Remarkable Tolworth – Ongoing Project II

13/01/2020 – Visit to Tolworth

We visited Tolworth on a very windy Monday morning. I was foolish enough to forget to take a notebook and a camera so everything bellow is from memory, what my classmates recorded and internet searches. To be fair, and I believe most of the other students share my thoughts, Tolworth didn’t leave us a very striking impression. It’s quite grey, big, not because of the number of buildings, but because of how dispersed they are. There’s little greenery, a lot of concrete and the person who designed the wooden pathway most likely didn’t think of how it would age. If the mural occupied several places in Tolworth, it would work. On its own, I think it looks garish. However, if a story was created around the murals, it would blend in the environment and enhance it.

There seems to be a distinction between one side of the road and the other. While there’s a lot of restaurants, hairdressers, nail bars and off licences on both, they don’t give off the same impression. Most likely due to the strip of concrete in the middle of the road.
There’s a train station that overlooks a large empty field. There’s a beautiful natural reserve (right next to a busy road). There used to be a music venue where David Bowie launched Ziggy Stardust. Tolworth was a significant city in Medieval times. There’s a lot of history there that seems to have been lost over time. A place in Tolworth was also the background for John Everett Millais’s ‘Ophelia’. It’s a shame because it doesn’t seem like anything remains of that.

After our visit to Tolworth, we toured the farm used by the 121. Collective. I wouldn’t go there at night, but it’s much more inviting than it first seems, although it could do with additional signage. I was fascinated by the indoor vegetable growing area with lamps and material I’m unable to name. It’s cramped but adorable. I also really liked the idea of a communal garden.

The farm and the gardens showed us that there is a community spirit here. The problem is it doesn’t show outside of the farms’ boundaries. Tolworth doesn’t seem very welcoming at first, nor does it seem lively (probably due to it being a Monday morning). There’s a lot to do and a lot of potential. I’m more excited to work on this project than I was before. I’m still a bit hesitant, although I’m sure that I only need to do more research on the town to get into it.

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