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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I am fascinated by war memorials from simple bronze plaques listing names in a village hall to the imposing and deeply affecting Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner whose depiction of a dead soldier caused so much controversy for its realism.


With the recent deaths of Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, the memories of the Great War disappear and it is increasingly through these places of commemoration that we maintain our connection with those who died.

Twentieth century war memorials represent both a public record of loss and a place for
private remembrance. The money to build them was usually raised by public subscription to show both public gratitude for the sacrifice that so many young people had made but also to make manifest their sense of loss. Many also sought to highlight the true meaning of war, showing realistic depictions of death and the horror of fighting.

Haringey has a number of well maintained memorials across the borough but alas, the Harringay memorial is no longer situated in our area but out of sight in Hornsey Town Hall.

Known as the OLD HORNSEYANS SCHOOL memorial it was originally sited in the Hornsey County School in Pemberton Road but was moved in 1952 when the school ceased to be a grammar school. Until the fire in 1984, the memorial could be seen in St Paul's Church, Wightman Road, which had had strong links with the school, but was eventually moved to Hornsey Town Hall when the church authorities and the Old Hornseyans Association failed to come to an agreement about where it would be sited in the rebuilt church. Despite fire damage which caused scarring, the memorial was refurbished and is now sited in the first floor lobby to the council chamber.

image: Hugh Flouch

Mounted on a wooden backboard, the bronze plaques display the 50 names of those scholars killed in the First War and the 37 who did not return from the Second. The inscription is not clear : OUR S(...) (...)LLOWS/ (Names)/ VINCIT QUI SE VINCIT/ 1914/ 1918

A most beautiful bronze sculpture by the eminent sculptor , Richard Goulden (1877-1932)
depicts St Michael with children around his feet. A similar statue by Goulden can be seen in the City on Cornhill outside St Michael’s Church.

Perhaps one day this piece of our history will find a new home here in Harringay and not tucked away out of sight. War memorials are intended to be seen and used for commemoration by the community, all the more so now that the oral tradition that connects us to past events starts to fade

I am very grateful to Hugh for taking the pictures for this history.

Source: UK National Inventory of War Memorials

Tags for Forum Posts: hornsey county school, hornsey town hall, st paul's church, war memorial, wightman road

Views: 927

Replies to This Discussion

What an interesting thing.  It was clearly designed for installation indoors and it is not clear why it was removed from its original site.  One can see why it was hard to find a new site that retained some connection with the school attended by the men who died.  It still is.  So far as I can see, the only publicly accessible and enduring buildings that have a clear association with our Harringay neighbourhood are schools, churches, railway stations and a couple of pubs (and, of course, Disney's!).  If it needs to be moved again, I would favour it being returned to its original site and, failing that, perhaps a place could be found inside the present St Paul's church.

As Secretary of The Old Hornseyans' Association and having concurred with the Chairman, firstly the missing wording is "OUR SONS AND FELLOWS". In reply to your comments and those of Dick Harris the cost of the War Memorial was paid for, initially, by scholars, teachers,Old Hornseyans, Governors and friends of the School. Public funds were not received or sought! It seems to us now that it was a shame that this wonderful memorial was moved from the School. Why? Well, it remained at the School from 1952, when the School closed as a Grammar School until early 1970 and every Remembrance Day during those particular years, we Old Hornseyans held a brief service in front of the War Memorial in the School Hall and laid a wreath.  It was, we think forced upon us, to move the War Memorial away from the School, because it was going to be an Infants' School and supposedly might get damaged.  May we say, our Honours Boards around the Hall, which they thought would also get damaged, at the present time are looking immaculate! Where oh where was the problem?  The War Memorial was moved to St.Paul's Church.  It took many years before all parties agreed to it, including the church authorities and there had to be a Dedication Service.  The cost of moving the War Memorial to the Church was paid for by The Old Hornseyans.  Then came the fire in 1984.  The work necessary to clean the War Memorial excluding many, many hours of voluntary work by a few Old Hornseyans, cost £3,064 (Harrangay Council did donate £500).  However, agreement of a location in the newly built church, could not be agreed by The Old Hornseyans' because the suggested position lacked the respect it deserved.  Efforts were put in place to find an alternative building to house the Memorial.  The Hornsey Town Hall became the most appropriate place and agreement with Haringey Council was achieved for it to be positioned on the first floor spacious lobby, backing on to the partly refurbished Council Chamber.  During the weekend of the 23rd/24th September 1996, the War Memorial was installed there and thereafter on, or about, the 11th November, the Old Hornseyans have held a service there every year at which staff have attended and, recently, members of the production company, who hire the Hall, have attended. At present, we are quite happy with the location; suggestions such as moving it to a pub, or Disney's do not seem appropriate and separately, prior disagreement with St. Paul's Church might preclude such an option, let alone the cost of relocation.  I hope this answers the questions raised.

Many thanks for this comprehensive account of the case.  Let us hope that the old town hall remains an appropriate place when its new uses are finalised.

There will be a Remembrance Day at Hornsey Town Hall on 11th November 2014.

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