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?
Is this Campsbourne House or Lodge on the right on the 1895 map or a later replacement?
I think you are right about the foreground building being the very early days of the St Mary and Grove House estate. There are piles of bricks scattered around in the left forgeround of the flipped image and the building slightly more distant could be the ones ringed below.
I don't think anything of Campsbourne (Campsbourne Lodge) survived. Kelly's Directory always used house names where they existed. The 1896 edition shows just seven numbered houses on The Campsbourne, which matches the 1893/5 map: none is named. Victorians tended towards grandiosity. I think any building that chiefly comprised an important old house would very probably have retained the house name.
The east side of the road was redeveloped in the early twenieth century and the west side, partly so. Much of the west side was taken over by the MAP Laundry.
1915 OS map
I am very impressed by the depth and intensity of the analysis by Agabus and Hugh thus far.
Another (probably inconclusive) line of attack would be to consider the shadows cast by the sun. As the palace faces almost exactly South East, the sun would appear at first glance to have been either due East (in the unflipped image) or due South (in the flipped image). Is it more likely that this picture was taken at 6am or at noon and can any inference be drawn from the absence of any people or from the presence of building materials scattered around the scaffolding? Could it have been lunch time or perhaps a Sunday?
I am not so sure that the figure 3 inscribed on the picture signifies much. It could have been in black on the glass plate but, if so, we don't know on which side it was written or why. If there is an original paper print showing a white painted 3, it would tell what somebody thought was the right way round but not whether this was correct.
Some useful thoughts as always, Dick.
Using the shadows I can see, I’ve checked the path of the sun on my photographer’s ephemeris app and it would be be around 0700 if flipped. I’m pretty sure there’s a free version online to play with.
By the way, my reference shadows are those cast by trees to the left of the building (unflipped)
Which are your reference shadows, Dick?
Looking at the photo again for shadows, I noticed that the ground to the left of the building in the unflipped version seems to rise again. On the ground, that’s true for the land to the west of the building but not the the east. So I’m becoming ever more convinced that the image has indeed been flipped.
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:
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?
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