Eric & Amy Simonds moved here in 1920 from their first house, called Pensdell on Murdoch Road, which was named after the farm on the Audleys Wood estate. Located just outside Wokingham, less than ½ a mile from their first home and only about a mile from where the ‘Simonds’ story is first recorded, with Christian de Wudecrida, my 17th great grandfather, living at Woodcray Manor in 1288. Mertonford was designed by GW Webb & bought from Henry Bilson Blandy who had built it in 1896. His family had owned The Castle Brewery, located next door to the Simonds Brewery, in Reading until it was sold to Hawkins Parfitt Ltd in 1910.
This is the original architect’s perspective
Mertonford 1896
It changed little in the almost 100 years to this image, save for the porch and the tall windows to the original staircase, both casualties of the conversion to flats.
Mertonford plain
In 1930, following the death of Granny Fitzgerald, and unsuccessful efforts to sell Audleys Wood in the middle of the depression, the family were obliged to move back there and so sold Mertonford in 1931.