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

St Mary’s Priory uniform was originally a navy blue gym-slip with a striped sash on the hip, white blouse and navy blue blazer, blue felt hat with enamel badge -  Very St Trinians, which always made my Dad laugh. Summer uniform was blue and white striped dresses with Panama hats. Boys wore grey flannel shorts all year round with white shirts and jumpers and school caps.

The uniform colour changed in 1961 to royal blue with gold. Gym slips were replaced with horrible pleated tunics with bib front and backs, worn with white blouses and royal blue cardigans. In summer the girls wore yellow Aertex blouses. Shoes had to be brown: sturdy for outside; crepe soled sandals had to be worn in the buildings.

Once you went in to Prep 4 the girls had to  wear a royal blue skirt with two kick pleats at the front and back and had the option to wear a loose cap, not a beret, with a gold tassel. By this time (age 11) we were the seniors and felt so grown up! The boys continued to wear shorts with long socks (grey with blue hoops at the top) all year round.

The uniform was only available from the school uniform shop which was run by Sr. Anthony and it was very expensive.

Church primary schools tended to have uniforms. St Mary's RC as did St Ann's CofE.

As far as I can recall all the rest, Woodlands, Stamford Hill, Seven Sisters, N & S Harringay didn't.

St Thomas More & St Katherine's and most other 'Senior Schools' did.

I went to North Harringay School 1960-1966. We definitely had a uniform. Girls had navy blue pleated bib and brace skirts - the bibs buttoned up on the shoulder, white shirts, navy and gold striped ties, navy or yellow jumpers and a yellow sash that tied around the waist and hung down alongside one hip. Also had a summer uniform trying hard to remember and think it was a yellow and black/white check Cotten dress. 
Think boys wore grey shorts same white shirt and tie-little hazy here!

The nuns were extremely strick on uniform. As you say Christine, st trinians. Sr. Cuthbert was the head nun when I was there, and sr Wilfred, she was very nice. Do you remember sr. Benitizia, a Scottish, really cruel, mentally not physically. I remember the lovely dinners cooked by the nuns, and I remember the gardens at the back, we used to have nature walks there, a walled in garden. I have lived in the west of Ireland since 87 but got a tour of it a few years ago, a beautiful building. 

Sr Wilfred was the head up to 1965, then Sr Raymond took over. Both Srs Wilfred and Monica retired to the Convent in Scotland.

Sr Cuthbert could be extremely petty and unkind, and she spoke with a very affected accent, she wasn’t one of my Mum’s favourites...if your face didn’t fit.....

Sr Hildegarde was lovely, we had her in Preps 3 and 4 and she pushed us through our 11+ exams. Overall the education there was extremely good, I can’t comment on the standards once the local authority took over. I went on to St Angela’s Grammar at Wood Green...a more lack-lustre, demoralising school you could never imagine...

Do you remember the name of the record store? Could it have been this one, perchance?

Hugh, thinking about it I wonder if "Berry's  (as mentioned previously)  Music Store" was also the record shop ??   Have you looked up that name ?

The Record Mirror in 1970 showed Harringay Records Ltd at 73 Grand Parade.Could that have been the store you were thinking of? Also listed in the phone book starting in 1964.

Great read..5 three piece suites!!!

Fascinating as it is the last years of my time in Harringay (Frobisher Road 1946-64) . I have a web site with memories of the 50s which may amuse you: http://www.woodses.co.uk/life-on-the-ladder.html

Bloody hell Richard.....how long did that little lot take to put together ?

Amusing, I can relate to much of it though six years your junior. I hope your kids and their kids get something out of it.

Well done.

Richard you have a great memory. I lived on the ladder from ‘54 to 75 and went to North Harringay followed by Hornsey High. I’m sure I wouldn’t recognise the area now.



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