Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

There is a wide spread popular belief that all roads on the Harringey Ladder between Green Lanes and Wightman Road are named after famous military and or naval personalities. The foundation of this belief is uncertain to say the least.

In a little known manuscript in Hornsey Library Local History Room, C.J.Sidey, in 1930, attempted to make an attribution for all the street names in Hornsey; in the case of the Ladder he suggested attributions for most of the roads but three were unattributed, and only ten of the twenty two roads related to naval or military personalities. 

It is possible to find alternative attributions for a number of roads by examining written histories of Hornsey. Daniel Lysons, writing on Hornsey at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, mentions a number of people whose names may be commemorated in the Ladder road names.

John Wollaston, an alderman of London, and Lewis Atterbury an early rector of Hornsey were buried at Hornsey, as was William Umfreville, Gentleman of Hornsey.

Francis Pemberton, Kings Justice, had a memorial inside the parish church at Hornsey.

The arms of William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, are one of those recorded on Hornsey church tower.

One of the Manors in Hornsey, Topsfield, was held for a time by Margaret Mattison, and William Cavendish gave another, Farnefields Manor, in Hornsey, to King Edward VI.

Ducketts is most likely a reference to the manor in Tottenham, formed from the estate which Thomas Burgoyne gave to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1460.

Seymour, Marquis of Hertford, figures in the account of Arabella Stuart’s escape form Highgate. 

In 1976 another explanation of the road names was advanced in the Hornsey Historical Society Bulletin. Members of a Masonic Lodge meeting in Hornsey may have contributed towards the development of the Hornsey Station and Harringay Park Estates, and some, or all, road names were decided by them as they were developed. In particular, it was claimed that a Dr Hewitt lent his name to Hewitt Road. Certainly, the records of the Harringay Lodge, in the British Library, show that William Hewitt was a member of this lodge, formed in 1899 in Seymour Road. However, the British Land Company sale plans of the 1880s suggest that the roads had names prior to their development. It could of course, have been the case that Hewitt was a member of one of the Finsbury Park or Muswell Hill Lodges that were formed in the 1870s, before the development began. Unfortunately, the British Land Company records were destroyed in the Second World War; so it is difficult to check how the company decided on the road names. 

Whilst none of this is conclusive it is at least possible to say with certainty that the popular belief that all the roads are named after famous military and or naval personalities has no foundation. For example, neither Sidey or Lysons, nor the Dictionary of National Biography, can offer an explanation for the name of Lausanne Road.

Wightman Road appears to have started as an access road to Hornsey Station, built by the Great Northern Railway Company in 1860s, which was extended during the development; how or when it got its name remains to be determined.

Some of the roads may indeed commemorate famous military or naval personalities but by no means all of them, and quite probably only a minority.

Tags for Forum Posts: Harringay Ladder, harringay mysteries, ladder road names, wightman road

Views: 7598

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for that John. I had Atterbury, Woolaston, Warham & Pemberton, but could never work out Umfreville. Of the rest I wonder whether there is any civil war connection around the roads towards the northern end - Francis Willoughby & John Hampden and if so was wondering whether Lausanne could be after the place of exile of republicans after the restoration.

All remaining roads can be linked to Admirals / Seamen / soildiers. But I've never been completely satisfied with the theory.

PS: On Hewitt, did you know that no 1 Hewitt is an Oddfellows Lodge called Hewitt Lodge? I've checked with Oddfellows and they say there's no link.
Dr William Hewitt was a member of the Harringay Masonic Lodge, formed in 1899 at 27 Seymour Road. Thee was a suggestion in a 1976 Hornsey Historical Society Bulletin that Hewitt and other masons had funded the development of the two estates and named roads as they were built up. This doesnt really match the actual develoment, which was a speculative one, in which many small, and for or five, large building firms built a few houses and sold the leases on to fund building some more houses. None of the builders names corresponds to the names of the roads. It would appear from the British Land Co. sales plan thaat the roads were named before they were laid out. To my mind that could mean that British Land Co. chose the names. Of course, it maybe that there was a masonic link through the company.

There were other Masonic Lodges, two Finsbury Park ones, formed in 1870 and 1877, and a Muswell Hill one, I cant remember the date, From the enquiries I made some years ago I was unable to make any lother ink between masons and the Ladder.

There is another possibility, that I ommitted to include in my last posting, in comparison to the roads immediately north of Finsbury Park, developed just prior to the Ladder. Sybil Terrace and the Beaconsfield public house were the first building developments on Green Lanes and date from 1880. The buildings were part of the development of the Finsbury Park Estate, the property of Mr Charles Hambridge, that was completed by a variety of builders by the end of 1882. The Beaconsfield public house is clearly a reference to Benjamin Disraeli and the names of the roads between Green Lanes and Alroy Road are all titles of his novels. On the Ladder similar literary connections can be made by reference to the Dictionary of National Biography. John Burgoyne, a dramatist, could have lent his name to the road of the same name. Henry James' pseudonym, Cavendish, could be linked to Cavendish road. Other literary connections can be made; Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh was a critic and essayist, Edward Fairfax, an author and translator, and James Beresford, a writer. A Henry Pemberton was a physician and writer and a James Duckett was a bookseller.

You are wright in saying that a link could be made to admirals and or military personalities. That, however, is not the point. The question is - what was the basis for the choice of names for the roads? Clearly there could have been more than one.
Mmm. So many possibilities. I think the Disraeli link seems to be generally accepted. The Ladder roads may well have to remain an enigma. I agree that there was likely more than one basis for the choice of names. For now, it seems best placed in the wish pile with the photo of Harringay House - but one day, perhaps! Is the origin of the Gardens Roads names any clearer as far as you're aware?
My understanding is that the Gardens was a more coherent development than that of the Ladder. However, I have not researched this so I can't give any definitive answer. If the development was indeed by J,C. Hill ,then the choice of road names would probably have been determined by him, or his firm. The fact that they are all called gardens might suggest that the development was seen as some sort of early twentieth century garden suburb in Tottenham.

On the naming of the Ladder streets, well I for one think it is more probable that the roads are named after "Local Connections" rather than "Military Personalities"
Up till now I've always repeated the Military explaination "parrot fashion", but I've often wondered why on earth a row of streets on "a hill" in North London would be named after Admirals.. Now if it were Greenwich, Putney or Portsmouth or come to that, even Dartmouth, I could understand it... but Harringay.... nah.. I'll bet on the Locals anyday..

Hiya Hugh,

Here is a list of possible attributions,

Regards, Dick

(Note by HoL Site Admin: Dick's updated version attached below)

Liking the look of the ones with local attributions. I wonder if where they're not local, it's either because the local connection is yet to be found or the person with the local link has not so far been discovered.

Its good to see that a list of attributions for the ladder roads written up. To what extent does this corroberate or contradict Sidey's attempt of the 1930s? I will have to dig back in my papers to check.

By the way I can now confirm that the Garden Roads were in fact a development called Provident Park, a garden estate built by the Provident Association of London. This was a company set up by Baron Joseph Profumo in the mid nineteenth century (for those old enough to remember he was an ancester of the infamous John profumo).

The Gardens Estate confirmation links to the comments here:


A few more notes added.  RHH

(Note by HoL Site Admin: Dick's updated version attached below)

Missed your work the first time round Dick - looks interesting. Thanks 

Dick Harris' attachment:




© 2024   Created by Hugh.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service