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Sat, 28 Oct



'Planet Tooting' Guided Walk

'Planet Tooting' has recently celebrated its migrant heritage with a blue plaque! Here's a great guided tour to show you how good it is!

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'Planet Tooting' Guided Walk
'Planet Tooting' Guided Walk

Time & Location

28 Oct 2023, 14:00 – 16:00

Tooting, Tooting High St, London SW17, UK

About the Event

Take a closer look at wonderful 'Planet Tooting' the jewel in Wandsworth's bid to be 'London Borough of Culture 2025'! The Tooting-Wandsworth area of south-west London is rich in history and the contribution of migrants dates back centuries to the arrival of French Huguenots. As its expanding population saw it turn from a village to a suburb, a wave of Jewish tailoring businesses saw Tooting High Street flourish. Over the last seventy years the arrival of a migrant population helped rebuild a shattered post-war country, whether constructing houses, staffing London transport or populating the newly-formed NHS. The Walk features the streets that shaped Sadiq Khan, St George's Hospital, two outstanding indoor markets and a spectacular array of restaurants, eateries and shops reflecting a population who have come here from all over the world. From The Titanic to The Windrush, to one of the most iconic old cinemas in Britain, there are so many fascinating stories and connections!

Its migrant population has undoubtedly helped Tooting evolve into one of the most vibrant, cohesive and diverse communities in London. A competition among local schools invited young people to consider how this has enriched their community and the words of the winner are inscribed on the plaque which is above the entrance to Tooting Market where so many migrant people have for generations, worked, shopped or passed through. There are actually two plaques, one at both entrance. At the Totterdown Street one we held a lively community ceremony last year attended by over 300 people. The plaque was unveiled by schools competition winner Edward Mears and local residents who have come to live and work here from all over the world; India, Ireland, Jamaica, Pakistan, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Uganda...

Have a look at this recent film from JoolzGuides to get you in the mood! It has been a great honour for this project to be part of the Mayor of London's London Unseen programme and we were thrilled to see City of Sanctuary UK pick up on our idea and use it to promote International Migrants Day. There are a few more 'Planet Tooting' details here in this lovely South West Londoner article.

Geoff Simmons runs a community history project in south west London called Summerstown182 alongside his job as a graphic designer. This involves Guided Walks and Talks, working with schools and putting up plaques. Over the last ten years a trail of these have emerged along the Wandle Valley, shining a light on some of the lesser-known history in this area. They range from the youngest soldier to serve this country in the First World War to a ground-breaking plaque acknowledging Romany Gypsy and Traveller heritage in Wandsworth. The fertility which nourished The Daffodil King and The Watercress Queen will be spotlighted again this year with a plaque to acknowledge the 'Lost Nursery of Blooming Tooting'. But next up its the trailblazing young women from the box factory and a pivotal moment in the struggle for women's rights in the workplace. Be sure to salute the Corruganza Boxmakers at their plaque unveiling in May!  Have a look on Geoff's blog for more details or follow @summerstown182 on twitter.

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