Colliers Wood is an area in south west London, England, in the London Borough of Merton. It is a mostly residential area, split down the middle by a busy high street. There are two large shopping areas; The Tandem Centre and the Priory Retail Park, as well as a large supermarket complex built in 1989 on the site of an old print works.
Colliers Wood is home to three parks: a recreation ground, the National Trust-owned Wandle Park, which covers an area of approximately 11 acres (45,000 m2), and the more informal Wandle Meadow Nature Park. There is a footbridge over the river to access the latter from Bewley Street, which has been uncrossable since it was installed in 2007, due to there being no funding available to build an access ramp. It is intended to be part of the Wandle Trail, which passes through the suburb.
Colliers Wood United F.C. is a semi-professional football club founded in Colliers Wood but now based elsewhere.
In 2006, local resident and ex-resident of Slough Keith Spears, having seen the BBC TV series Making Slough Happy, started the "Making Colliers Wood Happy!" initiative as a way of building community spirit to counteract the decline in neighbourliness in suburban areas. This has resulted in a lively programme of social activities for local residents, including a choir, a ukulele band and an annual open gardens event, and its importance has been recognised by attracting grants for its work in community-building.
In July 2010 the first Barclays Cycle Superhighway opened, with a continuous bicycle lane known as CS7 linking Colliers Wood with Southwark Bridge in the centre of London, although it was originally intended to continue to South Wimbledon.
Colliers Wood takes its name from a wood that stood to the east of Colliers Wood High Street, approximately where Warren, Marlborough and Birdhurst Roads are now. Contemporary Ordnance Survey maps show that this wood remained at least until the 1870s but had been cleared for development by the mid-1890s.
It is home to 12th Century ruin Merton Priory, one of the places in the UK considered by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to go forward as British candidates for World Heritage status. Henry VI, the only king of England to be crowned outside of Westminster Abbey in the last 1,000 years, held his coronation ceremony at Merton Priory in 1437. Among those educated at the priory were Thomas Becket and Nicholas Breakspear,[dubious ] who was the only English Pope.
Close to Merton Priory is the market and heritage centre at Merton Abbey Mills, which is on the bank of the River Wandle. The Wandle was reputed to have more mills per mile than any other river in the world, 90 mills along its 11 mi length. William Morris, at the forefront of the Arts and Crafts Movement, relocated his dyeworks to Merton Abbey Mills, after determining that the water of the Wandle was suitable for dyeing. The complex, on 7 acres (28,000 m2), included several buildings and a dyeworks, and the various buildings were soon adapted for stained-glass, textile printing, and fabric- and carpet-weaving. The works closed in 1940. The site is now occupied by a large shared Sainsbury/M&S supermarket complex (originally a SavaCentre opened on 28 February 1989 with 107,430 sq ft (9,981 m2) of sales area, making it the largest hypermarket in the UK at the time of its opening).
The world's first public railway, the Surrey Iron Railway, passed through Colliers Wood on its route from Croydon to Wandsworth, between 1803 and 1846.
Colliers Wood Tower
Colliers Wood is dominated by the "Colliers Wood Tower". Originally named the "Lyon Tower", it was originally occupied as the headquarters of property company Ronald Lyon Holdings but has also been known as "The Vortex" and the "Brown & Root Tower". When being built, the tower reached the third storey before an error in construction was discovered and it was demolished to begin again.
It was voted the ugliest building in London in a 2006 BBC poll and one of the 12 ugliest in the UK in a 2005 Channel 4 poll for its programme Demolition. The same BBC poll quoted an architect working for Golfrate Property Management, the current owners, as saying the building was due a make-over and new lease of life.
By 2009, the ground and first floor windows and doors had been boarded up, and green netting has been attached across each end to prevent falling debris causing injury to passers by. Demolition of the adjacent spiral car park began in April 2010, but due to complications with an electrical substation was halted soon after, with half the car park still standing. By June 2011 the car park was eventually demolished entirely.
In Spring 2011, two small samples of decorative cladding were fitted. These were much a lighter colour than the underlying concrete surface and would change the look of the Tower significantly if installed across the building.
- "The Bridge To Nowhere".
- "Outstanding volunteers reveal surprising inspirations at Merton Council Civic Awards night". Yourlocalguardian.co.uk. 2011-05-10. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Making Slough Happy". BBC News. 2005-11-15. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Making Colliers Wood Happy!". Making Colliers Wood Happy!. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Colliers Wood Chorus". Colliers Wood Chorus. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Colliers Wood International Ukulele Orchestra". Collywoodukes.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Cycling Revolution London" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Parry, William Morris, p. 57
- Telegraph.co.uk - Obituary of Ronald Lyon
- "BBC Poll - Most Hated Building". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Demolition". Channel4.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Colliers Wood tower to stay despite falling masonry, drugs and porn movie". Yourlocalguardian.co.uk. 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Bulldozers move on to site of "ugly" Colliers Wood tower". Thisislocallondon.co.uk. 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
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