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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I've been digging round in the history of Wood Green somewhat recently. As part of that I've turned up more historic images of Wood Green. After posting one of those, I got into a discussion about Mayes Road which sparked my interest.

It wasn't a road I'd given much thought to before. It was just another road full of Victorian buildings. But, having dug around a little for a while now, I've come to realise that it's a very old road.

Though unnamed, it is clearly shown on  the Dorset Survey map of 1619. This takes it back at least 500 years. However, other pieces of evidence regarding buildings around Wood Green Common, suggest that it might go back a few hundred years more at the very least. (More of that another time).

Given that it's such an old road, I wondered where its name came from and when it was adopted. I haven't had much luck on the when so far, but I think I may have a good suggestion for the why.

The earliest printed mention of the road named as Mayes Road that I've been able to turn up so far is from 1860 in this advert in the Clerkenwell News:

As far as the why is concerned, here's what I think. But first a word about my chief source of reference, the Dorset Map. The map is an invaluable source, but it's a bit of a pain to work with because, like most maps at the time, it was published with north towards the bottom of the page. In our 21st Century minds, it's upside-down. So I'm never sure whether to produce the map in its original orientation or one that suits our way of looking at things. On this occasion, since reading what's written on the map is the primary focus, I'm going for original orientation (but if you want to see the larger map excerpt re-oriented for the 21st century mind, click on my second link above).

Extract from Dorset Survey Map, 1619, ©Bruce Castle Museum

In the map above, what became Mayes Road is the roadway leading diagonally from Ducketts Meade to Wood Greene.

Looking at the map, I noticed a field (just below the 'RN ' of 'Harnsey'), which I'm pretty sure says 'Nayes'.

In his book of 1840*, William Robinson writes of a piece of land he calls 'Naves' as being in the possession of one of the big land owning families in 1600. I've found inaccuracies in the work of mid-Victorian historians before and the writing on the map isn't clear, but comparing other letters 'v' and 'y' on the map, if I had to stake my life on it, I'd say Robinson (or his printer) is mistaken and the word is definitely Nayes and not Naves.

If this is so and that was indeed Nayes field, with how names shifted over time and/or given the odd transliteration, that probably gives us the origin for Mayes road.

I also found a mention of the road in a newspaper of 1862, referring to it as  Mayes Lane. Lanes were often routes that were named after places they to which led. So this supports the idea that Mayes Road was named after a destination, in this case, Nayes Field.

During the development of Shopping City in the 1970s, Mayes Road was truncated and its ancient southern section connecting to the High Road was built over.   

With regards to the v or y issue, decide for yourself.


Another letter 'v' on the map

Another letter 'y' on the map

*The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Tottenham, in the County of Middlesex: Volume 1 - Link

Tags for Forum Posts: mayes road, wood green history

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Can you help with some first names of the family? Also, can I ask where your reference to number 15 came from?

In the meantime, here are the house numbers on the east end, south side in 1898 after the road had been numbered. The map was surveyed in 1894 and published the following year.

You can see those houses on both this photo and this one

Hi Hugh,

Bit of a saga. A young lady was put in the family way by her boyfriend who was called Charles William King. He said he would do the right thing by her by promptly joining the army and going off to India.

The child was born  in  March 1893 and put up for adoption in the June.The adoption papers show that Charles's mother was living at 15 Mayes Road, Myddleton Road, Wood Green.  I got the impression his mother may have been living alone. No known first name for the mother and as Charles died in India in 1896 unfortunately his service record was binned.

The 1901 census has Catchpole @ 17, Wenn @ 15, Lansdowne @ 13 and Surridge @ 11 then it goes to Hornsey Park Road with no reference to the Salvation Army Citadel. Going back the other way the census record too confirms the numbering jumps from 17 to 25 on that side of the road. 



You write that "Charles's mother was living at 15 Mayes Road". Is that the mother of Charles, the baby's biological father, or was Charles the baby and the "mother" the abandoned baby-mother?

I'm as sure as I can be at this stage that the address you want pre-numbering was 5 Scarborough Villas. That corresponds to 15 Mayes Road. In 1891 and 1892 that was the home of married couple George Reeves and his wife Charlotte, aged 50 and 49 respectively. He had formerly been a publican in the City. In the census of 1881 they had a 19-year old son, who oddly doesn't show in the 1871 census.

I can find neither hide nor hair of either of them in the 1901 Census. By the time of the 1911 census, Charlotte seems to have been listed as a housekeeper at a premises in St John's Wood. George is a "visitor". One of the other two members of the household is an 18 year old girl, named Emily. If the baby born in March 1893 was a girl, by the time of the 1911 census (held on April 2), she would just have turned 18 - but that may be a false trail (particularly if the baby was Charles!)

From 1841 on, census forms were forms filled out by households directly. So what was included or omitted was at the discretion of a head of household. This means that the possibility should be entertained that any census is an edit of history. 

When I have time, I'll be happy to share how I reached my conclusions and share the evidence. 


Yes, the mother of the biological father was living at 15 Mayes Road. 

I think you are right in that 5 Scarborough Villas is No15 Mayes Road. The Landsdownes were neighbours to the Reeves in 1891 and were living at No13 in 1901.  

We know what happened to the child. He was adopted and his whereabouts are known as well as those of the biological mother.

Its just that we can`t track the biological father down nor his family in any census records. 

I think what probably happened is that the Reeves moved out shortly after the census was taken and Mrs King moved in fairly soon after. As always happens when you are looking for someone!

Anyway many thanks for your help. At least we now know where No15 is.

It would have been fairly normal in those days for people to sublet rooms. So Mrs King could have let a room or rooms from the Reeves.

Did Charles have any other names? 

Re the house, you also have photos of it. Did you spot those links in my earlier post?

Charles was calling himself Charles William King. He was working as a live in barman in a pub in Edmonton but he is missing from the pub on the night of the census. Typical.

Not having much luck but then that is often the case. you either hit lucky or not at all.

I make No 15 the second of the high pitched roofs furthest from the camera.   

The OS map I added above shows that the last four houses before the turning (Park Ridings) are two sets of semis. So, I suspect that the ones with the high pitched roofs are numbers 11 and 13 and that number 15 is the first of the next pair. I imagine that it would have looked like the last two on the north side of Park Ridings. (They seems to match the style).

Interesting that Charles was working in a pub. That makes me wonder about a possible connection with the Reeves through the trade.. 



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