Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The following was contributed by Mitchell Wells (now a resident of Glasgow):


Memories of living in Harringay from 1962 to 1965 and then regularly visiting up until 1980

In 1962 at the age of two , my parents and I moved into a flat above my (maternal) grandparents' shop Genia at 513 Green Lanes. They opened the shop some time in the 1940s, selling children’s clothes and women’s lingerie. It was one of those older style of shops where the entrance door wasn’t flush with the front window but set a bit further back along a short corridor. We could enter our flat through the shop but generally we entered via the alley off Warham Road and then the back door. My mum used to help out in the shop on Saturdays up until my grandparents sold up in 1980. That was when Nationwide bought it and turned into one of their branches.

Although memories are generally not so good from the first five years of a life, I have a few quite clear ones from then, mainly of the shops.

Right opposite our front window was a big greengrocer's shop (where the Suffolk Punch was in recent years) where we used to buy our fruit and veg (although a quick look on Google Earth shows that to be Winkworth's estate agent now).  Another shop we used to get our food from was the Home and Colonial store between Warham and Pemberton Roads (I think). It was very old fashioned in there even in those days. I remember the lovely smell of coffee and they sold biscuits by weight, a bit like pick’n’mix it was. There was also a general food shop called Newman’s a few doors away from the H&C, that we used to go in a lot. Further along (northwards) opoosite the Salisbury pub and the cinema/bingo hall  was where we got our sweets every Saturday,  a shop called Maynard’s.

The post office then was only half the size it is now. There was a shop between Genia and the post office then , which sold suitcases, trunks and bags. At some time after we left the PO must have taken over that shop to extend theirs.

Further along towards the stadium on our side there was a shop which sold stationery items, pens, paper, envelopes etc which I thought was strange because the name on the front of the shop said “(something or other)…Library” , my thinking was that a library was where you borrowed books rather than an actual shop.

We used to go the Finsbury Park alot, mainly to watch the trains from the two-tiered trainspotters' observation platform which was next to the footbridge over to Oxford Road on the other side of the railway. We’d see steam trains going by, and where the line branched off to Highgate we could see the occasional Underground train being shunted up to the Underground depot at Highgate. Passenger services along that line had ended in 1954 but it was still used for Underground trains. I think the track was taken up in 1971. In the late 70s it became the Parkland Walk. You could also hire rowing boats on the lake in the park.

I started primary school in September 1965. My memory of it was that it was called Black Boy Lane School, but I can’t find any reference to it on the internet, although there is a school along Black Boy Lane called Chestnut's Primary School so it could have been that.

We moved at the end of 1965 to Palmer's Green, although  I still visited my grandparents in the shop regularly up until it closed.

Another memory I have is of when I bought my first record in 1967. It was “Hello Goodbye” by The Beatles and I bought it , having saved three weeks pocket money (7/6), from a little record shop on Green Lanes near the railway bridge at the Stadium station. I say little because it was. It was one of those single shop premises split into two half-sized shops. The other shop was a barber. I looked on Google Earth and it’s still a split-shop- the Master Locksmith and Gold Bar jewellers.

In 1977 I left school and my first job that summer for a few months was in Wightman Road (near Atterbury Road) at a fancy goods wholesalers called Suman Bros, long since gone I think.

One final thing I can remember is that on Duckett's Common at the corner of Willoughby Road and Turnpike Lane there was a kiosk selling snacks and drinks.  We used to get a fizzy drink from there called Zing. It was demolished by the late 60s.

I think that’s  most of what I can remember from my younger days. I’ve got some photos of me from that period, but unfortunately none of Green Lanes and the shops. There’s quite a few of me at the back of the shop on my tricycle in the alleyway off Warham Road and in Warham Road itself and also some of me in Finsbury Park.

I saw that video of the transport minister visiting in 1963 for the new road crossing. It nearly pans up as far as Genia but not quite. Although I did get to see the sweet shop Maynard's. As it was a day in 1963 I was most probably just 200 yards away in the flat above the shop drinking milk from a bottle.

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Replies to This Discussion

My Mum Used to take me to Chestnuts for pre-school health checks and I do remembee having an innoculation there. There was a wonderful wooden rocking horse in full detail and a green metal tubing rocking horse. 

I can remember that building so well, remember my yoong baby brother being weighed in the rather large weighing scales

Hi John, no, I don't remember a Ms Jenny but I do remember Mr Hayward and Mr Lunny, who had a great sense of humour. Also the Oceana Laundry across the road with their old vans and massive white laundry bags. I remember being "dragged" to the annual fete in St Ann's hospital, where Franky Vaughn was the guest of honour (mid 60s?). I've worked in a school for 30 years now and I'm amazed by the violence against students that was perpetrated back then. Some of the things that (mostly male) teachers did would put them in prison now! Or, seeing a teacher smoking a pipe with fug so bad you couldn't see the teacher's face! No Health and Safety in those days. 

Very different times Kevin !    I think it should be remembered that many men of that period had recently come through WW2, some even WW1 !  No telling what horrors or mental scars carried as a result.  One particular teacher I recall from South Grove Sec Mod used to boast to us boys that he could kill simply by placing his hand on you.  He had been "trained to kill" as he used to warn us "when out in the jungle" !   At times he would have us fall to our knees begging his forgiveness at the careful application of his trained fingers !    Resulted in a strange sort of respect.     And of course a major part of a soldiers ration is.....tobacco.

And I don't think there was any lasting damage done to us yobby kids.   Unlike todays bullying amongst pupils.

I think us kids knew that if we pushed the boundaries and got caught then there would be penalties of one sort or other.  It was a bit of a game really.

But I'm not putting down your comment though Kevin.

Hey Kevin & John, Going through my files tonight I came across this shot of Miss D.M. Rudge at Woodlands 1960ish I'd say. She was a long termer at Woodlands, was there when my brother & sister (both also South Grovers) were at Woodlands from 1948 & 1951, she was there when I left in 1965, and was still there when my nieces attended in 1974/75ish. She always played the piano at School Assemblies.

This is the only shot that I have to hand of any of my teachers. I've no idea where I got it.

Good pic Stephen but can't say I recognise the face.   I also seem to remember Mr Lunney used to thump the ivories at assembly times.   His playing was as forceful as his voice.......wonderful and stirring.

My younger brother Tony remember her.........not too fondly though ! He attended around1960 - 64.

Yep, that's the one !

Hello Mitchell,

I remember ‘Genia’ being a very genteel shop. I treated myself to a beautiful Warner’s bra from there in 1971 - I remember it cost £2.50 which was a fortune.

The handbag shop you mentioned was called Mortimers and Mum bought me a leather satchel from there and when I went into Prep 4 at St Mary’s that you had a ‘school purse’ in Marion leather that you wore across your chest under your cardigan. We all felt so grown-up with a few coppers in our purses.

The shop that sold stationery and books (which also had a telephone booth) was called The Harringay Library and I’m wracking my brain with no success to remember the name of the greengrocers opposite the Singer shop. I think either the Home and Colonial or Newman’s was the shop that had opened barrels of dried fruits and spices on display...it always smelled like Christmas. It was in one of these shops that my future husband’s grandmother worked - her name was Rose Dove.

You could buy anything you needed in those days on Grand Parade - my Mum had 5 different three-piece suites from Disney’s in the course of one week in 1971 because she couldn’t make her mind up.

I remember there  was a tiny record shop further along on the right going toward the bridge - who were always happy to order anything they didn’t have. One such album they got for me is currently worth a couple of thousand pounds and still intact! On the other side was Berry’s: pianos, keyboards, Moog synthesisers, guitars etc, also sold records.

I was in St Mary's Priory from 61 to 69, it was a little private convent up to age ten and then changed. I have such lovely memories of the building and the lovely garden, where we used to have nature walks j

Hello Jacqueline,

I was at St Mary’s from Jan 60 to 1 July 1966: the last Prep 4 when the private school closed.

I was Christine Newton and I had a lovely friend called Jacqueline who lived on Alison Road with her younger sister Antoinette. Her Mum Oona was friends with my Mum Eileen... we lost touch after they moved away...was that you by any chance?

St Mary's.. nice blue uniform with berets...  ahahha



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