Tooting Commons

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The south east section of Tooting Bec Common Tooting Bec Common south east segment 2007.jpg
The south east section of Tooting Bec Common

The Tooting Commons consist of two adjacent areas of common land lying between Balham, Streatham and Tooting, in south west London: Tooting Bec Common and Tooting Graveney Common.

Balham neighbourhood of South London, England

Balham is an affluent neighbourhood in south London, England, in the London Borough of Wandsworth. The area has been settled since Saxon times and appears in the Domesday Book as Belgeham. Today it has a thriving shopping area and a diverse population, as well as good travel connections across London via its London Underground station.

Streatham district in South London, England

Streatham is a district in south London, England, mostly in the London Borough of Lambeth but with some areas to the west stretching out into the neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth, and some areas to the south stretching out into the neighbouring London Borough of Croydon. It is centred 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

Tooting district of South London, England

Tooting is a district of South London, England, forming part of the London Borough of Wandsworth and partly in the London Borough of Merton. It is located 5 miles south south-west of Charing Cross.

Contents

Since 1996, they have been wholly within the London Borough of Wandsworth, which has administered both commons since 1971. Between 1965 and 1995, the eastern part of Tooting Bec Common was within the adjacent London Borough of Lambeth. Wandsworth's Parks Department erroneously described the two historically separate spaces as Tooting Common for many years, but recent signage uses the plural title.

London Borough of Wandsworth Borough in United Kingdom

Wandsworth is a London borough in England, and forms part of Inner London. The local authority is Wandsworth London Borough Council.

London Borough of Lambeth Borough in United Kingdom

Lambeth is a London borough in south London, England, which forms part of Inner London. Its name was recorded in 1062 as Lambehitha and in 1255 as Lambeth. The geographical centre of London is at Frazier Street near Lambeth North tube station, though nearby Charing Cross on the other side of the Thames in the City of Westminster is traditionally considered the centre of London.

Tooting Bec Common includes Tooting Bec Lido and Tooting Graveney Common includes Tooting Bec Stadium.

Tooting Bec Lido lido in London Borough of Wandsworth, United Kingdom

Tooting Bec Lido is an open-air fresh water swimming pool in South London. It is the largest fresh water swimming pool by surface area in the United Kingdom, being 100 yards long and 33 yards wide.

History

Cafe on Tooting Bec Common Tooting Bec Common Cafe - geograph.org.uk - 1014322.jpg
Café on Tooting Bec Common

Tooting Bec Common and Tooting Graveney Common are the remains of common land that once stretched as far as Mitcham.

Tooting Bec Common — the northern and eastern part of the commons — was within the historic parish of Streatham, and takes its name from the area's links to Bec Abbey at Le Bec-Hellouin in Normandy. At various points in history this common has been called Streatham Common, which causes some confusion with the open space a mile to the east of that name. The common is not immediately adjacent to the area now generally known as Tooting Bec.

Bec Abbey Benedictine monastic foundation in Normandy, France

Bec Abbey, formally the Abbey of Our Lady of Bec, is a Benedictine monastic foundation in the Eure département, in the Bec valley midway between the cities of Rouen and Bernay. It is located in Le Bec Hellouin, Normandy, France, and was the most influential abbey of the 12th-century Anglo-Norman kingdom.

Le Bec-Hellouin Commune in Normandy, France

Le Bec-Hellouin is a commune in the department of Eure in the Normandy region in northern France.

Normandy Administrative region of France

Normandy is one of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.

Tooting Graveney Common - the southern and western part of the commons - was in Tooting parish and a thin line of other common land ran further south down Church Lane towards the River Graveney.

During the 19th century, the commons at Tooting were divided by building of roads and railways — starting with the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway line in 1855, and the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway line running north — south which opened in 1861 and was further widened in 1901 after this had become the main line to Brighton. The common today continues to be divided into multiple parcels by these busy transport links.

The West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway (WELCPR) was an early railway company in south London between Crystal Palace station and Wandsworth, which was opened in 1856. The line was extended in 1858 to a station at Battersea Wharf which was misleadingly named Pimlico. Throughout its brief existence the railway was operated by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) to which it was leased in 1858 and sold in 1859. This relatively short line was of considerable importance to the history of railways of south London as it was the first line to create a corridor from the south and east towards Westminster and led to the development of London Victoria railway station.

London, Brighton and South Coast Railway British pre-grouping railway company

The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway was a railway company in the United Kingdom from 1846 to 1922. Its territory formed a rough triangle, with London at its apex, practically the whole coastline of Sussex as its base, and a large part of Surrey. It was bounded on its western side by the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR), which provided an alternative route to Portsmouth. On its eastern side the LB&SCR was bounded by the South Eastern Railway (SER) – later one component of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SE&CR) – which provided an alternative route to Bexhill, St Leonards-on-Sea, and Hastings. The LB&SCR had the most direct routes from London to the south coast seaside resorts of Brighton, Eastbourne, Worthing, Littlehampton and Bognor Regis, and to the ports of Newhaven and Shoreham-by-Sea. It served the inland towns/cities of Chichester, Horsham, East Grinstead and Lewes, and jointly served Croydon, Tunbridge Wells, Dorking and Guildford. At the London end was a complicated suburban and outer-suburban network of lines emanating from London Bridge and Victoria, and shared interests in two cross-London lines.

Brighton Town on south coast of England

Brighton is a seaside resort on the south coast of England that is part of the City of Brighton and Hove, located 47 miles (76 km) south of London.

Tooting Bec Common, comprising nearly 152 acres (62 ha), was one of the first commons which the Metropolitan Board of Works took action to preserve following the Metropolitan Commons Act of 1866 when in 1873 it acquired the manorial rights for £13,798. In 1875, the MBW acquired Tooting Graveney Common of 66 acres (27 ha) for £3,000.

The road marking the boundary between the two commons (and the historic parish boundary between Streatham and Tooting) is called Doctor Johnson Avenue. This was originally a country path leading from Streatham Place, and Doctor Johnson is reputed to have regularly walked here when visiting Hester Thrale.

Tooting Bec Common includes a number of formal avenues of trees — the first such avenue to be recorded was a line of oaks to commemorate a visit by Elizabeth I in 1600. With the loss of elms along Tooting Bec Road to Dutch Elm Disease, most visitors are now immediately aware of late Victorian era plantings of horse chestnuts on the boundaries, but there are some much older trees — notably the oaks parallel to Garrad's Road which are the successors to an avenue first recorded in the 17th century.

In the 1990s the junction of Tooting Bec Road and Church Lane was widened, encroaching on the common. A few metres of grass behind the railings of the former Tooting Bec Hospital (redeveloped as the Heritage Park residential development) are now part of the common in exchange for the lost land.

In 2016, there was a proposal to close Doctor Johnson Avenue and cover the tarmac with grass to make it part of the common. The proposal was overturned after nearly 70% of responses voiced opposition to the idea. [1]

Wildlife and ecology

Trees on Tooting Graveney Common Tooting Graveney Common - geograph.org.uk - 715919.jpg
Trees on Tooting Graveney Common

The two commons are recognised as being of Site of Metropolitan importance for Greater London because they include a number of rare wildlife habitats. Although the woodland areas are the most obvious, the unimproved areas of acid grassland are actually far rarer.

There is currently a consultation about the future of the trees on Chestnut Avenue - July 2016

The two commons were the location for the award-winning British Independent Film, Common People (2013), [2] written/directed by and starring Kerry Skinner and Stewart Alexander. The plot concerns a pet Parrot escaping the confines of her cage and flying with parakeets in the south London skies, soaring into the lives of the Common People.

The Commons are also the punchline of the music hall joke: "Q: Where is Tutankhamun's? A: In Egypt, of course! Q: No. They're in southwest London!" [3]

Related Research Articles

Clapham district within London Borough of Lambeth, London, England and some areas in the London Borough of Wandsworth

Clapham is a district of south-west London lying mostly within the London Borough of Lambeth, but with some areas extending into the neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth.

Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth

The Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth was a Metropolitan borough under the London County Council, from 1900 to 1965.

Streatham Common park in Streatham, south London

Streatham Common is a large open space on the southern edge of Streatham in the London Borough of Lambeth. The shallow sloping lower (western) half of the common is mostly mowed grass, and the upper (eastern) half is mostly woodland with some small areas of gorse scrub and acid grassland. The eastern half has been designated a Local Nature Reserve.

Streatham (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Streatham is a constituency created in 1918 represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Chuka Umunna, who was elected as a Labour MP, but now sits as a member of The Independent Group.

Tooting (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Tooting is a constituency created in 1974 represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2016 by Rosena Allin-Khan, a member of the Labour Party.

Furzedown suburban area of the London Borough of Wandsworth in South West London

Furzedown is in the Tooting Constituency, part of the London Borough of Wandsworth in South West London. It is a mainly residential area bordering the larger communities of Balham, Streatham and Tooting, and the Tooting Commons, which provide a large open space and includes Tooting Bec Lido.

Streatham Park human settlement in United Kingdom

Streatham Park is an area of suburban southwest London. It comprises the eastern part of Furzedown ward in the London Borough of Wandsworth, formerly in the historic parish of Streatham. It is bounded by Tooting Bec Common to the north, Thrale Road and West Road to the west, and the London to Brighton railway to the east.

Ealing Common common land in Ealing, London

Ealing Common is a large open space in Ealing, west London. It is also the name of the area surrounding Ealing Common station where Piccadilly & District line trains stop.

Parks and open spaces in the London Borough of Wandsworth

The inner London borough of Wandsworth contains some 670 hectares of green space in the form of parks, commons, allotments and cemeteries, which is the largest amount for an Inner London borough. Central London borders some of the borough's boundary with the Thames the closest park to which is Battersea Park.

Balham and Tooting (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Balham and Tooting was a constituency in South London, which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was created for the 1918 general election and abolished for the 1950 general election.

Wandsworth Central was a parliamentary constituency in the Wandsworth district of South London. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. elected by the first-past-the-post voting system.

Wandsworth was the name of a borough constituency created in 1885, abolished in 1918, covering the vast bulk of today's London Borough of Wandsworth in South London but excluding Battersea. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the UK Parliament.

Falconbrook

The Falconbrook is a stream that once rose in Balham and Tooting, draining most of that parish as well as the south of Battersea including Clapham Junction, and a narrow strip in the rest of Battersea where it entered the River Thames.

Streatham Hill ward is an administrative division of the London Borough of Lambeth, United Kingdom. It includes the neighbourhoods in the northern part of Streatham either side of the road of the same name.

Wandsworth District (Metropolis) local government district in London, 1855–1900

Wandsworth was a local government district within the metropolitan area of London, England from 1855 to 1900. It was formed by the Metropolis Management Act 1855 and was governed by the Wandsworth District Board of Works, which consisted of elected vestrymen.

References

  1. Council, Wandsworth. "Dr Johnson Avenue will remain open | News | Wandsworth Council". www.wandsworth.gov.uk. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  2. "Common People". imdb.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  3. "Father Brown, 'Theatre of the Invisible'". imdb.com. Retrieved 29 October 2017.

Coordinates: 51°26′00″N0°8′41″W / 51.43333°N 0.14472°W / 51.43333; -0.14472