Mortlake Green was the old village green for the hamlet of Mortlake. The Manor was owned by the Archbishops of Canterbury, whose riverside palace had its gatehouse facing the Green. After 1536 the manor was taken by Henry VIII and the manor house was eventually demolished in the C18th, its site later developed as a brewery. Mortlake became a popular residential village in the C16th although the smell from the brewery later led to its decline. Once known as Kings Arms Field, in 1860 Mortlake Green was donated to the residents of Mortlake by Earl Spencer, Lord of the Manor, for public open space.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2008
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Mortlake Green with terracing to rear, October 2001. Photo S Williams
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The Mortlake Tapestry Works were founded in 1619 and became famous but after the Civil War they declined and the workshop closed in 1703. Other industries developed along the riverside including potteries and breweries. The site of the manor house was developed as a brewery and later became the Stag Brewery, which remains today. However, this increasing industrialisation and the smell from malting and brewery led to the decline of Mortlake as a fashionable riverside retreat.
Formerly known as Kings Arms Field, the land that is now Mortlake Green was given to the residents of Mortlake for public recreation by Earl Spencer in 1860. Postcards of the Edwardian era show that it was landscaped with low terraces, an elaborate path system, shrub and flower beds, grass and trees. Today it is a rectangular space bounded on one side by the railway and by busy roads on two other sides. It features a tarmac playground, grass, shrubs and mature trees, with three shallow stepped terraces from the railway with low stone walls between them. A small paved area with brick planters and seating on Sheen Lane probably dates from the late C20th. A seat in the upper terrace commemorates Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. A mound surrounded by a low rail was created and planted in c.1985 by Mortlake Brewery, which lies opposite the green, to commemorate 500 years of brewing in Mortlake.
Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Thames Landscape Strategy