My Memories of Battersea Town Hall

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One of my earliest memories is being carried on my Fathers shoulders through Battersea Grand hall and all around sitting on the floor were children with dark hair and eyes. I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Later my parents told me they were refugees from the Spanish Civil war.
When WW2 started we lived in a Council flat at Heathwall Street, I remember shrapnel coming through the window and the water tank bursting and flooding through the bedroom ceiling, my Mother ran up to the Town hall to get it fixed.

Myself and my Sister aged 5 and 11 were evacuated from Lavender Hill school to Cornwall, eventually Mum and my younger Sister Joy joined us and as Dad was a Toolmaker working at an Aircraft factory in Slough the flat was given up.

After WW2 all Battersea schools took part in a celebration show in the Grand Hall. 4 children including me were chosen to represent Surrey Lane School (Name later changed to William Blake) we danced the Minuet, wearing wigs and Eighteenth century dresses. There was a photo in the South Western Star, I haven’t got a copy.

I attended my first dance in the Grand Hall and remember dancing a Foxtrot to ‘Put your shoes on Lucy, don’t you know you’re in the City.’

In the 70’s Holiday Play schemes for children were held throughout the Borough, I ran one in Parkside. Craft training courses were held at Battersea Town Hall. The funding came from the GLC and Education service. I have used the training I had for many other ventures since then.

When there was a Borough wide Wandsworth Tenants Organisation(WTO) they held a Pensioners Christmas Party each year at the Town Hall. Sadly WTO folded when Wandsworth Council decided to stop funding or allow them to use of an unused rent office.

I and my late Husband attended a lot of Jazz at BAC, one event I recall was Will Gaines Tap dancing. He was fantastic.

Battersea was a wonderful place to live and it will always be home to me. In those days People felt valued and Battersea Town Hall was very important to them.

My Aunt Louisa Allen was a Labour Party Battersea Borough Councillor. I believe for Latchmere Ward. I have a photo of the last Battersea Councillors all together for the last time.

June Tipping.

Citation:
June, “My Memories of Battersea Town Hall,” Battersea Arts Centre Digital Archive, accessed February 20, 2017, http://www.bacarchive.org.uk/items/show/5819.


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