Fig. 1: Garner & Somerford Building, Seven Sisters RoaD, Finsbury Park, 1938.
Garner and Somerford was a large drapery store which, from the late nineteenth century until 1938, stood at 244 - 252 Seven Sister's Road, on the corner of St, Thomas's Road, opposite Station Place in the centre of Finsbury Park town. This photo was taken on July 31st, 1938.
If you're having trouble placing it, this Google Street View screenshot shows the site today.
Fig. 2: The Garner & Somerford site today (Google Street View).
The building was demolished in 1938 as part of the redevelopment of Finsbury Park Station. The explanation on the back of the photo says:
Work in connection with electrification of High Barnet and Alexandra Palace railways and the linking with the northern city tube.
Looking at the before and after Ordnance Survey maps, it was difficult at first to work out why it was demolished, since the line wasn't widened at this time and no building took its place on Seven Sisters Road immediately. But on a second look, and thanks to information from HoL member Arkady, on the 1947 map you can see in fact where the additional line was to be added.
Fig. 3: Ordnance Survey maps for, from left to right,1912, 1938 and 1947
Arkady contributed the following photo of the never-to-be-finished line and platform.
Fig. 4: The never-finished line at Finsbury Park, looking south-east along the line. Station Place is to gthe left. Stroud Green Road is in the foreground. (Photo; Unknown)
Fig. 5: Along with the new line, a substantial steel structure built for the new station facade, photographed in 1969 The unfinished line along with the rusting facade structure was demolished in 1972 and a new station facade built on the site in 1983/4 (Photo by Jim Blake. ©North London Transport Society)
The drawing below shows the planned station design in 1945.
Fig. 6: Planned station, drawn in 1945. It seesm to have been an interesting blend of art deco and post war modernism. What a shame it never got built.
Much of the Garner and Somerford site is still without a building. Looking at the Street View image, however, it looks like there was a significant broadening and strengthening of the railway embankment.
If you're anything like me, you've never thought about what stood in that spot, but it looks like it was a fairly significant building, the demolition of which would have left a very noticeable alteration to the streetscape.
Here are some other photos showing it.
Fig. 7: The Finsbury Park Empire shot form Seven Sisters Road, with Barclays Bank to the left and Garner and Somerford to the right.
Fig. 8: Shot along Station Place, with Finsbury Park Station to the right and Garner and Somerford in the distance on Seven Sisters Road.
Fig. 9: Looking north-east along Seven Sisters Road, with Garner and Somerford just squeezing in on the far right.
Fig. 10: Shot from the railway bridge over Seven Sisters Road, looking north along Station Place as it is being redeveloped in 1938/39. On the far right is the site of the already demolished Garner and Simpson premises.
Fig. 11: Garner and Simpson advert, Holloway Press 16 June 1923
I think it was planned to add extra tracks and an extra bridge - possibly for Moorgate trains ?-which is why Garner & Somerford had to go, but the plans were later dropped. In the 4th photo, isn't Finsbury Park Station on the right, not the left?
I did wonder if that was the case, Jeremy. Is that speculation on your part or is something you know?
Re 4th photo, thanks, yes a slip of the finger. .
Yes pretty sure it was part of the Northern Heights works. The new viaduct at Finsbury Park was party built, never used, and demolished in the 1970s.
This account http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/f/finsbury_park/ has at the foot of the page an image (captioned '1969') of the steelwork, as well as an image within the text.
And here's a good picture of the viaduct/entrance at Station Place that was never used and then demolished:
Is this looking south-east along Station Place?
yep, precisely towards the site of Garner & Somerfield.
I worked briefly on the first floor of the building on the left: 11 Stroud Green Road. It was Blackmore Staff agency. Upstairs was a theatrical/music agency who managed ‘Starry-eyed and Laughing’ among other bands.
One of my starting points is always to OS maps. This triptych in my original post shows the 1912, 1938 and 1947 maps. I suppose that on the 47 map, that vacant strip between the station and Station Place was intended for the accommodation of a new line. That would make sense of the demolition work undertaken both on Seven Sisters Road and in Station Place.
Thanks to Jeremy, Arkady & Gordon for helping to clarify what happened. I think we have a convincing story now, supported by evidence.
The implication of all this is that if it's not embankmentation for the existing lines, there may be a valuable building plot there, a-ripe for the plucking.
Amazing what a single old photo can help reveal.
Indeed, and it would be nice to restore that corner. Your photo looking down Station Place really shows how much appealing enclosure the street and intersection lost when it was demolished. The hideous building in your second photo doesn't help.