Childhood

A Memory of Balham

My Mum, Dad and I moved to the new council houses in Boundaries Road (built on a bombsite) in 1957 when I was 1 year old, so obviously my first memories are of Balham. Dad went to work and Mum and I went shopping every day. These are some of the shops I remember; there was Alfie the greengrocer just by the railway bridge at the bottom of Boundaries Road, Queenie who used to run the tobacconists at the bottom of Boundaries Road again, Mr Dodd (Doddy) who owned the grocers shop in Chestnut Grove, the oil shop in Chestnut Grove, the best fish and chip shop in the world in Chestnut Grove (can't remember the name of it though), again can't remember the name but the sweet shop in Chestnut Grove (where you could get loads of sweets for 3d), the ABC bakery and café on the corner of Chestnut Grove and Balham High Road, I sometimes got bought a coke in there if Mum had a little extra money, but to be truthful never really liked coke!!! There was Woolworths on Balham High Road, where I was told that I had to wait by the toy counter if I ever got lost! Used to love it if Mum bought a 1lb of broken biscuits because you might be lucky enough to get some chocolate ones in
there! Then there was a really old fashioned Sainsbury's (before the supermarket) where you queued at each counter for butter, bacon etc., and had to wait for them to cut, slice and weigh it. There was a great toy shop which I can't remember the name of. I can just about remember the co-op where they used to put the money in cannisters that flew around the ceiling! I can remember Lesley's stocking bar, of course Balham market in Hildreth Street. The library in Ramsden Road, and I forgot about the butchers on the corner of Boundaries Road and Chestnut Grove. I'm sure there's loads more shops that some of you will remind me of!.
Anyway we moved there in 1957 and my sister was born at home in 1961in the early hours of the morning of my very first day at St Mary's primary school. I remember my Dad taking me and picking me up from school on my first day but I was happy about starting school as I had never been to nursery or anything like that.
I used to go to Leander swimming club at Balham Baths, I went to brownies and guides at St Jude's and went to Sunday school at the Salvation Army.
I remember being taken to the Ritz cinema in Balham High Road, Mum took me to see South Pacific and Dad took me to see Cleopatra, these are 2 of the films I remember but I'm sure there were many more. I can also remember when they turned the cinema into a bingo hall.
We moved from Balham to Earlsfield when I was 14. I have since moved to many places and am now residing in Kent but some of my best memories are from Balham. I did drive through there about 5 years ago and couldn't believe how much it has changed, but that's progress for you......

A memory shared by Liz Foster , on Jun 25th, 2014.

Comments & feedback

Sun Nov 29th 2015, at 1:38 pm

Patricia Tyzack commented:

Hi Liz. Did you go to Hearnville school? I lived in Ravenslea rd from 1957 when I was born until 1968. My brother was born at home in 1961.
I remember all the places you mentioned, brought back a lot of memories, they were good days.

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