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A map showing the Tooting ward of Wandsworth Metropolitan Borough as it appeared in 1916.

Tooting has been settled since pre-Saxon times. The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin but the meaning is disputed. It could mean the people of Tota, in which context Tota may have been a local Anglo-Saxon chieftain.[3] Alternatively it could be derived from an old meaning of the verb to tout, to look out. There may have been a watchtower here on the road to London and hence the people of the look-out post.[3]

The Romans built a road, which was later named Stane Street by the English, from London (Londinium) to Chichester (Noviomagus Regnorum), and which passed through Tooting. Tooting High Street is built on this road. In Saxon times, Tooting and Streatham (then Toting-cum-Stretham) was given to the Abbey of Chertsey. Later, Suene (Sweyn), believed to be a Viking, may have been given all or part of the land. In 933, King Athelstan of England is thought to have confirmed lands including Totinge (Tooting) to Chertsey Abbey.[4]

Tooting appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Totinges: Lower Tooting was held from Chertsey Abbey by Haimo the Sheriff (of Kent) when its assets were 1 church, ​2 12 ploughlands of land and 5 acres (2 hectares) of meadow. Its people were called to render £4 per year to their overlords. Later in the Norman period, it came into the possession of the De Gravenel family, after whom it was named Tooting Graveney. Until minor changes in the 19th century it consisted of 2 km2 (34 sq mi).[5]

Upper Tooting, or Tooting Bec (for centuries administered as part of Streatham), appears as a manor held by the Abbey of Hellouin Bec, in Normandy, thus acquiring the "Bec" in its name. Its domesday assets were 5 hides. It had ​5 12 ploughlands and so was assessed as rendering £7.[6]

As with many of South London's suburbs, Tooting developed during the late Victorian period.[7] Some development occurred in the Edwardian era but another large spurt in growth happened during the 1920s and '30s.


The Member of Parliament for Tooting is Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan (Labour Party), first elected in a 2016 by-election to represent the parliamentary constituency of Tooting. [12] following the election of her predecessor Sadiq Khan to the role of Mayor of London in May 2016.

Since the parliamentary constituency of Tooting was founded, it has always been a seat held by the Labour Party.


Tooting Broadway tube sign

Tooting is positioned on the Northern line—with stations at the top and the bottom of the hill that slopes down the High Street, Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway. Tooting is also served by National Rail at Tooting railway station providing a direct link south to Sutton via Wimbledon, and north to Farringdon, St Pancras and on to Luton.

It also has several bus links, with routes to and from Central London, Croydon, Sutton and Kingston amongst others.[13]

Tooting Broadway tube station is currently being considered by TfL as a stop on the future Crossrail 2 development. In addition to relieving congestion on the Northern Line, this would provide Tooting with a rapid and direct connection to major London stations such as Clapham Junction, Victoria, Tottenham Court Road and Euston.[14]

Nearest railway stationsEdit

Conservation areaEdit

Totterdown Fields estate was designated a conservation area, on the 19 September 1978. It was the first London County Council cottage estate built between 1901 and 1911 containing 1244 individual houses built over 38 acres (15 ha). It was influenced by Ebenezer Howard's Garden city movement and the Arts and Crafts movement.[15]

Open spacesEdit

Sun over Tooting Common

A large open area, popularly known as the Tooting Commons, lies at the northern end of Tooting. Historically this was two separate open spaces: Tooting Graveney Common (formerly part of Tooting Graveney parish), and Tooting Bec Common (formerly part of Streatham parish). The commons are home to Tooting Bec Lido,[16] which is 91 1/2 metres long and 30 metres wide.


Tooting shares two football clubs with nearby Mitcham: Tooting & Mitcham United F.C. and Tooting & Mitcham Wanderers FC.

A greyhound racing track, the 'Wimbledon Stadium', is narrowly in Tooting on Plough Lane. AFC Wimbledon have possible plans to develop their new stadium there.


Tooting has two indoor markets, with numbers of permanent stalls. The entrances of both are situated on the same street, Tooting High Street, only a few metres apart. They both have many types of outlets, but one, Tooting Market, is predominately Asian. The larger, The Broadway Market, is one of the largest of London's indoor markets, having more than ninety stalls, and has been active since 1936.[17] The markets tend to be very animated on Saturdays, but are both open all the weekdays, except on public holidays.

Notable peopleEdit

Cultural referencesEdit

The Ealing Studios film Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), starring Alec Guinness, references Tooting Bec as where one of the characters is living. The BBC comedy series Hugh & I (1962–67) was set in the fictional Lobelia Avenue in Tooting.[23]

The BBC comedy series Citizen Smith (1977–80) was set in Tooting and popularised the cry "Freedom for Tooting!". The lead character in the series, Wolfie Smith (Robert Lindsay), was the founder of a fictional revolutionary socialist political organisation, the Tooting Popular Front.[24]

The Kitchens of Distinction (who formed in the area) recorded "On Tooting Broadway Station" on their album The Death of Cool (1992).

In 2005, a 28 km diameter crater on Mars was named after Tooting.[25] A geologic map of Tooting Crater is under preparation, and will be published by the U.S. Geological Survey in the United States.

The phrase "Ting Tong from Tooting" is associated with the character Ting Tong from the UK comedy sketch show Little Britain.

Tooting was the setting for the eponymous 2013 British-Tamil crime drama Gangs of Tooting Broadway.[26]

In the film Johnny English Reborn, Agent Tucker lives in Tooting.[27]

Channel 4 award-winning documentary series 24 Hours in A&E was filmed at St George's Hospital in Tooting.[28]


  1. ^ "Wandsworth Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)" (PDF). Greater London Authority. 
  3. ^ a b Morden, William Edward (1923). The History of Tooting-Graveney: Surrey. ISBN 1-142-75150-3. 
  4. ^ "Electronic Sawyer". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  5. ^ Samuel Lewis (editor) (1848). "Tonbridge - Topsham". A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Surrey Domesday Book". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  7. ^ "The history of the borough - Listed buildings and borough history - Wandsworth Council". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "News". NPS Group. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  10. ^ "Tooting Bec Lido". Time Out London. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  11. ^ "History of St George's". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  12. ^ "Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  13. ^ "Tfl Guide to Buses from Tooting Broadway" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  14. ^ "Crossrail 2". Transport for London. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  15. ^ Wandsworth Conservation & Design Group 2008.
  16. ^ "The London of London's Mayor". Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Comedian returns to home of South London". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  19. ^ Choat, Isabel (24 August 2017). "In praise of Tooting, south London". The Guardian. 
  20. ^ "Obituary: George Cole". BBC News. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  21. ^ Kilmister, Lemmy; Garza, Janiss (1 June 2003). White Line Fever. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved 5 October 2017 – via Google Books. 
  22. ^ a b "Then and Now: Tony Meo". 6 May 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  23. ^ "Television Heaven: Reviews". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  24. ^ "BBC - Comedy - Citizen Smith". Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  25. ^ "Mars Geology: Tooting Crater". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  26. ^ "Google". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  27. ^ Parker, Oliver (Director) (21 October 2011). Johnny English Reborn (Motion picture). 
  28. ^ "24 hours in A&E". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 

External linksEdit