Paxton Leather Works, Colliers Wood

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Picture Reference Mit_​25_​1-39
Original Format Photo
Notes / History It is unknown when a mill was first on this site. Starting life as a calico printing works it changed to leather japanning in 1838. It appears on the Wimbledon Tithe Map of 1848 and again in 1849 as a Japan Leather Factory.

Two years later the occupier was James Paxton, who was described in the 1851 Wimbledon census returns as a patent leather dresser employing eight men and living at Wandle Bank. In 1853 Frederick Braithwaite visited Mr.Paxton's leather japanning works, "which are supplied with water from an Artesian fountain, rising about 8 ft. above the surface". In the 1861 census returns James Paxton was recorded as employing 10 men and a boy, and in 1871 he was employing 11 men. He was still employing 11 men in 1881, two of these being his sons James and Henry. By 1884 Henry Paxton was in partnership with his father. They were working together in 1891, and probably until James Paxton's death at Wandle Bank on 17 December 1899 at the age of 78.
Henry Paxton probably continued working at the premises for a few years, but they were in the occupation of Connolly Brothers, leather dressers, by March 1905, when they wrote to the Croydon Rural District Council, referring to the disposal of sludge from the Merton Sewage Works, just across the river from their works.

The photograph shows a waterwheel at a 90 degree angle to the River Wandle. It was taken around 1886.

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