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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I've written before (but not for a long time now) about how Hornsey Council insisted on the Haringey form of the name of our neighbourhood back at the start of the last century. Last week I came across an article published in the Hornsey Journal on 8  July 1921 that casts more light on how ingrained was the 'Haringey habit' in Hornsey town-hall culture. As the Hornsey Journal wrote,

The public write "Harringay," the Town Hall form is "Haringey"

The various spellings in the Harringay Passage singage are witness to this epic struggle!

So, when in 1965, the council insisted on naming the new borough Haringey, they weren't so much using a spelling that differed from the one for our neighbourhood. They were naming the borough after it but pig-headedly went with their version of the spelling rather than the one favoured by the people that lived here. 

Tottenham Council always preferred Harringay, but I guess Hornsey had the whip-hand back in 1965. 

As to why Hornsey town hall chose the -ey variant over 100 years ago, the opinion of Sidney Madge, the father of the study of the name, may well be responsible. The same article reported his views as follows, 

Mr. Madge seems to favour the official form,.....(he) says that " Har- " is preferable to "Harr- " because older, and " -ey" to " -ay" because older, purer, and more frequently employed.

I'm sure I wouldn't quibble with Mr. Madge were the issue a matter of choosing a variant of the name Hornsey, but our neighbourhood was as good as christened with the name Harringay back in 1790 by Edward Gray. It's not the same place as Hornsey (parish, borough or neighbourhood). For my money, we should just stick with it.

So, the choice is yours. Are you naturally a town hall follower or do you favour the voice of the people?

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The more fundamental question is why they chose a name that stemmed from old forms of "Hornsey" at all.

Given that it was a merger of three former boroughs, I would have thought it more appropriate to have had a name meaningful (or else neutral) to all.

The tripoint of the previous borough boundaries is around Turnpike Lane Tube junction. Thus why not "Turnpike " as the new borough name, for example?

If the Hornsey bods understood 'Haringey' to mean 'Harringay', then, because Harringay was formerly split between Hornsey and Tottenham, the name they were choosing was from a neighbourhood that had been shared by two of the three former boroughs (and the wily burghers of Horney were quietly getting to retain Hornsey in the name at the same time).

If some other name had been chosen for the new borough, then Harringay would have been left as referring to a specific locality and, as it happened, have fitted neatly into the modern definitions of 'hoods, such as "Hornsey" now just referring to the village, etc.

Yup. It was a silly choice - and even now the borough can't bring themselves to refer to Harringay as Harringay. In every new document, they obstinately continue to use Green Lanes to refer to Harringay. The latest example was just ten days ago was  their Shaping Wood Green: The heart of North London document as part of their "New vision for Wood Green".

So, Hornsey Council started the [practice of choosing a name in opposition to local residents almost a century and a half ago. Whilst the terms of opposition have changed, they're still doing the same. 

Every few years on the old HJ this subject was resurrected with no effect until the combination of Hornsey, Wood Green and Tottenham. Noticing how the ancient Harringay sat at the centre of the new combined Greater London Borough  this idea gained ground. A learned professor was engage to 'prove' that Haringey was the correct version. And so it came to pass. Except that vast numbers of us were not quite so convinced... and the 'this is Harringay' in the heart of Haringey' came to be. A place so good they named it twice....

Not sure if you're picking up the strapline I've been using for HoL for the past 15 years It was a play on the New York lyrics, but tweaked. It is "Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!", It's in white text between the banner and the black tabs (you can see it if you drag and highlight). I seem to remember putting it there for the Google search engine. 

Yes, of course. But as I said, 'named'.



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