Amen Corner is a place in Tooting which is instantly recognisable by the vast majority of residents living there. The curved, cylindrical building has stood tall for many generations, always housing a range of different shops, looking over a junction leading to Streatham and Mitcham.

Unfortunately, when I was taking my usual stroll through town the other day, I discovered some shocking news. The most prominent bank in Tooting is set for closure. The announcement of the closure of Barclays Bank at Amen Corner, which has been present for many generations, has provoked backlash from some of its regular customers, saying that it is ‘usually very busy’, criticising the management at Barclays for destroying community spirit simply to save money. Barclays have informed customers that they are ‘moving on Friday the 9th of March 2012’ and that they look forward to seeing customers at the branch at Mitcham Road, where they are assured of a ‘warm welcome and the same great service’, another comment which struck a sour note with many Tooting residents, one of which laughed at the statement, as the Barclays branch at Mitcham Road is widely regarded among the locals to be the ‘worst out of all the banks and building societies in Tooting for both friendliness and service’, whilst the branch at Amen Corner is probably ‘the friendliest and most helpful’.

Ali, another resident of Tooting commented that Barclays had been ‘part of the community for decades’ and that the staff had always been very ‘helpful and courteous’. But the thought running through many residents’ minds was ‘will Amen Corner become less frequented by shoppers?’ and cause a domino effect for the other small businesses next door to Barclays, in a similar way to the shopping ‘dead zone’ next to Longley Road on the fringes of Tooting next to Colliers Wood, signs of which can already be seen as Pizzeria Sette Bello, the popular pizzeria next to Barclays, is currently up for sale as the owner is about to retire, meaning that the old Amen Corner building is set to become a whole lot lonelier, seeing that Barclays and the pizzeria stand side-by-side, making up most of the façade of Amen Corner.

After contacting Barclays, a resident of Tooting was informed that Barclays had chosen to close the bank because it is ‘not being used [much]’ and is ‘in decline’, which is clearly not the case following stern words from many Tooting residents. As one loyal customer wrote, surely this will be a sad loss for Amen Corner.

January 2012