The Morden Tavern

The last 'refreshment house'

Photo:The Morden Tavern

The Morden Tavern

The pub was built in 1932/3 to a design by Sir Harry Redfern FRIBA for Truman Hanbury and Buxton Brewers and replaced a small agricultural worker's cottage which stood on the plot previously.  The land was entirely agricultural until it was acquired by London County Council in 1929. The Tavern is the last of the 'refreshment houses' which were specifically constructed as multifaceted community centres for St. Helier estate. They provided a social meeting place and recreation facilities for every member of the community- from senior citizens to children. 

(Information provided by Dale Ingram)

Is it last orders?

By Carol Smiles

Named simply as The Tavern for a while, The Morden Tavern is now a pub which often shows live sports events on Sky TV. A decision to close the pub has angered many locals and they have launched a campaign to prevent it being replaced by flats and houses which, they claim, are not needed in the area anyway.

Protesters have launched a campaign to save their local against £2.1m council plans to sell the property to developers. Protesters acknowledge that the pub has had its problems in the past. it has attracted trouble  but they say it has improved enormously in recent years and is now valued by local families. This view is also supported by Merton police.

Photo:Lawful Rebellion

Lawful Rebellion

'This is Local London' newspaper

It is also believed by campaigners that the council broke its own policy to protect pubs and other local facilities when deciding to close the Tavern and are asking the council to look at their decision again.

Campaigner David Smith, states in the newspaper  This is Local London,  “What is the point of having more housing when there is no community and social facilities to go with it?“

Alexander Mags of the Mitcham Society also opposes the planned development and claims the pub was built on a site given by a landowner for community use and could be put to much better purpose by the local community who are not in need of more shops, business premises and flats.

Another campaigner said in The Local Guardian that the plan to build flats on the site was 'about private greed rather than public need.'

Sandra Demar, on the campaign's facebook page warns, ‘Save this pub or lose something that you will never be able to replace...’

More than half of Mitcham’s pubs have shut down in just over a decade, with the head of a drinkers’ group blaming mismanagement and tough trading conditions for the closures.



'This is Local London' newspaper

But he also blamed high taxes on beer for damaging the pub trade, and leading more people to drink at home.

Sadly the fight to keep the Morden Tavern open seems to have been lost.

In the Local Guardian, June White of Morden writes:-

'These pubs like the Morden Tavern were stalwart posts on the estate, offering strength and fortitude in those terrible wartime years. They sang their hearts out until closing time around a beer-soaked piano in the club at the back of the tavern, its rich songs echoing into the dark nights....These places should all remain, together with the other fine establishments that bonded our people together.

No man should rip down that which the people deem sacred to their hearts. Without these meeting places, we will be doomed to a lonely and barren existence... People cannot be confined in houses all alone staring at screens!'

This page was added by Carol Smiles on 27/05/2011.
Comments about this page

If you would like to help protect the Morden Tavern for future generations please register your opposition to the latest plans by going to Merton Council's Planning website and searching for application 11/P0815. More details on how you can fight the developers and the latest on the Campaign for Morden Tavern can be found on Facebook.

By Campaign for Morden Tavern
On 20/04/2011

Although I have not set foot on the estate for best part of 50 years, I am very sad to hear of the demise of The Tavern. It was a good pub in my days (50's & 60's) and always well looked after. Unfortunately it is a trend of the times. In those days beer was affordable and the pub was the place to go to socialize. Since then TV has come along and the days of making your own entertainment have almost gone. I won't go into the drink & drive laws and smoking bans because that is a whole different issue, but a factor none the less. What it amounts to is that if a publican cannot attract people into using the place he can't make a living,so gets out. You can hardly blame him, or the Council for wanting to be rid of a white elephant, sad as it is, that's realism.

By Peter Leonard
On 07/06/2011

What a shame if this pub disappears,fond memories of many nights spent in there during the late 70's early 80's even had my wedding reception in there in 1994 long live the Tavern

By Len Townsend
On 13/07/2011

The planning application was rejected by Merton's Planning Committee. The St. Helier Pub Group has been formed to try and buy the pub and run it as a community cooperative. If you are interested in helping or joining the cooperative get in touch.

By St Helier Pub Group
On 09/02/2012

I will be sad to see the old "Tavern" go, and hope it doesn`t. I have memories of staggering back to my mum`s house in Neath Gardens in the 60`s, after one or two over the eight, of Trubrown ale.

By Brian Keating
On 21/07/2012

What has happened to the Tavern? Does it survive?

My mum and dad met in that pub in the late 1930s, and dad would also play darts with my uncle there.

By Dave Linkson
On 20/06/2015

I spent 10 years of my life in there and loved every single minute 

By Sam
On 15/01/2018

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