Musical surprises #25: A bit of Tooting history

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My grandfather's cornchandler's shop in Garratt lane, a bit of Tooting history
My grandfather’s shop in Garratt Lane, late 1930s, I think.

Happy Christmas! Today’s revelation is not strictly a musical surprise, except that it vaguely concerns me and I’m a musician. But it’s quite surprising all the same, and I love this bit of my family’s part in Tooting history.

I came across this old photograph of my paternal grandfather’s cornchandler’s shop at 759 Garratt Lane a couple of years ago.  The site doesn’t exist anymore as it was bombed in the blitz, but I believe it was at the junction with Franche Court Road, opposite Summerstown. It’s strange that after being born in Bournemouth, moving to London, and over 20 years of adult life, working my way down a succession of residences on the Northern line, I should end up where I live now, which – entirely by chance and without knowing about it  – is only a few minutes walk from where my grandfather had a shop. 

If there’s a point it’s this: this Advent Calendar has often been about pointing out the realities behind abstractions, ideals and false unities in music.  So it’s rather appropriate that I point out the realities behind the author of these posts.  I rather like the idea that this blog, however metaphysical at times,  is just the ramblings, from Tooting,  of the grandson of a Tooting grocer.


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Jonathan Still, ballet pianist