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Merton Abbey and William Morris

2nd December 2016

Merton Abbey Mills actually takes it’s name from Merton Priory which was one of the most important monasteries of the middle ages. Built in the early 12th century, an Augustinian Priory, Eleanor of Provence (Henry III’s Queen) and King Henry VI were both crowned at Merton Abbey. Walter de Merton (who founded Oxford’s Merton College) and Thomas Becket were also both educated here.

Textile mills were attracted to River Wandle by 1600, due to the power the water provided, but also because the water had a special balance of a chalk stream which was suited to textile creation for washing, dyeing and printing. By 1792 the river was actually one of the hardest working rivers in the whole of Europe as various print works moved to the banks.

merton priory

During this time, the textile industry in the UK was booming; with the population increasing and the British Empire expanding, the demand for cotton and therefore cotton factories were increasing, becoming a dominant feature of the Pennines. It was a great industry for the population; prior to industrialisation, many families had been working in the domestic system, especially in the North of England, and so there was a ready supply of talented weavers and spinners.

The printing industry in the Wandle Valley was no different, attracting workers from all over the country and because of the hive of workers, it was here that many techniques in printing were created and developed upon. Once established in the textile industry, today, England sadly sees most of their textiles imported due to lower costs. However, there are still mills in England, and we’re very happy to say that all our fabrics are printed in the UK, and all our products manufactured here too.

William Morris moved his company to the site on The River Wandle due to the conditions being perfect for his needs designing and printing his textiles. He was at Merton Abbey from 1881 to 1888, here he created some of his most iconic designs for which he is remembered for today. If you’ve read into Morris, you’ll know he was very interested in Socialism, it was actually during his time at Merton Abbey that he became more involved in the ideals.

“…I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few… ”  – William Morris

An admirable trait of Morris was that he didn’t just write or speak about his beliefs, he acted upon them; paying his workers higher wages than the average, supplied a library for their education, provided a safe, healthy and enjoyable workplace. For apprentice boys, he even provided accommodation whilst they learnt their craft.

Some of our favourite designs were created at Merton Abbey, amongst them, Willow Bough, one of our latest licensed designs!

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We hope you’re having a lovely Easter 🐣 Choccy treats galore with some beautiful Morris florals, what more could we want! 🌷🤍
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Morris fan? There’s 15% off our entire collection of licensed William Morris fabrics and products, this Easter weekend only! 🐣 Use code: EASTER15 at checkout, on our website only, until Monday at midnight 🌙 Enjoy this Easter treat from us! 🤍
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We love all the beautiful spring florals this time of year 🌷 We’ve also not been able to resist starting early on the Easter treats! 🐣
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Introducing Daisy, our latest William Morris licensed design 🌿 Daisy was the second wallpaper William Morris designed, but the first to be produced in 1864, so it remains a special design to every Morris fan ✨ It must have been a favourite of Morris himself, as embroideries of Daisy were used to decorate at the stunning Red House, Morris's home in Bexleyheath. 
We hope you love Daisy as much as we do! Available now on our website, in a limited range of products, fabric is coming soon! ☺️
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A fabric stack of William Morris floral dreams 🤍
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Spring floral ready with our William Morris Willow Bough table setting 🌿 Do your weekend plans also revolve around tea/coffee and baked goods? 🤍
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Monday done right, laying the table with our beautiful licensed William Morris Willow Bough green tablecloth, completed with a @bettys treat 🥰 
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A little fabric stack of our William Morris florals, waiting to be crafted into a project 🪡 Can you name them all from the little peak? 🌿 
All our fabrics are printed in the UK and are licensed William Morris designs, printed both size and colour wise to our own specification ✨ If you’d like a sample, just send us a message 📬
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Showcasing our licensed William Morris Lily fabric, it’s so light and bright it’s making us excited for Spring! 🌿
Designed by William Morris in 1874, it incorporates the willow background with lilies and wild flowers ✨ The design must have been well loved by Morris himself- it was the wallpaper he used to decorate his bedroom at Kelmscott Manor, his home in Lechlade, Gloucestershire 🌿
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Thrilled with our reupholstered chair, brought back to life with our heavyweight William Morris Willow Bough Green 🌿 It’s amazing what a pop of colour and a floral will do to a room 🤍 If you fancy learning how we did this upcycle, we’ll write a blog on it ☺️ 
& if you’re in the UK and would like a sample of any of our fabrics, please let us know 📮
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#williammorris #morris #williammorrisfabric #morrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #willowbough #reupholstery #reupholstered #upholsteryfabric #upcycledfurniture
The different weights of fabric 🧵 We have four weights of fabrics; cotton, heavyweight, drill and pvc, all work well for different projects. For a free sample, please feel free to message us and we’ll get them sent out to you 📮
✨ For our 100% cotton, it’s great for quilting, dress making and more, our lightest weight of cotton
✨ Our heavyweight cotton is perfect for curtains and light upholstery, a heavier fabric than our 100% cotton 
✨ Our drill cotton fabric is our heaviest weave fabric, suitable for light upholstery 
✨ Our PVC is our pvc/oilcloth coated cotton fabric, brilliant as a table covering, it’s sold by the half metre and as it won’t fray, is great to put straight on the table 🌿

The cotton, heavyweight and drill cotton are all 152cm wide and the pvc fabric is 140cm wide. All are sold by the half metre 📏
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In January when the Christmas sparkles come down, we’ve got to bring out even more Morris florals to make sure the house still feels sparkly and beautiful ✨ if you’re also looking to revamp any of the home and looking for a licensed William Morris design for a pop of colour, get in touch for any samples so you can choose which works in your home 🤍
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#williammorris #morris #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #onlinefabric #onlinefabricstore #fabrics #williammorrisfabric
Our blue Strawberry Thief oven gloves are back in stock, just in time for Christmas! 🎄 will you be gifting some Morris floral magic this year? Or hope to be receiving some! 🎁 Our matching sets of kitchenware and tableware are very popular this time of year, remember if you’re sending direct to your loved one, you can select for the items to be gift wrapped at checkout on our website! 🌟
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Our Black Friday sale is now live! 🥂 On our website only, use code, BLACKFRIDAY10 all weekend for 10% off your order ☺️ Ends Sunday at midnight 🌙
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#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #preraphaelite #willowbough #tablescape #placemats #floraldesign
Dreaming of the sunshine 💭 This is our smallest size of tote bag, in our licensed William Morris Strawberry Thief, on this bike ride we were pretty happy that it was filled to the brim with snacks to eat on the beach ☀️ On Wintery nights we love to look back on the sunshine! ☁️
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We're so thrilled our new website is now live! 🌿Just in time for Christmas shopping, it's much easier to use, and still full of beautiful licensed William Morris designs on every page! We hope you like the change, especially where lots of you are featured on the new 'inspiration' page! 🌟 We absolutely love that it showcases everyones tablescapes and craft projects, just click on them to see the design and who posted the photo so you can see more of their content ☺️ If you're happy for us to use your photos, just send us a message, we'd love it to be a page we can keep adding to throughout the seasons 🪴
Special thank you to @adigi_agency for creating our website, we love it! 🤍
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A few of our licensed William Morris designs all hanging out, aren’t they iconic! It’s amazing that you can see a Morris print and instantly know it’s his design 🌿
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