Harry Lauder’s House Threatened By Development

One of the few houses in Tooting with a Blue Plaque is threatened by highly inappropriate development. The house at 46-48 Longley Road was home to Harry Lauder, the famous music-hall star between 1903 and 1911. The house includes an auditorium built at the rear for private performances. The only other house with a Blue Plaque in Tooting is Thomas Hardy’s residence on Trinity Road.

The application is for five three storey houses to be built in the rear garden. Tooting History Group has objected along with at least 20 other local residents. You can see the application and make objections here . The application is open for comments until 30th November 2018. Below is a photo after the developers hoardings went up recently, along with the THG objection.

Photo of House At 46 Longley Road with developers hoarding erected

Harry Lauder’s House 46 Longley Road With The Hoardings Up


I am writing  on behalf of Tooting History Group to object to the above application to build a terrace of five 3-storey houses in the rear garden of 46-48 Longley Road, SW17 9LL.

No. 46 is the former home of the world-renowned musical hall singer and comedian, Sir Harry Lauder. A blue plaque on the building records that he lived there between 1903-11.  At the back, adjoining the property, is an auditorium built for his private performances.

These premises, in their entirety, were nominated by THG  for local listing in the most recent borough-wide review.  The nomination was approved (though the Planning Portal has yet to be updated).  Apart from its connection with Lauder, the property is a fine example of the architecture of this part of Tooting Graveney.

Indeed, No.46 is one of five locally listed residences on Longley Road;  the Gospel Hall, at the other end, is also locally listed.  We therfore do not agree that ‘no statutorily or locally listed buildings exist within the site for which this application is made or in its immediate vicinity.’

The Design and Access Statement states that  ‘shallow front gardens and deep rear gardens are common features of almost all buildings along Longley Road’.  Regrettably, many of the front gardens have been converted to hard-standing for cars. This makes it all the more important that the long rear gardens should be retained to provide much-needed open space for residents and a haven for wildlife – particularly in an area which is chronically short of green space.

Until recently, the gardens at No.46 were kept in good order with well-tended mature trees offering some seclusion and an agreeable outlook for neighbouring properties.  Since the property changed hands, the garden and many of its features have been neglected.

The Design and Access Statement refers to ‘precedents for back-land developments in the area such as the houses at the rear gardens of Nos. 50 and 52 as well as the Marlborough House Lodge at No. 42’.

We acknowledge that there are detached developments In the rear gardens of Nos. 50 and 52 but these are small, single dwellings. Similarly, at No. 42, Marlborough House Lodge is a simple Victorian coach-house. These are in no  way comparable to the proposed terrace of five 3-storey houses.

Our understanding is that Wandsworth Council has a borough-wide policy opposing garden development. We see no reason why an exception should be made for 46-48 Longley Road, Furthermore, should this application be approved, it will set a precedent for further garden development, not only in Longley Road but across the borough.

Yours sincerely,

Janet Smith

Chair, Tooting History Group


Lodge In Tooting Bec Road Still At Risk-Council Report

Wandsworth Councillors this week (14th November 2018) considered an updated list of historic buildings in the Borough designated as “at risk”. The list included The Lodge at 100, Tooting Bec Road. The designation is made by Historic England. The Lodge is also the subject currently of a planning application to which there have been 32 objections. You can find the full report here

Picture of the Lodge, 100 Tooting Bec Road taken by Libby Lawson

The Lodge, Tooting Bec Road, 2018 (Photo:Libby Lawson)


The Committee Report Appendix gives the following update on the lodge:

“(h) Lodge, 100 Tooting Bec Road, SW17 (Bedford): This building was added to the
Register in 2010 following the closure of the garden centre that occupied the site up
to then. Planning and listed building applications to use the building for retail (A1) use
and ancillary office, together with a separate new building for use as a café and
storage facilities for cars in conjunction with car sales were approved in September
2012. As insufficient action had been taken by the owner to safeguard the future of
the building officers obtained approval in 2015 for the service of a Repairs Notice on
all those with a legal interest in the property. Following the service of the Repairs
Notice in early 2015 the owner initially started to carry out works, then after a
cessation of works the Council obtained authority to commence Compulsory
Purchase Proceedings. Repair works recommenced in 2016. Listed building
applications were submitted in 2016 for works of alterations to windows and doors
and refurbishment. One application to replace windows was refused and was subject
of an Appeal, which was dismissed by the Inspector. The other application was
subject to an Appeal against the conditions. The condition relating to the retention
and restoration of the front door was upheld by the Inspector; the other two
conditions relating to the reinstatement of lath and plaster ceilings and the
requirement for a like-for-like match for a number of windows were removed from the
permission by the Inspector. Following the Appeal decisions the Council wrote to the
applicant on 11 July 2017 requesting a timetable for the carrying out of the
outstanding works set out in the letter be submitted within 10 days. The letter also
stated that should this not be received then the Council will reconsider the
expediency of compulsory acquisition. By November 2017 the owner had sufficiently
completed the outstanding works to repair the listed building though the building
remained unoccupied and with hoardings around the site. The owner was given time
to submit applications to deal with the proper treatment to the boundaries and to set
out their intentions with regard to the building. As the hoardings were still in place by
December 2017 authority to serve an Enforcement Notice (Paper 18-23) was
obtained in January 2018. The owner was required to remove the hoardings by 23
June 2018. The hoardings were removed on 22 June by the owner who then
proceeded to erect a timber fence with open wire and green netting fixed to this. This
work requires planning permission. Further unauthorised works to the listed building
have been carried out in the form of a UPVC window. The owner has recently
submitted planning and listed building consent applications to regularise the works
carried out including the replacement front door. Officers of the Council have spent
considerable amounts of time on this case because of the initial non-compliance with
enforcement action at each stage by the owner. A fresh application to include the
building in the list of Assets of Community Value has been received.”

Space Cards…From Totterdown Street, Tooting!

An album for space stickers produced by Colinville of Totterdown Street, Tooting

Colinville Space Album Produced By Colinville of Totterdown Street, Tooting (Kindly Provided to THG by Alan Dein)

A wrapper for Fantasy of Space from Colinville of Totterdown Street, Tooting

Colinville Space Wrapper From Totterdown Street, Tooting (Kindly Provided To THG By Alan Dein)

There used to be a company in Tooting which produced collectable cards. In the late 1950s, a Company called Colinville, based at 6, Totterdown Street, produced cards about football, Stars of the Screen and Prairie Pioneers as well as the wonderful Space Card album and wrapper shown above.  The company were also ice cream makers.

Do you remember Colinville or the cards? Do you have any of the cards? Tooting History Group has been contacted by somebody researching the Company, so if you have any information about Colinville and their cards, please get in touch.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Our November Meeting

CWGC Meeting Artwork

Poster For November 2018 Meeting

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for millions of graves and memorials all over the world. When was it established? How is it funded? Come to our next meeting on Tuesday 13th November at 7.30pm to hear Fiona Smith from the CWGC talk about it’s work. Did you know that as well as finding the records of military casualties, you can look at the records of 69,000 civilian war dead on the CWGC website here.

Details of our meeting venue and how to get there are here.

We will also be selling our exclusive Tooting History Group Christmas card, which is hot off the press.


Tooting Buzz/Gala/Granada Clad In Scaffolding

Picture posted by Libby Lawson on Twitter Feed

Scaffolding on Buzz Bingo Tooting October 2018

The newly rebranded Buzz Bingo Club (formerly Granada Cinema) has been wrapped in scaffolding for the last few weeks. The front of the building has needed maintenance for some years and buddleia plants have sprouted at various points on the front of the building. Tooting History Group has been reassured by Buzz that cleaning and maintenance are the only reasons for the erection of the scaffolding.  Old fixings which now have  ‘b i n g o’ lettering will be removed where previously Granada was spelt out. Anything that replaces it will require planning permission because of the listed status of the building.

The building is the only Grade 1 listed purpose-built 1930’s cinema in Britain. It is also the only Grade 1 listed building in Tooting. This is the highest category of listing. To quote Historic England: ” Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I .” You can find further details and search the Historic England national list here.

The Granada opened on September 7th 1931 and ran as a cinema until declining audiences led to it’s closure on 10th November 1973. The building reopened as The Granada Bingo Club in 1976. Retitled The Gala Bingo Club, it has been a bingo venue for the last 42 years which is as as long as it was a Cinema and live music venue.

The building is open annually for The Open House Weekend, when there are guided tours which prove to be very popular every year. Alternatively, you can join the bingo club and see the wonderful interiors any day of the week. At our October 2018 meeting, we had an excellent talk by Richard Gray from the Cinema Theatre Association about the Picture Palaces of Tooting and the surrounding area. The Cinema Theatre Association was founded in 1967 and made it’s first visit to any cinema to The Granada, Tooting.

The final accolade for the building goes to Ian Nairn who was architectural correspondent for the Observer newspaper and made several TV series on the towns and buildings of Britain in the 1960s and 70s. He wrote an architectural guidebook to London and states uncategorically to London visitors: “Miss the Tower of London if you have to, but don’t miss the Tooting Granada”.



The Picture Palaces Of Tooting – Our October Monthly meeting

How many cinemas did there use to be in Tooting? Which Tooting Cinema is Grade 1 listed, the only cinema in Britain to be rated this highly? Come and hear about the heyday of cinemas in Tooting from Richard Gray of the Cinema Theatre Association at our October monthly meeting. The talk is on Tuesday October 9th at 7.30pm at The United Reform Church, Rookstone Road, SW17. You can find more information about the Cinema Theatre Association here.

Flyer For October 2018 Meeting