World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mitcham Common

Article Id: WHEBN0004522641
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mitcham Common  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pollards Hill, London Borough of Croydon, Grangewood Park, A roads in Zone 2 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, Kew Gardens
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mitcham Common

Map of Mitcham Common

Mitcham Common or Seven Islands is 182 hectares (460 acres) of common land situated in South London.[1] It is predominantly in the London borough of Merton, with parts straddling the borders with Croydon. It is designated a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.[2]


In feudal times, the poorest, least productive soil in a parish was designated as common land available for parishioners to graze animals and cut turf and timber for fuel. Members of this community with these rights were known as commoners. However, in the 19th century when material for road building became a valuable resource, the old grazing land was replaced by a series of pits for gravel extraction.

These works reached such a proportion that public opposition, led by Metropolitan Commons Act and the cost of its maintenance was split between the parish councils of Mitcham, Beddington, Wallington and Croydon according to the proportion of the common within each parish boundary.

Mitcham, now part of the London Borough of Merton bore the majority of the costs, with the remainder going to the London Borough of Croydon. These funds support a warden and three assistants. Each council is represented by four nominated members of The Board, elected every two years.

Geography and environment

Pond on Mitcham Common.

500,000 years ago, Mitcham Common formed part of the river bed of the River Thames. Since then the course of the Thames has gradually altered, exposing gravels that were initially colonised by grasses and other Flowering Plants. Over time, woody species slowly overwhelmed these early colonisers, developing a loose scrubby vegetation that became denser until woodland had developed. Early humans were responsible for clearing trees and suppressing their regeneration by grazing cattle and cutting turf and timber for fuel.

In the late 19th Century these practices ceased and woodland was allowed to regenerate. This process allowed a succession from grassland, through a series of intermediate stages, to woodland.

The river gravels are well drained and strongly acidic, leading to a hostile environment in which plants have to withstand occasional drought and nutrient deficiency. However, considerable areas have acquired foreign soils during landfill programmes, whilst ploughing for agriculture during World War II and numerous pipe laying programmes have brought trapped nutrients to the surface. The result is a patchwork of soil types, each providing different plant and animal habitats. As the grassland reverts to woodland, the various stages in this process create further habitats.

The Seven Islands pond is the largest of all the ponds on the common, and was created as the result of George Parker Bidder.


There are a few buildings on the common. The buildings comprising the Windmill Trading Estate have existed in one form or another since 1782, when the estate was established as George Parker Bidder.

See also


  1. ^ "Mitcham Common". Mitcham Common Conservators. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mitcham Common". Greenspace Information for Greater London. 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 

External links

  • Mitcham Common Conservators homepage
  • Friends of Mitcham Common homepage
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.