Balham…. pronounced Balh – am……..but I call it Blahm (sounds more posh)
It sounds a bit murky finding out that the community of Balham was included in the “Doomsday Book”, and as “Belgeham”. But the Brits are proud of those two characteristics.I am blessed to have a friend living in Balham who has a spare bed and an open wine cooler. The poor thing has another friend staying long term, and she’s undergoing home renovations. Now that’s a friendship!
Balham is located south of the river, between Clapham (i.e., Clahm) and Tooting.
It was a peaceful little hamlet for most of its history (which began in the eight century or so - sometime in the dark ages anyway) but has had the odd noticeable event. In 1876 a fellow called Charles Bravo was poisoned in the Priory (sounds like a board game - Poisoned in the Priory with a ....well.... with poison I guess). The case remains unsolved and no loves an unsolved murder like the Brits. It became a national obsessiona at the time, with all sorts of books and television shows about it.
If any of you have seen the movie "Atonement" from the book by Ian McEwan, you will have witnessed another notable event in Balham's history. In 1940 England suffered a multitude of bombing raids. On October 14th of that year 1940, Balham High Road was hit by a bomb which fractured a water main. This resulted in the flooding of the underground station, in which people were sheltering from the air-raid, resulting in over 60 deaths. There is a famous photograph of a bus which had slid into the crater in the High Road. A memorial plaque was unveiled in the station on the sixtieth anniversary in 2000.