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Borough: Wandsworth
Tooting Common
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Tooting Common  
Tooting Bec Common and Tooting Graveney Common, together with Streatham Green are the remains of common land that once stretched as far as Mitcham. As London's population was growing, and land was developed for housing, much of the old commonland was under threat, which led eventually to the passing of the Metropolitan Commons Act in 1866. By then the commons at Tooting had been divided by building of roads and railways.

Tooting Bec Common was one of the first commons which the Metropolitan Board of Works took action to preserve following the Act. In 1873 it acquired the manorial rights for 13,798. In 1875 the MBW acquired Tooting Graveney Common of 66 acres for 3,000. An avenue of trees marks the former boundary line between the two commons, now to all intents and purposes one common. Responsibility passed to the London County Council and in 1971 to the Borough of Wandsworth.

An avenue of oak trees remains along Dr Johnson Avenue that was planted in the late 16th century to commemorate a visit by Elizabeth I. Dr Johnson was connected with the area through his friendship with the Thrale family who lived nearby in Streatham Park. At the end of Dr Johnson Avenue is the old Keeper's Lodge. The lake was originally formed as a result of gravel digging but was created as an ornamental feature in 1895.

Adjacent to the north east of the lake is a fenced area, the Sanctuary, managed as a wildlife area, at the northern end of which is a fossil tree stump said to date from the age of the dinosaurs, placed here in Victorian times. Close to the junction of Tooting Bec Road and Elmbourne Road is the old Yachting Pond near which are now a number of sculptures created from storm-blown trees in 1987.. Facilities provided in the early 20th century include the Tea House built in 1906, and the Lido pool built in 1905/6.

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