Gently Flows The Graveney

Explore the hidden lower reaches of the River Graveney with Tooting History Group. Starting at the Roe Bridge , we will be walking two miles to the junction of the Graveney with the Wandle. Along the way there will be occasional glimpses of the River Graveney. And some history of golf in the area, boundaries, bridges, music hall stars, a lost waterfall, sewage and an early railway line.

We will be meeting at the Roe Bridge on Mitcham Lane/Streatham Road near the junction with Rural Way on at 11am on Saturday 25th September 2021. Buses 201,127,333,57 stop nearby.

The walk will be about two miles and we should finish by 1pm. Free, no need to book.

The walk is part of the Wandle Fortnight which takes place from the 11th to the 26th September 2021. You can find more details of all the Wandle Fortnight Festival events here.

“The Common Story” On Sale

This Saturday 7th August 2021, you will be able to buy a copy of “The Common Story” up on Tooting Common. We will be at the fountain on Tooting Bec Road (junction of Dr Johnson Avenue) from 11am to 1pm, selling copies for £10.

Now in it’s second edition, The Common Story is a comprehensive history of Tooting Common. The book was published with lottery funding and Tooting History Group members played a major part in doing the archival research.

If you are unable to come up to the Common on Saturday, please fill out the form below and we will deliver/post a copy to you.

Tooting Police Station Listed

Tooting Police Station From Above (James Evans Archoptical Ltd.)

Tooting Police Station and the adjacent Police Section House have been statutorily listed by Historic England, thanks to representations from Tooting History Group. The Police Station was built in 1939 to replace the older (demolished) building which used to be on Amen Corner. It has been empty since October 2020 and is scheduled for residential redevelopment.

THG Conservation officer Libby Lawson made representations to Historic England and they agreed to the Grade II listing on 4th May 2021. It is one of the landmark buildings of Tooting and local residents have widely welcomed the listing.

Libby Lawson said “Tooting History Group is delighted that Historic England has recognised the architectural value and significance of the 1939 former police station and section house. Each building’s architecture is indicative of the best Modernist, Art Deco style of that period. There is little external alteration to adversely affect their character; they remain remarkably intact and retain their visual dynamism today; bold uncompromising, still modern, graceful sculptural forms.

The building was already locally listed by Merton Borough Council which recognised its architecture and local popularity. The new owners have already expressed their appreciation of the building and a desire to retain its historic and architectural features. We await their plans for the building with interest.

The building was designed by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench, and was completed in July 1939. Trench was Surveyor & Architect to the Metropolitan Police from 1920 to 1945. He worked within the Receiver’s Office and is probably best known for his Police Box design which has become more popularly associated with the BBC TV programme Dr Who as his ‘Tardis’. “

You can read the full details of the Historic England listing here. (Did you know there are horse stables and a gymnasium in the basement?)

Council Housing In London Before And After The Totterdown Fields Estate: Wandsworth Heritage Festival Event

The Totterdown Fields Estate, Tooting was one of the earliest LCC Council Housing Estates built in London. We will be presenting a talk about the Estate (online by Zoom) on June 1st 2021 at 7.30pm. The talk is part of The Wandsworth Heritage Festival.

John Boughton, our speaker, will talk about the significance of The Totterdown Fields Estate for the development of Council housing in London.

John Boughton has written and blogged extensively about public housing. In 2018, he published a well regarded book: “Municipal Dreams The Rise And Fall of Council Housing”, which is now available in paperback.

John describes The Totterdown Fields Estate as “…the first municipal ‘garden estate’ and the forerunner of many which followed but impressive both for its design and architecture and the vision which underlay them.”

To book a place for the Zoom talk on June 1st for a donation, go to the Eventbrite page here.

You can read John Boughton’s blog “Municipal Dreams” here.

The Programme of Wandsworth Heritage Festival events is available here. Many of the events for this year’s festival relate to homes and housing.

E & A Wates Go Into The PPE Business

Our last monthly meeting in March was an excellent talk by Roger Wates from the well-established Tooting firm E & A Wates. He has just sent me news on what the company is doing during lockdown, which is quite amazing.



NHS staff wearing the reusable visors during COVID-19, April 2020. Visors have been delivered to 21 hospitals including St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. Photo reproduced with permission.

In its 120th year, SW London interior specialist E & A Wates has switched their workshop furniture restoration work from high quality reupholstery to critical personal protective equipment (PPE).

E & A Wates showroom and workshop are temporarily closed in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). This week, with teams working at a safe distance behind the scenes, E & A Wates have supplied and cut foam to assist in making over 4,300 visors for NHS frontline staff within 21 hospitals in London and neighbouring counties with potential for another 2,500 components if required.

The visors are being made in conjunction with a prop maker Faye Jones and over 60 colleagues who crowdsourced the project so the visors can be donated to NHS hospital staff, the visors can be sterilised and reused after each shift. So far the group have made 6650 visors with 3200 planned for production this Easter weekend




Upholsterer Tomas Kilty works in isolation at E & A Wates workshop in Streatham, London cutting foam to make reusable visors for NHS staff during COVID-19. Photo © E & A Wates
Foam headbands at E & A Wates workshop in Streatham, London ready to be delivered to the visor-making team (60 separate makers) who have distributed 3990 visors (3165 to London Hospitals and 825 to neighbouring counties) made a further 2660 and have planned production of 3200 this Easter weekend during COVID-19. Photo © E & A Wates