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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

"The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion": A short history of protestant non-conformity in Harringay

Let us begin our Sunday walk around the historical places of Protestant non-conformity half way up Mattison Road. This closed church was once the home of Mattison Road, and later Harringay, church. Seating 400, the building is of brick with stone dressings, in a Decorated style

St Augustines, HarringaySt Augustines, Harringay overlooking the New RiverSt Augustines, Harringay roof

Opened as an iron tabernacle in 1891 it was replaced by a permanent church and halls in 1901. A schoolroom was registered in 1900.

Originally sponsored by the Caledonian Road circuit of the Primitive Methodists, the church joined the Finsbury Park circuit after the Methodists’ union in 1931.

Peeking through the door, one Sunday in 1903, when membership was rising and Mattison Road was described as the chief Primitive Methodist church in London, you could have counted 188 devotees in the morning and 240 in the evening.
Pictures of the interior here

The organs were built in 1904 by local church organ builders, Rest Cartwright, in Park Road

A minister was shared with Grange Park from 1931 to 1942 and thereafter with Finsbury Park. Closed in 1963 it became a Roman Catholic church until its closure in 2009. Its next incarnation is uncertain although locals have many ideas for it.

Let us head up to Wightman Road and to the Hornsey Tabernacle, Wightman Road, which was registered for undenominational worship in 1893.

In 1903 it was used by ‘disciples of Christ’, with an average attendance on one Sunday of 58 in the morning and 118 in the evening, Later, in 1912, it was registered as Hornsey Church of Christ.

In 1969,members joined Harringay Congregational church to form Harringay United church, on Green Lanes, whereupon the Wightman Road site was sold to the The United Apostolic Faith Church who renovated the former Hornsey tabernacle in 1970 and which is now known as the Gospel Centre.

Harringay Congregational, Green Lanes
Finally let us double back a little to near the corner of Hampden Road to finish at Willoughby Road Wesleyan Methodist church which opened as a Sunday school chapel in 1885, on land acquired in 1882 .

Classrooms were built in 1889 and a church, perhaps replacing an iron one, was opened on the corner site to the east in 1893.

A lecture hall and more classrooms were added to the north in 1903, when on one Sunday there were attendances of 822 in the morning and 1,124 in the evening.

The congregation, which belonged to the Finsbury Park circuit, was joined by many from Mattison Road in 1963.

After a fire in 1973, Willoughby Road church was replaced by a yellow-brick structure which, with the adjoining schoolroom in Hampden Road, seated 300. The brick hall opened in 1903 was bought with the empty corner site by Haringey L.B. and survived in 1976.

Methodist Church

Source: Hornsey, including Highgate - Protestant nonconformity | British History Online

Tags for Forum Posts: churches, wightman road

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Replies to This Discussion

Well, that 14 word sentence shore puts 45 years of Mattisonian Catholic worship in perspective. On behalf of Fr Seamus Noctor and several thousand fellow worshippers, may I say we're tickled. We're not great fans of "solitary religion" either!
The title is a quote from Wesley (as I'm sure you know) and the purpose of this short piece was to summarise the info I found out about the original uses of the non C of E protestant churches in the area, given that St Paul's has had a fair bit written about it on here.

I will endeavour to find out more about the Roman Catholic presence in the neighbourhood and write it in another piece on another Sunday, unless someone with more knowledge of it would care to do so first.
Liz, sorry if my little 'nonconformist Catholic' squib above was a bit out of place. In fact I was very glad to read your piece as I was pursuing some of those sources just a few weeks ago. Fact is, I suppose, if some of us 'nonconformist catholics' had been more regular customers of St Augustine's over the years it probably wouldn't have had to shut up shop, a la Dolcetti etc!

There are two or three related websites you might find of interest:
St Augustine's Harringay Parish
St Augustine's Harringay History
Welcome to St Augustine of Canterbury

(Sorry, those three aren't proper links. You'll have to Google them.)

There's a link to a map under 'Parish Boundaries' . Starting from Allison it includes the Ladder & Gardens & Endymion as far as FP's Hornsey Gate, then curiously excludes the American Gardens but includes the Old Cricket Ground as well as the Arena and Stadium, Hermitage & Eade Roads stopping short of Woodberry Grove. The dark blue boundary line shows how (the former) St Augustine's relates to the six other catholic parishes of Haringey Deanery (within Westminster Archdiocese).
Thanks, what I gathered above in terms of links and info was all that was freely available on the Internet. I imagine there is much more (as there is for St Paul's) in the National and Metropolitan Archives.

I'll have a look at the RC links. It seems from what I have gleaned so far that the Catholic presence in Harringay has been short and sweet. Where do people have to go now to worship?
Back to where they went pre-1964: St John Vianney's on West green Road. Some (including Bruce Kent) over to St Peter-in-Chains on Womersley Rd, beyond Ferme Park rd. Others, including me sometimes, take the W5 to St Joseph's, Highgate (near St Aloysius' College). I suppose a few may head over to the Jesuits in Stamford Hill or St Paul's in Wood Green. (Now there's another reason for a W1 Bus!) Over thirty years ago my late Goan landlady used go through the Park to a church in Portland Rise near Manor House She wasn't very happy with Fr Noctor's 'Irish ways'. Indeed, truth be told, even quite a few Irish would have been happy if their pastor had been encouraged to retire a decade ago!
There you go OAE, another thing to add to your list of reasons for the W1; religious freedom.
Liz, I've got a picture with me in the States of my cousin getting married at this church back in 1966. His wife was Irish and Catholic, he wasn't, so they could not say their vows at the main altar.
Any chance of scanning it and adding it to the site Meryl?
"Over thirty years ago my late Goan landlady used go through the Park to a church in Portland Rise near Manor House."

That would be St Thomas More in Henry Road. I used to go there in the 90s. I seem to remember there was quite a big Goan community there - they would have a big celebration for St Thomas Xavier's feast day, December 3rd.

Bruce Kent used to go there quite often too. It was the UK headquarters for Pax Christi then, though I don't think it still is.

Thanks, Gen, that's it: St Thomas More. Indeed my only visit there was for my former landlady's funeral in the early 1980's. Yes, a strong Goan community then, both at St Thomas More and at the Sunday football league in Finsbury Park. I think you meant 'St Francis Xavier's feast day'.



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