Figges Marsh is a park in Mitcham.
Figges Marsh is just over 10 hectares in size and its open space has an outdoor gym and outdoor table tennis.
It was named after William Figge who occupied the land from 1357. Present-day Carlingford Gardens
and Manship Road
mark the boundary between Figge’s property and that of the medieval Biggin Farm estate.
As part of Mitcham Common, Figges Marsh was used for grazing until 1923 when the urban district council assumed control. Most of the land was left as meadow until mechanical mowing became possible in the 1940s. Around this time, the surrounding area began to be built up with housing, much of which was erected by the council.
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th=250px; margin-right:10px;'>Mitcham is in south west London, and the name simply means big settlement.
e Romans and Saxons were present, th
ere was a Celtic settlement in th
e area, with
evidence of a hill fort in th
e Pollards Hill area. The discovery of Roman-era graves and a well on th
e site of th
e Mitcham gas works evince Roman settlement. The Saxon graveyard, located on th
bank of th
e Wandle is th
e largest discovered to date, and many of th
e finds th
erein are on display in th
e British Museum. The area is a possible location for th
e Battle of Merton, 871, in which King Eth
elred of Wessex was eith
er mortally wounded or killed outright. The Church of England parish church of St Peter and St Paul dates from th
e Saxon era. Alth
ough it was mostly rebuilt in 1819–21, th
e current building retains th
e original Saxon tower. The Domesday Book of 1086 lists Mitcham as Michelham
, a small farming community, with
250 people living in two hamlets; Mitcham, an area known today as Upper Mitcham
; and Whitford, today known as th
e Lower Green
During her reign Queen Elizabeth
I made at least five visits to th
e area. John Donne and Sir Walter Raleigh also had residences here in th
is era. It was at th
is time th
at Mitcham became gentrified, as due to th
e abundance of lavender fields, Mitcham became renowned for its sooth
ing air. The air also led people to settle in th
e area during times of plague.
There were many lavender fields in Mitcham, and peppermint and lavender oils were also distilled. In 1749 two local physic gardeners, John Potter and William Moore, founded a company to make and market toiletries made from locally-grown herbs and flowers. Lavender features on Merton Council's coat of arms and th
e badge of th
e local football team, Tooting & Mitcham United F.C., as well as in th
e name of a local council ward, Lavender Field.
Mitcham was industrialised first along th
e banks of th
e Wandle, where snuff, copper, flour, iron and dye were all worked. Mitcham, along with
nearby Merton Abbey, became th
e calico cloth
printing centres of England by 1750. Asprey, suppliers of luxury goods made from various materials, was founded in Mitcham as a silk-printing business in 1781. William Morris opened a factory on th
e River Wandle at Merton Abbey. Merton Abbey Mills
e Liberty silk-printing works. It is now a craft village and its waterwheel has been preserved.
The activity along th
e Wandle led to th
e building of th
e Surrey Iron Railway, th
e world's first public railway, in 1803. The decline and failure of th
e railway in th
e 1840s also heralded a change in industry, as horticulture gradually gave way to manufacturing, with
paint, varnish, linoleum and firework manufacturers moving into th
e area. The work provided and migratory patterns eventually resulted in a doubling of th
e population between th
e years 1900 and 1910.
Mitcham train station opened on 22 October 1855. The route was operated as a conventional railway until it was closed by Railtrack on 31 May 1997, for conversion to tram operation. Station Court, on th
e tram line and east of London Road
A217, was one of th
e SIR's original station buildings, used as a merchant's home, making it one of th
e oldest railway buildings in th
e world. The wall of th
e Ram Brewery on York Road has a plaque commemorating th
Social housing schemes in th
e 1930s included New Close
, aimed at housing people made homeless by a factory explosion in 1933 and Sunshine Way
, for housing th
e poor from inner London. This industry made Mitcham a target for German bombing during World War II. During th
is time Mitcham also returned to its agricultural roots, with
Mitcham Common being farmed to help with th
e war effort.
Post war, th
e areas of Eastfields, Phipps Bridge and Pollards Hill were rebuilt to provide cheaper more affordable housing. The largest council housing project in Mitcham is Phipps Bridge estate. Furth
er expansion of th
e housing estates in Eastfields, Phipps Bridge and Pollards Hill occurred after 1965. In Mitcham Cricket Green
e area lays reasonable, alth
ough not definitive, claim to having th
e world's oldest cricket ground in continual use, and th
e world's oldest club in Mitcham Cricket Club.