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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Figs 1 & 2: Hornsey Station, c1905

I've half wondered about that yard on Tottenham Lane at the bottom of the stairs from Hornsey station and mused about what its original use was. The other day I came across the two photos above in the less sorted part of my historical photo collection. They began to make sense of it. Both date from around 1905. One is looking at the outside of the station from Tottenham Lane. The other is looking out from one of the platforms.

I wanted to find out if there was a name for that little yard before adding these photos. In doing so, I realised that the old OS maps tell something of the story of the development of the station.

The earliest mention I can find of the station predates its appearance on any map.

Fig. 3: 'Talks of Old London' from, London Evening News, June 21, 1910

Turning to the maps, we start 19 years after the station was opened with the 1869 map. We see a twin-track railway. One track feeds out to the goods depot to the east and another to some sidings to the west. The railway then resumes its twin-track form.

The station is at street level, set back from Tottenham Lane behind green spaces. At its front is a yard area, probably for carriages and carts. The station appears to consist of two buildings, set back behind the Railway Hotel. At the southern end of the yard a track runs east and then is carried over a bridge and on to the Queen's Head on Green Lanes (Before Harringay House was built, the track extended all the way to Hornsey Wood House, in today's Finsbury Park, crossing the winding New River over four bridges before reaching its destination).

Fig 4: Ordnance Survey Map, 1869

Less than a quarter of a century later, the 1893 map, shows that things have developed. The twin-track line has multiplied and Hampden Road had been laid out and extended from Wightman Road to the edge of the railway. The goods shed has been re-sited somewhat to the south. The river and cart track are gone and the many fingers of Ferme Park Sidings have appeared.

At the station, the buildings on Tottenham Lane have been extended and a second platform with waiting rooms has been added. To accommodate the new arrangements, a passenger bridge has be built. But it is not the bridge we know today. It is somewhat to the south of where the current one is and does not yet align with Hampden Road, nor does it include a higher level ticket hall. It looks like at least the foundations are in place for extending the platforms further north.

Fig. 5: Ordnance Survey Map, 1893

On Tottenham Lane, a Royal Mail sorting office has been built, facing the station. There's another building opposite it and a cluster of three small buildings just to the north of the entrance to the station yard. The 1893 Kelly's Directory helps us out with what they might have contained. The listing runs south to north, starting with the Railway Hotel.

Fig. 6: Kelly's Directory, 1893

Around the turn of the century, the station was enlarged. The booking office and waiting room buildings on Tottenham Lane, behind the Railway Hotel were demolished. The platforms were extended northwards and a new bridge built to connect the station to Hampden Road and Tottenham Lane. The booking office was moved to a building on the bridge and the waiting rooms to buildings on the platforms. 

Local residents also saw t it that the GNR was less niggardly with regards to public access to the bridge.

Fig. 7: Islington Gazette,  21 September 1899

Fig. 8: Hornsey Station and the Railway Hotel, c1905

Just twenty years later and things have developed still further. Trackside, the multitude of tracks that characterise today's Hornsey have appeared. Just off the map, Hornsey bridge, over Turnpike Lane, has been widened to accommodate the main railway tracks. The goods shed has been enlarged for use as an engine shed.

At the station, the platforms have been extended and what is probably the bridge we use today has been built. It connects to the new ticket hall (visible in both the top photo and the 1962 one, below). The street level station building behind the station yard appears to have been demolished.

Fig. 9: Ordnance Survey Map, 1915

The 1909 Kelly's shows what had become of the buildings to the north of the station entrance. I'm not sure which fits where. Off the map, there was another building at the corner of the junction with Turnpike Lane. So that perhaps accounts for Brown the Builder.

Fog. 10: Kelly's Directory, 1909

The 1915 map gave the broad outline of the station today, but not quite. The 1954 map below shows that a new platform had been built in the old forecourt, perhaps for goods only. We can also see the addition of a train turntable to the east of the line, just at the end of the pedestrian footbridge (the northern edge of the turntable was under where the tall fir trees now grow). 

TCB is an abbreviation for telephone call box.

Fig. 11: Ordnance Survey Map, 1952

Fig. 12: Hornsey Station, 1961

The 1962 train buff's picture of the Flying Scotsman, below, shows Hornsey station in 1962. Both platforms seem still to be functioning on two sides. The old higher-level ticket office is still in situ. 

Fig. 13: Hornsey Station, 1962

And, I'll finish with a view from the old forecourt/garage, showing Lotus Colin Chapman et al with the chassis of a Lotus 17. For those less au-fait with local history, Lotus git its start in a shed behind a house on Ribblesdale Road.  (See here and here)

Fig. 14: Colin Chapman, Mike Costin, Alan Stacey, Innes Ireland and Graham Hill Lotus 17 Chassis, 1959

Today, the two platforms serve only one side each, the Tottenham Lane goods platform is gone, as is the old ticket hall. I don't know what led to the demolition of the latter of those. Harringay's went following a fire.

So, to answer my question, what's now the garage (of sorts) started its railway life as the forecourt for the old station, all fringed with green spaces and ended it as some sort of goods yard. 

All the above is sourced from original research, mainly using primary documentation. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Added a minor update towards the top of the article - a short newspaper clipping about the very earliest origins of the station. 

My memories of the station in late 50s/early 60s were of a very ancient, dusty ticket office, platform and waiting room. Journeys were to Hertfordshire countryside or into Kings Cross for trainspotting. Stationers' school playing field was at Winchmore Hill so, although we had free scholar bus tickets, if we had a spare bob or two then a ride home to Hornsey station was a treat.  

There was no improvement in dilapidation by the time I resumed Hertfordshire day trips in early '70s, now with wife and first child! I presume it will have had a makeover by now.

Things have certainly changed since the 60s. As with Harringay, a new ticket office was built in the 70s. At Harringay, it was following a fire. I'm not sure if the change at Hornsey had the same cause.

At around the same time as the ticket office was rebuilt, the old enclosed staircase from Hampden Road was demolished and replaced with a simpler open staircase. 

All old buildings on the platforms were also demolished and for the most part never replaced. 

New fig. 13 added.

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