. The diminutive glazed link block extension of 1963 adjoins the east side of the house (excluded from the listing); this with the main entrance fronting to the rear car park with steps down to the south.
INTERIOR: the principal ground-floor room to the south retains an original fire surround with lobed architrave, egg-and-dart cornice, and elaborate floriated detailing (with later inlay). Opposing this, the windows to the bowed south front have moulded surrounds with box shutters. There is continuous skirting and a plaster cornice to the room with moulding and a band of egg-and-dart ornamentation. In the centre of the ceiling is a plaster-moulded oval patera with webbed detailing. The doors to the north (to either side of the fireplace) have fielded panels and sit within moulded architraves. The southern room to the upper floor also retains skirting, panelled doors with architraves along with windows with box shutters and surrounds, although the cornice has been replaced and the fire surround lost in this room. The smaller north rooms at ground and first-floor level retain fielded panelled doors and several windows with moulded surrounds and box shutters. The attic storey has been comprehensively remodelled at some stage in the late C20 and all windows and fittings at this level are replacements or have been recently inserted. The cellar retains exposed brick walls and relieving arches to the central stack. The stairs have been reconstructed and the former entrance hall and landings have been refurbished; with mouldings to the doors of the front and rear rooms and elements of the skirting retained.
The origins of Wandle House and the circumstances that led to the commission are obscure, but Surrey tax records indicate that a house, located close to the mills on the River Wandle, was tenanted by the Hinchcliffe family from at least 1793. The villa, which was originally recorded as Wandle Grove, is attributed to Robert Mylne (1733-1811), principally on account of its close resemblance to the Wick, Richmond, built 1775 (listed Grade I; National Heritage List for England (NHLE) entry 1250041). The freeholder of the land in the 1790s was William Fry, who also owned the adjacent mills on the Wandle; suggesting a close association with the milling industry immediately to the south from an early stage. The estate - described in a sales notice in 1828 as being ‘a desirable Residence, with offices, gardens and meadows’ (Morning Chronicle, 1828) - is shown on the Parish of Mitcham Tithe Map of 1846 with a substantial east wing (broadly set within the footprint of the 1963 office block). A description of the principal rooms and grounds features in an advertisement in the London Daily Press in 1849:
‘Wandle-grove, Mitcham Surrey - A most desirable residence, standing in its own grounds and surrounded by 12 acres of meadowland, comprising elegant reception rooms, eight light and airy chambers, servants’ offices, courtyard, capital stabling, good kitchen gardens, greenhouse, plunging bath. The whole is in perfect order and repair; held for the unexpired term of ten years at a low rent.’
The outline form of the main house as it existed in the 1840s is broadly maintained into the C20, as shown on the Ordnance Survey (OS) Surrey map of 1913; this according with the 1911 census in which Wandle House is described as having twelve principal rooms. Suburban development did however begin to encroach upon the Wandle Grove estate into the latter-half of the 1930s, with the OS revision of 1938 showing Riverside Drive and Brookfields Avenue having been laid out by this stage. Into the post-war period, the remaining grounds were sold off and developed, with planning permission granted for eight houses set parallel to London Road in 1949. Wandle House was listed at Grade II in 1954 and was subsequently extended in 1963 with the existing office block and a glazed link to the east (excluded from this List entry). The entrance to the house was reconfigured at around this time, with an earlier stepped entrance (marked on OS mapping from 1895 onwards) to the eastern bay of the ground-floor level of the northern elevation replaced with a sash window.
Robert Mylne (1733-1811) came from a line of accomplished Scottish master masons. After working initially as a woodcarver, Mylne trained as an architect and travelled throughout Europe with his brother William Mylne (1734-1790) in the 1750s. He became acquainted with Piranesi while in Rome and made a range of useful contacts, including Lord Garlies, Sir Wyndham Knatchbull and William Fermor of Tusmore, who would prove to be important future patrons and supporters. Mylne gained early recognition during his time in Rome, being awarded the Silver Medal for architecture in the ‘Concorso Clementino’ at St Luke’s Academy with the drawing of a palatial public building in the grand neoclassical manner and was elected a member of the Academy in 1759. Upon his return to Britain he unexpectedly won the major competition to design the original Blackfriars Bridge; succeeding as a young and relatively unknown architect in one of the major London building schemes of the period. His appointment in February 1760 brought him to wider attention in England and was the catalyst for his career as an architect and engineer. Although often overshadowed by Robert Adams and James Wyatt, his career continued apace with varied commissions from bridges and canals to public and domestic architecture along with important roles including a surveyorship to St Paul’s Cathedral (appointed 1766), where he was buried close to Wren in 1811 (Colvin, 1995, p679). Much of Mylne’s work was in Scotland, with notable examples including the Cally Palace and Estate, Kirkcudbrightshire (1763-1765) and the Invervary Estate, Argyll (from 1774). Important English works include the Wick, Richmond, London (1775; Grade I, NHLE entry 1250041), Wormleybury, Hertfordshire (1767-1769 and 1781-1782; Grade I, NHLE entry 1100541), and the east front to Stationers’ Hall, City of London (1800; Grade I, NHLE entry 1064742).
Wandle House, Riverside Drive, Mitcham is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a well-composed, restrained Palladian villa, with a bowed southern façade, much of its original fenestration and several internal features of distinction;
* as a work attributed to Robert Mylne, an important and influential architect of the late C18 and the first decade of the C19. The house is stylistically redolent of Mylne’s work in the last quarter of the C18 and has clear similarities with Mylne’s 1775 design for the Wick in Richmond, an important example of his work in London.
* as a villa attributed to a leading architect of the period which, although truncated, stands as an important example of the type of houses built for prosperous merchants on the fringes of London in the last quarter of the C18.
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