Borough of Merton

Merton is, in most respects, one of London's most ordinary boroughs. Originally part of Surrey but now sited well within the suburbs of south west London, this is a largely prosperous (though not overly ostentatious) area of houses, parks and sports grounds. Merton probably boasts fewer named localities than any other London borough and but for a quirk of London's tube map and one other, very special case, it's likely that few outside London would ever have heard of them. Morden, otherwise a pleasant suburb with an unknown but rather superior park at its centre, is known to Britain at large by virtue of being the southernmost station on the map of the London Underground. Merton itself would remain in obscurity had it not given its name to the borough as a whole. Raynes Park is little more than a minor railway junction in the lives and perceptions of most Londoners, while Mitcham enters the public consciousness maybe once every four or five years as the election results flash across our TV screens in the early hours of Friday morning after the polls close.

It's that one remaining special case, however, that raises Merton not just to national fame, but to international acclaim. It's one of the three London suburbs which everybody has heard of.


The home of one of the world's most prestigious sporting events, Wimbledon becomes the centre of world attention for two weeks every year. It's not just a sports stadium, however. Wimbledon is one of London's larger localities and occupies around half the entire borough, containing several sub-localities within itself. The town centre is one of south London's better shopping centres, while up the hill to the northwest Wimbledon Village still retains the air of the charming country village it once was. Wimbledon Park (shared with Wandsworth) is itself a sports complex, containing an athletics track and golf course, plus a picturesque lake, gardens, and a large area of public open space. Extensive though it is, the park is dwarfed by Wimbledon Common in the northeast corner of the borough; some three square kilometers in area (about the same size as the City of London) it is an area of largely virgin heath and woodland with little development save for a handful of scattered lodges and the Wimbledon Windmill museum. Between the common and the park, and fringing the tennis grounds to the north and west, is one of London's most desirable residential areas; Bathgate Road, in particular, is arguably the capital's loveliest residential street. If you want to buy one of its properties, though, you'd better be worth seven figures.

Gallery Index

The All-England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon

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This page last updated 4th January 2003