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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

When Harringay's fifth cinema became Harringay's second motor vehicle producer

At the height of the cinema age, Harringay had five cinemas. The least known was at the western corner of Wightman Road and Turnpike Lane.

I first wrote about this cinema in my Wikipedia article on Harringay's cinemas back in 2008. Then two years later, in his book on Haringey's Cinemas, Jeremy Buck delighted me by turning up a photo of the building, shown below.

According to various contemporary listings for and references to the cinema, it started life in 1912 as the Grand Cinema. By 1920, it was being referred to as the Grand Picture House, apparently reverting to the previous name by 1928. By 1931, it had become the New Clarence and it finished its life with less than a year as the Regent in 1933. This series of names followed frequent changes in ownership and suggests that no one really had any success in making any money from it.

The building was demolished as part of the Wightman/Turnpike/Hornsey Park crossroads alignment in 1973/74. You can see the cinema in context in 1930s aerial photo. This image suggests that the either the building was rather larger than it looks in Jeremy's photo or the one pictured is the early 70s image is not the original cinema building.

The Turnpike Lane / Wightman Road cinema building c1970 (looking south west)

Jeremy's photo flushed out the identity of the occupants c1970, but that was all anyone knew about them. Then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled on more about them. Yesterday, I was reminded of this when was I was posting the newly discovered photo of that end of Wightman Road in 1948 and I realised that you can just see the old cinema building.

CSM Motor Bodies, who moved in following the cinema’s demise, appear not to have been listed at the address until 1939. So, I'm assuming this to have been the date for their first occupation. In the absence of information, it has been assumed from their company name and our 21st century perspective that they were car body repairmen. It seems that they were in fact rather more than that.They apparently built vehicles there. 

Along with the Caledonian Carriage Company on Falkland Road, this discovery adds a second motor vehicle manufacturer for Harringay and underlines how very different vehicle manufacture was. Just up the road on Priory Road, we had the Argyll Motor Company.

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