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?)

Locally Listed In Tooting: Our June Meeting

Poster For June 2019 meeting "Locally Listed In Tooting"
Poster For June 2019 THG Meeting

What are the buildings, objects, features that make Tooting important to you? What does being “locally listed” mean? What do you want to protect and improve in Tooting? Come to our June meeting and find out about local listing and Tooting History Group’s role in drawing it up.

The meeting is at our usual venue – The United Reformed Church in Rookstone Road – details here

Pioneering Tooting – The Totterdown Estate Walk: Wednesday 29th May 2019

Totterdown Estate Opening (Copyright London Metropolitan Archives)

Have you ever wondered where the first public housing in Tooting was built? Do you know why The Totterdown Estate has been designated a Conservation Area? As part of the Wandsworth Heritage Festival, Tooting History Group has organised a walk around the Totterdown Estate. The walk will be led by local historian and Tooting History Group member Janet Smith.


The building of the LCC’s first ‘village estate’ in the early years of the 20th century marked the start of a new era in social housing.
• Meet at Edward VII statue, Tooting Broadway tube station
• £5 for non-Tooting History Group members
• No booking required

Sir Harry Lauder Will Be Smiling!

Picture of Harry Lauder taken in 1909

Harry Lauder in 1909

We recently reported on a planning application at 46, Longley Road, Tooting for 5 terraced  houses, each of three storeys, to be built in the rear garden. This is the house with a blue plaque on the front celebrating the fact that Sir Harry Lauder lived here between 1903 and 1911.  THG lodged an objection, along with 30 other individuals. Wandsworth Council planners have now decided to refuse the application. The decision notice gives four reasons for the refusal. You can read our original report and objection here. You can see the planning application and decision notice here.

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