Mrs. Thrale And Dr Johnson: Our July Talk

Poster For July 2018 Meeting

Dr Samuel Johnson was a regular visitor to the Streatham Park Estate next to Tooting Bec Common where he met with Mrs. Hester Thrale and her circle. He had his own room set aside and would drink up to 23 cups of tea a day. But what did they talk about? Come to our July meeting and find out.

Dr Cassie Ulph from Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, will be talking about “Mrs Thrale and Dr Johnson: The Strange Story of the Mistress of Streatham Park and  man-of-letters Dr Johnson” at our next meeting on July 10th at 7.30pm. Venue details here.


Big Turnout For Tooting History Group Heritage Festival Walk

30 people joined Tooting History Group members on a walk around Tooting Common as part of the Wandsworth Heritage Festival last Saturday. We highlighted the recently restored fountain, Second World War events, the Lido and fossilised Tree, and Dr Samuel Johnson’s connections with the Common amongst other points of interest.


Janet Smith,our Chair, relating the history of the refreshment hut on Tooting Bec Common, June 9 2018. Photo Andrew Cordani


Philip Bradley tells a tale of how a crowd ripped up the fencing put up by the Lord of the Manor of Tooting Graveney. THG Walk on 9 June 2018. Photo Andrew Cordani.


Cynthia Pullin tells the story of how the newly restored fountain came to be on the Common. THG Walk 9 June 2018. Photo Andrew Cordani.


Paul Gander tells how the Second World War impacted on Tooting Commons with both rockets descending and ascending. THG Walk 9 June 2018. Photo Andrew Cordani.


The Tooting Common Story: Walk Around Tooting Commons Saturday 9th June

Tooting Commons have a long and controversial history of legal, political and financial conflict. Who runs the Common? Is it a Common or a park? Who sets the rules? How was it used in wartime?  As part of The Wandsworth Heritage Festival, join Tooting History Group on a leisurely walk round the Common to hear about some of the extraordinary people and events that have helped to create this much-loved open space.

The walk is part of the HLF-funded Tooting Common Heritage Project and takes place on  Saturday 9th June  at 2.30pm. Meet at the newly refurbished fountain on Tooting Bec Road near the junction with Dr. Johnson Avenue.

Please book online at Eventbrite here.

Poster Advertising THG Walk Tooting Common June 2018

Tooting Commons Walk Poster June 2018

Beryl Kingston Entertains Tooting History Group

Beryl Kingston, best-selling author from Tooting, entertained our May monthly meeting with her stories of wartime Tooting. Beryl spoke about the innovative and quirky teaching techniques at Rosa Bassett School (then Streatham Secondary School), the goings-on at the beauty parades at the Granada Cinema and the characters from Tooting market.

Tooting History Group 8 May 2018

Beryl Kingston and Rosa Bassett (Streatham Secondary School) school friend inspect the 1946 school photo at the THG meeting

We had an eye-witness account of dogfights over Croydon airport and a vivid account of being evacuated to Harpenden in a chauffeur-driven limousine.

Tooting History Group May 8 2018

John Brown, Janet Smith and Beryl Kingston at our May meeting.

We also heard how the latest news travelled via the conductors on the trams during wartime, including news of the bombing of Balham underground. Beryl lived in Longley Road and above the off-licence on the corner of Church Lane.

Most movingly, Beryl spoke about going to see a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie at the Mayfair Cinema and watching the grim scenes from the Belsen Concentration Camp on the Pathe news reel.

You can stay in touch with Beryl via her blog here.

Tooting History Group May 8 2018

Another big crowd at the may meeting of the Tooting History Group

Tooting History Group Meeting May 8 2018

Janet Smith, Tooting History Group Chair, and beryl Kingston, best selling Tooting author at our May Meeting


Beryl Kingston: Best-Selling Tooting Born Author At Our May Monthly Meeting

What was “A Penny For The Grotta”? What was stored in the Rosa Bassett school hall during the blitz? Why did your PE teacher disappear whilst you were sunbathing on the netball courts? Find out from Beryl Kingston, best selling Tooting-born author, at our next monthly meeting. Beryl spoke at Tooting Library in October last year and entertained us with her tales of life in Tooting, including evacuation and return to Tooting, the 1945 General Election and how she met her husband.

Beryl Kingston May Meeting Poster

Poster For May Monthly Meeting


The meeting is on Tuesday 8th May at 7.30 pm in The United Reform Church, Rookstone Road, SW17 9NQ.