The existence of water in the form of springs and ponds in the centre of the old village of Carshalton dates back many centuries and was probably the reason for the early Saxon settlement here. Once a single sheet of water, its division into two pools dates back to at least the C15th. Historically the upper West Pond was public, while the lower East Pond was owned by Stone Court and then The Grove, and was also the source of power for the Upper Mill that ground corn for Carshalton.
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Carshalton Ponds - East Pond and Leoni Bridge - Photo: Colin Wing
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The ponds lie near a former source of the River Wandle, which flows out of East Pond and over weirs in The Grove Park (q.v.). Once a single sheet of water, its division into two pools dates back to at least the C15th: in 1469 a William Burton was prosecuted for taking wild swans from 'water called Kershalton Pole containing in length 14 perticas and in breadth 8 perticas' (pertica was Latin for perch, i.e. 5.5 yards). Historically the upper West Pond was public, while the lower East Pond was owned by Stone Court (demolished c.1800) and then The Grove (now The Grove Park); it was also the source of power for the Upper Mill that ground corn for Carshalton. In the late C18th access by vehicles from High Street to Pound Street or North Street meant fording through the ponds although there was a narrow wooden causeway for pedestrians from North Street. The existing road causeway along the south side of the ponds was built in 1825 and the North Street Bridge and Causeway was added in 1828. Trout were long found in the ponds until the C20th. An C18th account of Stone Court describes the East Pond as follows: 'a most beautiful sheet of transparent water, free from filth and is never known to freeze in the severest seasons. It is stocked with fine trout and other fish . . . The large current of water which is supplied from thence is formed into a canal and passes by almost close to the house [Stone Court], after which it drives several mills that stand a small distance below' (quoted in Nature Conservation in Sutton, p.67).
In 1924 Carshalton Urban District Council purchased The Grove estate including East Pond, and in 1939 then purchased Honeywood Lodge (q.v.), a C17th house with later additions that overlooks the west side of the ponds. Honeywood was used for various social and community purposes and in 1989/90 it was converted into the borough's Heritage Centre and has local history displays.
LB Sutton Heritage website; Ian Yarham, Richard Barnes, Bob Britton 'Nature Conservation in Sutton', Ecology Handbook 22, London Ecology Unit, 1993