“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.

Gently Flows The Graveney

Explore the hidden lower reaches of the River Graveney with Tooting History Group. Starting at the Roe Bridge , we will be walking two miles to the junction of the Graveney with the Wandle. Along the way there will be occasional glimpses of the River Graveney. And some history of golf in the area, boundaries, bridges, music hall stars, a lost waterfall, sewage and an early railway line.

We will be meeting at the Roe Bridge on Mitcham Lane/Streatham Road near the junction with Rural Way on at 11am on Saturday 25th September 2021. Buses 201,127,333,57 stop nearby.

The walk will be about two miles and we should finish by 1pm. Free, no need to book.

The walk is part of the Wandle Fortnight which takes place from the 11th to the 26th September 2021. You can find more details of all the Wandle Fortnight Festival events here.

Industry On The River Wandle: Our February Meeting

The River Wandle was once heavily industrialised. It now forms a tranquil backwater through 8 miles of South West London. Come and hear about the industrialisation and de-industrialisation of the Wandle at our next meeting. John Phillips, our speaker, has edited The Wandle Guide and speaks regularly at local history societies.

The meeting is on Tuesday 11th February at 7.30pm at The United Reformed Church in Rookstone Road SW17 9NQ (Details here)