Balham Station Road, SW12

Place Name

Requiring no leap of the imagination, this is the road that Balham Station stands on. The station was opened by the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway on December 1, 1856 and was originally called Balham Hill. It was originally on the west side of Balham High Road but was moved in 1863 as part of works to widen the line, and improve the route between East Croydon and Victoria. The station itself underwent several name changes, first to plain Balham then renamed Balham and Upper Tooting on March 9, 1927, reverting to Balham on October 6, 1969. The road itself is named after the local area. John Field in his study Place Names of Greater London speculates that the name could come from one of two sources, either meaning a riverside pasture belonging to a Saxon called Bealga, who built his settlement alongside Stane Street (today’s Balham High Road), the great Roman superhighway which ran from Chichester to London, or a “rounded riverside pasture”. The Anglo-Saxon word Hamm often meant land within the bend of a river. It was first mentioned as Bœlgenham in AD957 in the Anglo Saxon charters, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 it was recorded as Belgeham, and by 1472 it was recorded as Balam.


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