A little history of 185 Mitcham Road, St. Boniface presbytery.

Tooting History Group has been contacted by the architect involved with the planning application for the St. Boniface social hall scheme who requested more information on the presbytery building at 185 Mitcham Road.  We had commented on the proposed development;
‘This major scheme includes the relocation of the presbytery from 185 Mitcham Road a ‘survivor’ (considerably older than noted in the heritage report) that THG has nominated for local listing. Given the everlasting impact of works to a large section of Mitcham Road it would be good for some care and attention to be afforded to this building.’
We shared the following notes with him;
The presbytery at 185 Mitcham Road is currently under consideration for local listing as part of the ongoing borough wide review.  It was nominated by members of Tooting History Group and met Wandsworth Council’s agreed criteria for local listing. Members of Streatham and Clapham Societies supported our application with map evidence, historic building analysis and photographic research.
We understand that 185 Mitcham Road, now known as St Boniface presbytery, predates all other development from Rectory Lane to Tooting Broadway.  It is of a similar age to Field House (part of what became Tooting Constitutional Club buildings, now set for demolition) and it’s neighbouring listed buildings at 91-101 Tooting High Street.
Map extracts in the heritage report accompanying application 2017/6478 show St. Boniface Church built within what was boundary of the garden of no.185 Mitcham Road (previously Church Street) This was then Hereford Lodge and it adjoined York House (187 Mitcham Road where a garage was established in the grounds early in the twentieth century later to be demolished becoming a petrol station and, more recently, to residential use; the White House).
The presbytery is an early 18th century house with exposed sash windows and their arrangement -smaller at attic level, dating it to c1740.  The shorter part of the building has been heavily altered; bow bays have been added in the Regency period at front and rear, c.1920 the gable, oriel window and possibly then the balcony too, sash windows are also later additions; Victorian or Edwardian.
An oriel window at the side photographed in 1970s has since been removed.
Though rather interfered with externally and obscured by unsympathetic (removable) render, this heritage building, built at a time when Tooting was a Surrey village has outlived all subsequent residential development that flourished on Mitcham Road in the early 19th century.
Some 6 on 6 sashes remain to rear elevations and possibly some of this joinery is original. A back extension has been added in the 20th century.
We know that Charles Edward Stowell is listed as resident at 185 from mid-1870s to early 1900s at least but more research is required on this.
(Thanks to Dave Webber for the black and white image.)

Tooting Constitutional Club Planning Application Update

Picture of Tooting Constitution Club in June 2017

Tooting Constitution Club June 2017

The planning application for the Tooting Constitutional Club development into an Apart-Hotel is going to be considered by the Wandsworth Planning Committee on Wednesday 18th April. The proposal is recommended for approval by officers and is likely to be accepted with conditions. You can read the (42 page) planning officers report here. The proposal is to demolish all the existing buildings and build a 3/4/5 storey hotel with a four storey basement. There will be a public open space  on the existing bowling green and the demolished club house will be rebuilt to accommodate a community cafe.


Tooting Constitution Club Planning Application-THG Response

Image provided by developer for consultation purposes.

Proposed Apartment Hotel On Site of Tooting Constitution Club

Tooting History group has commented on the planning application for an “Apart Hotel” on the site of Tooting constitution Club at 111-113, Tooting High Street.

The comments are as follows: “I write on behalf of Tooting History Group to comment on application 2018/0230 at 111-113 Tooting High Street. This application for an apart-hotel includes the rebuild of the Clubhouse and a publicly accessible green space within the envelope of application 2016/5408 which was approved (subject to conditions) for residential accommodation and which retained the skittle alley.

An initial public consultation in September 2017 was well attended by our members and others who were hopeful of a better outcome for the buildings. Each planning application for this site has prompted a genuine and widespread response from local residents who feel that what has been proposed is not positive progress. Significant concern for Field House (c1730) and Merton Lodge (c1840) and its green space was acknowledged by Wandsworth Council when the site was granted ACV status in 2015 reflecting its important contribution to the social history of the area and noted as being one of Tooting’s best loved historic buildings.

THG’s concern for the former Tooting Constitutional Club site, evidence submitted at previous appeal hearings and comments on previous planning applications remain relevant and we feel they are not satisfied by this latest proposal. We take this opportunity to maintain our view that; the proposed principal block relates poorly to the character and appearance of the surrounding area by reason of its bulk, mass and positioning on the back edge of the pavement. the proposed building fails to integrate with the local spatial character of the area and harms rather than preserves the setting of the adjacent Grade II listed heritage assets. This part of the High Street has a recognisable period character with a strong sense of time and place. A brick finish, may be considered more sympathetic to the existing heritage buildings but cannot overcome the issues of bulk, mass and positioning.

Furthermore we are disappointed that proposed plans do not retain what THG now know to be the only remaining purpose built, free standing Old English skittle alley in Britain. It is important to note that Historic England whilst declining to statutory list any building on the site acknowledged its entirety to be clearly of local interest and the Georgian Group campaigned for the retention of the both Field House and Merton Lodge. At the earliest opportunity THG requested the buildings be considered for local listing (in 2014 when application 2014/4579 -use of site to provide 8 bay car wash/park facility for one year demonstrated the then owners complete lack of knowledge and regard for the history of the place and locals.) Since then the former Constitutional Club buildings; Merton Lodge, Field House, the skittle alley, it’s flagpole and Salvador wall (the 18th century boundary rear wall) were nominated and entered on WBC’s map as part of a borough wide review for locally listed nominations; a frustratingly slow process which is yet to be completed. We are aware that local listing would not have necessarily safeguarded these historic assets and as a development of the same scale has already been approved on this site we are reconciled to what will be a substantial loss of Tooting?s built heritage. However we maintain that if we are to lose well-loved landmarks what replaces them must work convincingly with Tooting’s remaining listed and non-listed built heritage; for locals now and for Tooting’s future residents.

We seek assurances that any remaining heritage must be respectfully treated and would expect;

  • Conservation grade level appropriate repair to the boundary walls to Salvador to Woodbury and Sainsburys and neighbouring Palladino House;
  • the retention and appropriate display of selected artefacts associated with the club history including the original honours board from 1917;
  • any archaeological informative to be observed as detailed in previous approved scheme;
  • a full photographic record of all the buildings on site as listed in conditions and reasons of previous approved scheme;
  • that the provision of open space is genuinely accessible maintaining the historic link of this site as a place for Tootingites. Whilst this cannot be the centre of everything, as those involved in the founding of the TCC intended, that it might still be able to uplift people.(see footnote) ;
  • that an architectural salvage firm be appointed to remove with care those fixtures and fittings we have listed and shared with LHG and 4Communications including balconettes, the 1917 internal and external entrance doors, shutters etc.

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.

Yours sincerely,

Libby Lawson Conservation Officer,

Tooting History Group

Footnote: Spence Wilson, first club secretary of Tooting Constitutional Club speaking to Samuel Samuels MP, founder of the TCC as reported in the Borough News, July 28th 1929 at the formal opening of Merton Lodge as an integral part of the club; “And when we are all gone and forgotten, your name will live in Tooting and generations of Tootingnites will rise to bless the name of Samuel Samuel. (Loud applause.) It is not often that a bachelor is proud of his baby and boasts about them, but I am sure that Mr Samuel must be proud of this Club, (…) his baby. It has reached a vigorous boyhood and I trust, sir, that when we celebrate its maturity, you will be here with us to (…) rejoicings. (Hear, hear). But I hope that none of us will live to see the Club reach a senile and decrepit old age, and it will continue to increase and be(….) the centre of everything (…)to uplift people.'”

“Immortalised” In Tooting?

Historic England Logo

Historic England has launched a project , “Immortalised”, to record local monuments and rituals around England. They particularly want to record little-known or unofficial monuments and events which don’t figure in the national consciousness.

As they put it in their Press Release: “From flowers left at the Alan Turing statue in Manchester on his birthday, to the annual service on the pavement beneath Oliver Cromwell in Westminster, a number of statues and memorials have regular rituals attached to them that keep their stories alive.

Researchers for the exhibition are particularly interested in finding out information about the way ordinary people and communities create unofficial memorials that become part of our collective memory and part of a place’s identity.

So what monument or ritual would you nominate in Tooting?

You can read about the project here.

You can contact us on the form below.

Ice House At Burntwood School Wins Council Design Award

The recently restored Grade 2 listed ice house at Burntwood School, Tooting has been awarded a design award by Wandsworth Council. The Council Press release announcing the award cites”a ‘flawless’ restoration of a grade II listed ice house that was on the Heritage at Risk Register.”

You can read the Press Release here.

You can read a report on the THG visit to the Ice House in November 2017 here.

Photo of interior of the ice house looking down to the drain in the brick-lined floor.

Looking down to the brick-lined floor of the ice house with the drain in the centre.

St Boniface Church, Tooting – Major Planning Application

There is a planning application for major redevelopment at St. Boniface Church in Mitcham Road, Tooting.  The proposals are for:

“Demolition of existing church halls on the west side of St Boniface Church and erection of part two, part three-storey building to existing Mitcham Road terrace and two-storey, three-storey and four-storey buildings to the rear. To accommodate a mixed use development including a community centre (Class D1) with ancillary offices and cafe, presbytery with four units for priests and two guest rooms, retail units (Class A1) and 10 residential units (5 x 2-bedroom and 5 x 3-bedroom). Associated car parking, cycle and refuse storage, boundary treatment and landscaping.”

St Boniface Church and the neighbouring St Nicholas church are both listed buildings (Grade 2). The proposals are out for consultation at the moment and you have until 11th January 2018 to comment to the Council. Full details can be found on the Council’s website here.

THG Visit To Springfield/Burntwood Ice House 28th November 2017

14 members and friends of the Tooting History Group visited the Springfield/Burntwood Ice House on the morning of 28th November 2017. The ice house is in the grounds of Burntwood School, Burntwood Lane. We were very warmly welcomed by Helen Dorfman, Head Teacher and Cath Brookes, Deputy Head and Head of History. They gave us an informative presentation which had been prepared by history students in the school for Governors.

The ice house is Grade 2 listed and for a long time was on the heritage at risk register (details here). However, this year the school has arranged clearance and restoration of the ice house using money from the developers of the nearby Springfield Hospital site.  We were able to see the rebuilt entrance way and look down into the brick-lined ice house. We also saw some of the late 19th and early 20th century objects which had been retrieved during the restoration.

Photo of members of Tooting History Group at the entrance to the ice house

Members of Tooting History group at the Springfield ice House November 2017.

Photo of brick-lined entrance passage to the ice house.

The reconstructed entrance passage to the ice house.

Photo of interior of the ice house looking down to the drain in the brick-lined floor.

Looking down to the brick-lined floor of the ice house with the drain in the centre.

The brick dome of the ice house is being covered with a layer of topsoil prior to being turfed over. The entrance has been reconstructed and you can see where the original brickwork meets the reconstruction. We were reassured that 19th Century bricks have been used at £30 each! The view of the floor shows the drain hole for meltwater from the ice, which the builder advised us was still working.

The ice house has a claim to being the oldest built structure in Tooting. However, not much is known about Springfield House which the ice house was attached to. Quite a lot is known about Springfield Farm which was incorporated into the grounds of Springfield Hospital when it was built in 1841.