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Does anybody have any memories of the Campsbourne area of Hornsey, in the 1950s and 60s?

The area has changed so much (as I suppose much of London has). I was born in the mid fifties at 104 Myddleton Rd. The house was demolished later that decade, as part of a complete regeneration of the area. It was approximately where the Honeymead flats are now and was close to Cross Lane (Campsfield Road now). In the late fifties we were given a brand new flat in Boyton Close, at No 7 Elgar Block. I recall that my mum was thrilled to bits with her new home.

We moved into 80 Beechwood Rd in the early sixties, as the family grew. The house had a bath in the kitchen, that was covered in a purpose made worktop. They were all modernised in the mid sixties, with the fitting of a proper bathroom and toilet (so we were able to say goodbye to the outside loo!)

Does anyone recall the shops around there? The Nightingale Pub with off licence to the front. Tookies the newsagent and sweet shop, Swinyards the greengrocer next to it. On the corner of Hawthorn Rd was the Co Op, Carters (sweet shop again), a Barbers and best of all, a wool shop, that had the most amazing smell inside.

I would love to hear from anyone that recalls this area.

Mike Allder

Tags for Forum Posts: beauty in the borough, campsbourne estate

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I certainly do remember the area as I was also born in Myddleton Rd in 1950s and have lived here all my life. Are you related to George Aller who had one of the greengrocer shops on the High Street? I think you were friends with my brother who went to Campsbourne school. Will reply more fully later as I mapped the old estate shops. I am volunteer at Hornsey Historical Society and am particularly interested in Campsbourne estate.

Hi Lesley

I remember your brother Roger well and went to your house a couple of times. I also remember you too. I also recall that you still lived in Myddleton Road, up closer to the fields. You had a small Chihuahua dog, the like of which was fairly rare at the time.

Don't think I can be related to George Aller, as my name is of course Allder, but I can appreciate that it is pretty close!

I will respond to your friend request and send back asap.



Hi lesley where can i find out more about the hornsey historical society i lived in northview road and had two sisters diane and jennifer attley

See the website http://hornseyhistorical.org.uk/w/index.php .

Shop is open Thursday and Saturday 10-2 and also Fridays when the Archive team in residence to handle enquiries.

Mike, have sent friend request so we can securely communicate.
Happy then to swap emails for more info if needed. But you need to accept my friend request first then we can email via HoL.

Hello Mike,

Remember it well but, fortunately for me, we moved to a 'palatial council house' in Muswell Hill in 1951 after taking the 11plus at Campsbourne school. So a little too early for  us to have similar friends but the surroundings would have been much the same. Brook Road had been demolished and was partly rebuilt and, not long after I moved, did they knock down the first houses at the bottom of Boyton Road where I had lived. Incidentally, I have posted a discussion on  whether there are any photos of Boyton Road from that time. They called it Slum Clearance but that is not how I recall it. It was poor but not squalid.

My playground of the time, even at a very young age extended to Ally Pally- skating, boating, fishing and the funfair as well as just playing -Cockfosters blackberrying on our own, penny bikes at Turnpike Lane and swimming in the canal at Tottenham (having walked) to name a few.

I recall the celebratory VE fires, two in Boyton and another Rectory Gdns that burnt large dips in the road. Helping the milkman called 'Sailor' deliver milk from his horse and cart, and getting large chunks of ice from the delivery lorry taking it to the wet fish shop opposite us in Boyton. Rebuilding Brook Road with our own camps as they knocked it down and being chased by the police. I was also a keen trainspotter and spent many an hour at the pedestrian bridge Western Road and at Hornsey Station and engine sheds - chased again. Dear oh dear, parents today would have a fit.

John Cunningham

Hi John

Nice of you to reply.

I can recall playing in derelict housing along Brook Rd, on the side where Stokely Court is now (flats on the other side having already been built). Interesting that you mention a wet fish shop being in Boyton Road, as I do remember one being there, but it was being demolished along with the other housing stock. A stuffed fish was still hanging on the wall! 

Do you recall the large more grand houses at the bottom of Boyton Rd, then right along Pembrook Rd? Even they were demolished.

I also went train spotting along where the reservoirs where. We would climb up onto the bridge at the Western Road end and had a great view. When I visited a few years ago, the whole area was overgrown and covered in thick Bramble type bushes. I suppose that safety concerns now would not let you get that close to the line, so I was not at all surprised to see it like that.

Do you recall the old swimming pool in Newlands fields, over near the reservoir? In the bad Winter of 1963 we played on the ice. Some of the older lads used a steel pole to break into it. I seem to recall that it looked about 9" thick, so not much chance of us falling through!

Incidentally, my wife is from Muswell Hill. What area did you move to?


Hello Mike,

I remember a wooden  bungalow structure with veranda on the corner Boyton/Brook that was the first to be demolished, probably 1949, obviously before you were born. The house in which I lived, although a three set terrace, reflected the rest of Boyton terrace on that side and were of two storey, with basement, construction. Opposite were a terrace of two storey houses that included the wet fish shop. I think the one on the opposite corner to the bungalow was three storey, as were some in Pembroke. Pig bins were located at the junction during and just after the war. There were two shops between  Brook and Eastfield, one of which was quite unhygienic. These were flattened before I left. Another shop was on the corner of Eastfield, with the sweet shop on the corner Boyton/Pembroke being the first premise on the odd side of the road.  I had not given it any thought until now, but all the shops were on the same side. One door down from me was a garage, which was only recently demolished, I think. It used to house fish lorries and the like. It  had a circular saw on which I used to cut wood to sell for firewood, resulting in scars on each hand. We used to collect newspaper and cardboard, particularly from the TAW factory, and sell it and anything else, to a rag and bone man that used a large house on the corner of Pembroke/Myddleton. I recall a centered staircase when you went in. I think he got wise to the ‘slipping in’ of slates.

I visualise swimming in something  near reservoirs but not sure what. Re Newlands fields, where they the school playing fields?  Enclosed in my day by an eight foot corrugated black painted metal fence with diamond castellations on the top that took the skin of your palms. It was to keep people out from the racecourse which was thriving when I lived there.

Quite a few families moved from the Campsbourne to Muswell Hill and became ‘neighbours’ again.

I had a school friend that lived in Myddleton opposite the Cross road at the Newlands road end, on the reservoir side. He loaned me his brother’s adult bike which catapulted me over the handle bars. Fortunately, there was no damage to the bike, only me. I have photo of him, together with Bobby Kent, from a Sunday school outing to Thorpe Bay. I cannot recall his name, but Barry is at the back of my mind. It must have been close to your house.

Hi Mike

Thank you for sharing your memories of Boyton Road. That wet fish shop you mention could have been my great grandfather's (George Sewell). It was later run by my Great Uncle who passed away in 1971. I know the family lived at 7 Boyton Road, but was never sure if they lived over the shop or if the shop was a lock-up elsewhere. My father remembered going to the shop and had a vague recollection that they may have sold wet fish by day and fish and chips at night. The earliest I can find the family living at 7 Boyton Road was 1911, George and Florence (my great grandfather and grandmother) , and their children George jr., Ada, Elsie, Edith (my grandmother), Mabel and Hilda.

George Sewell sr, made a little money in the 1890s touring the British Empire with the Lyric Theatre Company. He made the scenery, created special stage effects and occasionally took to the stage as well performing in short comedy skits. I still have some of the programmes and posters from performances in Madras, Bombay, Calcutta, Shanghai... It's my understanding that he used the money he made on tour to set up in the fish business.

I know there was postcard / business card of the shop but haven't been able to find a copy, I'm not even 100% what the shop looked like. I'd love to find a copy.


Dear Mark,

Read with interest your posting as you have of mine. I was keen on finding  photos of Boyton Road, hence my involvement, having lived there through the 40,s until 1952. I did not find anything for the Victorian houses,  but did get to look at the view opposite No.8, where I lived, which included the wet fish shop. I do not remember them selling fried fish however. I recall my father buying a duck for Xmas from the shop but, unfortunately, when my mother cut into it was quite yellow. A vegetarian Xmas dinner followed.

You can find a glimpse of the shop in the 'Beauty in the Borough' film posted in London Screen Archives. See previous on site postings for the link. It is about 17mins into the film.

In my search for photos I came across the name Sewell as living at No.7 but that was to do with WW1 service deferment. I also found the census records for your grandfather for 1891,1901 and 1911 on Ancestry site which also had images of the theatre posters to which you refer.  Are the postings your work? They have him living in Lambeth, then Pembroke Road and finally Boyton. Obviously, I hoped of some specific images associated with the Ancestry site but no joy. I am still looking. Enjoy the film.

Regards John

Dear John

Yes the theater scans on Ancestry are mine. I found the WW1 service deferment records a while back, the business had lost all the other lads to the war, the delivery round was on its last legs and then my great uncle got called-up.

If I ever turn up any photographs of Boyton Road, as it was, I'll let you know.

Sorry about the duck.


Hi all

My father was Douglas Sewell who's uncle was George Sewell and they came from The Myddleton Road area. I would love to know if we are related in Some way. My grandad was married to Ellen Sewell formally a Howard. I still live in the area please let me know if you think we may have a family connection 

Diane Sewell



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