Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

In South Tottenham. off Ermine Road - From flickr.

See location at Google Maps.

Tags for Forum Posts: wwii, wwii defensive architecture

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Anyone interested in these things will find the Defence of Britain Project's website useful:


The Project was a systematic survey of 20th century defensive structures throughout the UK and though the project was wrapped up a few years ago the website and database are still online. A quick search threw up, amongst other things, a defensive cube on the to the west of the East Coast Mainline near Alroy Road and an anti tank cube somewhere in the Harringay Stadium/Sainsbury's site (sadly now lost methinks). All part of London's inner defence circle.
Hugh, if you haven't already done so, can I suggest you contact Fin Fahey - Admin of several groups on Flickr, including London's New River.

Fin lives just across the Hackney border and is an enthusiast (and photographer) for all sorts of interesting nooks, corners, half-hidden gems and bits of the past - including wartime buildings.

Prompted by Liz's rediscovery of the Defence of Britain archaeology website. I've been digging around  little about our lcoal WW@ defensive architecture.  

With regards to the Ermine Road pillbox (pictured above in 2009), it's amazing what a difference four years made. The following photo by the same photographer was taken in 2013. Anyone been there recently?

There's a second South Tottenham pillbox, apparently not listed on the Defence of Britain site, behind the Fountayne Road warehouses.

I read that it's raised up on support legs, twenty to thirty feet off the ground, so that the gun-embrasures were in line with the railway. Access is via an iron ladder.

See more on this and nearby survivors at www.derelictplaces.co.uk/threads/south-tottenham-ww2-defences.27720/

There was one just like this in a field backing on to the house I grew up in in Sunderland that all the kids on the estate would play in.  It was demolished sometime in the late sixties I think, to make way for rebuilding of the A19.

This is a pic from the HHS booklet "Home Fires".  GoogleEarth shows it still in situ. 

It does seem rather incongruous for a possible pilbox, being very small, brick-built and square. And what would it have been defending at that location?

Thanks, Ken.

All these defences would have been part of the London Stop Line.

There was also a 'fortified house' just up the road in Palace Mansions, 6 and 7, Bedford Road, at the corner of Alexandra Park Road. 

I can't find any record of the structure in Ken Gay's photo in the Defence of Britain records. They list only the fortified house. 

Just had a quick look at the 44-70 OS map, they show a TCB at the junction. 

On checking, I see that the map seems not to have included surviving WWII structures. So, its absence on the maps tells us nothing. 

I wonder if it's on any newer OS map.

TCB is a telephone call box, Hugh.   Telephone witing is contained in cabinets called junction boxes and I couldn't find an OS abbreviation for them. TCB is also shown on the1938 map.  The postwar map has ignored the new, mystery structure, yet has gone to the trouble of "paving the little pathway cutting the corner


includes a couple of pictures of the structure under its pillbox listing (captioned Bounds Green after clicking a pic). General narrative says pillboxes held one to ten soldiers, so presumably this one is at the lower end of the scale.

Thanks, Ken.

The Palace Gates structure looks most similar to the Thamesmead one also shown on the site you found.

Following up on your information, I found another source with some detailed information. According to the Pillbox Study Group's (PSG) website, there were seven basic pillbox types. I suppose Type 26 looks rather like the Palace Gates and Thamesmead pillboxes.

Apparently a Type 26 was 10 feet square. I've measured the Palace Gates one using Google Maps 'measure-distance' feature and it is about that size. Yet, I can only see evidence of one gun-loop, that on the north side shown in the Ken Gay picture, bottom left in the composite image below. 

I'm guessing that the shape on the west face (bottom right below and also in Ken Gay's photo) would have been the doorway.

The PSG page also says, 'However, often, once in the field, the local construction companies modified these under the direction of the area commands. Occasionally, a ‘one-off’ type was designed to the War Office standard by the Command and Corps Chief Engineers.'

So, who knows, perhaps a type 26 pillbox with the sole purpose of defending the road to/from the railway. (In case they might be able to give a more definitive answer, I've dropped a quick line to the PSG

Thamesmead/Type 26 looks good to me, Hugh. And just the perfect site for ARP personnel to use as an outpost after primary purpose was no longer valid!    I still can't quite perceive the rationale for that precise location as a defensive position. It would have easily been bypassed if the Ally Pally Telly mast and facilities were an objective.  

As a little bit of unverified folklore from long before my interest in historical matters, I seem to recall something about if the facility had been of vital military comms use, it would have been an important bombing target but it was of more use as a landmark for navigation by enemy aircraft. Probably a load of rubbish but I offer it for the record!



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