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Merton Abbey Mills was once Liberty's silk printing works and a centre of William Morris's Arts and Crafts Movement. The Mills was reborn in 1989 as a visitor and craft centre and weekend market - and a busy focus for local cultural and community activities, including the popular Abbeyfest.
The Colour House (where Liberty mixed his dyes) became a miniature theatre in 1995. It’s seen over 3,000 drama performances, 400 blues and world music evenings, and in this series nearly 250 concerts in which over 300 artists have performed nearly 1,000 different works. It’s a popular children's theatre with shows every Saturday and Sunday.
In the concert interval, a free drink is provided in the Wheelhouse immediately opposite the theatre. This houses South London's only fully working waterwheel, which once turned the spools Liberty's used for rinsing the gum off their silks after printing.
For over 400 years before 1538 Merton Priory stood next door, one of the major Augustinian houses in the land - the church was as long as Westminster Abbey! The foundations of its Chapter House are preserved under the road, and the Colour House is believed to have been a Priory building.
By Car: Merton Abbey Mills is opposite Sainsbury’s on the A24 Merantun Way, postcode SW19 2RD. There’s a small free car park behind the theatre, a larger public one right next door with two hours free parking.
By Tube: ten minutes’ walk along the River Wandle from Colliers Wood (Northern Line).
By Bus: Five minutes’ walk from Merton Bus Garage.
By Bike or Foot: The Mills is on the Wandle Trail, or National Cycle Route 20.