Where I Grew Up

The Coal Cart

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In my novel: The Emtpy Hearth, coalmen feature and the above is a photo of some of my family taking part in a 1950's Easter parade at Battersea Park. 

Arding & Hobbs

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Arding & Hobbs department store is now Alders, but when I left school in the 1950's, my first job was in their accounts department.

It wasn't my cup of tea, especially as I have number dyslexia. I transferred into the store and was given the job of junior sales assistant in the record department.

The store is famed for being one of the largest and most beautiful places to shop outside central London.

Battersea Power Station

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Battersea Power Station was designed in 1930 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and J. Theo Halliday. The first two chimneys were completed in 1939.

By 1955 the third and fourth chimneys were completed making the Power Station 

Youngs Brewery Dray Horse

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With the dawn of a modern era, competition among brewers was increasing and in 1893 the Ram trademark was registered. A Dorset horned ram was chosen as the brewery symbol, and in 1905 Ram Brand bottled beers began to roll out.

The First World War had little impact on the company, but the Second World War saw the first woman employed on the site. In 1940, bombs hit a nearby Young's pub, The Bull, completely destroying it.

After the war, the company needed to invest in its growing number of pubs. It became a publicly quoted company on the London Stock Exchange in 1955.


Price's Candle Factory

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Price's two London factories were at Vauxhall and Battersea. The Battersea site covered 11 acres and manufactured candles, soap and lubricating oils.

The site also included a paraffin distillery and light railway system for transporting goods. All candle-making machinery used by the firm was designed and manufactured within the factory workshops.

Price's played a key role in Battersea's local economy, employing successive generations of Londoners.

The firm founded schools and factory villages for its employees and offered paid holidays, pension and profit-sharing schemes.

Battersea High Street

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I mention Battersea High Street and the market in my books, and it is featured a lot in Nobody's Girl. As a child my mother would send me for Pie and Mash, carrying the famous liquor home in a jug.

Pie and mash is a traditional London working-class food, originating in the East end of London. Pie, mash and stewed eels shops have been in London since the 19th century, and are still common in south and east London and in many parts of Kent and Essex.