A Brief History

The Tooting Commons comprise two distinct parts, both ancient common lands, and both now in the London Borough of Wandsworth.

Tooting Bec Common — the northern and eastern part and 152 acres – takes its name from the Bec Abbaye in Normandy, to which the land was given in the 11th century, .

It became one of the first commons formally established  under the Metropolitan Commons Act of 1866 when the Metropolitan Board of Works acquired the manorial rights for £13,798 in 1873.

Tooting Graveney Common – the southern and western part and 62 acres – once included a slim strip which ran down Church Lane, now lost, and was acquired for £3,000 in 1875. A small portion of land in front of the Heritage Park residential development was added in exchange for land taken for road widening at the junction with Church Lane in the 1990s.

The dividing line between the Commons is now marked by Dr Johnson Avenue, originally a country path believed to have been used by Dr Samuel Johnson for trysts with Hester Thrale, his ‘dear mistress’.

Dr Johnson       Hester Thrale

Tooting Bec Common adjoins the Woodfield Ground, which is owned by London Borough of Wandsworth although geographically, and for planning purposes, within the London Borough of Lambeth. This had been part of a farm, later an estate which was gradually split up and largely sold principally for development. The Woodfield Ground was sold to the London County Council in 1928. Although not formally part of the Commons the Woodfield Ground is also represented through the MAC.

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