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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Moselle Brook commemorated in new Hornsey Park development

Out for a walk with an ex-neighbour yesterday, I ventured up to the new development to the west of Hornsey Park Road, north of Turnpike Lane. Most of the development to the west of Mary Neuner Road seems to be all but completed and building work to the east is well advanced.

The developers appear to be creating some reasonable green spaces. I seem to remember the Haringey Rivers Forum pressing for the portion of the Moselle Brook that runs through the development site to be deculverted  as part of the project. I'm assuming that's not going to happen. A Moselle Brook feature (memorial?) has appeared in its place. It comprises a two-part water feature and a relief map of the brook. 

A 'pocket park' between the road and the railway line, to northern end of the development, is the site of a large block of quarried stone with a relief map of the course of the Moselle Brook through Haringey

Pocket Park looking east. The relief map feature is on the right of the photo. In the foreground is the bubbling element of the accompanying water feature.

Relief map from above. If you zoom in, you can see various locations marked.

Pocket park looking west across flowing part of water feature

Relief map plaque.

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Yes, I've referenced that, but, with regards to the Stroud Green watercourse as far as I can tell, it seems to have invented the term Stroud Green Brook and otherwise relies on Lysons, which for the reasons I've explained above needs questioning at best. Just cuz something's writ don't make it true! As I said, happy to be probed wrong, but I can't find any credible evidence for the supposed brook's existence.

The best source for info on Haringey's streams is Haringey's Hidden Streams Revealed, published by the Hornsey Historical Society, available at the Old School House on Tottenham Lane.

BHOL seems (at fn 12) to reference a 1958  Hornsey Journal edition. Dies anyine know if there an archuve at Hornsey Library?

I think that ref 12 concerns the mention of the Moselle, but I noted a second reference to the Stroud Green Brook which says that it rose in Islington and crossed the southern tip of Hornsey.

HHS have a fairly full set of originals of the Journal. They might have other sources you can look through. Janet Owen is often there on the days its open and is very knowledgeable. She may even know of the brook, if it exists. Please do let me know if you dig up any evidence.

In the meantime here's a bigger section of Rocque's 1741-45. The brook shown on the snippet I previously  added seems to be the Dalston Brook (the word 'Brook' is further south). Click to zoom. Rocque doesn't shown Stroud Green Brook, but then neither does he show Hermitage or Stonebridge brooks, which we know are still there today. So, it's not conclusive.

I'm wondering about that field boundary line to the east of Stroud Green Road, That looks suspiciously like it follows a water course. 

You may yet find your brook!

The "Dalston Brook" was in fact the "Hackney Brook" which originated near Holloway Road.  See the attached from Stanford's Map of 1862 which shows the course of the filled in stream. It took an easterly course and crossed (or was crossed by) the New River just south of the Sluice House before heading into what is now Clissold Park.  

No sign of a stream near the junction of Albert Road and Stroud Green Road in Stanford's.

Do you think the Dalston Brook adopted a new name in the hundred years between the mid 18th and mid 19th centuries? Or, do you know for certain that Rocque's map used the wrong name? Either way, the brook looks like a good candidate for the one described by the correspondent in The Gentleman. 

The map "A survey of the roads and foot-paths in the parish of Islington: (John Howsworth, 1735/1811) shows - apart from the roads and footpaths - features that would affect travellers on those roads and footpaths, according The British Library's catalogue description of it. I wonder, does it seem to indicate a water-course crossing the Stroud Green Road at about the junction with present day Albert Road? Alas, there is no key with this map to explain precisely the symbols/markings used.
[British Library. Shelfmark: Maps Crace Port. 15.45. Item number: 45. Length: 254 Width: 381. Scale: Millimetres. Genre: Plan Map scale description: ca. 3 1/2" : 8 Furlongs.]


Here's another reference that I stumbled upon whilst looking for something else. (see file name for publication details and link to online version in Google Books.

Hi Hugh can you tell us where this pocket park is precisely?

I think the spot that Eugene has indicated might be the main part of the green area, but, to be precise, the part I wrote about is across Mary Neuner Road, opposite the play area.

Well, yes, an attractive “pocket park” with an interesting art installation by Rachel Champion, but let’s not get carried away by thinking this is an adequate commemoration of the Moselle. As Eugene and John Miles have spelled out, there has been a controversial history to the Heartlands development that should not be forgotten. The pocket park may be seen as no more than a piece of glitter on a pile of something much less desirable. At the time of the outline planning application in 2009, the applicant, National Grid, was resistant to the idea of opening up the Moselle, partly on the grounds that it was at too low a level and the ground around it would need to be too steep on the small patch they had in mind, the so-called Clarendon Square, as well as concerns about water purity.

In fact, the culverted Moselle is only just below the ground surface, as can be seen in my photo taken as the land was cleared just west of Mary Neuner Road. I think this is at almost exactly the same spot as where the green space and water feature is now.

There were numerous grounds for objecting to the Heartlands outline proposal when it came to the planning committee in 2011 and one of these was its inadequate provision for open public space. In my spoken objection I made the point that the plan, for up to 1800 family units, acknowledged a shortfall in public space provision, which looked to be about 1/3 of what the council’s guidelines indicated it should be. Haringey’s then head of planning, speaking in support of the scheme, claimed this shortfall was offset by Heartland’s close proximity to Alexandra Park. Anybody who knows the site and its tortuous access under the railway line and along past the filter beds will know how misleading this claim was then and still is now. The pocket park is but a sop in compensation.

Finally, back to the Moselle. At the bottom, there is another photo that I have only recently found of the Moselle being culverted in about 1907. This fascinating image is a phone-camera copy (hence reflections) of a print that is hanging in the Mossy Well pub in Muswell Hill.

Thanks for the interesting information, Colin, particularly the pictures of the culvert.

I'm not if your reference to 'getting carried away' refers to anything written here. If so I'm not sure if that's the case, or even that anyone is getting water lapping at their feet. I wrote a fairly tepid acknowledgment of "some reasonable green spaces".



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