Fig. 1: Old Crouch Hall, c1885 in its guise as the Old Crouch Hall School
Old Crouch Hall was on the east side of Tottenham Lane (now Crouch End Broadway), roughly where Bank Buildings are today (opposite Greggs/Waitrose). It first appeared in Topsfield Court Rolls in 1681, but it was probably a much earlier building.1
It was the most important of four houses that made up the Old Crouch Hall Estate. Immediately adjacent, to the north was a building shown on maps and referred to in official records in the second half of the nineteenth century as Linslade House. Beyond that was a property known as Colquon.2 The fourth part of the estate was Lake Villa, to the south.
Fig. 2: Plan of Old Crouch Hall Estate, as divided on sale in 1827. I have added annotation to show the names by which the three main properties were known after the sale. 3
A sale advertisement placed for Linsladeand Colquon in 1881 described them both as having ten bedrooms and a number of reception rooms as well as outhouses (See Fig.10 below). Sadly, no known images of these two houses survive.
We have images of the exterior of Old Crouch Hall, but what we know about its layout comes from an early nineteenth century edition of the Hornsey Journal. The following extract from a letter written in 1911 by Mr. Lewis Green, and published in the paper on 10th March, 1911, gives a description of the house as it appeared from the road.
My father came to Fortis Green 90 years ago. I was born there 82 years since, and have lived in Hornsey all my life and have a clear memory of all things relating to Hornsey. . . . Part of the grounds came to the front path about 50 feet, enclosed by a wall 9 feet high. The house stood back about 40 feet, had originally a red brick front, with large oak arched doorway in centre. It was two stories high, had dormers in roof, and mullioned windows, glazed with leaded lights to open outside. The roof up to the forties was thatched, but was replaced by red tiles.3
Fig. 3: Extract from 25 inch 1869-70 Ordnance Survey map, annotated to show the buildings of the Old Crouch Hall Estate (Today, the clocktower stands in front of where Topsfield Hall is shown)
In 1788, the four-acre Old Crouch Hall estate, shown in Fig. 2, had been bought by London cabinet maker William Ince.4 Along with his partner, John Mahyew Ince ran Ince & Mayhew, one of the most important furniture makers in the second half of the eighteenth century.5 Based in Soho, they styled themselves as 'Cabinet makers, upholders, undertakers, Carvers, Gilders and Manufacturers of plate glass at the Warehouses Broad Street Soho'. With a client list that included the King, the Duke of Manchester and the Earl of Coventry, their furniture is on display in a number of museums and stately homes around the world. An example of their work can be seen in the Roseberry Desk, a satin wood roll-top George III desk.6
Fig. 4: The Roseberry Desk by Mayhew and Ince
Ince died in 1804, followed two years later by his wife. The house was then let for twenty years by his heirs. Then, in 1827, the estate was sold in three lots.7 The hall and adjacent 'Linslade House' building was bought by John Booth of the well-known gin distilling family. Booth lived in the house for a few years whilst his new home, the new Crouch Hall, was being built on the other side of Tottenham Lane (completed 1830). The lot containing Colquon was bought by ironmonger, John Gibbons.8
Following Booth's departure, the house was occupied by Francis Fletcher and his family. Fletcher was the assistant secretary to the local government board (I assume Hornsey). The Fletcher's are recorded as having lived at the hall until at least the early 1840s.
In 1852 the properties were put on sale by Booth's executors and bought by Henry Weston Elder.
Fig. 5: Morning Advertiser, 16 June 1852
From about 1850 to the late 1860s, the house was let to architect, alderman and district surveyor for the City of London, Edmund Woodthorpe and his family.
By the time of the 1871 census, the occupant of the hall was wholesale milliner,9 Thomas Lockyer, his wife Sophia and their family.
Next door, in what was to become Linslade House, was Miss Lobb's ladies boarding School, run by Elizabeth Lobb from about 1830 to the early 1850s. The establishment changed its name to Linslade House in 1854. In that year, the Linslade House School had moved from a building on Hornsey Rise (also called Linslade House) to Crouch End Broadway.10 By 1870, it was run by a Professor of Music, Joseph Stone who lived there with his wife Mary and their children. At the time of the 1871 census, five young female teenagers were also boarding as scholars.
Fig. 6: Coventry Evening Telegraph, 21 July, 1854
Colquon was home to Ironmonger, John Gibbons, who lived in the house with his wife Mary, from at least as early as 1832, but probably soon after 1827 when he bought it as part of the sale of the Old Crouch Hall estate by the heirs of William Ince. Their children married well, into wealthy local families. Their eldest daughter, Fanny, married Henry John, eldest son of William Eady of The Campsbourne. Their youngest daughter, Elizabeth, married Henry Hugh, the only son of Henry Weston Elder of Topsfield Hall.
John and Mary lived there until his death, aged 95, in 1880. Quite an age back then. The couple were buried together in St Mary's church.11
By 1881, just as Crouch End School was sold and quickly demolished, Old Crouch Hall was established as the short-lived Old Crouch Hall School, under the supervision of Jonathan Lynn. By 1889, both Old Crouch Hall School and Linslade House School had closed and the properties sold by Henry Elder's widow.
Linslade was sold in a single lot, along with the property to its north, Colquon. The sale advert gave some idea of what the property was like, in the later part of the text.
Fig. 7: London Evening Standard, 18th June 1881
The Economist reported the results of the sale.
Fig. 8: The Economist July 9 1881
Purchased by the Imperial Property Company, a business that was already developing the Crouch Hall Estate, the buildings were demolished, the timbers sold by public tender and the Bank Buildings that stand there today were erected.
After the death of John Gibbons' of Colquon, the occupant of the house was eminent KC Harry Trelawny Eve (external link). He took a fourteen year lease on the property and lived there with his family from 1883 till the early 1890s, when he moved to Hermiston in Middle Lane.
Given Eve's lease, the Imperial property company were unable to demolish it immediately and sold the house as a leased property in 1884. This sale details for this sale offers more insight into the property.
Fig 9: Description of Holne House from sale details of 15th January 1884
Fig 9: Plan of Holne House from sale details of 15th January 1884
Colquon/Coloquine/Holne/Holine House was demolished along with its neighbouring big houses soon after Eve vacated it in the 1890s. Broadway Parade was quickly erected in their place.
As with most of the historical articles I write on HoL, most of the above information is based on original research. All data is verified with primary source references.
1. The History of the County of Middlesex says that Old Crouch Hall had been known as The Green Lettuce which makes me wonder if in one of its earlier incarnations it had been an inn). The book says, "Between 1578 and 1587 Sir Richard Cholmley's sons John Spencer of the Middle Temple and Roger Spencer alienated five houses, including one at Crouch End then called the Green Lettuce but later Old Crouch Hall" (A P Baggs, Diane K Bolton, M A Hicks and R B Pugh,A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6, Friern Barnet, Finchley, Hornsey With Highgate, ed. T F T Baker and C R Elrington (London, 1980), pp. 146-149. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol6/pp146-149, (accessed 21 August 2021). The publication refers to Guildhall MS. 10312/94.
However, referring to Court Rolls of the Manor of Hornsey, a book by Frank Marcham written hals a century earlier, local authors Peter Barber and Stephen Densford attribute the Green Lettuce name to the cottage that used to stand where Crouch End Academy stood.
2. In his book, Hornsey Past, Stephen Densford refers to a house called Holine House (showing on the 1893 OS map as Holne House) which he describes as having been part of the 1827 sale of the Old Crouch Hall Estate. He makes no mention of Colquon at this point, although he does so quite separately later in the book. Despite Densford apparently seeing no link between the two properties, the content of his first reference to Holne/Holine House raises the possibility that it might have been a new or alternative name for Colquon. Using the measurement offered by the Topsfield Court Rolls map (Fig. 2), I am able to ascertain that the Old Crouch Hall/Linslade plot frontage stretched to just past the south face of Topsfield Hall. Then, comparing the layout of the Colquon property on the same plan, it roughly corresponds with the layout of the house and grounds shown for the next property north on the 1869-70 map (see Fig. 3). The house in that property is marked on the 1893 OS map as Holne House. So, it seems very likely that Colquon was indeed one and the same as Holne House. I suspect that the confusion of names was one related to pronunciation, because both words were pronounced very much the same way. (Who knows what the nineteenth century Middlesex accent would have made of Colquon!). Eventually Colquon gave way to Holne. To make matters even more complex, in the 1871 census the name is given as Coloquine. Thanks to Ken Stevens for bringing Holne to my attention.
3. Both the plan and the letter extract were printed in 'Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, New Series, Volume VII, Part III.
4. A date of 1788 is given in Hornsey Past, Stephen Densford, 2008. This is confirmed by a blog on the Ince and Mayhew website which also states that Ince lived in Crouch End from 1780. The website says that Mayhew also lived in Crouch End from about the same time. Both were members of the St. Mary's Church committee at the time discussion about enlarging the church started (building work eventually took place in the early 1830s).
5. The reference to the firm as having been 'one of the most important' appeared in The Partnership of William Ince and John Mayhew 1759—1804, Pat Kirkham, Furniture History, Vol. 10 (1974), Pp. 56-60 (5 Pages), The Furniture History Society.
6. The Age of Matthew Boulton Masterpieces of Neo-Clacissicism, Mallet & Sons Antiques 2000.
8. A blog on the Ince & Mayhew website refers to an insurance claim of 1795 as a result of William Ince's Crouch End house burning down. Given that the house survived long after this, it may have been a claim for severe fire damage rather than for complete destruction.
9. In the census of 1871 Lockyer is described as a wholesale milliner. In the previous and following censuses, he is described as an artificial flower manufacturer. It is interesting to note that just up the road on Crouch Hill, in Oakfield Villa, lived Samuel Sugden who ran a similar business under the name of Sugden & Sons. I have not been able at this stage to ascertain if there was any link between the two. For a picture of Oakfield Villa see this article on Crouch Hill.
10. In fact Linslade House had only been on Hornsey Rise since 1852. Prior to that the school was based in Linslade, a small town bordering Leighton Buzzard.
11. The Gibbons’ grave stone is one of the few in St Mary’s churchyard remaining intact. It even has its inscription fully legible. It can be seen in the far south-east corner of the churchyard under some trees. I recently added some pictures to the Find a Grave website.
Fascinated by the map Hugh... just below Crouch Hall it says 'gasometer' - this is 1869 so very early for a gasworks and it is some way from the railway (coal) and rivers (water) so I am puzzled. Do you know any more?
Well spotted. Not really early, the first gas holder (gasometer) for public gas supply was constructed in London in 1812. But, more surprising to many will be seeing one near the centre of Crouch End.
Many large houses in the early and mid-nineteenth century set up their own private gas supplies. Crouch Hall was built with the fabulous wealth of the Booth family. They spared no expense to be comfortable.
Referring to the 1869 OS map, the recently published Manufactured Gas Industry study written by Prof. Russell Thomas for Historic England gives this site as a private gas supply for Crouch Hall. Of course it was well out of sight of the Hall itself.
Not early at all in the scheme of things - Murdoch was almost a century earlier. But I had quite forgotten about the private house gas works! Booth (is that Booth gin btw?) must have been loaded - they had to ship in both coal and water to make the filthy town gas!
Of course it was mostly used for lighting at first - cooking came much later. Must have been a revelation the time!
Answer to your gin question in the para under Fig. 3, picture of the Roseberry Desk.
I missed that! Thank you. Looking again at the picture of Crouch Hall do I take the hill beyond is Alexandra Palace hill?
And the lakes suggest an abundance of water so that answers my query regarding resources for the hall's gas works. Do we know the name of the stream that fed the lakes? I am thinking of local place names but none redolent of water come to mind.
Funny you should ask about a hill. For the longest time I'd been looking at that photo, convinced that the house is on a slope, up to the right of the photo. I thought it might have been at the bottom of Crouch Hill. But every source I can find, including whatever it's possible to take from nineteenth century census records tells me that it was exactly where I've said it is in the first paragraph of the article and where the red ring is on the map in Fig. 1. I've decided that the appearance of a slope is just a facet of the angle at which the photo is shot and the camera lens with which it was taken.
The water course behind the new Crouch Hall was Chomeley Brook.
I have re-visited the imager and I am convinced that is Ally Pally hill using artist's licence. It is the highest hill for miles and that looks pretty high.
I think perhaps we are talking at cross-purposes. When you said you were looking again at the picture of Crouch Hall, I took you to mean the picture of Old Crouch Hall at the top of this page. However,I suspect that you are referring to the 1832 Wolstenholme picture of the new Crouch Hall.
If you look at the 1869 OS map, you'll see the the house faced east / west. In front of the west front was a long lake. I think the view of the Wolstenholme picture is looking west across that lake to the west front of the house. So that would make the ridge, the Hog's Back rather than looking north/north-west towards where Ally Pally would later be built.
Thank you so much for that fascinating history! Oh to be able to fly back in time and see just how picturesque and beautiful Crouch End was back then!
Wouldn't that be nice. I wish I had the skills to produce one of these for this area.
More about eighteenth century Crouch End, just added.
Chomeley! Thank you. I found this which is interesting: