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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Wood Green High Road was our first choice for shopping.  Walking from home on Green lanes you passed the Ritz Cinema - two different programmes every week each with the "B" film, Pearl & Dean advertising, Movietone News and the feature film (I was taken to see "The Dam Busters" several times in 1955 as my father had been in the RAF!)

Crossing the entrance to the bus station you came to Conways Furnishers and then Turnpike Lane Station. After crossing Westbury Avenue and Whymark Avenue there on the right-hand side of the High Road were the three large stores - British Home Stores, Marks and Spencer and Woolworths (actually the original F.W.Woolworth).  One source of entertainment was the antics of the "spivs" who illegaly sold things (possibly of doubtful origin) out of suitcases in front of the stores.  They had a look-out hovering on the kerb who signalled the arrival of the patrolling policeman.  The suitcases would then snapped shut and the spivs would quickly disappear into one of the stores only to re-appear again when the coast was clear.  The day of reckoning came one day when the police came through the stores from the back entrances on Bury Road and several spivs were "nicked".

Further on down past the Wood Green Empire was Halford's who were then mostly a cycle and sports shop and further still the Co-op.  This was a strange building in two parts joined by a long ramp.  They still had the central cashier's desk set up high with overhead wires connecting it to each sales desk. The assistants would write out your purchases on a form which would be put into a cylindrical canister with your payment.  This was put into the overhead system, a lever pulled and the canister sped quickly to the stern-faced cashier.  A few minutes later the canister would be back with your receipt and any change.

Further along still the road curved to the right past Strakers the stationers and then you passed under the railway bridge at Noel Park & Wood Green Station.  Sometimes high over the road a train would come in with a screech of brakes, you would hear the brake pump on the engine going "thump-thump-thump" then, with a slamming of doors, the train would start off again.  Past the station there were more shops or you could cross the road to see what films were on at the Gaumont Cinema.

On this side of the road going back towards Turnpike Lane just after Alexandra Road was a shop selling cooked meats.  We usually bought some Polony sausage (special treat!) which was sliced off from one hanging in the window.There were many more shops including J.Sainsbury who had two adjacent shops.  Just before arriving at the Wellington was a toy shop (best shop in the road!) where my first train set was bought - an OO gauge Rovex.

Other names and shops come to mind although, after 60+ years I can't locate them - "David Grieg, Provisions Merchant", "Home & Colonial Stores", butchers with skinned rabbits, plucked chickens and the odd animal carcase hanging outside.  Greengrocers where potatoes were tipped straight into your shopping bag with things like lettuces just having a sheet of newspaper wrapped round them.  The price of everything was calculated and added up in the head (in £sd of course) as you were served. For example - three pounds of potatoes at ..., one cabbage, one pound of carrots at .., three parsnips and half a pound of tomatoes at .. that will be ... thank you! - no need for pocket calculators even if they had been invented!

Tags for Forum Posts: harringay alumni memories, harringay memories, stephen holliday's childhood memories, wood green history

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Thanks for instalment two. There was also a Home & Colonial Stores in Harringay two doors south of where Barclay's Bank is today. Was it still there by the time you were a child?

The company had another particular connection with Harringay. It was they who bought the Arena to use for storage when it was sold in 1957.

As a result of writing Harringay's History in any number of Wikipedia articles, I ended up writing short offshoot articles about things and people connected. One of those was a short piece on Home & Colonial. (As an interesting wee footnote to this, in writing that article, I learned that the De Vere character and his Cavendish Foods in Seventies TV comedy To the Manor Born were loosely based on James Goldsmith, whose Cavenham Foods bought Home  Colonial in 1972). 

Your memory is second to none, Stephen.

I remember some of the rabbits hadn't even been skinned, but were hung complete with fur, bodies slit open to reveal the interior.  If only I could buy those veggies today!  I can remember some of the price tags read 1d or even 3/4d per pound.  A bus fare when travelling with my mum was "Three ha'penny and a penny, please."

what about the tobacco shop in turnpike lane on the wellington side near a chemist which had the old jars in the window

Does anyone remember the "posh" frock shop in Wood Green - Bon Marche? Having walked from Abbotsford Avenue on West Green with mother and grandmother, we usually only looked in the windows on the way to M & S for more affordable clothes.

I remember bon marche  really posh and there was a small posh shop by the Ritz   .thinking of the Ritz reminds me of Saturday morning pictures for a tanner.

Oh yes! Except we went to the "flea pit", also for 6d, opposite the top of Abbotsford Ave. Sadly I've forgotten its proper name, probably because we never used it. As far as I remember I  only ever went there on a Saturday, because the other three cinemas in Turnpike Lane and Wood Green had the best films.

In Wood Green there was a shop between J.Sainsbury and "The Toy Shop" called "The Tripe Shop". It sold all manner of offal, nobody ever admitted to shopping there (including my Mum!), but it was always very busy. During the summer months if you walked round the alleyway (as we played there) at the back the smell was awful!

The first shop in Turnpike Lane coming from the station on the left was a dairy run by the Owen Family, a Father and Son enterprise. A shop further along was a stationers run by the Duncan Family, I went to school with their son Gordon. The Tobacconist near the alleyway was run by an older couple who's Daughter married an American (Mexican) airman based at West Drayton. His name was Hank (uncle to me!) and they had a son called Ricky, during the 60's they all moved back to the States. Funny how the articles trigger your memory!

I think it was called the Essoldo!  Do you remember the fish and chip shop near there called The Yarmouth?  There was also a Doctor's on the corner of the street, run by a Doctor Javinda Mallick.  I worked as a receptionist there.  Opposite was a chemist where the patients could get their prescriptions filled.  Cannot remember the name.  There was also a very old fashioned drapers near to the Chemist.  Sold baby clothes and knitting wool.  Run by two elderly spinsters.

Thanks of reminding me of The Yarmouth.  We used that quite a lot - fish and chips on one sheet of white paper and the whole lot wrapped in newspaper.  Too much vinegar caused the batter to go soggy and stick to the paper.  Am I right in thinking that they used lard for frying in those days?

Oooh, yes, I remember Bon Marche.  A place to gaze in the window and then walk on, just as you say.

Do you remember Weston's dress shop on the same side as the Wellington?  At the January sales you could get a really nice coat for under five pounds.

I recall the sales cos my mum went there... but Perry? No connection with the Perry's of Frobisher Road perchance? Also Bon Marche - interesting that the name lives on but a different store.

Anyone remember the horse meat stall round the corner from Sainsbury? Jack Sleigh ran it.



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