Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Thanks to our New Rive correspondent Dick Harris for letting me know that the New River Path between Wightman and Hampden is open again. 

Thanks also to Thames for getting the work done.

I took a quick walk along the path. The main problem has been fixed like this:

I thought at first that the path had been concreted, but in fact it seems like some sort of loose surface treatment. I'm sure it'll settle in.

Further along, both the central portion of the path and the end section are muddier than before, I hope they too will settle down,

Finally one of the flying Lime bikes seems to have made it's way to the path

and of course the taggers have been visiting. They've daubed both the railway wall and, oddly, the back of the end-of-garden building at 245 Wightman. 

Tags for Forum Posts: new river, new river path, new river path sinkholes, thames water

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Is the accessibility still poor? I would love to go for a wonder there, but I don't think my powerchair is getting through those gates unless they've changed them. 

They still have ‘kissing gates’ at each end. Even if you are fully mobile you have to do a sideways shuffle to get through so you wouldn’t be able to access it in your chair unfortunately. From Wightman the path is narrow, steep and often muddy. You then have to cross a footbridge with a few steps on either side.

The "loose surface treatment" that Hugh refers to is possibly one of the three types of MOT aggregate that are used especially in road construction and repairs. Probably it is type 1 which is often to be seen when contractors refill holes in the road to form a firm base before patching the tarmac on top.  This stuff should be fine for pedestrians, especially after any surface dust has been washed off the upper surface.  If it has been simply spread out on top of clay banks it won't do much to prevent heavy vehicles bearing down and causing the banks to spread outwards.


Dick, looking for am image on my phone the other day, I came across some photos from 21 November 2017 ands was surprised at how much thr path had changed. The surface was less 'industrial' that it was even before the latest changes and the majesty of the tree was lost when they cut it back for the tunnel works. The semi-grassy track is, it appears, a thing of the past.

I imagine that you may have photos going back some decades.

I'm pleased to report that Network Rail dealt with the graffiti I showed in the original post within a week of my reporting it.

The eleven years I lived here from 1979 were in the pre-digital camera age and I have only a few photos from that period.  I am uploading one however which was taken, most probably, in March 1980.  It is interesting not merely for what it shows about the river bank but for several other things.  Much has changed in the 43 years since it was taken and to help understand them I have added nine red letters on the picture.  They as as follows:

A   this is a pear tree which is still standing.

B & C were walnut trees, both of which eventually fell. One in a storm of 1987 and the other later to disease.

D is the goat shed which is still standing (and is now painted green).

E was a chicken coop, long since removed.

F is a sapling walnut tree which is now an enormous tree, the largest in the garden and which overhangs the river to some extent.

G was the screen and footbridge where flotsam was pulled out manually with long forks was pushed away to the deep ditch on the left of the picture.  This structure is no longer there and an entirely new footbridge was installed to a carry the New River Path when the Wightman Road to Hamden Road section was opened to the public.  At the same time, a new flotsam screen was installed much closer to the camera.  In fact, more or less at the end of my garden.

H is the safety rail across the top of the tunnel entrance.  This still exists and is there to protect men working to clear any flotsam that reaches the screen at the tunnel entrance.

I is the main train maintenance building which is still there unchanged.  Although the whole depot was recently enlarged to accommodate additional facilities for cleaning and servicing trains.


The first rather obvious point is that in 1980, there was no paved footpath along either bank on this section of the river.  A man arrived every day to check the condition of the screens and to clear them if necessary.  He usually arrived by van, parked on Wightman Road, unlocked the gate and walked the 100 metres down to the screen bridge.  I believe that there was also a periodic patrol whereby the man responsible for this section of river would walk the whole length.  One can see faint evidence of foot traffic in the photo along the Western edge.

The next obvious point is that there were few trees on the railway embankment so the large building is plainly visible.  I have other photos in which the overhead electricity gantries and trains are clearly visible.

A photo today from the same view point will show that fruit trees in the foreground planted since 1980, coupled with a grape vine that has been trained across the middle ground largely obscure much of the scene.  The river itself is still visible but is harder to discern because of the new bridge screen and the green fencing that was added when the path was opened to the public.  Furthermore, in 2018, a large gantry was installed over the bridge screen so flotsam could be pulled out mechanically.

Thanks, Dick. I suppose the river wasn't open to the public at this point?

That's right.  I forget exactly when it opened.  I seem to remember getting letters about it while I was still living in Belgium, ie before 2005.

The wisdom of the web tells me that it was created over 12 years from 1992. Sadly that wisdom doesn’t seem to extend to specifying when the Harringay section was developed.

On the south (?) side of the river, to the right of the graffiti-d building pictured above, are the remains of an industrial building, that looks like a set of chimneys. (They appear to be original, certainly older than the more modern light-industrial building that is now between it and Wightman Rd. 

Anyone know what that building used to be?

On the east side of the river is the much discussed "New River Tower". I'm pretty certain that it's a vent and maintenance entrance for the culverted Stonebridge Brook.




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