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

It's a wonderful read, Richard.  I am dipping into it so there will be more to come from me.  Thanks so much!


I’ve spent most of today reading Life on the Ladder (and other pages on your website) and have to say thank you. I was born in ‘55, but so many of your descriptions and details apply to my childhood days. I’ve sent a link to my cousin, who also lived in Frobisher, number 103 I think. Name Resch, born 1948 - you may remember the family. 

Great memory Mitchell Wells, I'm sure the group would love to see any photos you may have of this time...make our day!

Anyone remember the name of the bakers on the corner of Hewitt in any of the periods post WWII? Or when it stopped operating as a bakers?

Hahn's bakery.

See my earlier comment.

Sold fresh bread but rarely served me ( unless I spoke up). They only served old ladies with hair nets or head scarves.

Just looked at the Ladder again. I always went down Pemberton Road and turned right, staying on the same side of Green Lanes ... towards the bridge but only two roads away... Hahn's bakery. Corner of Duckett Road.... not as far as Cavendish certainly. Regular customer despite youth!

Kahn’s the German bakers of the finest bread rolls weren’t on the corner of Hewitt Road, they were much further up towards Harringay station - I used to pop out from Donaldsons who were at 71 Grand Parade just along from Barclays, and cross over to Hahns.  I had a Saturday job in the bakers near Hewitt Road but I can’t remember their name.

Out of interest, does  anyone remember the women’s clothes shop that was near to Paul Rowland’s dental  surgery? It was a double fronted shop owned by a Jewish couple who had survived the holocaust. He always had a sale on and would get quite angry if you looked but didn’t buy, telling you to ‘clear off.’ I think he had suffered greatly.

I do remember " Silver's" between Warham Road and Seymour.

Like many in London, whether from German intolerance or discrimination against Hugenots, clothing was their chosen profession.

The elderly (to me at least) Jewish owner, grumpy and impatient would grip the excess material at the back of the jacket/shirt/jumper and loudly and clearly proclaim "See. a perfect fit".... anything to make a sale. That's business I'm told.

His behaviour didn't stop us visiting. Silver's. That was the one I recall.

We had an equally loud and impatient Doctor...Dr Jampel and his doctor wife, Dr Jampel...a calm, kind and gentle lady. They were on a corner of Lausanne or Hampden road.

Before him was Dr Wood who made house visits, knew every about everyone in the family and was tall, slow in responding, gentle and quite wonderful.

Kindness is memorable. As is it's opposite.

Do you mean Silver’s Tailors Ltd - the shop sold menswear?  Yes, I remember being told about the salesman who gripped the excess material of a jacket etc and told the customer it was a perfect fit. 
I remember the flat above the shop being rented to an elderly couple, who in turn sublet two rooms at the top for £1 a week and a share of the bathroom!

There was a silvers mens shop in Wood Green high road on the left hand side before the railway bridge.

The old guy at Silvers was Barny, what a salesman! He even persuaded a bus conductor off his bus in a traffic jam & sold hin a shirt!  I managed the Silvers in Crouch end for a few years Appx 69 to 72 & although I not Jewish I learnt the Way of selling i.e. Pulling in the backs etc. 

Barny didn't own the shop his nephew did & owned all the Silvers, Peter Brown etc, etc, fun days!

Interesting memory John, I also remember Silvers of Wood Green probably 1964, the following year I got a job at Lord John in Carnaby St owned by the Gold Brothers, great job stayed with them 5 years. Did a bit of traveling overseas, returned & applied for a job at 'Peter Brown' Oxford Circus, the interview was at an office/warehouse which had no signage whatever ( never knew it was there) in Green Lanes, Winchmore Hill conducted by a Mr Silver, who then told me they rebadged their company from Silvers to Peter Brown....stayed with them one year...like you i was probably the only non Jewish person , but learned so much from sweeping the shop doorways clean to knowing all the stock, working 6 days a week, held me in good stead for my future career as a photographer...dealing with different people putting them at ease. Like you I remember those days which much appreciation, fun and great music in the shops....Hope you are well have a safe and happy 2023.




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