“The Mercenary River” : Talk By Nick Higham

Our May monthly meeting will be a talk by Nick Higham on his recently published book, “The Mercenary River“. He tells the story of the development of London’s water supply from the Middle Ages to the present day. For centuries London, one of the largest and richest cities in the world, struggled to supply its citizens with reliable, clean water. 

The book tells a tale of remarkable technological, scientific and organisational breakthroughs; but also a story of greed and complacency, high finance and low politics.

Nick Higham’s book uncovers the murky tale of how the most powerful steam engine in the world was first brought to London; the extraordinary story of how one Victorian London water company deliberately cut off 2,000 households, the details of a financial scandal which brought two of the water companies close to collapse in the 1870s; and asks whether today’s 21st century water companies are an improvement on their Victorian predecessors.

Nick Higham is a retired BBC journalist and he will be signing copies of his book at the end of the talk.

The meeting is on Tuesday 10th May 2022, beginning at 7.30pm. We meet at our usual venue: United Reformed Church, Rookstone Road, SW17 9NQ (Tooting Broadway tube, G1,270,280,57,127,264,355,77,44,333 buses)

The River Graveney In Tooting

The River Graveney through Tooting has formed a boundary since Anglo-Saxon times. It has also been an open drain, a peril to travellers, a flood-risk and an inspiration to poetry. Come and hear all about the River Graveney at the next meeting of the Tooting History Group on Tuesday 12th April 2022 at 7.30pm. Philip Bradley (Chair, Tooting History Group) will be giving a short talk.

We look forward to seeing members and guests old and new at our first in-person meeting after lockdowns.

 We meet at the United Reformed Church in Rookstone Road, Tooting, SW17 9NQ. (Tube: Tooting Broadway, Buses 57,127,333,264,280,G1,77,355,44). Refreshments will be available.

“The Common Story” On Sale

“The Common Story” makes an excellent Christmas present for any body interested in the history of Tooting.

Now in it’s second edition, The Common Story is a comprehensive history of Tooting Common. The book was published with lottery funding and Tooting History Group members played a major part in doing the archival research.

The Historical Association in it’s review said: “This book traces the development, and survival, of this open area and its surrounding neighbourhood. Its remarkable escape from developers in the 1870s is a crucial turning point in its history.”

If you are interested in a copy for £10, please fill out the form below and Tooting History Group delivery elves will swing into action and deliver/post a copy to you in time for Christmas.

Copies are also available for sale from Sprout Arts, 74, Moyser Road, Furzedown, SW16 6SQ

Council Housing In London Before And After The Totterdown Fields Estate: Wandsworth Heritage Festival Event

The Totterdown Fields Estate, Tooting was one of the earliest LCC Council Housing Estates built in London. We will be presenting a talk about the Estate (online by Zoom) on June 1st 2021 at 7.30pm. The talk is part of The Wandsworth Heritage Festival.

John Boughton, our speaker, will talk about the significance of The Totterdown Fields Estate for the development of Council housing in London.

John Boughton has written and blogged extensively about public housing. In 2018, he published a well regarded book: “Municipal Dreams The Rise And Fall of Council Housing”, which is now available in paperback.

John describes The Totterdown Fields Estate as “…the first municipal ‘garden estate’ and the forerunner of many which followed but impressive both for its design and architecture and the vision which underlay them.”

To book a place for the Zoom talk on June 1st for a donation, go to the Eventbrite page here.

You can read John Boughton’s blog “Municipal Dreams” here.

The Programme of Wandsworth Heritage Festival events is available here. Many of the events for this year’s festival relate to homes and housing.