The Borough of Merton is situated on the south west edge of London. It was created in 1965 from the old districts of Mitcham and Wimbledon, previously in Surrey, and the Urban District of Morden and Merton.

Population change

1966: 184,190 people
1998: 183,400 people

The development of the railway in the mid 19th century helped transform Merton from rural to urban. It became steadily more built up during the 20th century. In the 1920s it was the location for one of the London County Council 'out-county' cottage estates. Homes for disabled ex-service men were built at Green Lane in Merton.

The area around Mitcham was known for light industry and it became a target for bombers during the Second World War. After the war a number of new estates were built there to meet a housing shortage, among them Phipps Bridge, Pollards Hill and High Path in Wimbledon.

Merton's largest sporting event is the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, a tournament, held every year in June and July. The tournament is the third of the four tennis 'Grand Slams' and is the only one to be played on grass. The championships have been played at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon since 1877. The courts at the club were originally arranged so that there was one in the middle and although the club has been relocated and the new main stadium is located in a different position, the main court still retains the title 'Centre Court'.

Much of the land in Merton falls into London's Green Belt scheme and retains its historic character as green, open space. There are many historic buildings and sites within the borough boundaries, such as Southside House in Wimbledon. The House, which was rebuilt in 1687, stands on the corner of Wimbledon Common. It is the ancestral home of the Pennington Mellor Munthe families and it has connections with Anne Boleyn, the Prince of Wales, Marie Antoinette, Admiral Lord Nelson, Lord Byron and the famous Swedish writer Dr Axel Munthe.

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