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About Balham

Balham began to develop as a London suburb at the second half of the19th century.

Balham is situated between four south London Commons: Wandsworth Common to the west, Clapham Common to the north, adjoining Tooting Bec Common to the east, and the Tooting Graveney Common to the south - the latter two historically distinct areas are referred to by both Wandsworth council and some local people as Tooting Common.


The railway station opened in 1856 and was a small build from wood in Chestnut Grove. It moved to its present position in 1863. The railway line divided Balham into two.  Daniel Dendy built more than eighty low rate properties in the 1860s. He named one of the new streets after himself and another after his daughter Kate.

The lower end of Bedford Hill was developed in the 1840s and it was the new Bedford Hotel that housed the inquest into the mysterious death of Charles Bravo, the resident of the Priory, in 1876. The High Road became a mixed block development of flats and shops. Various developers quickly bought up the remaining open land and created more streets of the typical Victorian suburbs. Such men included William Damell, James Harber and Alfred Heaver.

Over the next 100 years Balham hardly changed. Except for some bomb damage in World War II and some isolated redevelopment much of 'old' Balham still remains.