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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I'm doing some research on the history of Alexandra Palace, and wondered if anyone knows why there is a Traitor's Gate and an Elephant Walk at the palace. Can anyone tell me the story behind these oddities?

Tags for Forum Posts: Alexandra Palace, Ally Pally, Elephant Walk, Traitor's Gate, history

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James Washington Myers


I'm not sure that the above links are connected to your enquiry tbh but thought they might be of interest. There was a theatre at Ally Pally which I believe will be restored at some stage. Or is the walk within the grounds?

Hi James,

Many thanks for the link - it may well have been connected. I will check with the other volunteers to see if they have managed to come up with anything. It's a lovely poster!

Sorry Angela, I misread your name - thought you were James Myers 

Hahaha - no problem! For some reason I can only post links at the beginning of a reply. I have found some info re Billy Blind; one of Myers' elephants which injured one keeper and killed another one (not relevant at all to your enquiry I know) Good Luck with your research.

Have you been in touch with the Friends of AP?

I think the Elephants Bathing was in the Lido next to the reservoir. (Traces still easily visible.) https://www.flickr.com/photos/47046427@N03/6743142313/in/album-7215... and https://www.flickr.com/photos/47046427@N03/12679694223/in/album-721... 

Thanks Stephen, yes, I was aware of the Lido but didn't realise that this was where the elephants were bathed!

The Traitor's Gate which is at the centre of the Palace on the road level, was presumably nicknamed because of the extensive basements or "dungeons" it leads to under the Palace - which incidentally I believe will be open to the public during the next Open House day in September.

Thanks Straw Cat - yes, we will be opening parts of the basements on the Open House tours. I'm really looking forward to exploring them myself 

Maria, the Traitors' Gate is an architectural pun on the Tower of London, which is where the idea of a Traitors' Gate originates. During Tudor times, prisoners due to be executed were corralled through the Traitors' Gate. The gate was originally ordered to be built by Edward I and gave direct access to the Thames, then lower and marshier. 

Hi Stephen,

As an architectural pun, do you mean that the original TG at the palace somehow resembled that in the Tower of London? Or was it just called TG because it was set at a low level?

The latter, I assume - it was one of those "Olde London" sites that everyone would have known of - the sort of thing that would in later years be endlessly photographed in popular picture books on the charm and beauty of historic London, etc etc. But this is only a guess. Do the archives relating to the original building still exist (at Bruce Castle?) or elsewhere? 

As for the Elephant Walk, the expression refers to the migration of (Indian) elephants when moving from one feeding ground to the next - not an event you'd want to get in the way of. It is an aspect of the colonial character of Alexandra Palace and Muswell Hill that I've also been researching. (Separately, it's the title of a 1954 film starring Liz Taylor.) 



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