The Andrews family was "very poor and we lived in a bad slum area of London," Andrews recalled, adding, "That was a very black period in my life. " According to Andrews, her stepfather was violent and an alcoholic. Ted Andrews twice, while drunk, tried to get into bed with his stepdaughter, resulting in Andrews fitting a lock on her door. As the stage career of Ted and Barbara Andrews improved, they were able to afford to move to better surroundings, first to Beckenham and then, as the war ended, back to the Andrews' hometown of Hersham. The Andrews family took up residence at the Old Meuse, in West Grove, Hersham, a house (now demolished) where Andrews' maternal grandmother had served as a maid.