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

Explore Your Archives: Opening Up the Body Event At St Georges: Thursday 28th November

Picture of a Post Mortem Case Book From 1860
St Georges Post Mortem Book From 1860

We have received details of the following event at St George’s Hospital archives this coming Thursday:

Come along to our Explore Your Archives event for a chance to learn about our Wellcome Trust funded project ‘Opening Up the Body: the Post Mortem Case Books of St George’s Hospital (1841-1946)’.  This event will explore the post mortem examinations and case books alongside other related materials held in the Archives & Special Collections at St George’s, University of London.

Two sessions are available on Thursday 28th November:

13:30 – 14:15 pm

14:45 – 15:30 pm

The event will be hosted at St George’s, University of London. Booking is essential via archives@sgul.ac.uk

Architecture and the Asylum – Stories from Springfield Hospital

Picture of Psychiatric Hospital Ward

This talk, organised by GLL/Tooting Library, is happening next Tuesday 16th July at Tooting Library from 6pm. You can book free tickets here.

Come visit Tooting Library and learn about the construction and demise of Springfield Hospital with Dr Khaldoon Ahmed!

Psychiatrist and filmmaker Dr Khaldoon Ahmed will take us on a journey of the construction of Asylums in the 19th Century, to their eventual demise to luxury housing. 

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Khaldoon and a team of volunteers looked at the history of Springfield Hospital, originally built in 1841, now being redeveloped into apartments and new mental health facilities. In this talk he will present his findings, and show a short work-in-progress film about the old psychiatric intensive care unit at Springfield that was demolished last month.

The talk will also include a discussion on architecture and the treatment of mental illness.

Wandsworth Heritage Service History Event At Tooting Library Next Tuesday 14th August

2-5pm Tooting Library, 020 8767 0543


Time Travellers


A living history event with the Wandsworth Heritage Service.

Find out what life might have been like in Tooting. Play with real archive toys from the 30’s 40’s and 50’s (leant to us by Wandsworth museum). Try out street games your grandparents might have played.

Tooting Library is at 75 Mitcham Rd, London SW17 9PD.