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The large majestic white building set back from Morden Hall Road is Morden Hall. It’s the largest house on the estate, once lived in by the estate owners of Morden Hall Park. It was built in 1770 by Richard Garth V to replace Growtes, a Tudor manor house that was already on the property. Over the years it has seen many uses, and today brings in valuable income allowing us to run the park according to its donor's wishes.
The Garth era
Richard Garth, an early owner of the estate, wanted a more ‘modern’ house and so Morden Hall was built in the Georgian style of the time. For almost 20 years (until 1787), the Garths used Morden Hall as their country retreat, tucked away in quiet surroundings but within easy reach of London.
When Richard V died he left his estate to his three daughters, Clara, Elizabeth and Mary. Uninterested in the ‘wilds of Surrey’ the three sisters relocated to London. However, they didn’t leave Morden Hall untenanted and the building was home to several tenants over the following 80 years.
From a country home to a school for young gentlemen
One of early the tenants of Morden Hall was Lord Sainsbury who is believed to have been a tobacconist, as well as a sheriff of London and Middlesex in 1780 and Lord Mayor of London in 1786. In 1830 William Lowndes, husband of the second Garth daughter Elizabeth, leased the building and set up a School for Young Gentleman for approximately 75 boys aged 8-17. It is thought the belfry was added during this time to call the boys back to class. The school ran until Morden Hall was sold on by the Garths in 1867.
The Hatfeild era
In 1867 Morden Hall was bought by Gilliat Hatfeild. Once more Morden Hall became a family home, but not for long. This time it wasn’t deserted for fashionable London (as it had been by the Garth sisters), but for the modest Morden Cottage. Gilliat Edward, after inheriting Morden Hall and its land from his father Gilliat, decided the mansion was too grand for a bachelor and moved to Morden Cottage.
Morden Hall became a convalescent hospital during the First World War and after the war's end Gilliat Edward paid the Salvation Army to keep the hospital running. It remained a hospital until it was given to us in 1941.
The Hall today
We now let out the house which brings valuable income to the park, allowing us to keep the park open and run it according to Gilliat Edward Hatfeild’s wishes, most importantly that ‘a fee shall never be charged’.