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Tolworth Broadway - - 1455037.jpg
Tolworth Broadway
Grid reference: TQ197659
Location: 51°22’48"N, 0°16’51"W
Post town: Surbiton
Postcode: KT5, KT6
Dialling code: 020
Local Government
Council: Kingston upon Thames
Kingston and Surbiton

Tolworth is a mostly residential town in Surrey, within the outer ringes of the metropolitan conurbation, contiguous with Kingston upon Thames and Surbiton.

The town

Architecturally, Tolworth consists mainly of high-density 1930s semi-detached properties, and small to medium commercial and retail developments. There is a concentration of industrial activity in an area bounded on the north by the A3 London-to-Portsmouth trunk route, which runs through the area. The access junction for the A3, linking it on the north with the Broadway and on the south with the A240 Kingston Road toward Epsom, is known as the Toby Jug Roundabout, named after the public house which stood beside it until demolished in 2002.

Tolworth Tower

The principal shopping centre - the Broadway - is dominated by Tolworth Tower,[1] an office block designed by the late Richard Seifert and opened in 1964. The tower is 265 feet high with 22 floors. The ground floor of the building is occupied largely by a single retail unit and smaller retail units along the Broadway, the remainder taken up with access to the other floors. The remaining floors of the building were originally occupied by commercial and government offices, but the north wing has recently re-opened as a hotel. The building is a local landmark and is the tallest building for miles around.

The offices and studios of Radio Jackie, a commercial radio station broadcasting to south-west London and north Surrey, can be found on the Broadway. The broadcast mast is sited, with many other antennae, atop Tolworth Tower.

The Tolworth Broadway, an otherwise unpromising tract, is practically the heart of the community with shops, banks, cafés, fast food shops, barbers, supermarket, Tolworth Tower, Travelodge Hotel and nightlife.

The town is also served by a branch rail line running from London Waterloo to Chessington South two stops to the south, with services run by South West Trains.

View from the top of Tolworth Tower


Tolworth, in the Domesday Book, was called Taleorde. Its Domesday assets were held partly by Picot from Richard de Tonebrige and partly by Radulf (Ralph) from the Bishop of Bayeux. It rendered: 2½ hides; also 4 hides with Long Ditton; 1 mill without dues, 8 ploughs, 10½ acres and ½ rod of meadow. It rendered £6.[2]

An extensive low-lying development of 1940s single storey brick buildings, bounded by the A3 to the north and the rail line to the south, was occupied by the Ministry of Defence and the Directorate of Overseas Surveys but after remaining empty for some years it was demolished in 2008 and the site currently awaits redevelopment.

In the 30's, 40's and 50's the clay extraction requirements of a brick factory north of the A3 off Red Lion Road (now Red Lion Industrial Park) produced a large water-filled pit (known locally as "The Bluey") which was used as a landfill site for bomb-damage and industrial material removed from bomb-sites resulting from the Blitz. This land has been reclaimed and is now a Recreation Ground. The Civil Defence Corps used to have a training site with a full-size mock-up of a bomb-damaged housing estate.

During WWII a number of V1 flying bombs came down on Surbiton and Tolworth, including the notorious "Derby Day Disaster" of June 1944 when 12 people were killed by a V1 at Tolworth Park Rd.[3]


Apart from the MoD and DOS sites on the south side of the A3, Gala Cosmetics had a large manufacturing facility as did Andre Rubber (who specialised in bonding rubber to metal and made components for cars, docks, armoured fighting vehicles, hospitals, warships and diving helmets) - now the site of the Hook Rise South Industrial Park. Decca Radar had a large research and development facility beside Tolworth Station. Their well-resourced sports ground still exists - though presumably without the full-size .22 rifle range with its fine collection of re-bored Martini-Henrys, as used in the Zulu Wars of the 19th century.


  • King George's Field, where Corinthian-Casuals (two semi-pro football teams that have since merged) plays its home games.
  • Alexandra Park on King Charles Road has a basketball court, as featured on the basketball website.[4]
  • Tolworth Athletic[5]
  • Kingston University sports ground at Old Kingston Road
  • Hollywood Bowl: 32-lane bowling alley

Big Society

Tolworth has always had enthusiastic support for the Scouting movement, and is today represented by 1st Tolworth Scouts [6]

Outside links