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


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.”

Planning Application at The Lodge, 98-100 Tooting Bec Road; THG response

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

Tooting History group has commented on the recent planning application at The Lodge 98-100 Tooting Bec Road.  The applications are for a replacement front door and installation of CCTV. Responses to the Council consultation closed on 10th October. 32 objections have been submitted by local residents. You can see them on the Council’s website here.

Tooting History Group comments are as follows:

I write on behalf of Tooting History Group to express our concern and interest in the Lodge and object to aspects of the planning applications listed below;

2018/4521 and Listed Building Consent 2018/4179 for installation of replacement windows to front, rear and side elevations and replacement of front door to timber panel door.

2018/4178 and Listed Building Consent 2018/4523 for erection of temporary weld mesh fence and installation of 4 temporary CCTV cameras.

These proposals were submitted following a short lived ‘reveal’ of the Lodge when wooden hoardings, erected some five years ago were recently removed from around the site. This was met with much local relief and celebration.  Unfortunately a mesh fence was then swiftly erected and it subsequently covered with a green netting obscuring views of the Lodge.

The application to erect a wire mesh fence is retrospective – the fence is installed now and in such a way as to divide the Lodge itself from it’s surrounding curtilage.

The Lodge contributes significantly to the public realm and any temporary fencing must ensure that full views of the Lodge are possible.  We find the current wire mesh fencing, with green netting removed, acceptable as a temporary solution while works continue.                                                                                                                     

It is important that all attempts to introduce any indication of subdivision of the site be resisted; the wire mesh fence within the grounds must be removed forthwith.

We were disappointed to note the plastic pipes and hopper on the Romberg Rd elevation, the quality of the approved render and paintwork and the inconsistent detail in replaced fenestration – some windows have horns, others do not.  We concede however that, no matter our frustrations and perhaps those of others in whose hands the Lodge might receive a more scholarly repair, the nature of repairs carried out by the current owner have largely met the requirements of Wandsworth Council’s Conservation and Design team.

We are disappointed that Wandsworth Council is reconciled with a replacement front door too and we therefore conclude that no further alteration should be tolerated.  Already installed are two PVC windows to the extension which are wholly inappropriate and harm the overall appearance of the Lodge.  Retrospective applications for these ‘temporary’ windows should be refused and replaced with timber framed windows.

We appreciate the importance of safeguarding the Lodge and suggest this is best achieved when the building serves a viable use requiring the completion of works. We object the installation of cameras on the Lodge which are an unnecessary visual blight on the otherwise repaired façades.  An alternative solution could be sought in the employment of guardians to reside at the Lodge – this would encourage the completion of work.

The proposals mention that aspects of these applications are temporary while plans are finalised to be shared in the near future.  Given the frustrating delays in the repair of the Lodge thus far it can be presumed that the temporary nature of these works may be far from what might usually be assumed.  We look forward to a time when we consider plans that would allow the reoccupation of the building and grounds and feel the extent of our objections regarding these current plans should not delay the current owner from focusing to that end.

Tooting History Group seeks to cherish that which remains and ensure that the built past has an appropriate and deserved future for all Tooting and Wandsworth to enjoy.


Libby Lawson

Conservation Officer,                                                                                                                            Tooting History Group

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”.