Do You Remember The Southern Dining Rooms'

A Memory of Battersea

I lived in Battersea from about 1939 to 1949 when we moved to Hornsey in North London. We lived with my grandparents who owned the Southern Dining Rooms, a transport café opposite the marshalling yards, just at the end of the Dogs Home bridge. My grandmother's cooking was renowned up and down the country by the lorry drivers who regularly came to the café. It is no longer there. We used to go to the nearby fish shop and buy a penny worth of crackling. I have many happy memories of playing in Battersea Park, my mother would see us across the very busy road and send us off with jam sandwiches and lemonade for the day. We always made a stop by the telephone box on the way to press Button B and were often rewarded with (I think) tuppence when someone had forgotten to retrieve their money. Being close to the marshalling yards and Battersea Power Station we were very vulnerable and I remember during the war we all had to go down to our cellar whilst an air raid was on, except my grandfather who refused to go down. Does anyone remember 'Blind Bill'? He used to stand opposite our side entrance in Savona Street and was loved by all the children. We always knew when there was going to be an air raid as Bill could sense the vibrations and would suddenly be off. I had a friend called Jean Lomax who lived in the flats in Savona Street and we used to have great fun playing on the bomb sites, picking the flowers that were still growing in the gardens of the bombed houses.

A memory shared by Patricia Hines , on Jun 7th, 2014.

Comments & feedback

Tue Aug 12th 2014, at 12:49 pm

s.fomes commented:

Sat Mar 21st 2015, at 8:12 am

Ron Large commented:

Your story certainly jogged my memory. I was born in 1936 a little further down Battersea Park Rd; in Henley Street but I recall in detail much of what you say. You could never get near the southern Dining Rooms, lorries and horse and carts everywhere. I went to school with a lad whose parents ran the fish & chip shop between the railway bridge Battersea Park Station) and Queenstown Rd. I seem to remember their name was Fitzgerald. Opposite was small tailors shop who could work miracles with any item of clothing. A bank was on the corner.
My brother and I spent many hours in Battersea Park and I remember the Festival site with funfair where I was to meet my future wife in 1956, being built for the Festival of Britain (1951)
I have several books with photos of the old bridge you mention and much of the local area and more. I remember trams 12 & 31 ran over the bridge, replaced by buses 44 & 170.
Happy to send you copy of photos if you wish.
I could go on for ever and a day about those war time days and into the 1950s.
Moved away from London when I married in 1959 but the memories remain.
Hope you will reply to this or if you prefer email me on
Ron Large

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