London Borough of Merton
Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden
Coat of arms of London Borough of Merton
Official logo of London Borough of Merton
Merton shown within Greater London
Merton shown within Greater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Created1 April 1965
Admin HQCivic Centre
 • TypeLondon borough council
 • BodyMerton London Borough Council
 • London AssemblyLeonie Cooper (Lab) AM for Merton and Wandsworth
 • MPsStephen Hammond (Conservative)
Siobhain McDonagh (Lab)
 • Total14.52 sq mi (37.61 km2)
 • Rank266th (of 296)
 • Total214,709
 • Rank90th (of 296)
 • Density15,000/sq mi (5,700/km2)
Time zoneUTC (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
Area code020
ONS code00BA
GSS codeE09000024
PoliceMetropolitan Police

The London Borough of Merton (/ˈmɜːrtən/ ) is a London borough in London, England. The borough was formed under the London Government Act 1963 in 1965 by the merger of the Municipal Borough of Mitcham, the Municipal Borough of Wimbledon and the Merton and Morden Urban District, all formerly within Surrey.

The main commercial centres in Merton are Mitcham, Morden and Wimbledon, of which Wimbledon is the largest. Other smaller centres include Raynes Park, Colliers Wood, South Wimbledon and Wimbledon Park. The borough is the host of the Wimbledon tournament, one of tennis's Grand Slam competitions.

The borough derives its name from the historic parish of Merton which was centred on the area now known as South Wimbledon. The local authority is Merton London Borough Council, which is based in Morden.


The area of the modern borough broadly corresponds to the four ancient parishes of Merton, Mitcham, Morden, and Wimbledon, all of which were historically in the county of Surrey.

The parish of Wimbledon was made a local government district in 1866. Such districts were converted into urban districts under the Local Government Act 1894. The Wimbledon Urban District was subsequently incorporated to become the municipal borough of Wimbledon in 1905.[1][2]

Merton was made an urban district in 1907, which was enlarged in 1913 to take in neighbouring Morden, becoming the Merton and Morden Urban District.[3] Mitcham was made an urban district in 1915, which was incorporated to become the municipal borough of Mitcham in 1934.[4]

The modern borough was created in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, covering the combined area of the former boroughs of Mitcham and Wimbledon and the Merton and Morden Urban District. The area was transferred from Surrey to Greater London to become one of the 32 London Boroughs.[5]

The name Merton for the borough was chosen as a compromise, following a dispute between Wimbledon and Mitcham over the new borough's name.


Areas in the borough include:


Main article: Merton London Borough Council

Merton Civic Centre

The local authority is Merton Council, based at Merton Civic Centre in Morden.

Greater London representation

Since 2000, for elections to the London Assembly, the borough forms part of the Merton and Wandsworth constituency.


A lot of filming for former ITV police drama The Bill took place in Merton, particularly in the districts of Mitcham and Colliers Wood. The set of Sun Hill police station was also located in the Borough. Ray Austin, born at 9 Abbey Rd Merton on the 5 December 1932, is an English television and film director, television writer, novelist and former stunt performer and actor who worked in both the United Kingdom and the United States. He filmed episodes of The Avengers and The Saint in and around Merton. He served as director on episodes of some 150 programs between 1968 and 2010.

The main local newspaper in Merton is the Wimbledon Times (recently changed name from Wimbledon Guardian). This newspaper was founded in 1977 by a former Conservative councillor on Merton Council, but since then the paper has been sold on and it is now widely published in different editions across South London. The newspaper is available free, though there is a charge if bought from a newsagent. It is published each Friday.


Notable businesses with their headquarters in Merton including:


Main article: List of schools in Merton

London's Poverty Profile (a 2017 report by Trust for London and the New Policy Institute) found that 40% of Merton's 19-year-olds lack level 3 qualifications. This is the 5th worst figure out of 32 London boroughs.[7]


Merton is served by a wide range of National Rail stations across the borough, as well as the southern tip of London Underground's Northern line and the District line on the Wimbledon branch. The borough is also served by several Tramlink stops from Wimbledon, that goes to Croydon, New Addington, Elmers End and Beckenham. It is the only London Borough which has tube, rail and tram services.

London Underground stations

Tramlink stops

National Rail stations

In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: driving a car or van, 19.2% of all residents aged 16–74; underground, metro, light rail, tram, 13.0%; train, 13.0%; bus, minibus or coach, 7.5%; on foot, 5.0%; work mainly at or from home, 3.4%; bicycle, 2.4%.[8]

Demographics and social conditions

Population pyramid of the Borough of Merton in 2021

In 2001, the census recorded that 25% of the population of the borough was from an ethnic minority. The highest ethnic populations were recorded in wards in the east of the borough in Mitcham, Eastfields and Pollards Hill. The percentage of population from ethnic minorities is predicted to rise across the borough within the next decade.

A report by Trust for London and the New Policy Institute found that Merton had a poverty rate of 14% in 2020, the 2nd lowest rate in London. It also found that the 2023 level of pay inequality in Merton is lower than in any other borough, except Kingston.[9][10]

According to the council's comparative assessment of wards made in 2004, the most deprived wards within the borough were in the south and east where unemployment rates, educational attainment and the quality of health were worst. The most affluent wards were in the north and west of the borough.

Comparative crime rates appear to be unrelated to the deprivation ranking of wards. The wards containing Mitcham town centre and the St Helier Estate are ranked highest for crime within Merton with the wards containing the commercial shopping centres of Colliers Wood and Wimbledon also featuring high in the ranking.

The constituency area of Wimbledon is an affluent area of London with a high proportion of city workers, while Mitcham and Morden is relatively deprived by comparison, which explains the geographical split of political representation of the borough at both national and local elections.

Merton currently operates a Police Cadet scheme under the Metropolitan Police Service.

Population census
1801 4,831—    
1811 5,656+17.1%
1821 6,433+13.7%
1831 6,652+3.4%
1841 7,364+10.7%
1851 7,334−0.4%
1861 14,118+92.5%
1871 20,901+48.0%
1881 27,684+32.5%
1891 41,318+49.2%
1901 63,273+53.1%
1911 96,895+53.1%
1921 122,245+26.2%
1931 154,267+26.2%
1941 174,151+12.9%
1951 196,599+12.9%
1961 187,074−4.8%
1971 178,023−4.8%
1981 165,098−7.3%
1991 171,808+4.1%
2001 187,908+9.4%
2011 199,693+6.3%


Ethnic Group Year
1971 estimations[12] 1981 estimations[13] 1991 census[14] 2001 census[15] 2011 census[16] 2021 census[17]
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 94.4% 146,376 89.3% 141,093 83.7% 140,883 74.97% 129,606 64.8% 129,617 60.2%
White: British 120,378 64.1% 96,658 48.4% 88,673 41.2%
White: Irish 5,464 2.9 % 4,417 2.2% 4,337 2.0%
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 216 0.1% 194 0.1%
White: Roma 813 0.4%
White: Other 15,041 8.0% 28,315 14.1% 35,600 16.5%
Asian or Asian British: Total 14,688 8.7% 23,292 12.4% 36,143 17.9% 40,019 18.6%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 5751 8,043 % 8,106 4.0% 9,607 4.5%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 2241 4,504 % 7,337 3.6% 9,667 4.5%
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 882 1,702 % 2,216 1.1% 2,470 1.1%
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 1216 2,485 % 2,618 1.3% 3,615 1.7%
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 4598 6,558 % 15,866 7.9% 14,660 6.8%
Black or Black British: Total 9,657 5.7% 14,626 7.7% 20,811 10.6% 22,887 10.6%
Black or Black British: African 3314 6,976 % 10,442 5.2% 12,218 5.7%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 4899 6,438 % 8,126 4.0% 7,632 3.5%
Black or Black British: Other Black 1444 1,212 % 2,243 1.1% 3,037 1.4%
Mixed or British Mixed: Total 5,869 3.1% 9,334 4.5% 12,765 5.9%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 1,630 % 2,579 1.2% 3,009 1.4%
Mixed: White and Black African 734 % 1,279 0.6% 1,722 0.8%
Mixed: White and Asian 1,918 % 2,829 1.4% 3,756 1.7%
Mixed: Other Mixed 1,587 % 2,647 1.3% 4,278 2.0%
Other: Total 3032 1.8% 3,238 % 3,799 1.8% 9,899 4.6%
Other: Arab 1,413 0.7% 1,923 0.9%
Other: Any other ethnic group 3032 3,238 % 2,386 1.1% 7,976 3.7%
Ethnic minority: Total 5.6% 17,472 10.7% 27,377 16.2% 47,025 25.0% 70,033 35.2% 85,570 39.8%
Total 100% 163,848 100% 168,470 100% 187,908 100.00% 199,693 100.00% 215,187 100%

Features of interest

Wimbledon tennis tournament

Each year The Championships, Wimbledon, better known as simply Wimbledon, one of the four tennis Grand Slam tournaments (along with the US, French and Australian Opens) is held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Church Road Wimbledon. The event takes place over a fortnight at the end of June and beginning of July and is the largest annual sporting event to take place in the United Kingdom with over 200,000 visitors during the Wimbledon fortnight.


The borough gained a football team in 1889 when Wimbledon Old Centrals were founded, and were soon a member of the local football leagues.[18] The club later adopted the title Wimbledon FC and moved into a new stadium at Plough Lane in 1912, where it would spend the next 79 years. As the 20th century wore on, the club enjoyed considerable success in non-league football.[19] The club was elected to the Football League in 1977[20] and enjoyed a great run of success when began in 1983 with the Fourth Division title, and saw them reach the First Division in 1986 – a mere nine years after joining the Football League. They quickly established themselves in the highest division of English football, and as clear underdogs, pulled off a shock win in the 1988 FA Cup Final against Liverpool, England's most successful and dominant club side in Europe during that era.[21] They were founder members of the FA Premier League in 1992[22] and survived at that level until 2000, before relocating to Milton Keynes, some 70 miles away in Buckinghamshire, in a controversial move in 2003, being rebranded as Milton Keynes Dons in 2004. The club had left its Plough Lane stadium in 1991 to ground-share with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, with numerous plans to build a new stadium in a number of different locations (including back in London and even in Dublin or Cardiff) being considered over the following decade before the club's owners chose Milton Keynes as their destination.

However, a new Wimbledon club – AFC Wimbledon – was formed to represent the local area in 2002 by fans of the original club after the move to Milton Keynes was given the go-ahead. The new Wimbledon club's progress was rapid, and after just nine years in existence they won promotion to the Football League in 2011.[23] The club gained permission in 2016 it to build a new stadium back on Plough Lane, using the former Greyhound Stadium around a hundred yards from its old stadium site and still within the London Borough of Merton. In 2018 the final agreements were signed off and demolition work started on the site (for both stadium and 600 flats) in April 2018. Building was completed for the 2020–21 season.[24][25][26] The first competitive game in front of fans was played on 14 August 2021, a 3–3 draw against Bolton Wanderers.

The borough also has five non-League football clubs: Colliers Wood United F.C. who play at Wibbandune Sports Ground; Raynes Park Vale F.C. who play at Prince George's Fields; Tooting & Mitcham United F.C. who play at Imperial Fields, Morden; and Merton Forest F.C who also play at Prince George's Fields and a Celebrity Fundraising Football team – Celeb FC who play all over the UK without charge for small UK charities.


The Talkback Thames television studio on Deer Park Road was used as Sun Hill Police Station in the ITV police drama The Bill from its inception in 1984 until it was axed in 2010.[citation needed]

Sister cities

Freedom of the Borough

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (July 2021)

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough of Merton.



  1. ^ Kelly's Directory of Surrey. 1913. p. 461. Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  2. ^ "Wimbledon Urban District / Municipal Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  3. ^ "Merton and Morden Urban District". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  4. ^ "Mitcham Urban District / Municipal Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  5. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-901050-67-9.
  6. ^ a b "About us". Square Enix Europe.
  7. ^ "London's Poverty Profile". Trust for London. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  8. ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013. Percentages are of all residents aged 16–74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey’s longest part by distance.
  9. ^ "Merton borough factsheet" (PDF). Trust for London. 23 January 2024. Retrieved 1 April 2024.
  10. ^ "Merton borough poverty rates". Trust for London. Retrieved 1 April 2024.
  11. ^ "Merton: Total Population". A Vision of Britain Through Time. Great Britain Historical GIS Project. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Migration and London's growth" (PDF). LSE.
  13. ^ Equality, Commission for Racial (1985). "Ethnic minorities in Britain: statistical information on the pattern of settlement". Commission for Racial Equality: Table 2.2.
  14. ^ "1991 census – theme tables". NOMIS. Archived from the original on 30 September 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  15. ^ "KS006 – Ethnic group". NOMIS. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Ethnic Group by measures". NOMIS. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Ethnic group - Office for National Statistics". Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  18. ^ "1889 to 1899". Memories of The Dons. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012.
  19. ^ "Plough Lane – Wimbledon". Wayback Machine. Old Football Grounds. 13 February 2020.[dead link]
  20. ^ "1970 to 1979". Memories of The Dons. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012.
  21. ^ "1980 to 1989". Memories of The Dons. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011.
  22. ^ "The second coming of Wimbledon". BBC Sport – Football. 25 November 2010.
  23. ^ "AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Luton Town (4-3 on pens)". BBC Sport – Football. 21 May 2011.
  24. ^ "New stadium update featured on the agenda".
  25. ^ "New stadium update".
  26. ^ "Home Sweet Home". AFC Wimbledon. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Interactive City Directory". Sister Cities International. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  28. ^ "Andy Murray given Freedom of Merton | Merton Council News Room". 20 June 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  29. ^ a b c "Freedom of The Borough". London Borough of Merton. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  30. ^ a b c Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Former Wimbledon Champions awarded Freedom of Merton". YouTube. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  31. ^ Charsley, Monica (16 July 2021). "AFC Wimbledon president to be granted the Freedom of Merton". Wimbledon Times. Retrieved 21 July 2021.

51°23′N 0°10′W / 51.383°N 0.167°W / 51.383; -0.167