Tooting Life – Full of surprises

Tooting never fails to amaze me.  I was highly sceptical when I heard about Merton Abbey Mills, an arts and crafts ‘alternative market’ in Collier’s Wood.  What particularly upset me was that I’d managed to live in the area for a year without knowing about it.  The thing about Tooting and environs is that – lovely as it is, the main shops tend to fall into one of three categories:

1) Take-away joints that make KFC look healthy – Tooting boasts ‘the biggest Chicken Cottage in Europe’.

2) Pound shops, usually displaying most of their wares on the pavement directly outside the shop, and often half way into the adjoining road as well.

3) Incredible Kerala style Indian restaurants – which make it the best place to live in the world.

But an arts and crafts-y type area it is definitely not.  However, I have visited Merton Abbey Mills and it is genuinely a proper arts and crafts market with a wide range of permanent shops including a pottery, a goldsmiths, a theatre and even a ‘rock shop’ which sells… er… rocks.

Well blow me down if there isn’t a farm within spitting distance as well!  I am gobsmacked.  Deen City Farm is nearby in Morden.  They have a riding school, growing garden, a maze and even a rare breeds livestock section.  On their homepage at the moment they have a notice about ‘Livestock for sale’.  This could be the source of the much anticipated chickens!  I am, needless to say, very excited about this.  Must get down there soon and have a nose around.

Incidentally I found out about this using a rather clever little gizmo on the BBC Countryfile magazine website called Big Barn.  You can type in your postcode, and it will return a map with all the nearby producers – farm shops, bakeries, delis, box schemes and even pick your own farms – close to you.  Genius.  The Countryfile podcasts are worth a listen as well.

Author: Rachel Wheeley

Comedian, podcaster, based in London, UK

8 thoughts on “Tooting Life – Full of surprises”

  1. So hang on a minute, is there a plan that you’re going to get chickens at your place you have at the mo????!!!

    Haven’t you got a lil yard? Or are you looking at a nearby allotment to store them on? You could chip in to our chicken lifestyle?!!


  2. Sadly I was not being 100% serious about adopting chickens from Deen City Farm. We really haven’t got space at the moment. Unless the birds could be housetrained… Barbara has offered us an adoption package on one of your chickens though, which I think I will take her up on!

  3. there’s the ‘south of england show’ down this way in June if you fancy it – lots of people have been tempted by the chickens in the past! we’re planning on going on the friday if you want to join us – not quite a Ben & Jerry’s festival but could be fun…..

  4. There’s a pig village! I’m so there. Having said that it will depend on whether I can get time of work, but I’ll give it a go!

  5. Oh you should have seen Merton Abbey Mills a few years ago. It was truly fab then. Before the arrival of all the flats, Virgin gym, hotel, Pizza Hut and KFC. There were tons of parking spaces and loads more stalls at the market. You could choose from dozens of different foodstuffs too. And there was a brilliant shop that sold herbs and Neals Yard goodies.

    Having said all that, I haven’t been down there for a long time so I guess it might have settled down since the redevelopment took place.

    Glad you found the farm too!

  6. agreed (where does one goes these days to learn to drive), mind still enough of the river and the mill for the locals to play push the Tescos (sic – well’s is Sainsbury giga/mega/sava-centre) trolly in the drink, surprised Sainsbury’s big not try to put it out of business…

    Mind I can’t say I would like one of those box appartments with all those pylons near by… guess that water mill must be pumping elecy back into the grid…

Comments are closed.