The Tooting Destructor

In the early twentieth century, a lot of councils, including Wandsworth, got rid of their local rubbish with Dust Destructors: giant incinerators to which huge cartfuls of burnable rubbish could be delivered. And when the rubbish was burnt, all that energy was used for something - it powered electrical lighting on the local streets.

The Tooting Destructor replaced an earlier, and nearby, slop shoot; but it didn't please the locals - unsurprising, since it was nestled right in the middle of a residential area! There were extensive campaigns for its removal, and in 1924 the Minister of Health promised to keep it "under observation". Shortly afterwards it was removed.

At least the residents of Wandsworth only had to deal with rubbish-powered light; in Tottenham, the local dust destructor was used to warm the swimming baths!

Read more stories about the twentieth century.

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Picture pending.
Story source: Graham Gower, A History of Suburban Streatham.