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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

"FINSBURY PARK consists of about 120 acres, which once formed the site and grounds of Hornsey Wood House. It has only recently been laid out, and rather parsimoniously, and consequently does not yet possess the beauty of the older Parks, but the opportunity seems to have been missed for fine avenues of trees, notably on the side parallel to the Seven Sisters Road."


From George Birch, The Descriptive Album of London, c.1896

Views: 309

Tags (All lower case. Use " " for multiple word tags): Finsbury Park
Albums: Historical Images of Harringay's Finsbury Park

Comment by alistairj on November 23, 2008 at 23:27
The lake looks a bit larger than it does now? Also, there appears to have been a pretty reasonable avenue of trees parallel to Seven Sisters about ten years later?
Comment by Liz on November 24, 2008 at 10:42
It does look bigger doesn't it? The original Hornsey Wood House that stood there before had a lake, perhaps it was still the 'original' lake from that time. Found this description of ice skating at the Hornsey Wood House in 1857, maybe at this lake in the picture:
"Then there is that Jones, who has rushed home at three o’clock every afternoon since the ice would bear, and started thence at a trot to Hornsey Wood House, where the lake is as smooth as a mirror, and kept select for subscribers, and where he stays cutting all manner of figures by lamplight, until it is time to come home to supper and to bed. It was but Friday afternoon last that, happening to walk over to take a look at the sport, we surprised him in the very act of giving lessons in skating to Miss G-, who, it was evident from the ease with which she swept an arc on one little foot, must have had a pretty liberal course of instruction before."
Comment by alistairj on November 24, 2008 at 12:11
Interesting use of the word 'liberal'!
Comment by Gary Smith on January 6, 2022 at 23:54

I havent been to Finsbury Park for over fifty years. I do remember the lake and the rowing boats. I also remember a long boat shed where a motorised boat would reside when not taking passengers on a trip around the lake.

Comment by Gary Smith on January 7, 2022 at 11:15

Or am I getting confused with Clissold Park?

Comment by Hugh on January 7, 2022 at 11:21

Does this picture help, Gary? Or this one?

Comment by Gary Smith on January 7, 2022 at 12:45

Hi Hugh, thanks for the photo. No, it doesn't help unfortunately. I remember where the boats were berthed. The boat house I am thinking about was on an island rather than the bank. I also remember the boats at the river Lea, at the bottom of Springfield park. I remember there was a little cafe by the side of it where the juke box was to die for. Brilliant records long before they hit the charts.

Comment by Hugh on January 7, 2022 at 13:50

Ok, so I checked and there have been two boat-houses - one at around the turn of the century and another later mid-century one. The later one was on the island. You can see both structures on the 1890s and 1950s OS map snippets below.

I can't find any image of the later boat-house. I even tried the Britain from Above  website, but it doesn't seem to be working at the moment.

Comment by Gary Smith on January 8, 2022 at 11:27

That's it, spot on. I wasn't imagining it after all :-). It was pretty much opposite the small boat berthing area, It was a long boat house, partially hidden by foliage, as the "passenger" boat itself was quite long; long enough to hold several families.

Again, probably my failing memory, I got the impression that the boat house jutted out rather than being alongside the island bank, I don't see what angle I would have to have been at in order to see the foliage blocking the boat house. Unfortunately, I don't have a photograph either.

Comment by Hugh on January 8, 2022 at 13:34

You mention a long passenger boat: that might make sense of this picture from the 1930s.

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