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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Haringey Council's Attempts to Change our Neighbourhood's Name have Serious Consequences

"Harringay" may not be the sexiest or the poshest name for a neighbourhood, but it's a good honest historical name for our area. And, used as it was till recently, it unifies a natural neighbourhood under a single "banner".

I got brought back to this issue yesterday, walking home from Manor House tube. Although I've walked past it a thousand times before, I'm sure, yesterday I noticed something new about the sign as you enter the Borough of Haringey from Hackney. In crossing that boundary, you also enter Harringay, but look at what the sign says:


"Welcome to Haringey, St Ann's". The sign is in Harringay Ward, Harringay. Fair enough that the Council wants to proclaim their borough territory, but to add St. Ann's (the ward to the east), just emphasises the way the Council ignores local sentiment and underlines what I was told is official Council policy of changing our area's name that started in earnest when the name of Harringay was stripped from the railway bridge. And this is no petty issue. It has serious social consequences.

Councillor Canver, the Chair of the Green Lanes Strategy group has told me that my notion of Harringay as a 'town neighbourhood' no longer exists. Whilst she accepts this was the case up till 1965 (when it was split between two boroughs), since the boroughs have been unified, she says we no longer have one neighbourhood, we have three. Gone, she says is Harringay; we now have St Ann's to the east, Green Lanes in the middle and Harringay to the west.

I understand what she's saying and I have no gripe with Nilgun, but the logic of that position escapes me. First there's the issue of what or whose benefit is served by artificially exacerbating divisions in the area. Surely the Council should be doing the opposite and helping us to forge bonds, build bridges, focus on commonalities. A common identity will not come without a sense of belonging to the same area. For me this is the big issue.

Then there's other perspectives like the logic of trying to call an area Green Lanes. Sure you can live on Green Lanes; it's a road. But can you live IN Green Lanes? Not for my money you can't.

Another issue is the contribution to building sense of place that comes from the historical context. We've a fantastically rich history over the last 100 to 200 years. For the most part, that is explicitly the history of Harringay. Why ditch it? Why the urge to move on? What's the agenda?

Then there's the issue of where is Green Lanes. As many people pointed out in the recent Harringay Online Street Festival survey, Green Lanes runs for miles from Stoke Newington and up to Palmers Green and beyond. The fact is that Green Lanes is everywhere in a huge swathe of north London. So if we're living in Green Lanes, what identity does that give us.

Speaking of the survey, it's probably the best proxy we have for a poll on local sentiment on what our area should be called. And, in that survey, 66% of residents said they'd like the festival to be called the Harringay festival rather than the Green Lanes festival.

Time for a volte-face on this nonsensical divisive Council policy of renaming our are? This is serious stuff. It's not just me on my hobby horse, trying to create an estate agents' dream or a posher address to impress, it's a fundamental part of building a stronger community and shaping a better......Harringay.

(See here for other posts on this issue on Harringay Online and here on the BBC's h2g2 site for an explanation of the different spellings of Harringay/Haringey)


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I hope I'm not the only one 100% behind you on this Hugh. It's not pedantry, it's our right to be called what we want and the council are displaying a peasant attitude.
I fully agree as well. Over th past 20 years I have lived on the ladder, the N15 bit, on West Green Road, on St Ann's Rd and I have always thought I lived in the same place - Harringay.

I also think there is something very odd about the council's attitude to this. I think they need to rethink this.
Odd? I guess you could call it that.

Us: We want a comprehensive traffic survey of Harringay.
Them: It is too expensive.
Us: We want to be called Harringay.
Them: It is too confusing for people.
Us: We want some money for a party.
Them: OK.

Peasant attitude.
It would, at least be a start to have a satisfactory explanation. Something that at least we can understand, but we're not even given that. Why?
Just to confuse things, wardwise, the sign in the picture is in Seven Sisters ward, isn't it?

'I live in Harringay,' sounds exactly like, 'I live in Haringey.' Don't you find you have to qualify it every time by explaining the spelling and defining the area by the streets and shops?
Yes. But I wouldn't if I lived in Islington or Camden. Perhaps the mistake made in 1965 was taking a name for the borough which wasn't the one fro the borough "capital".

(PS I think 7S ward is on the other side of the road. The park is in Harringay ward).
With regards to the name of the area, anyone who would care to spend an afternoon wading through my notes for a couple of recent projects I was working on, would be hard pressed to find a single reference to this area as Green Lanes. It was always recognised as Harringay and that referred to all the roads up to Turnpike Lane on both sides of the High Street.

I have a solution to the council's problem. What about renaming Green Lanes? Or at least the stretch from Endymion Road to Turnpike lanes? The long and beautiful stretch known as Grand Parade would only be known as that (with no Green Lanes attached). On the other side, each section would be known by the names etched into their brickwork. Cavendish Parade, Warham Parade etc.

Cavendish Parade 1892

or if that is too complicated for everyone, what about Harringay High Street? or Harringay Parade? Any other suggestions?

I'm not attached to the name Green Lanes, let's just dump it for this area altogether.
Just ended up on Haringey Council's neighbourhood pages by accident. No clues there about the subject of this thread.

Here's how Harringay is described on haringey.gov.uk

1. The neighbourhood page for Harringay is called Harringay & St Ann's

(By the way we have this charming description provided:

"Green Lanes, a very deprived area of Haringey, has in recent years experienced economic decline and some violent crime related to the drugs trade. It has a high number of Greek, Turkish and Kurdish immigrants and more recently an increasing number of Polish, Russian and Ukrainian residents. The main road of Green Lanes is an important centre for economic activity with mainly Greek and Turkish traders."

Tell me, what on earth is that about?)

2. There's a sub-page called Green Lanes (to no one's great surprise). And what does this say? The first paragraph is as follows:

"The Harringay area developed in the late 19th Century with the "ladder" dating from 1881 and Harringay Gardens from the 1890s. Both these developments came about as London expanded to the north of Islington. Grand Parade with its imposing row of shops along Green lanes was built in 1899. Until 1958 Harringay was the prominent hub of entertainment with its Greyhound Stadium, Arena, Coliseum (cinema) and Salisbury Hotel (billiard hall)."

Ungh!! Great, the area is recognised as Harringay at last. Perhaps by a slip of common sense, both the Ladder and the Gardens are included in the area of Harringay. Hurrah!

Oh, no, hang on, the next paragraph, Neighbourhood Strategy, starts out "Green Lanes is a vibrant and diverse community".

Any wonder people are confused?
Harringay exisited way before Haringey. It has a long history as a place name and I for one will not give it up! On the paragraph Hugh unearthed, not only does it promote a very negative view of the area, it disturbing puts crime and ethnic diversity side by side as if one was a consequence of the other. Who can I contact to complain about this offensive nonsense?
I wrote to all six councillors for Harringay and St Ann's wards about the Haringey Council website pages on 28th March last year and I had one reply, from Nilgun Canver. She offered to look into the issue of the negative picture. But sadly I have heard no more. I guess I should have followed it up - which I will do now.

She also offered what I guess we could take as the current Council position on the name issue when she wrote:

"Too much emphasis on Harringay confuses everyone with the borough Haringey and I’m afraid it refers to the Harringay ward and excludes the Gardens and other target areas."

So there we are, as far as the Council is concerned, Harringay doesn't include what has always been Harringay's High Street, Green Lanes.

Clearly, the Council thinks that we and visitors to Harringay and Haringey are somewhat less able that those to Camden, Hackney, Islington etc to grapple with the overwhelming complexity of understanding the issue of one name-one place (although it's one name-two spellings-two places).

So, getting back to dealing with that awful website stuff, I'd write again to Nilgun Canver, copy in our other councillors as well as Councillor Claire Kober (leader of the Council), Councillor Matt Cooke (who has responsibility for the department which is responsible for the website) and David Lammy.

The contact info for all our local representatives can be found on Harringay Online here. (and you cam assume what Claire & Matt's will be from that - "firstname.secondname@haringey.gov.uk"
Exactly the approach I would advocate Anne and one I've tried to take by flexing my boundaries several times since I first drew the map. So, it's approaching a collective map already.

If you go to the full Google version, you'll see that I recognise that a good section of the people living on the north end of the Ladder might think of themselves as Hornsey. I've made several other changes to the south east and north east sections.

I'm not setting myself up as the arbiter of neighbourhood boundaries. I'm trying to do something that I couldn't identify at the point I started - to get a commonly agreed 21st Century understanding of where Harringay is (with the aim of supporting community building).

As for Finsbury Park, right now I doubt that the majority of people would include it in Harringay, but that might change if we had a proper Harringay gate.

I include it because it's in Harringay ward and it's an asset for our area, (but to be honest if it was a great sewerage works, it probably wouldn't be within my boundaries!).

But in reality it's not just the community who decide. Our representatives in local government do have a strong influence on this matter too. This is why I keep on at the subject - helping people to build a common identity around an area is critical to shaping a better neighbourhood.

And all the council can offer as an argument against it is that it will be too confusing for people. It's just not good enough.

My ideal for FP is that all the communities who live around the park think of it as theirs, held in common. The more we think that, the more we'll all want to care for it.

It may well be the case right now that because of the poor access from Harringay, we are the community who least identifies with the park out of all those who live around it.
It appears to be the same small minded politicking which denies the need to address Harringay area traffic issues, would be more than happy to see our local hospital turned into [negative equity] flats and sees more security around election time in an area divided than in working meaningfully for a cohesive community.



It is not a trivial issue because it exposes in sharp contrast the differences between the interests of town hall party politicians and members of the community they purport to represent.

............but what gets me most about the attitude is the arrogance which emanates from - yes the cabinet members. Here I am at the top of the local party machine. I've garnered a few hundred votes and we're in the majority, now let's tell the community - most of whom unfortunately didn't vote because they're p'd off with the incompetence of the entire system - what they can and cannot do. Or - in this case - where they live. TELL, not ask, not discuss. And yet these very same members leap from omnipotent to impotent in one bound when faced with a question like 'can you do something to help make my road civilised to live in by addressing traffic issues?'. All of a sudden they offer only questions and problems? "What would you have me do? It's a main road. There's nothing in the budget . . . . . ". To paraphrase Gordon Brown; is it not time that the majority party started behaving as the servants of the community and not the masters?

Suggestion: Improve the gate on Endymion Road and name it Harringay gate, install traffic measures and a safe crossing adjacent thereto, fix the pavements on Wightman Road and deal with the squalor which is between Wightman Road and Jewsons' yard to encourage walking access from the west side of Harringay. For the longer term, would access from railway fields be possible with a view to The Passage linking all of the ladder to the Endymion [Harringay]Gate.

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