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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The development of the Harringay Ladder was tightly controlled, both by the covenants imposed by the land vendor, the British Land Company and through the supervision of building quality by Hornsey & Tottenham Councils. Some of the builds were considered so poor that Hornsey Council had the builders tear down some houses and start again.

With the exception of churches, schools, council work depots and retail development along Green Lanes and at either end of Wightman Road, almost all of the initial development on the Ladder was residential in nature. There was however one exception to this: a non-residential zone created between the back-gardens of the houses at the eastern end of the the Effingham-Beresford block. 

In response to questions about a couple of the Harringay mysteries in the past, I've scratched around on the surface of the history of these plots. But, I've never seriously got to grips with it.

I came across this little area of Harringay again recently when researching the story of the Alsford timber merchant and saw mill. Having been reminded how much I didn't understand about it, I decided it was about time I dug a little deeper. This article shares what I've been able to uncover so far about the development of what I've called the Effingham-Beresford Backlands.

What I discovered added more to my understanding of how the Harringay we know today was shaped, as well as to the story I've begun piecing together of the men who built the Ladder. It has also answered two of the Harringay mysteries but in doing so has created new ones.

In undertaking my research, the first cartographic tool  I used was a late version of the British Land Company sale plan for Harringay Park (for which my thanks go to Jo Pinate). All the British Land Company plans for Harringay were oriented with west to the top of the map. I found that to be a convenient format. So all the maps and plans below follow this lead and are shown with west to the top. I hope it doesn't disorient you, the reader.


The backlands seem to have been created in the main by two builders. The smaller western part by George Hooton; the larger eastern section, arranged roughly in two halves, by William Denchfield.


The family who had the biggest impact on the backlands was the Denchfield family from rural Befordshire.

Jesse Denchfield grew up in a small village called Pitchcott. Once his school days were over, he started work as an agricultural labourer. No doubt that's what he would have remained like generations that went before. However, by the mid nineteenth century, the growing metropolises were drawing in more and more country folk, eager to improve their lot. Jessie joined the migration to London and by the time of the 1861 census, aged 31, he had moved to Clerkenwell with his wife Sarah and their young son, William, who was later to move to Harringay.

Ten years later, in the 1871 census, Jesse was described as a builder's labourer. He and Sarah had added a daughter to their family and William, now 18, was working as a carpenter and joiner.

in 1873, William married Sophia and the pair moved to Hampstead. Before the end of the decade, they'd moved again, this time over to West Green to a house not far from the Black Boy pub.

Things clearly went well for William, since by the time of the 1881 census, he was described as a carpenter employing 45 men and 3 boys. He and his wife had also started their own family and already had four sons. 

By 1891, William's parents had moved to a flat on Upper Tollington Road. With Jesse's occupation given in the census of that year as a draper's porter, we might assume that William supported them to make the moved to Stroud Green. In the same year, he and Sarah had increased the size of their family, with the addition of two more sons and a daughter.

No doubt, aware of the opportunities building houses offered in late Victorian London, the scope of William's business also seems to have expanded. He'd moved from carpentry to more general building and had started to buy up a number of plots on the Harringay Park estate.

His first purchase appears to have been on Effingham Road, since by 1892 he was recorded as living in Drayton House, Effingham Road (now number 128). Also in 1891 William began the purchase of the first of at least two sites on Green Lanes between Effingham Road and Beresford Road. In 1893, he started buying plots on the north eastern part of Beresford Road and more on the south eastern section of Effingham Road.

Fig. 1: Drayton House (Number 128), Effingham Road (right). Bigger than all its neighbours, this was probably one of the first houses Denchfield built in Harringay. He was recorded as living here between 1892 and at least until 1896.

I have checked the titles of two plots on each of Green Lanes and Effingham Road and one on Beresford. Along with other information, that I'll share below, it's sufficient to give a good probability as to what William Denchfield's purchases looked like on the Effingham-Beresford block. It is likely that he bought more: but I'm reluctant to make shots in the dark with no evidence. (I'd check more plots, but at £3.00 a pop four is enough for me. But I'd be interested to hear from anyone on Beresford or Effingham - or for that matter any Ladder road -  who has their title deeds and can share with me who originally purchased the land on their deeds from the British Land Company).

Fig. 2: William Denchfield appears to have bought the plots that became 120 to 142 Effingham Road and 115 to 135 Beresford Road. He also bought the land for 609/609A and 611 Green Lanes.

As well as providing him lucrative house-building sites, the purchase of these plots allowed Denchfield to grow his business. By removing half of each garden-to-be from his lines of house plots, he created a large plot of land between the houses which he used for commercial purposes.  

Denchfield's Harringay land purchases gave him sufficient space to build a total of 33 houses and one shop-house. We learn from later records that he claimed to own and manage 40 properties. This may mean that he had other properties not that I have yet to identify, or that his claim was simply a rough, rounded-up figure.

We know that at least some of the houses were lived in by members of his immediate family, for some of the time (covered below). In the late 1890s, William himself moved from Drayton House into Beresford House (611 Green Lanes). 

Fig. 3: William Denchfield's two Green Lanes properties. 609/609A on the left, 611 / Beresford House on the right. Photo: Google Maps


The decisions Denchfield made about the backlands had a lasting impact on Harringay. All the land was used for commercial purposes. The western part (top of the map in Fig 2), apparently provided a home for Denchfield's building related activities. The eastern (bottom) part was used for a community hall known as Beresford Hall. This building provided a new outlet for William's energies as he began to hand much of the day-to-day operations of his building trade work on to his sons. Either by accident or by design, it also put him at the heart of Harringay community life.

The first new mystery my explorations have thrown up is how on earth William was able to use his backlands for commercial purposes. The restrictive covenants contained in the the British Land Company deed for one of the Beresford houses were typical of all Ladder house covenants. They all include clauses, clearly restricting the use to which the land could be put.

Description of Buildings:- Private dwellinghouses only with such out-buildings stables or other erections as the Vendors may by writing approve shall be erected on Lots Y40 first part to Y43 thirty-third part inclusive. Dwellinghouses with shops for ordinary trade purposes may be erected on Lots Y44 first part to Y45 sixth part inclusive.

Trades &c. prohibited:- No building shall be erected or used as a shop workshop warehouse or factory and no trade or manufacture shall be carried on nor shall any operative machinery be fixed or placed upon any lot.

(I'm assuming that Y40 and Y43 are the groups of lots on Beresford and Effingham and Y44 and 45 are the two lots on Green Lanes.)

The British Land Company set out in its sale map how it foresaw the land being used for residential dwellings.

Fig. 4: Excerpt from British Land Company Sale plan, dated 29th September 1893, showing the assumed use of land as housing plots

I wonder if William's ability to bypass the original restrictions was down to a deal he did with the British Land Company and / or Tottenham District Council.

To ensure proper accessibility to his backlands, William created three access routes, two from Effingham, one from Beresford and one from Green Lanes. The Beresford entrance was created by adding another section onto on of the houses (see Fig 11 below). At the ground floor level this was a passageway that went through to an alley leading to the backlands. The existence of this apparently needless second door has mystified some HoLers in years gone by. The Green Lanes entrance, under the first floor of number 609, now serves as the trade entrance to Medlocks.

The second new mystery now planted in my mind concerns the small pre-1880 building visible in the British Land Company map (Fig. 4). The building did not appear on the pre-development estate plan of 1880 (based on the 1869 Ordnance Survey map and not reproduced here). So was it perhaps built by the British Land Company as some sort of base for surveying or sales? Could it have had anything to do with Denchfield's ability to repurpose the land. Did it somehow create a legal precedent for a non-residential use?

The 1895 Ordnance Survey map  (Fig. 2) shows the building still in place, with plot boundaries clearly redrawn to accommodate it as the centre of two backland plots, one facing west (top) and one east. By 1915 the small building, or one of the same size in the exact same position remained. But it had been added to by a cluster of buildings to its east (top of the map) and another to its west. A large greenhouse had also been added.

As we'll see below, it stayed firmly in place after a major post WWI development of Beresford Hall, with the new buildings being arranged around the old building (Fig. 6 below).  What was it and why did it remain so long?

Is it my imagination or, does part of its footprint survive even today. Why is there an indent in the new Medlock buildings, apparently designed to cut around the site of the old building??

Fig. 5: 1895 Ordnance Survey map overlaid on presnt day Google Maps


There is no plan that gives the function of all the buildings shown in the backlands on the Ordnance Survey maps. But it is known that key amongst them was Beresford Hall. The building used the address of 609A Green Lanes. Looking at the 1915 map (Fig. 6), the rectangle connected to Green Lanes by a long tubular-shaped structure was probably the main hall. It may be the case that the other buildings clustered around it were additional function rooms. It looks like one is built around a courtyard of some sort. By the time of the 1938 map (see Fig. 15), almost the whole space in the eastern part of Denchfield's backlands was covered by a single building, labelled 'Hall'

Fig. 6: Excerpt from 1915 Ordnance Survey Map

Beresford Hall was one of three community halls in Harringay that, as well as being well used by groups from outside the area, together were the centre of local community activity. On the next block south, behind the church on Allison Road, was Allison Hall. Down near Harringay Green Lanes Station was Fairfax Hall. The last of the three is the only one still standing today.

Beresford Hall was a private business for Denchfield. He hired it out for all sorts of occasions.

Fig. 7: Advert from local newspaper, 1910

Events held there were regularly covered in the local press. Below is just a sample of events reported during the Edwardian and pre-World War I era.

  • 1904 - Harringay Athletic club - soiree and dance 
  • 1906 - Harringay Ratepayers' Association meetings
  • 1909 - The annual general meeting of the Harringay Liberal Association
  • 1909 - Prize giving of the Tottenham Carnival
  • 1909 - Meeting of the Harringay, Hornsey, Tottenham and Wood Green Tradesmen's Associations
  • 1910 - Sidlor's Down South Minstrels, a local singing company
  • 1912 - Cross country club Bohemian concert and dance
  • 1913 - Suffragette meetings
  • 1915 - London Clarion Movement whist drive.

To get a further taste of what went on in the hall, I have reproduce in full an article from the Tottenham and Edmonton Weekly Herald in  January 1911.  The piece also offers one of two threadbare clues about the appearance of the Edwardian hall.

Fig. 8: Report on Old People's Christmas Party at Beresford Hall

As part of the operations of the hall, Denchfield also ran the Beresford Dancing Academy. Although it was always advertised with an address of 611 Green Lanes, this was most likely just a correspondence address and I suspect that it made use of the hall.

Fig. 9: Advertisement for the Dancing Academy at Beresford Hall from the Harringay Ratepayers' Association Yearbook, 1913


It was very common for late Victorian and Edwardian men who had made money in the building trades to take a full part in the civic and political life of the areas in which they lived. Whilst Denchfield showed less interest in front-line political involvement, he did get involved with local politics to an extent. Whilst he never stood for office, he was an active member of the Harringay Liberal and Radical Association. In fact, he provided them with a base at Green Lanes for a few years in the mid-Edwardian era. He also provided a base for the Harringay Ratepayer's Association between 1903 and 1910. As with the dancing academy, the records show the Associations as having been based at his Beresford House home on Green Lanes. However, it is probable that their activities took place next door in Beresford Hall.


William Denchfield's building-related trades continued after his Ladder houses were built. Four of his seven sons worked with or for William in his building-related work through the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Some insights are given about the business in the appeals of two of his sons against conscription into the army in the First World War.

William's fourth son, Charles Edward, lived at 14 Elm Terrace, Beresford Road (now 123 Beresford Road). He made an appeal against conscription in February 1916. In it, he described himself as a 'master plumber, sanitary engineer, builder etc'. The snippet below shows the reasons he gave for claiming an exemption from service.

Fig. 10: Image taken from The National Archives item MH 47/92/48

Elsewhere in his appeal, Charles expressed his concern about paying the rent for his builder's yard if he were to be conscripted. In its response, the appeal board was quite scathing, both about this and about Charles's claims of potential loss of business: they pointed out that since the start of the War, business had dwindled to almost nothing and that there would be no rental burden because the yard was rented from his well-to-do father. From that last assertion, we might confirm that the part of the Denchfield backlands not occupied by Beresford Hall was used to service the family businesses. The house in which Charles lived also included the extra section I mentioned above, giving access to the backlands.

Fig. 11: 14 Elm Terrace (123 Beresford Road). The passage through to the backlands is to the right of the main house. Above it is a plaque, with the name 'Elm Terrace'.

Just down the road from Charles, at 6 Elm Terrace (131 Beresford Road), lived William's fifth son, Alfred. His appeal, six months after Charles's, described him as a 'Timber yard manager, paperhanger and general repairer'. His employer was shown as his father, who made the following statement in support of the appeal.

Fig. 12: Image from The National Archives item MH 47/83/2

Sadly for the two boys, neither appeal was successful.

After the war, the building trades work carried on from the backlands, at least until and into the Second World War. In 1941, C Denchfield & Sons Builders were listed as still trading from 126A Effingham Road.


In 1910, William developed another string to his building trades bow.

Twenty years previously James Alsford, the timber merchant, had bought the land for two properties (605 and 607/607A Green Lanes) neighbouring Denchfield's own. He used them to accommodate another outlet for his growing timber business.

With William's background in carpentry, the two neighbours must have had a good deal in common and are very likely to have developed a relationship. So, when Alsford retired and sold most of the business, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that Denchfield bought part of it. He acquired both the Green Lanes business and the Lordship Lane one. 

Two of William's sons, Arthur William and Walter James, appear to have run those businesses for their father; Arthur taking the helm at Harringay and Walter at Wood Green.

Fig. 13: Advertisement for timber businesss, Tottenham & Edmonton Weekly Herald, 1910

In 1924, the land to the north of the Coliseum Cinema on the corner of St Ann's Road was a series of vacant plots. The Denchfields apparently saw it as an opportunity and relocated their Harringay business to an empty plot to the north end of the strip. Perhaps they saw a more profitable use for 605 and 607 Green Lanes. By 1927, Salisbury Promenade had been built directly to the south of their new yard. 

Fig.14: Northern end of Salisbury Promenade in 1930, showing the Salisbury Timber Yard on the extreme left. Next to Denchfield's at 1 & 2 Salisbury Promenade is Best's Economy Stores and next along the Essangee Wallpaper shop.The shot is taken from an old film clip also hosted on this website.

The new timber yard, referred to in local directories as the Salisbury Timber Yard, continued at the new location until the outbreak of World War Two. The building standing on the site today was erected after the War, in 1959.

The Wood Green saw mill and timber yard was on a much larger scale than the Harringay premises and it was probably the centre of the Denchfield timber operations. This may be why outlasted Harringay and continued as a Denchfield operation until a year after Walter's death in 1964.

Fig. 15: 1938 Ordnance Survey Map

William's youngest, Harold Frederick chose to enter neither the building nor the timber trade. By 1933, he was running a garage business in a yard to the rear of 27 Etherley Road. It's not unreasonable to assume from this that it was he who ran the Denchfields Ltd Garage that traded out of Denchfield's western backlands from 1924 to 1939. Like all businesses that traded from that yard, the garage used the address of 126 Effingham Road.

A newspaper article from 1928 mentioned a fire at the garage.

Fig. 16: The Guardian, 2nd November 1928

Fig. 17 Harold Frederick Denchfield with one of his cars, c1950. (Photo supplied by Pete Bunyan, Harold's grandson)

By 1937, a business listed as Norbro Motor Works was listed at the Effingham Road address along with Denchfield's Garage. It is not clear if the two were related, or whether Norbro was a separate entity, perhaps a tenant business.


At times, some of Denchfield's western backlands premises were rented to other businesses, if only for short periods.

Between 1909 and 1911, a piano manufacturer and George Brown's 'shoeing forge' were mentioned as occupants at 126/126A Effingham Road. 

Fig. 18: Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review, 1909

I wonder if the pianos caught in the 1928 fire had been left by Mr Hickey!

A 'candy' business was also trading from the same address at around the same time.

Fig. 19: Music Hall and Theatre Review - 19 Aug 1909

From 1924 till at least as late as 1941, Cabinet maker Clarence Holton was listed as a tenant at 126A Effingham.


Beresford Hall, like Fairfax Hall further south, was pressed into service for the war effort and let for munitions work for at least part of the War, as we learn from William Denchfield's letter in support of Aldred's conscription (Fig. 12).

After the end of the war, the hall's re-listing in Kelly's Directory suggests that it came back into use as a community hall and as a venue for the dancing academy. By all accounts, it continued to run into the 1920's and, as previously mentioned, the 1938 Ordnance Survey map (Fig. 15) shows that the hall was extended significantly at some point after the war (with the small pre-1880 building preserved of course!).

Despite the building work, whether it was William's declining energy as he neared his late sixties, or a change in demand, the use of the Hall seems never to have recovered to its Edwardian levels of activity. Whilst regular reports were published about events at the Hall before the war and about Fairfax Hall after it, not one report appeared about Beresford Hall after 1918.

After William's death in 1927, the Hall appears to have fallen completely out of use as a community building and it ceased to be listed in Kelly's Directory. Its name, however, lived on and it was still in use in legal papers by the current occupiers until at least the end of the century.

Fig, 20: Photo entitled "View from Beresford Hall, 1949" ©BCM


Whatever the fate of the Hall, the family seem to have clung tight to Harringay through much of the twentieth century. All seven sons appear to have survived both wars and, as well as working in Harringay, they all lived here for some or all of their lives.

Three sons lived on Effingham Road, The oldest, Arthur lived at number 132 from 1908 until 1933 moving to Truro Road in Wood Green the following year. Mechanic Harold lived at number 128 before relocating to Southgate in 1930. The third son, Charles (whose conscription appeal I've already explored), lived at number 141 in 1908. But, by the time of his appeal was at number 123 Beresford Road (14 Elm Terrace). He continued to live there until 1933, when he moved out to Southgate. 

Two sons set up house further north, in Falkland Road1. Second son Henry and his wife Ada were at 99 from 1908. Henry stayed there until his death in 1942 (probably not as a result of fighting in the War, since the 1939 register described him as 'Bricklayer, Incapacitated'). Two doors down at number 95 was son number three, Walter, head honcho of the Wood Green timber yard. He lived there from 1908 until his death in 1964.

The fifth son, Alfred, is on the records as having remained with his wife Bessiein his father's house at 611 Green Lanes (Beresford Houseuntil his death in 19493.

Both Bessie and Ada lived on in their houses after the deaths of their husbands. Ada stayed at 99 Falkland Road until at least the mid sixties. Her eldest daughter, May then lived there on her own into her mid-nineties, but had moved out by 1974. Bessie stayed at 611 Green Lanes until the same year when she moved to a nursing home in Muswell Hill. We might wonder if this move came after her niece May moved out, perhaps no longer able to care for her aunt.

The other sons died in the 1950s and 1960s.

So, as far as I'm aware, Bessie's passing brought an end to the connection between William's branch of the Denchfields and Harringay. (Although, having said that, there is still a member of A Denchfield family living on one of the Ladder roads. But I have been unable to confirm whether or not there is any connection with the older branch.)


The Harringay Denchfields seem to have had a particular affinity with the use of 'Beresford' as a name.

  • William used the name for his main residence on Green Lanes, Beresford House
  • He also used it for the name of his backlands hall, Beresford Hall
  • When Charles moved out to Southgate in 1934, he named his house Beresford Villa
  • Walter James christened his son William Beresford Denchfield.

We might suppose that they just liked the name and it stuck. Or, perhaps the small pre-1880 backlands building was a temple to an obscure religion worshiping the God Beresford and the name was used with such frequency so as to honour the deity. At least that would explain the origin of one of the Ladder Road names!


Immediately to the west of the Denchfield backlands, the British Land Company lots were bought by builder George Akerman Hooton.

George Hooton was a plasterer's son from neighbouring Islington. He learned his father's trade after leaving school and became a plasterer himself. By 1881, he was married with a one year old infant, sharing a house with three other families in Durham Road, just down the road from the notorious Campbell Bunk in Finsbury Park.  

Ten years later, the census finds George at the West Green end of Harringay Road. Now living with his wife, three daughters, a son, he gave his occupation as builder. The presence of a servant in the household suggests that George was on his way. His house was at 8 Ackerman Terrace (now 172 Harringay Road). So, I think we can safely assume he was living in a terrace he had built and given his middle name.

Fig. 21: Akerman Terrace on Harringay Road. George's house was on the far right of the terrace (Image: Google Maps)

By 1891, with building approval for sixteen houses on the east end of Effingham Road, (but probably a dozen), Hooton was already engaged on his his next project.

Fig. 22: Hornsey & Finsbury Park Journal, 28 March. 1891. 

The way he used the land behind Effingham Road seems to have been almost identical to that used by Denchfield. This suggests either that one developer followed the other, and was challenged by neither the Council nor the vendor, or perhaps more probably, that both had dispensation to act as they did. 

With his Harringay houses built in the 1890s, by 1901 Hooton had moved out to rural Essex. His son Edward apparently took over the day-to-day running of the building firm and moved into at 114 Effingham with his wife Grace.

Fig. 23:  114 Effingham Road, showing Hooton's signage, 1910


Fig. 24: 114 Effingham Road wiht its entrance through to the Hooton backlands (Image: Google Maps)

Edward is recorded living at Effingham Road until the First World War. Shortly after the end of hostilities, he and Grace moved to 77 Frobisher Road. But he continued to use the backlands as a builder's yard. 

For a short period between 1922 and 1927, part or all, of the yard was being used as a motor garage: first as Effingham Motor Garages and then as Jones Brothers. Between 1929 and 1932, Harris and Frank, Manufacturing Upholsters were listed at the address (114A Effingham Road). 

George died in 1932 and Edward four years later. I can find no further trace of the family in Harringay.


Medlocks, the current occupant of the Denchfield backlands, is the only other occupant of the land that I can trace. I suspect this is because they took it on directly from the Denchfields, along with the three Green Lanes shops that front it. But I cannot yet confirm that. 

The website of Medlocks' lighting subsidiary, Lightplan, claim that their business was founded by James G Medlock in Harringay in 1910. However, the oldest documented Medlock business I've been able to trace is 1925. But this date still makes Medlocks a business with almost a 100 year history in Harringay!

The founder's father, Frederick. was the son of an agricultural labourer from near Sandy in Bedfordshire. He left for London before 1870, whilst still a teenager. Initially, he took lodgings in Blackheath and worked as a gardener. By 1880 he was married with three sons. A few years later, he had moved his family to a small house on Caversham Road, just off West Green Road. By this time, his occupation was given as 'foreman at coal yard'. By 1901, he was apparently doning well. He had moved his family to a larger house on Langham Road and was running his own business as a coal merchant. His son, Medlocks founder James, was listed in the census that year as 'warehouseman Manchester'. (Manchester cloth was an alternative name for cotton cloth. So a Manchester Warehouseman was a person working in a warehouse for cotton cloth)

By 1911, James was married with two young sons and living at 65 Warwick Gardens. He'd apparently moved on from warehousing and gave his occupation as 'traveller gas mantles'.

Still living in the same house in the Gardens, Medlock is first recorded as running a business in 1925, when he set up behind 578 Green Lanes as a 'gas mantle specialist'. Just a few doors up from Arthur Denchfield's Salisbury Timber Yard at number 570, these first premises have now been incorporated into number 580 Green Lanes and are occupied by Sama Foods.

 Fig. 25: James Medloclk's premises at 578 Green Lanes, 1934. Original image: Bruce Castle Museum

In 1933, Medlock moved with the times and changed his business from gas mantle supplies to 'wholesale electrical supplies'. In 1947, the company was incorporated as James G Medlock & Sons Ltd. I wonder if this was a matter of James putting things in order before he died since he passed away the following year.

Fig. 26: The Backlands photographed by the RAF in 1947. Original image: Historic England

The company continued to trade at 578 Green Lanes until the mid-1970s. Then in 1975, they took on number 605 (where the main retail entrance is today) and the Denchfield backlands. The following year, the company made a planning application relating to 126 Effingham Road:

Rebuilding of existing dwelling house to provide adequate access way to firm's warehouse premises to eliminate street off/on loading of vehicles & to provide parking space on present access way.

It was refused. But, for whatever reason, a second application to simply demolish the house was approved.

Demolition of 126 Effingham Road. Provision of replacement accommodation over rebuilt (8) garages. Formation of improved access to James E. Medlock's premises.

609 Green Lanes had been a kebab shop when Medlocks crossed the road. In 1977, it started to operate as a minicab office.  I cannot trace who the occupiers of 607 were at the time. 

Over the next fifteen years, Medlock expanded their operations, until they had taken over both 607 and 609 and developed the three into the triple-fronted retail unit we see today. The former passage thorough to Beresford Hall, next to 609, now provides access to the trade counter at the rear of the retail units and to the warehouse area which has been comprehensively redeveloped.

By 1979, Medlock had added branches in Waltham Cross and Southend and by a decade later, they were listed in the Key British Enterprises. Today the company styles itself as 'the largest independent wholesale group in the UK' with 50 branches in the UK and Ireland.


As for Hooton's backlands, planning permission was given for the construction of seven houses at the start of this century. Shortly after, Admiral Place was constructed.

Fig. 27: Admiral Place, Effingham Road, built at the start of this century. Access is through the arch under 114 Effingham Road (see Fig.s 23 & 24). (Image: via Zoopla)

The two Falkland Road houses were not built on land sold to Denchfied by the British Land Company. It was sold instead to Alfred Salamon, probably another builder. I have as yet made no connection between the Denchfields and Salamons.

Bessie, nee Purves, was the daughter of builder John Purves. At the time of her marriage, she lived at 135 Effingham Road. This suggests that to some extent, there existed an interconnected world of Harringay builders that included intermarrying.

For some reason, at the time of his appeal against conscription in the Great War, he was recorded as living at 131 Beresford Road.

Tags for Forum Posts: harringay's edwardian halls, victorian & edwardian builders made good

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Replies to This Discussion

Another fascinating (and, no doubt, time consuming) piece of research, Hugh!


This is fabulous Hugh. I have only skimmed it and I have very poor spatial awareness so find it a bit hard to follow but it is really fascinating.  Thank you for adding to the richness of my late Thursday evening.  

I am guessing you drew great enjoyment from this research, Hugh.  We are really fortunate to be able to read the result.  The facts are absorbing and the illustrations bring history to life and make it a super read.  All those characters coming to find their fortune would make a great TV documentary, with the old people's entertainment at Beresford Hall as a highlight.  Place of birth on my birth certificate is given as 127 Beresford Road which makes me an Elm Terrace native.  I didn't know that.

I do enjoy it. I get quite absorbed - probably why I go into more detail than I probably should.

It struck me a few weeks ago that there's a great fact-based drama, or documentary, to be had out of London's late Victorian builders. It seems that I can't stop bumping up against yer another man who was born poor and came to London and made a fortune. There must be some great drama there. 

Downton Abbey and the like are entertaining. But, I'd love to see the same budget put into a series about the men who built Victorian London. I'm sure the story is repeated around the city, indeed the nation, but Harringay would offer a complete cast of character candidates.

Lovely piece of history Hugh - thanks for sharing it with us. Do you have any information on the Harringay Ratepayers Association?

They were an association for the Tottenham side of Harringay, including the eastern ends of the Ladder roads and what is now the Harringay part of St Ann's ward. Here's a snippet from their 1908 report.

There was quite a lot of 'artisan' building along the ladder. One such was in Frobisher Road. A saw mill existed for many years behind the 100plus odd number houses. This image shows what remains of the entrance. In my time houses were built on the corner of Frobisher opposite Ducketts Common; these seem to have been replaced. The larger was lived in by Jack Sleigh, a horsemeat dealer in Wood Green High Road from about 1950 to 1957/8.

We used to buy sawdust and shavings from the mill for our various pets!

Cheers, Richard. This looks to have been on a very different scale to the Effingham-Beresford Backlands.

There is a small building showing behind the large house on Willoughby on the corner with Lausanne. It was accessed via a strip of land next to 111 Frobisher. There appears to have been no business run from there until 1925. In that year a Wade Russell & Co, Cabinet Manufacturers makes an appearance at 111A Frobisher Road. From the mid thirties, they change to Joinery Manufacturers. I can find no listing for a company of that name after the War. But, from you’ve said, it sounds like a business might have carried under another owner and name. 

You say there was a lot of 'artisan building' There's no a lot evident for the very detailed OS maps. Care to share other instances?

Will do. Got to find the material though. Day or so. 

I've just stumbled across the old movie I'd put on HoL many years ago. Previously attributed to the 1920s, I've now been able to pin it down pretty much to 1930. I noticed that it shows the Salisbury Timber Stores. So, I've added it to the main article as Fig. 14.

Fabulous and most interesting detail Hugh.  Taken me three sessions to get through it but well worth the time.

Totally enjoyed it thanks very much.  I remember The Salisbury Timber Yard being there in the 50's.

I also remember quite fondly from the 50's/60's the numerous Medlocks delivery vans painted green with gold lettering if memory serves me rightly, sort of reminiscent of Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup tins.    Stated on front of vans was:   "Here Comes Another Medlocks Delivery !"  while on rear shutters was :  "There Goes Another Medlocks Delivery !"  Or "You've Just Missed Another Medlocks Delivery !"

Our Mum used to send us to a little bakers shop which I believe was next to Medlocks, Beresford end where we were sent to buy a "crusty warm loaf".  What a treat, luxury. That was probably 50's.

Thanks Hugh.............keep them coming please.



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