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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

From 1945 (when I came into the world) to the mid 1970s I lived in the top-floor flat above the George Brooks (later Dave Davey) cycle shop in Wordsworth Parade opposite the Queens Head Pub.

Our nearest shops were in West Green Road to the back of us. On the right-hand side of the road there was Mr.Draper the butcher (confusing!) who was always dressed appropriately in a straw boater and a blooded apron. He had a reputation for resting his hand on the scales. On the corner of Harringay road was a pet shop where you could buy your cat some nice cooked horse meat from the large slab in the window!

On the other side of the road stood Robert Yalden "Oil and Colour Merchant". The right hand window by the door had a ladder of narrow shelves against the glass with rows of small dusty dishes containing highly coloured powders with labels such as "yellow ochre" and "ultramarine blue". On the pavement outside the shop were boxes with bottles of bleach, washing-soda crystals, large bars of soap and neat bundles of sticks for fire-lighting bound with iron wire that was twisted together with a neat loop at the end. Inside the shop on the bare-boarded floor were buckets and yet more boxes containing scrubbing brushes. Brasso metal polish and all the others essentials for maintaining a clean home. Smaller items were strewn on the counter with more shelves behind. Hanging from the ceiling were longer items such as brooms. There was plenty for the eyes to see but also much to delight the nose - dozens of various "scents" - paraffin, camphor (moth balls), etc - all mingled together.

A little farther down the road was the surgery of Dr. Shaw-Smith ("He's very good with babies you know!"). You entered the square waiting room from the street and sat down on one of the vacant chairs that lined the walls, making note of everyone already waiting so that you would not "jump-the queue". When it was time for the next patient the door at the back of the waiting room would open and the good Doctor would appear, large and quietly Scottish. You would be ushered into the surgery noticing his large desk and an impressive framed certificate on the wall above the couch proclaiming his medical credentials.

Shaw-Smith had a younger doctor (whose name escapes me) as assistant. There was a smaller door in the back right-hand corner of the waiting room with a sign above it "NEXT PATIENT".

When the bulb behind the sign lit up it was time to go through the door and down the corridor to the assistant's less impressive surgery. There was usually some confusion in the waiting room as to which doctor you were waiting for. Many preferred the older, more experienced doctor and if nobody responded to the "NEXT PATIENT" sign the assistant would come to the door to see if he could entice anyone.

After your consultation you went with your prescription, written in the scrawl only decipherable by pharmacists, a little way down the road to Mr. West the Chemist.
Mr West's shop and pharmacy (it was always referrred to as "The Chemist") had the usual etched glass windows and inside were polished wooden cabinets with many small drawers and large elegantly-shaped bottles. If your medicine was liquid it came in a tall rectangular bottle with graduations for dosage moulded in the side. The bottles had a narrow round neck with a cork as a stopper.

It was quite usual for the locals to go in and ask for "A bottle of Dr. Shaw-Smiths medicine to save troubling the doctor". There was the brown medicine for coughs and the white medicine for stomachs.

Dr.Shaw-Smith died suddenly while still practicing sometime in the 1960s - he was a great loss to the community.

Tags for Forum Posts: former shops of harringay, harringay alumni memories, harringay memories, stephen holliday's childhood memories

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I have no recollection of the greengrocer.  My first memory of the shop on the corner was that it was a piano repairers - lot of bits of piano in the back yard!  It then became a sweet shop - much more useful!When Dave Davey left our shop became Nick and Joe's Provisions store. I moved in the mid seventies to Eade Road.

There was a betting shop on the other corner (of St.Margaret's Avenue).

I went to West Green Road Junior and Mixed Infants (as I believe it was called then) on the corner of Woodlands Park Road until 1956.

I worked for Jack here in the late 50s - he was delighted with his new zip fly jeans until, well you can guess really!

I remember the greengrocers on the corner there in the 1950s, run by two chaps called Harry and Stan. I lived in Green Lanes nearby.

and there was a café ....had my first pepsi there  ..  on our side Richard almost opposite mountview court small café the criterion .ha first frothy coffee there '.

The Criterion! Of course - we got burgled one Christmas(51ish) - just before; cleaned us out. Dad managed to get a table at the Criterion for I think Christmas Day! No pressies until much later!

Had my first frothy coffee with my first cigarette at the Criterion.  I was fourteen.

Harringay shops had early day closing on Wednesdays. Tottenham & Wood Green on Thursdays. We always went to Harringay shopping on Wednesdays.  I remember well, the Egg Store in the late 50s, early 1960s.

You might like my memories here



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