They went down the Tube for safety, dozens never came back

Wednesday of last week marked the 80th anniversary of a Second World War German bomb striking Balham Tube station. Here TOBY PORTER recounts what happened.


Common practice to play cricket…

Peckham Rye Park partially owes its existence to cricket.
When locals wanted to play the game in Victorian England, they converged on Peckham. Some of the matches descended into vicious acts of revenge and other passing pedestrians were in fear of being struck by the sloggers at the crease.


Questions raised over Croydon’s links with controversial East India Company

Between 1809 and 1861 the East India Military College was based in Addiscombe. It was where soldiers trained for the company’s army in India. At the height of its rule in India, the East India Company had a private army of about 260,000, twice the size of the British Army, and came to rule large areas of India.


Remembering London’s first ever black mayor

John Archer, London’s first Black Mayor, reversed Churchill’s claim that “If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.” He moved to the left as he got older. He was first elected as a Progressive – or Liberal, but joined Labour by 1919 and was the election agent for Britain’s first Asian MP, a Communist, by 1922.


Doffing one’s cap to Mr Dorfman…

Maurice Dorfman manned the counter of his haberdashers’ shop for 60 years until he was taken to hospital and died two months later in February, aged 87. He left hundreds of mourning customers but no relatives, so the premises will now become a set of units.


Sir John battled disease and ‘Lady with the Lamp’

He battled disease during much of his distinguished career at St Thomas’s Hospital and was one of the driving forces behind the drive to clean up London’s sewers.


Figure dressed in white frightened women with spooky noises

In 1871 and 1872, there was a series of ghost scares in Peckham and its vicinity. In November and December


Incorruptible Thornton started his life with no education or political friends

As Lambeth seeks to rid itself of street names which recall the memory of prominent slavers, one name has stood


Vicar of mirth who died with a smile

George Balleine made his name as a historian but before that, he was a pioneering social reformer in South London – as vicar of St James’s Church, Bermondsey. The poverty he saw there inspired him to join the social reform campaigns of his friends Ada and Alfred Salter.


Chilling accounts of heroism on the high seas earned the Arctic Medal

A cemetery historian has received his father’s posthumous medal for his service in World War Two.


Spectre didn’t have a ghost of a chance

In October 1897, many people saw a ghost flitting about near St James’s Church and school, Plumstead. Sensitive little girls


Children scattered as hermit fired gun

When Allan Neville decided he didn’t like the world much in 1898, he found a place to hide in West


Recalling happier time under bridge

The problems with the structure of Hammersmith Bridge and residents south of the river wanting it to reopen have sparked

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