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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

In response to a post I made earlier in the week, I was reminded that many of us don't get the time to explore the neighbourhood we live in. 

So, for those of you who've yet to make friends with our stretch of the New River, or to walk along it well beyond our patch, I'm attaching a New River booklet complete with walking maps.

Tags for Forum Posts: new river, new river tower, stonebridge brook

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Thanks, Hugh.

I suppose the New River can be thought of as hidden in the sense that it is mostly out of sight behind houses and fences but, as hidden rivers go, it is mostly open to the sky, at least in Harringay proper.  It is included in the booklet compiled by Albert Pinching and David Dell "Haringey's hidden streams revealed" and published by the Hornsey Historical Society.  Unlike the New River, most of the streams are almost entirely invisible.  Interestingly, one of them, the Stonebridge Brook, flows smack through the middle of Harringay in an underground culvert.  The brook rises in Crouch End near the old town hall and flows eastwards.  The original course of the brook ran more or less along Weston Park.  Between Inderwick Road and Uplands Road it ran behind the gardens on the north side of Weston Park, ie along the edge of the school grounds.  It passed under Uplands Road near number 99 and then under Cranford Way on the industrial estate, under the railway viaduct (that is also hidden from view) and then under the New River passing beneath the ventilation tower that stands at the back of the motor workshop facing Effingham Road.  It then meandered about a block north behind the houses on the east side of Wightman Road and turned east again along Fairfax Road.  It turned south near the passage and from Effingham to Allison ran parallel to Green Lanes before passing under it where the housing terrace ends and the commercial strip begins (near Selale).  From there it crossed nine streets (Harringay, Glenwood, Avondale, Woodlands Park, Brampton, Ritches, Rowley, Etherley and Black Boy) before passing the NW corner of Chestnuts Park and continuing on Eastwards eventually flowing into the River Lea.  I daresay that the culvert follows more or less the same route as the original watercourse shown on the old maps.  Messrs Pinching and Dell's booklet covers this in glorious detail (for all such streams in Haringey borough) along with some old photos of the construction work going on.

For me it was interesting to find in the booklet a reproduction of a watercolour painted in 1880 which shows the view from the west slope of Harringay House looking towards Alexandra Palace.  It shows the old railway viaduct, the New River in its original course and the line of Stonebridge brook.  Because the painting includes also the towers of Hornsey and Holy Innocents churches it is possible to deduce that the artist was standing on what is now the site of 195(±2) Wightman Road.

Interesting, Dick, that you say the " ventilation tower ". Have you solved the puzzle that has exercised HOL for some years ? What do you think it ventilates ?

I was once told by a Thames Water worker that it affords access to the "storm drain". He did not explain its height but all deep drain ventilators need to be high enough to vent potentially noxious gases. I know that there is a deeper drain because near the entrance to the river tunnel there is a large stop cock which, when opened, allows the river water to drain away. This is necessary when, for instance, the tunnel has to be emptied out for maintenance work.

It may also be relevant that before the railway viaduct was covered there was a land drainage stream (Stonebridge Brook) which carried rain run off from the west side of the railway towards what is now the ladder. On the famous estate map of 1880, this stream is shown and there is also a nice straight blue line which shows the intended course of a new culvert that would have to replace the stream. It's a fair bet that the mysterious tower stands right over this culvert and that this is where New River water would drain down to. It would be interesting to know whether the tower is as big as it is so as to accommodate a staircase going down to the culvert. I think the "storm drain" and the culverted Stonebridge Brook are one and the same.

Thanks for that Dick.

Is this urban myth true? As I understand it, the Haringey Water Works gets its supply piped from the new river.

When the nearby flats were being built a few years ago, someone connected the sewage to the water works supply pipe. The water works was contaminated as a result and had to be more or less rebuilt. This is why the waterworks looks brand new.

I don't recall this being in the press at the time, although it seems a serious as the Camelford incident.

With regards to the tower being related to the culverted Stonebridge Brook, see this post

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