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Kitty Neale

HomeWhere I Grew Up


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.

Prices Candle Factory

Price's Candle Factory

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.

Youngs Brewery Dray Horse's And Cart

With the dawn of a more 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 from a new bottling hall at the brewery.

The First World War had little impact on the company, but the Second World War saw the first woman employed on the site and, in 1940, bombs hit a nearby Young's pub the Bull, Youngs brewery horse and cartcompletely destroying it and damaging the cask shed roof.

The Ram Inn was also damaged in the air raids as were a number of other Young's pubs some of which had to be rebuilt.After the war, the company needed to modernise and invest in its growing number of pubs. It became a publicly quoted company on the London Stock Exchange in 1955, and in 1962, John Allen Young, great-great-grandson of the firm's founder, became Chairman.

He quickly became instrumental in promoting traditional draught beer in all Young's pubs, sticking to his guns even though almost all other brewers were abandoning what became known as 'real ale'.


Arding And Hobbs Department Store 

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

I worked in the accounts department and I'm afraid it wasn't my cup of tea, especially as I have dyscalculia (number dyslexia). I asked to be transferred into the store and was given the job of junior sales assistant in the record department.

One of the first jobs was to list all 78rpm records in stock as they were being replaced by 45rpm. The store is famed for being one of the largest and most beautiful places to shop outside central London.


Battersea Power Station

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

By 1955 the third and fourth chimneys (Battersea B) were completed making the Power Station the largest brick building in Europe. On the 31st October 1983 battersea power stationthe Power Station was closed and the Central Electricity Generating Board launched a competition to find a future use for the building.

It was decided to convert it into a Disney style theme park but Costs quickly escalated and work stopped in 1989 leaving the Power Station in its present semi-derelict and exposed state. Since then, the Power Station has languished without a roof, its steel work exposed to the elements and its foundations prone to flooding.On 7 June 2012 Malaysian developers plan the redevelopment of the site.Apartments,shops,bars and restaurants to name a few that will be part of the redevelopment.

Clapham Common,The Band Stand

Clapham Common is a triangular area of grassland of about 200 acres (0.8 km) in size, situated between Clapham, Battersea and Balham in south London, England.It is wholly managed and maintained by the London Borough of Lambeth.

However policing of the common is divided between Wandsworth and Lambeth police boroughs, according to Clapham-common band satndborough boundaries. It has 3 ponds and a paddling pool.

The common is surrounded by many fine houses which began to be built in the 1790s and became fashionable dwellings in (what was then) this village south of London, many being home to wealthy business people.

Some of these were members of the Clapham sect of evangelical reformers, including Lord Teignmouth and John Thornton the baker and abolitionist.

As London expanded in the 19th Century this became part of a built-up area, and Clapham was eventually absorbed into the capital.

 Battersea High Street

battersea high street marketI 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.

During the Victorian era, industrial air pollution tended to be worse in the east of London due to the prevailing westerly wind, with the result that the East End was settled more by the working classes, while the western part of the city was home to higher social classes.The working class were poor and favoured foodstuffs which were cheap, in plentiful supply and easy to prepare.

Albert Bridge

Designed by Roland Mason Ordish, Albert Bridge was built as a cable stayed bridge;albert bridge bars radiating from the top of the towers supported the bridge deck. The bridge construction was authorized by an Act of Parliament in 1864 it was opened in 1873. The centre span was 400 ft with 2 side spans of 155 ft.  The roadway was 41 ft width.

Built as a toll bridge, it was commercially unsuccessful; six years after its opening it was taken into public ownership and the tolls were lifted. The tollbooths remained in place however, and are the only surviving examples of bridge tollbooths in London. Nicknamed "The Trembling Lady" because of its tendency to vibrate when large numbers of people walked over it, signs at the entrances warn troops from the nearby Chelsea Barracks to break step while crossing the bridge.

Lavender Hill

We moved to Lavender Hill when I was two years old. My playgrounds were the adjoining streets, and nearby Clapham Common.

lavender hillThe geographical feature is named Lavender Hill due to the commercial cultivation of lavender there in the pre-industrial era. Several other smaller streets including Lavender Gardens and Lavender Sweep (Lavender Gardens was the former home of Sarah, Duchess of York where she lived in a flat before her marriage)also bear the reference and can be seen on 18th century maps as being largely farmland, with the earliest reference to the still-existing Falcon public house at the west end of the street in 1767.

Battersea Town Hall

The Town Hall is on Lavender Hill and has several function rooms I have an early memory of our school prize giving being held there.The former Battersea Town Hall, opened in 1893, is now the Battersea Arts Centre.Battersea Town Hall

During its former life as Battersea town Hall, the town hall hosted a number of leading political figures from the 20th century, and arguably none more famous than suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.


Winstanley Estate

This is one of the vast council estates that replaced the rows of terraced houses in the Winstanley EstateBattersea of my childhood.

Battersea spans from Fairfield in the west to Queenstown in the east.

Although in modern times it is known mostly for its wealth, Battersea remains characterised by spates of inequality, with infamous and deprived council estates such as the Winstanley estate surrounding more prosperous areas.

Chelsea Bridge

Chelsea Bridge is a self-anchored suspension bridge for road and foot traffic runningChelsea Bridge north-south over the River Thames in London between Grosvenor Bridge and the Albert Bridge. The current bridge was designed by G. Topham Forest and opened on 6th May 1939, replacing an earlier suspension bridge on the same site.


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