Architectural writer Nikolaus Pevsner, in his magnum opus The Buildings of England, dismisses south-west London’s Balham with the comment: “No village character of its own can be traced any longer.” Fast forward 60 years, and Balham is a different place, with young couples meeting for dates at Dirty Burger and families queueing up The Apple Blue Patisserie for brunch.
The property scene
Balham was developed after the arrival of the railway in 1856, and most of the terrace and semi-detached houses are from the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
The most expensive homes pop up rarely on Balham Park Road at around £3.5 million, or in the popular Heaver Estate conservation area where five-seven bedroom homes cost about £2.95 million.
The Nightingale Triangle between Nightingale Lane and Balham High Road has a mixture of Victorian cottages and larger terraced houses.
Victorian terrace houses in the Hyde Farm Estate between Cavendish Road and Thornton Road, especially those close to the popular Henry Cavendish primary school in Hydethorpe Road, are in demand with families with young children.
Flats range in price from around £250,000 for a studio to £1 million for a three-bedroom flat in a converted Victorian houses.
Du Cane Court is a local landmark. Built in 1937 and comprising 676 flats, it is thought to be one of the largest blocks of flats in Europe. It was home to the comedian Tommy Trinder and the actress Margaret Rutherford and is where the comedian Arthur Smith, known as the Bard of Balham, lives.