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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The YMCA in Crouch End, formerly Hornsey YMCA, was opened on May 11th, 1929.

These photos were taken shortly after the building was completed. The top one contrasts old Manor Cottages with the Y's modernist architecture. The lower shot is from a family album showing a family member in the Elmfield Garage plot next to the Y, sill today a petrol station.

Just beyond the new building, you can see a small section of an terrace of housing formerly called Roseberry Terrace. This survived till the War, when it was damaged by a bomb which destroyed the Picture Palace Cinema opposite. As a result Roseberry Terrace was demolished to make way for a new extension of the YMCA. At the same time, the art deco building, severely damaged by the bomb, was rebuilt in a rather more bland mid-century style.

Manor Cottages were demolished in 1935.

The third and fourth photos show the opening day on May 11th 1929 attended by Queen Victoria's seventh son, the Duke of Connaught. The first image was published in the Daily Mirror and the second in the Sunday Mirror.

The YMCA had started operating in Crouch End in 1903 after it acquired the building at 128 Crouch Hill. This was a much more modest concern and provided ony meeting rooms. In July 1903, he Holloway and Hornsey Press offered the following description, "On the ground floor there is the hall, which can be used as a reading room. Above this there is the secretary's office and the drawing-room, and on the second floor is the smoking-room".

By 1907, the organisation had moved out of the Crouch Hill premises and operated from Manor House at 71 Hornsey High Street till 1921. They then seem not to have had a presence in the borough until the Tottenham Lane building was opened.

(See the 128 Crouch Hill link above for a more detailed account of the Hornsey YMCA's development).

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Tags (All lower case. Use " " for multiple word tags): manor cottages, roseberry terrace, tottenham lane, ymca
Albums: Historical Images of Crouch End | 1 of 2 (F)

Comment by Richard Woods on July 20, 2018 at 16:51

The old YM! So good to see it still going. When I was a trainee reporter at the Hornsey Journal opposite we used the YM frequently and especially when a young reporter called, most suiitably, John Goodbody joined the North London Press (editorialoffices next to the HJ editorial). He persudaed several of us to go weight training a couple or more times a week. John went on to a significant career as a sports journalist. His enthusism for the weights did not infect us strongly enough to keep us out of the Kings Head and the long gone Bird in Hand however!

I also recall that a great long distance runner - Duncan Foster? - was an habituee of the YM for his training.

Comment by Hugh on July 20, 2018 at 17:43

Brendan Foster?

Comment by Alan on July 23, 2018 at 15:55

The petrol station was Lynne Frank & Wagstaff in half cresent shape and was opposite the Shell garage.

LF & W had motor showrooms next to H Journal , since a Eurofit exhaust centre.

Comment by Bob Lindsay-Smith on January 29, 2020 at 19:15

It seems from recent announcements that the Council Cabinet are considering taking this site over, apparently for social housing, which is of course badly needed. It's not clear if that would involve refurbishing the building, or knocking it down and building afresh. In either case, what replacement would be found for the hostel, gym and other facilities specifically for young people that the YMCA provides?

Comment by Graham Firkins on July 10, 2020 at 6:41

The young boy in the photo is Cyril Firkins, with his older  sister who lived in manor cottages.

Comment by Hugh on January 1, 2024 at 14:54

Just added two additional photos showing the opening day on May 11th 1929 and updated the information in the text.

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