Welcome to the June issue of the Tooting Common Heritage Project (TCHP) newsletter. Below you can read about what has been going on over the last couple of months and what is to come! Unfortunately, Andrew Flegg, TCHP Activity and Volunteer Coordinator, has left the heritage project to pursue an exciting new opportunity with the London Wildlife Trust as Woodberry Wetlands Senior Site and Project Officer. We are very grateful for all his hard work over the past two years and wish him all the best for the future.
Image: Andy Flegg in the Woodberry Wetlands
Wandsworth Council, Enable Leisure and Culture, project partners and the TCHP team would like to thank you for your continuous support in delivering the Tooting Common Heritage Project.
THE COMMON STORY
The Common Story: A History of Tooting Common was officially launched on Saturday 25 May at the Tooting Bec Lido Pavilion to mark the first day of this year’s Wandsworth Heritage Festival. The launch event was organised by the Tooting Common Heritage Project in partnership with Tooting History Group and was attended by 85 people.
The publication is the outcome of a four-year research project to highlight the people and events that have shaped Tooting Common over the centuries - with contributions from local community groups, residents, archivists, council staff and professional historians.
The book is available to download for free from the Tooting Common Heritage Project website and the Tooting History Group website where hardcopies can also be requested for £10. The proceeds will go to the Tooting History Group.
REFURBISHMENT OF THE WOODFIELD PAVILION
The refurbishment of the Woodfield Pavilion is near completion. The interior of the building has been completely stripped bare and a new ceiling and floor has been installed to create a two-storey layout. The building has been insulated and all windows have been removed, refurbished and reinstated with security shutters.
On the ground floor there is a large hall with floor to ceiling cupboards for storing tables and chairs; a small but fully fitted kitchen; an outdoor room with bench and lockers for those who have been working on the grounds and finally toilets.
Upstairs the newly created room has plenty of natural light thanks to new velux windows and has plenty of locked storage.
On the outside of the building the broken roof tiles have been replaced and the pathway from Abbotswood Road to the pavilion has been completely repaved with Breedon Gravel.
NEW WOODFIELD PROJECT MANAGER
We are happy to welcome the new Woodfield Project Manager, Joe Boyle, who joined in April and who will be responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Woodfield Pavilion upon completion of the refurbishment works.
Joe has a background in ecology, community initiatives on housing and environmental education. Please get in touch with him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering opportunities or joining the charity as a member.
Our vision is to create a community hub for education, recreation, leisure and sports activities which focus on health and wellbeing and foster an appreciation of the natural environment.
UPGRADE TO TRAFFIC CALMING MEASURES ON DR JOHNSON AVENUE
To improve safety and facilitate easier pedestrian access, the existing traffic calming measures on Dr Johnson Avenue have been upgraded from standard round top humps to raised speed tables. Speed tables, as opposed to round top humps, have been proven more effective in reducing both noise and air pollution as drivers tend to maintain a constant speed rather than accelerating between the humps.
In addition, a new raised table has been constructed at the junction of Dr Johnson Avenue and Hillbury Road, which now provides a continuous link to the footpath on either side of the Common. A table has also been constructed at the junction of Dr Johnson Avenue and Tooting Bec Road to provide a tighter radius for vehicles into the road which will reduce entry speeds. To be more in keeping with the less urban setting of Tooting Common, the tables have been constructed with “Harvest” coloured Tegula blocks.
REFURBISHMENT OF THE TOOTING BEC LIDO CUBICLES
The refurbishment of the poolside changing cubicles of Tooting Bec Lido is now complete. These brightly painted changing cubicles aligning the western and eastern sides of the pool are from the 1930s and are a character-defining feature of the lido.
The refurbishment works included repairs to timber posts, seats and doors, as well as to the rear wall and the timber partitions between the individual cubicles. All missing or damaged hinges, door bolts and clothes hooks were replaced, and all the cubicles were repainted in the existing colour scheme.
COMMEMORATIVE WALL ON THE WESTER TERRACE
A rendered wall has been created at the top pf the steps on the Western Terrace of Tooting Bec Lido. The aim is to place plaques on the wall to remember past members and people key to the Lido and its stories. The first plaques honouring people who have contributed to the life of Tooting Bec Lido have already been put up. These will be added to in the future helping to create a collective memory and experience for those who value the Lido.
STUDENTS' POSTERS ENCOURAGES GOOD BEHAVIOUR
Students from Telferscot Primary School - an active Eco School - have been involved in an art competition to create 'cleaner environment' posters. The children created a design brief to persuade common users to pick up their litter and bin it or take it home. They drafted designs with key messages about how dangerous it is for wildlife to drop litter and that we all need to try to help our planet stay sustainable. 60 students took part in creating posters and five winners had their posters made into professional signs and displayed on the Emmanuel Road end of Tooting Common.
The spell of summery temperatures in February brought out the butterflies on the Common early including Brimstones and Commas.
Image: Comma butterfly. Credit: Alan Wilkinson
Image: Brimstone butterfly. Credit: Alan Wilkinson
Spring migrant birds began to appear in March with good numbers of Blackcap singing melodiously and Chiffchaff. Other migrants such as Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Common Sandpiper and Wood Warbler were recorded briefly.
On finer days birds of prey seen over the Common included Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel and Red Kite. A young male Peregrine tried to catch pigeons and parakeets on several of occasions - rather unsuccessfully!
Image: Male Sparrowhawk. Credit: Alan Wilkinson
The departure of a very aggressive Mute Swan from the lake has changed the waterfowl pecking order, allowing the Egyptian Geese to raise almost a full brood of six young (a seventh was lost to a dog). Several Canada geese have moved in at the lake and other visitors included a pair of beautiful Mandarin Ducks.
Image: Egyptian Geese with youngsters. Credit: Alan Wilkinson
Image: Male Mandarin Duck. Credit: Alan Wilkinson
TCHP runs historical and ecological walks and talks, engages with local schools and hosts an exciting range of community events on Tooting Common. Keep up to date by visiting: www.tootingcommon.co.uk/events
Woodfield Pavilion Grand opening
Sunday 30 June, 12 to 5pm
Woodfield Recreation Ground, 16A Abbotswood Road, Streatham, London, SW16 1AP
The Woodfield Project is celebrating the grand opening of the Woodfield pavilion with an open day on Sunday 30 June and all are invited to join in the fun, from 12 to 5pm.
Butterflies and other wildlife on Tooting Common
with Alan Wilkinson
Wednesday 3 July, 10:45am to 1pm
Meet in the Lido car-park for a walk around the Common. On a sunny morning in July we can expect to see dozens of butterflies of at least 10 species and will also be on the lookout for dragonflies and birds as well. All welcome. Dogs on leads please.
If the weather forecast is for overcast or wet conditions we may have to put back the date of the walk a day or two because butterflies only show well in sunny conditions. Please let us know on TCHP@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk if you might come so we can inform you if we have to postpone the walk due to bad weather.
Hidden historical watercourses
with John Rattray
Tuesday 9 July, 2:30pm
Meet at Tooting Bec common café for a (1-2 hour) walk exploring the Common's historical watercourses, which nowadays flow underground, although evidence of them can be seen at surface level. The walk also covers other water-related features.
These events are part of the Wandsworth Council’s Tooting Common Heritage Project, in partnership with Enable Leisure and Culture.
Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Wandsworth Council.
Riverfly Monitoring Training
by South East Rivers Trust
Friday 5 July, 10am to 4pm
Free, booking required
Location: 24 Denmark Road, Carshalton, SM52JG
The South East Rivers Trust is looking for to recruit dedicated volunteers to join their scheme on the Wandle. This training session will teach you everything you need to do to become a Riverfly Monitoring Volunteer. Please book your ticket through Eventbrite.
The Tooting Common Heritage Project is looking for volunteers! There are many opportunities to get involved with, either on a short-term basis or by regularly committing time to a specific project or group.
Volunteering is a rewarding experience it provides the opportunity to learn about your local environment, enhance your skills, improve your health and well-being and meet new people.
Visit the website for more information about volunteering opportunities, or email the TCHP Team.