THIS week I am preparing myself to travel to Armenia, where my family originated. It’s a very exiting journey for me as I get to discover the country of my heritage.
Whilst packing a small suitcase for my journey abroad, I started to think about who I am and where I come from. Strangely enough my mind drifted to thinking about my local tube station. Just like me, he too has a heritage, a history and a story to tell.
Although ancestry.com wasn’t too much help to me in this instance, I did stumble across a number of interesting facts on the World Wide Web. I’m a south London girl belonging to the northern line. Balham, to be precise. SW12 all the way!
Naturally, Balham tube station is where I find myself every morning and every night; travelling to and from work, social get togethers and fun adventures. I thought I knew all there was to know about this busy little station. Like, there are two exits, that sometimes it’s faster to get to the platform by dodging the people on the wrong side of the staircase, and even the fact that we have the National Rail overground pass next to our underground. Little did I know there was so much more for me to discover.
Balham tube station opened on 6 December, 1926 as part of the Mordern Extension — built only a few months earlier. He was designed by a fella called Charles Holden, and in the Second World War he was one of many deep stations designated to be used as a civilian air raid shelter.
On 14 October 1940 the road above his northern end was bombed, causing a large crater and leading a bus to crash and collapse onto the platform. There were 66 casualties and 70 injured. The Balham blitz tube disaster is commemorating with a memorial plaque in the station’s ticket hall.
It’s not all tragedy for this courageous man. He also had his 15 minutes of fame in the video clip for the single ‘Missing’ by Everything But The Girl, and the bombing disaster is mentioned in the film Atonement.
Even though he has seen hard times, he keeps on chugging along and provides transport services to thousands of people everyday. He might be in Zone 3 but let me assure you he has all the qualities of a guy from Zone 1.
How much do you know about your local tube station? Take a look, and you may discover things about your stop you never could have imagined.