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Tooting Common Heritage Project Newsletter No. 2

Sent out on Monday, March 19, 2018. Archive only.

Tooting Common Heritage Project (archive)

Welcome to the second 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! 2018 has brought us the first substantial covering of snow on the common for many years thanks to the ‘Beast from the East'. We even captured some people out sledging.

Credit Johnny Armstead

On behalf of Wandsworth Council, Enable Leisure and Culture (as well as all the various other partners) and the TCHP team, we would like to thank you for your continuous support.

TOOTING BEC LIDO Construction work has begun to extend the open area on the western terrace of Tooting Bec Lido. The western terrace is one of the most sheltered spots at the Lido, especially in winter on bright sunny days. To take advantage of this, the terrace is being extended back into the mound behind. A new stepped retaining wall will be built to provide sunbathing ledges and host ceramic plaques commemorating past, present and future South London Swimming Club (SLSC) members and Tooting Bec Lido enthusiasts. The members of the SLSC History Group are currently researching those who have been important in the Lido community to feature on the first plaques following the completion of the works.

Work has also begun on the construction of a new Tooting Bec Lido cycle park behind the women’s changing block. As the cold weather started to bite at the end of February volunteers from the SLSC and The Woodfield Project joined forces for two practical workdays. The aim was to clear an area of scrub to make space for the new cycle park. As you will see from the before and after photographs below the days were very much a success. 22 new cycle stands will be installed to increase parking capacity and encourage users of the lido to reduce their carbon emissions through traveling by bicycle.

Images: (Above left) Tooting Common Lido before scrub clearing. Credit SLSC Lido. (Above right) After scrub clearing.


On a crisp and sunny afternoon two weeks ago, 45 local residents gathered on the corner of Dr Johnson Avenue and Tooting Bec Road to celebrate the successful restoration of the much-loved drinking fountain. The Tooting Common Heritage Project organised a free ‘Historical Watercourses Walk’ event to mark the first restoration project to be completed, and to share the history and stories of the hidden watercourses that shape the landscape of the Common with local residents. To mark the occasion the drinking fountain was officially opened by Environment Cabinet Member Councillor Jonathan Cook, followed by a water themed event led by John Rattray (Balham Society), Andrew Flegg (Tooting Common Heritage Project), and Anthony Gilmour (The Woodfield Project).

Images: Restored fountain on Tooting Common. Credit Johnny Armstead

Image: Joseph Allen carving Tooting Beck Water Fountain

This photo was kindly sent in by Jill Correale. It depicts her great great grandfather carving the original water fountain.


Credit: Alan Wilkinson This January saw a juvenile great-crested grebe spotted on Tooting Common Lake. According to records this is the second time this has been recorded in the 21st century!


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:



A duo of fully booked events took place in January and February. The walk and talk aimed to help participants identify trees without leaf in winter. The walk was led by Pat Langley (Arboricultural Manager) and Andrew Flegg (Tooting Common Heritage Project).

WATERCOURSES WALK Over 30 attendees discovered the historical and hidden watercourses on the Common including the York Ditch and the Hydeburn – both former tributaries of the Falcon Brook, one of London’s ‘lost rivers’. Falcon Brook rose originally on the flank of Streatham Hill and flowed westwards to cross the northern end of the Common on its way to the Thames. The walk also covered a number of natural and heritage features such as the ornamental lake on Tooting Bec Common, which was formed as a result of gravel digging and adapted into an ornamental feature in 1895, whilst walking a circular route of the common starting and ending at the drinking fountain. Andy Flegg and John Rattray were invited to Wandsworth Radio on Sunday 18 February to talk on the program ‘Walking Wandsworth’. If you would like to get a flavor of the route taken, you can listen to the podcast at:

VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES The TCHP 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.

Wandsworth Council has been awarded just under £1.4m by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a larger £1.9m scheme to explore, restore, conserve and enhance the cultural and natural heritage of Tooting Common.

Initiated by Wandsworth Council, managed by Enable Leisure and Culture in partnership with the South London Swimming Club, The Woodfield Project, idverde (formally Quadron Services Ltd), The Tooting History Group and Wandsworth Historical Society. Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Wandsworth Council.



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