Balham was an Anglo-Saxon village on the Roman Road from London to Chichester called Stane Street.
In the Middle Ages it was partly owned by the Abbey of Bec in Normandy (who gave their name to Tooting Bec). The name probably comes from Balaams Farm, a large farm owned by the Crown in Tudor times. There were mainly large farms and residential villas in the area in the 18th century.
The Duke of Bedford owned land in the area and gave his name to Bedford Hill. A large mansion called Bedford Hill House was built there and the road called Bedford Hill was originally its private drive. The opening of a train station made it attractive for people working in London to have homes in Balham and by 1908 it had become engulfed in London’s expansion.
Alfred Heaver built a new residential estate. Balham was severely bombed during the Second World War. Most of the original large houses have now been converted into flats.