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Battersea, Greater London

A Memory of Battersea

I was born in 1931 in Bollingbroke Nursing Home and lived in Belleville Road next to Belleville Road School. Our house was requisitioned and knocked down to enlarge the school and so we moved to Hayes, Middlesex, in 1937, where I lived until 1952 when I married a sailor and moved around with him. I remember racing down Belleville Road on a home made cart and narrowly missing careering into the main road. We spent lots of time on Clapham Common. During the war Barrage balloons were a common sight and shelters were dug into the ground. My Grandmothers and Aunts also lived in the area. During the war we visited them most weeks but always returned home to Hayes before dark because of the air raids. I remember the terrible destruction of roads near Longbeach Avenue where my Gran lived, caused by a parachute mine. When I was about 4 I remember being held up in my father's arms during the night to see the glow in the sky caused by the burning of the Crystal Palace. My aunt worked in the Ladies Dress Department of Peter Jones. Another aunt worked in Harrods Fish Hall. Tooting Bec was also a great place to swim and I renewed my acquaintance with it when my youngest son bought a flat just off Tooting Common in the 1980s and we took our granddaughter there. When we moved in 1937, Hayes was a small town and our house was on the edge of Harlington which, together with the villages of Harmondsworth and Sipson, became our stomping ground. The area was very rural with fields from the front of our house stretching as far as West Drayton. During the war a parachute mine dropped about half a mile from our house near Cherry Lane Cemetary. It's all changed now being mostly under Heathrow Airport. Although I only lived in Battersea for about six years, I do recall that as children we were able to go around quite freely on our own and very much enjoyed our time as 'London Kids'.

A memory shared by Marie Cull , on Apr 9th, 2014.

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