Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The following was contributed by Mitchell Wells (now a resident of Glasgow):


Memories of living in Harringay from 1962 to 1965 and then regularly visiting up until 1980

In 1962 at the age of two , my parents and I moved into a flat above my (maternal) grandparents' shop Genia at 513 Green Lanes. They opened the shop some time in the 1940s, selling children’s clothes and women’s lingerie. It was one of those older style of shops where the entrance door wasn’t flush with the front window but set a bit further back along a short corridor. We could enter our flat through the shop but generally we entered via the alley off Warham Road and then the back door. My mum used to help out in the shop on Saturdays up until my grandparents sold up in 1980. That was when Nationwide bought it and turned into one of their branches.

Although memories are generally not so good from the first five years of a life, I have a few quite clear ones from then, mainly of the shops.

Right opposite our front window was a big greengrocer's shop (where the Suffolk Punch was in recent years) where we used to buy our fruit and veg (although a quick look on Google Earth shows that to be Winkworth's estate agent now).  Another shop we used to get our food from was the Home and Colonial store between Warham and Pemberton Roads (I think). It was very old fashioned in there even in those days. I remember the lovely smell of coffee and they sold biscuits by weight, a bit like pick’n’mix it was. There was also a general food shop called Newman’s a few doors away from the H&C, that we used to go in a lot. Further along (northwards) opoosite the Salisbury pub and the cinema/bingo hall  was where we got our sweets every Saturday,  a shop called Maynard’s.

The post office then was only half the size it is now. There was a shop between Genia and the post office then , which sold suitcases, trunks and bags. At some time after we left the PO must have taken over that shop to extend theirs.

Further along towards the stadium on our side there was a shop which sold stationery items, pens, paper, envelopes etc which I thought was strange because the name on the front of the shop said “(something or other)…Library” , my thinking was that a library was where you borrowed books rather than an actual shop.

We used to go the Finsbury Park alot, mainly to watch the trains from the two-tiered trainspotters' observation platform which was next to the footbridge over to Oxford Road on the other side of the railway. We’d see steam trains going by, and where the line branched off to Highgate we could see the occasional Underground train being shunted up to the Underground depot at Highgate. Passenger services along that line had ended in 1954 but it was still used for Underground trains. I think the track was taken up in 1971. In the late 70s it became the Parkland Walk. You could also hire rowing boats on the lake in the park.

I started primary school in September 1965. My memory of it was that it was called Black Boy Lane School, but I can’t find any reference to it on the internet, although there is a school along Black Boy Lane called Chestnut's Primary School so it could have been that.

We moved at the end of 1965 to Palmer's Green, although  I still visited my grandparents in the shop regularly up until it closed.

Another memory I have is of when I bought my first record in 1967. It was “Hello Goodbye” by The Beatles and I bought it , having saved three weeks pocket money (7/6), from a little record shop on Green Lanes near the railway bridge at the Stadium station. I say little because it was. It was one of those single shop premises split into two half-sized shops. The other shop was a barber. I looked on Google Earth and it’s still a split-shop- the Master Locksmith and Gold Bar jewellers.

In 1977 I left school and my first job that summer for a few months was in Wightman Road (near Atterbury Road) at a fancy goods wholesalers called Suman Bros, long since gone I think.

One final thing I can remember is that on Duckett's Common at the corner of Willoughby Road and Turnpike Lane there was a kiosk selling snacks and drinks.  We used to get a fizzy drink from there called Zing. It was demolished by the late 60s.

I think that’s  most of what I can remember from my younger days. I’ve got some photos of me from that period, but unfortunately none of Green Lanes and the shops. There’s quite a few of me at the back of the shop on my tricycle in the alleyway off Warham Road and in Warham Road itself and also some of me in Finsbury Park.

I saw that video of the transport minister visiting in 1963 for the new road crossing. It nearly pans up as far as Genia but not quite. Although I did get to see the sweet shop Maynard's. As it was a day in 1963 I was most probably just 200 yards away in the flat above the shop drinking milk from a bottle.

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Replies to This Discussion

I I remember newmans so well, all the men wore brown shop coats. I remember large baskets of prunes and dried apricots with scoops then to be weighed byte men on old fashioned weighing scales. If it was open now it would be trendy. I remember the egg shop, a And the black and white tiled floor. The lady was Polish and wore her silver Hair back In a tight bun, she looked like she was straight out of hans Christian Anderson tale. I remember Barron's the bread shop across from Warham roads corner. We lived at the top of Warham road. Have very happy memories of harringay, lived there from 1957 to 1985,have lived in west coast of Ireland for over 30 years.

Although I am a few years older than Mitchell most of the shops he writes about were around when I was small in the 40s and 50s.  I especially remember Genia and the egg shop.  If I close my eyes I can still see the black and white tiled floor and the lady with her silver hair back in a tight bun.  Seems like yesterday.  They were good shops to grow up with.

The agh shop lady used to sometimes have her hair in a long plait, and I remember she wore very polished tan leather lace-up shoes. She went to St Augustine’s church

The Primary school in Black Boy Lane was Woodlands Park School. It changed names to Chestnuts after failing their OFSTED. I was there from 1958 - 1964. It had infants and juniors and two teachers I remember were Mrs Parrot and Mrs Rudge (obviously we called her Mrs Fudge). I was the fastest runner in the school and used to win the 100yards every year at the school sports' day in Woodlands Park. There was a sweet shop in the last house in Cornwall road just as you come out of the park, where we used to buy sweets. There also was a big house in the park (just where the building is now) where all the children got vaccinated against polio, whooping cough etc. After getting an injection, we got a sweet to cheer us up.

Kevin Nairn

I remember Miss Rudge and Mrs (Margaret) Parrott too. Also Mr Lunny and Mr Traue from New Zealand - who died in 1975. Head Master was a Mr Hayward, who retired sometime during my time there.  I was in the year behind you Kevin and of course, I remember you too.

Yes, we were all vaccinated, got cod liver oil too - all using the same spoon. All the children's toilets were out in the playground and were open to the sky. The school sweet shop used to make home made 1d lollies.

I remember Newmans at 495 from the 1930s. Behind the shop they repacked dried fruit for the wholesale trade. I loved the smell of that place. As a small child I would be fed raisins and apricots by the young ladies there. In more recent years I have communicated with one of the family through a family history site.

My grandfather bought the neighbouring premises at 497, presumably when it was built in the 1890s, which he ran as a sweet shop. In 1938 my father converted most of the premises behind into a cafe, with a sweet shop at the front. 

Alas I have no photographs.

Ah.... Mr Lunney.  Fine upright baritone man.   I think he might have enjoyed a drink on the quiet.

What about a Mr Shepherd ?  Gruff voiced grumpy looking Derby/Yorkshire countryman.  He relayed wonderful tales of his country childhood.   Was an ace shot with blackboard eraser at any chosen boy target within his classroom.  Also had habit of approaching from behind and thumping naughty boys between shoulder blades.  Element of surprise !!

Both teachers about same age.

Oh and yes, cod liver oil and concentrated orange off the shared school spoon !!

And outside loo.    Good days..............

I was once at the end of Mr Shepherd's wrath.. He was my class teacher for two years 1963-1965 - class 3 & class 1.  Started in class 7 in 1961, then class 5. He caught me saying to a friend, look there's "ole Mr Shepherd" - as kids do. Nothing bad was meant at all.  Later that day, after school, he got me . On my way home, outside school next to his Rover car, parked on Etherley Road, he grabbed me and whacked me 3-4 times on my back with his fist, shaking me saying "you won't say that again". He wouldn't get away with it nowadays. There again, as was normal back then, I never even mentioned it to my parents.

But he never forgot. After I passed my 11+ he made a home visit to my mum, to convince her not to send me to Grammar School. Understandably, I don't have much time for him or his tales of his Cumberland childhood.  It was actually Cumberland John, not Yorkshire. It hadn't been joined with Northumbria (Cumbria) at that time.

Mr Lunney with his grey suits, bow tie and brown suede shoes. I've since learnt that brown suede shoes at that time, were actually a silent indicator of gayness for men. Just like rings on little fingers.

Ah great stuff Stephen !   I only suffered as a target for Mr Shepherd's Blackboard cleaner and thumps on back.  But I remember him fondly.  Cumberland eh ?  Knew it was somewhere "up north" !   Never received anything like an out of school bashing though.  I was there from 56-60 but yeh...just imagine that today.

Your comment on Mr Lunney surprised me a little cos from memory I recall him always "sniffing" around a young female teacher.........a Miss Jenner comes to my mind.  (Though previously mentioned names Rudge and Parrott seem to ring a bell with me ??)  However I do think he wore a ring on a little finger.  And yes I have heard that from years back !   But I've sported one on my little finger for 30 + years simply because I like it.

But a great memory you have Stephen !

Hello again Kevin, (or should I say Usain !) couple of remarks on your comment :   Did you know of a Miss Jenner at Woodlands ?  Very attractive young woman.     I think the big house was known to us as The Chest Clinic ?  Also housed the much feared dentists..........dreaded and feared !   "They" didn't offer sweets there.  More like medals !!

I feared dentists for years after as a result of them.

John & Kevin. This was the ‘big house’.

In the early 60s it (Chrestnuts)  was a local health centre, with an ante natal clinic, dentists and was covered in glossy cream and green paint.

There was also a school dentist in an abestos single storey buidling on the corner of Penrith & Cornwall Roads.

OT, but of interest.. The two L shaped buildings next to the clinic were one storey concrete air raid shelters and store for the barrage balloons flown from Woodlands (Chestnuts) park. The building on the map labelled shelter was building for football players (there were two), but not an air raid shelter.




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