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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

There is an image on the Alexandra Palace website of the original 1873 building taken of the main front aspect - link/image below. I cannot work out what or where the foreground buildings are. Logically they must be somewhere towards the eastern end of Hornsey High Street if we are looking face on to the palace building but in that area we should be able to see St Mary's Church. Can anyone shed any light on what these buildings are?

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Shadow analysis is a bit too detailed for me but I'm going to stick my neck out on this. 1) Let's assume the image is flipped; 2) the big house is Campsbourne; 3) the houses on the foreground are those at the junction of the now demolished St Mary's Road and Westfield Road as marked by the blue circle below - the picket fence running east is the line of the yet to be built St Anns Road. St Mary's is the only S-shaped road in the area. The more remote building centre and right are in the St Mary's Nursery (shown in the 1860's, OS 25 inch map) and those to the left are in the grounds of Grove House; 4) The roadways heading off to the west will become St Ma's and Wetsfield Roads;5) In the Peter Brooks and Deborah Jones photos a lot of the houses are plain fronted 3-storey houses, a little like those in the 1860/70s image. The picture could have been taken from a little way up the slope close to the now gardens of Hillfield Avenue where the red X is marked. 

Composite overlay of 1863 and 1895 maps

I concur. Re the location of the houses, yes, exactly what I said yesterday. And, re the location of the camera, pretty much exactly what I was just saying to Dick in a over-the-garden-gate exchange just now. 

I live very near the spot marked by the X and I can confirm the shape of the horizon around the Palace resembles the flipped photo far more than the unflipped.

I too have always wondered where the buildings were - assumed it was the Nightingale pub and the winding lane was Nightingale Road ... very foreshortened.

As regards shadows, I simply considered the dome of the palace and the shade thrown by the large flat square wall in the centre left of the picture.

A further issue is that of the railway.  The bed of the track is still there and it starts behind the palace and runs westwards below the brow of the rising land on that side of the building.  In fact it runs under Muswell Hill Road before its embankment towers over the houses and gardens in St James's Lane.  If the picture were reversed the railway would have to be improbably low in relation to the palace for it not to be visible.

If you look at the 1893/5 OS map, you'll see that the track curved gently north west away from the building and ran behind a line of trees. That, in my opinion, is entirely consistent with a flipped version of the photo. 

According to the map, immediately to the west of the building, as the track crossed the roadway marked, the land to the south of it was between 6 and 9 feet higher than the track. From a lower viewpoint, that would easily have been enough to conceal the track before it ran behind the line of trees.

Each time I search for one thing, I end up seeing another. A couple more observations.

On the OS map, there's a small mound with a tree showing near to the south eastern corner of the building. The only corresponding feature in the photo is to the left of the unflipped photo. 

(The photo snippets below are of the flipped version)

You can also just make out two buildings in the photo snippet. One just to the east of the mound and tree and one concealed behind the next group of trees going east, just at the end of a rough track. This would exactly match with the map.

There is a small building showing on the map to the west which we must consider. Firstly, that is shown as a greenhouse of some sort and I don't think the building in the photo is suggestive of it being a glasshouse of any sort. Secondly, If you look at the ground to that side, there's clearly a steep drop to the north, with only the tops of trees showing. Any greenhouse type structure could well be be hidden by the slope. 

Not sufficient evidence in themselves, but they're part of a series of observations that I find too difficult to ignore. 

Thanks to Agabus for sourcing the higher res picture.

A footnote on the station and railway line: the large image below is from June 1873, looking southwest.  The height difference between rail level and the terrace (which was at the same level as the ground floor of the Palace) above the far end of the platforms is considerable, giving weight to the proposal that the railway line could not be seen emerging from behind the Palace from the viewpoint of the photograph that started this.

I could speculate, but no more than that, that in the flipped image, the left edge shows a short section of level embankment, well away from the Palace, consistent with the disposition in the large image:

Thanks, Gordon.

I pondered this photo a while back. The best I could think of was an earlier incarnation of The Campsbourne (i.e. the short road off of Hornsey High Street that used to house the MAP Laundry, rather than Campsbourne Road).   However, I wasn't convinced.  I even pondered whether it might have been printed back to front and that this was something like Tottenham Wood farm to the north.

On the MAPCO 1872 map, the most direct line perhaps is Nightingale Place. However, I don't know what that looked like!

I recently got a copy of "Palace on the Hill" by Ken Gay. This includes this photo, captioned "... In the foreground is Rectory Road and Middle Lane, rebuilt postwar with council flats. I can't work that one out. What Rectory Road?

Thanks, Ken. We’re not a million miles apart. I can’t work out Ken Gay’s take on it either. Rectory Road, as opppsed to Rectory Gardens, was on the St Mary’s Estate parallel to the upper part of St Mary’s Road. But it was a straight road with barely a curve. It’s possible he didn’t get that right.

What’s your take on the issue of flipping now. Have you had a chance to read the unwieldy preceding interchange?

Oops, it came up on Friday Ketchup and I hadn't realised that there was so much gone before. I'm with flipped image with Campsbourn-ish cluster in foreground. I say -ish because I still wonder about Nightingale Place because of the old pc that shows something a bit larger than pub and cottages.

But, but, but .... I can't quite shake off the composite image notion expressed previously, because that cluster does have a feel of Park Road/foot of Muswell Hill about it!

Thanks Ken. Your picture shows River Cottages (so named because they stood on the New River), with the wall of The Elms of the right. Directly adjacent, to the south was the old sluice house. See more info and a slightly better quality image at Fig. 5 here. Fig. 4 shows the sluice house.

Oh, hadn't realised that they were that close to Priory Road.   It makes me wonder about the building still at the back of a few  Linzee Road houses on the right. This picture is extracted from estate agent details of a past sale of no.8 Linzee. Odd structure to build as original part of a few Linzee terraces. Any possibility of remnant of River Cottages?

The map also informs me that the river ran part along what is now Linzee Road. I shall retrospectively name my childhood house as River Terrace ;-)

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