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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

What happened the the New River Path wall after the graffiti

Up until about 2015 , the Victorian wall along the northern end of the Harringay stretch of the New River Path was, amazingly, graffiti-free. Then it started getting regularly graffitied. For the past five years or so, I've been doggedly reporting any graffiti that appears on the New River Wall to Network Rail (whose wall it is) to ensure that the continued presence of any graffiti doesn't advertise the wall as a local canvas. The last major incident was in June last year (Although due to the pandemic, it took four or five months to be dealt with).

The wall's history over the past five or so years has built up a very urban wallscape. As I walked along the path today, I enjoyed seeing the canvas created by the interplay of vandal, corporate worker and nature, (but I'm unbearably cup-half-full and will usually see the good in anything!) These iPhone snaps bear witness.

Tags for Forum Posts: new river, new river path, new river path graffiti

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A charming, artistic view of the wall!  When I walk along this stretch, I see a surprisingly high retaining wall which is holding up whatever material the Victorian railway engineers used to build the low lying land they bought in the 1880s up to the level of the main railway line.  I see the metal bosses and bits of rail (shown in your photos) that have been used to shore up the wall in places and wonder how long it will be before the next bit of work will be needed.  I suspect it will take more than a coat of paint.

I wonder the same, Dick.

Although it doesn't give a great deal of info, the undated plan, below, might help. (I think it was circa 1900).  It looks like a fairly hefty inclined, gravity, retaining wall was constructed. You can see from the second, third and fourth illustrations that originally, the station shed was built on the easternmost part of the station site, right on the boundary with, and towering over, the New River (The nearby buildings also extended further north, up to the boundary with Hampden Road). Clicl the image to enlarge it.

As to the stability of the wall, it seems someone has done a study of Victorian railway retaining walls, which you can read here, after making the required payment. 

By the way, you can see the former northern section, as well as the old railway bridge stairs in this 1970 painting by John Godden. The painting is looking west on Hampden Road towards the railway line. The original is in the collection of Bruce Castle Museum who hold the copyright to the image.

A plan that I got along with the one above shows that, originally, going from East to West, the buildings along the northern boundary originally included:

  • Fitters' Shop
  • Coppersmiths' Shop & General Smiths
  • Enginemen’s Room
  • Carpenters’ Shop
  • Lamp Room Fitters’ Store
  • Foreman’s Room

There's a aerial photo from 1947 below, in wic you can see the surviving 1900 station shed. There's also one from the 1930s here.

The 1947 photo seems to show that a railway track had been laid right at the edge of the railway land and close to the retaining wall. If what you say about there being an inclined wall doing the job of holding back the great mass of earth, then the rail track was outside the supported area and would have relied entirely on the vertical retaining wall. No wonder it needed all that iron work to shore it up. It has all the hallmarks of a prize ballsup. It's just as well there is only a car park up there now.

In the 1947 image, there doesn't appear to be a foot bridge between the station and Hampden Road.

Destroyed by a bomb

Photo here



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