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Tooting Fire Station

A Grade II Listed Building in Wandsworth, Wandsworth

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Latitude: 51.4378 / 51°26'16"N

Longitude: -0.1627 / 0°9'45"W

OS Eastings: 527798

OS Northings: 172584

OS Grid: TQ277725

Mapcode National: GBR D8.5NM

Mapcode Global: VHGRC.44B2

Plus Code: 9C3XCRQP+4W

Entry Name: Tooting Fire Station

Listing Date: 14 December 1982

Last Amended: 27 October 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1266001

English Heritage Legacy ID: 423294

Location: Nightingale, Wandsworth, London, SW17

County: Wandsworth

Electoral Ward/Division: Nightingale

Built-Up Area: Wandsworth

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Upper Tooting Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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1207/16/6 TRINITY ROAD
14-DEC-82 91
Tooting Fire Station
(Formerly listed as:

Fire station with flats above. 1907 by London County Council Architects' Department Fire Brigade Section. Internally remodelled and extended to rear in 1980s.

MATERIALS: Portland stone ashlar; red brick with some brown glazed brick detailing; brown stock brick to rear elevation; clay tile roof.

PLAN: Rectangular 4-storey block with ground-floor fire station and flats above, with stair to rear at N end. Internal plan much altered.

EXTERIOR: Lively Arts and Crafts domestic style. Ashlar-faced ground floor of 5 bays comprises 3 appliance bays to N, and 2 semi-circular mullion and transom windows to S with small pedestrian entrance between. Inscription in gilt letters "London County Council Fire Brigade 1907". Above, the 7-bay fa├žade is virtually symmetrical, enlivened by contrasting materials and varied fenestration comprising 2-storey canted oriels carried on moulded corbels (to central and penultimate bays), and triple, paired and double sash windows, with flat or segmental arches. Outer pairs of bays are accentuated by paired gables with glazed brick diamond pattern. Third floors of bays flanking central oriel are faced with glazed brick corbelled arcaded panels carried on slender pilasters. 4-over-4 pane sashes with exposed boxes. Steep pitched roof with deep eaves to 3 central bays; large slab chimneystacks.

Rear elevation has projecting canted bay with pitched roof, deep eaves and red-brick diapering. Similar bay added in 1980s to provide second stair. Former balconies have been enclosed to form corridors. Timber sash windows. Extensions to rear yard, and drill tower, are not of special interest.

INTERIOR: Appliance room with iron stanchions supporting cross girders. Main stair with iron balustrade. The interior is much altered and retains few features of interest.

HISTORY: Fire services in London emerged principally from the need for insurance providers to limit their losses through damage to property in the period after the Great Fire of 1666. Initially, each insurer maintained a separate brigade that only served subscribers until the foundation of an integrated service in 1833, funded by City businesses. In 1866, following an Act of Parliament of the previous year, the first publicly-funded authority charged with saving lives and protecting buildings from fire was founded: the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, initially part of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The earliest MFB fire stations were generally plain brick and few pre-1880 examples survive. In 1880s under the MFB architect Robert Pearsall, fire stations acquired a true architectural identity, most notably in the rich Gothic style typical of Victorian municipal buildings such as Bishopsgate. It was the building boom of the 1890s-1900s however that was to transform fire station architecture and give the Brigade some of its most characterful buildings. In 1889, the fire brigade passed to the newly-formed London County Council, and from 1896 new stations were designed by a group of architects led by Owen Fleming and Charles Canning Winmill, both formerly of the LCC Housing Departmen, who brought the highly-experimental methods which had evolved for designing new social housing to the Fire Brigade Division (as the department was called from 1899), and drew on a huge variety of influences to create unique and commanding stations, each built to a bespoke design and plan. This exciting period in fire station design continued to the outbreak of WWI, although there was some standardisation of design in the period.

The first Tooting Fire Station was built in 1868-1869 at 283a Balham High Road.

SOURCES: JB Nadal, London's Fire Stations (2006)
Andrew Saint, 'London's Architecture and the London Fire Brigade, 1866-1938' (Heinz Gallery RIBA, Exhibition Catalogue, 1981)

REASON FOR DESIGNATION: Tooting Fire Station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It ranks among some of the best examples of a remarkable group of fire stations built by the LCC between 1896-1914, each executed to a bespoke design, which are widely admired as being among the most accomplished examples of LCC civic architecture of this rich and prolific period;
* A pleasing and well-composed LCC fire station in the Arts-and-Crafts manner. It exhibits the quality of materials and attention to detail which are the hallmarks of LCC design; the principal elevations are virtually intact.

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