Refurbishment work has begun on restoring a prominent and historic landmark on Tooting Common, thanks to National Lottery players.
The 1930s drinking fountain is being cleaned, repaired and brought back into public use, as part of a wider scheme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) that’s designed to breathe new life into some of the common’s most important features.
The common covers 220 acres and is the largest open space in Wandsworth. It has been designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – and is ranked in the top tier of these protected spaces – a site of Metropolitan Importance.
The HLF-supported project will also provide new acid grasslands, renovate the lake, restore the Woodfield Pavilion to offer toilets and meeting space for local community groups and pay for extensive refurbishment work at the popular Tooting Bec Lido.
As well as restoring ancient habitats and boosting biodiversity, the scheme is also offering new volunteering opportunities for local people that not only improve the common but give those who take part useful new job and life skills.
It will also see the compilation of ‘The Common Story’ – a project that will work with volunteers to unravel some of Tooting Common’s historical mysteries and provide research and archive training to those taking part.
The project is a closely linked partnership between the Council and local groups like the Wandsworth Historical Society, The Woodfield Project and the South London Swimming Club who all have a shared interest in preserving and protecting this important green oasis and are taking forward their own individual schemes.
Environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “These works will help make sure that the common’s important historical features and its important biodiversity are preserved for future generations.”
Wandsworth Council’s Tooting Common Heritage Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is being delivered by Enable Leisure and Culture in partnership with South London Swimming Club, idverde, the Tooting History Group, Wandsworth Historical Society and The Woodfield Project.
Key elements include:
Restoration of the 1930s drinking fountain and the fossil tree enclosure
Restoration and expansion of acid grassland areas on the Lido Field and Tooting Graveney Woods
Developing a heritage trail for Tooting Common to convey the historical significance of the site
The creation of marginal aquatic vegetation parcels on Tooting Bec Lake
Improving conditions for assorted veteran trees and historic tree avenues
Replanting the Horse Chestnut Avenue for the next generation
Additional tree planting, tree disease investigation and tree strategy development
To restore and refurbish the Woodfield pavilion as a low-energy and multipurpose building and to establish it as a community hub
Providing accredited training and learning opportunities in horticulture and conservation for local people on Tooting Common
Exploring the rich history of Tooting Common through historical research and communicate the historical significance of the common to a wider audience
Celebrating the history of the South London Swimming Club and safeguarding the history and heritage of Tooting Bec Lido through restoration and interpretation
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