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. 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.
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.
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, 2½ ploughlands of land and 5 acres (20,000 m2) 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 square kilometres (0.77 sq mi).
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 5½ ploughlands and so was assessed as rendering £7.
As with many of South London's suburbs, Tooting developed during the late Victorian period. Some development occurred in the Edwardian era but another large spurt in growth happened during the 1920s and '30s.
- 1902: Tooting Library opened as a one-storey structure. A second storey was added in 1906. In 2012 the library was rebuilt.
- 1906: Tooting Bec Lido opened.
- 1930: St Benedict's Hospital established by the London County Council
- 1954: St George's Hospital begins to relocate to Tooting from Hyde Park Corner, taking over the old Grove Fever and Fountain Hospitals.
- 2003: Redevelopment of St George's Hospital buildings completed.
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 an overground service at Tooting railway station providing a direct link south to Sutton via Wimbledon, and north to Farringdon, St Pancras and on to Luton.
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.
Nearest railway stations
- Tooting railway station
- Mitcham Eastfields railway station
- Balham railway station
- Haydons Road railway station
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, which is 90 metres long and 30 metres wide.
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. The markets tend to be very animated on Saturdays, but are both open all the weekdays, except on public holidays.
- Robin Davis, Commissioning engineer
- Stephen K Amos, Comedian
- Michael Angelis, Actor
- Darren Bent, Professional footballer
- Dave Clement, Professional footballer
- George Cole, Actor
- Girlschool, Band
- Milton Jones, Comedian
- Lowkey (Born Kareem Dennis), Musician, poet, playwright, political activist
- Jay Tabb, Professional footballer
- Tony Meo, Professional snooker player
- Paul Merton, Comedian
- Clinton Morrison Professional footballer
- New Musik, Band
- Gino Rea, Motorcycle racer
- Leroy Rosenior, Professional football
- Bas Savage, Professional footballer
- Tony Selby, Actor
- Snakefinger, Musician
- Richard Strange, Musician
- UK Subs, Band
- Henning Wehn, Comedian
- Jimmy White, Professional snooker player
- Matt Willis, Musician
- Fuse ODG,rapper
- Ramona Marquez, Actress
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The 1949 Ealing Studios film Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring Alec Guinness, references Tooting Bec as where one of the characters is living. The 1962–67 BBC comedy series Hugh & I was set in the fictional Lobelia Avenue in Tooting.
The 1977–80 BBC comedy series Citizen Smith was set in Tooting and popularised the cry "Freedom for Tooting!". Leading character in the series Wolfie Smith (played by Robert Lindsay) was the founder of a fictional revolutionary socialist political organisation, the Tooting Popular Front. He unsuccessfully contested the fictional Tooting North constituency as a parliamentary candidate at a by-election, gaining six votes.
Scottish singer-songwriter Sandi Thom found fame after she webcast 21 performances from her basement flat in Tooting between February and March 2006. Her track "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)" reached number 1 on the UK charts on 2 June 2006.
Tooting Bec appears in the book The Meaning of Liff, defined as the situation in which a driver sounds his or her horn at a car in front, only to discover that the car in front is parked.
The phrase "Ting Tong from Tooting" is associated with the character Ting Tong from the UK comedy sketch show Little Britain.
- Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)" (PDF). Greater London Authority.
- Morden, William Edward (1923). The History of Tooting-Graveney: Surrey. ISBN 1-142-75150-3.
- Anglo-Saxon Charters
- Samuel Lewis (editor) (1848). "Tonbridge - Topsham". A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "Surrey Domesday Book".
- "The history of the borough - Listed buildings and borough history - Wandsworth Council".
- "Tooting Bec Lido". Time Out London.
- "History of St George's".
- "Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP". UK Parliament.
- "Tfl Guide to Buses from Tooting Broadway" (PDF). Transport for London.
- "Crossrail 2". Transport for London.
- "Television Heaven: Reviews".
- "Mars Geology: Tooting Crater".
- Tooting Community & News Website
- Tooting Community Website
- Tooting's Best Comedy Night
- Tooting Art - Artists Studios Open to the Public