Wednesday 13 November

The story of the Manor of Brownswood and the beginnings of South Hornsey, 1560-1850

John Hinshelwood

This is a new story of Hornsey. The first Story of Hornsey, 1904 by R O Sherington was written just after the Local Government reorganisation and the formation of Hornsey Borough Council. Not surprisingly, Sherington's story concentrated on the district defined by the new Borough and made little or no reference to either the old Manor of Brownswood or South Hornsey. Since then a wealth of material and books on the history of Hornsey have been produced, but no significant narrative of the Manor of Brownswood and the development of South Hornsey has appeared.

In 1832 the new turnpike road from Holloway to the Seven Sisters in Tottenham sliced the old Manor of Brownswood in half and at the same time cut off the southern tip of the Parish of Hornsey, and the new London suburb of South Hornsey came shortly afterwards; and disappeared in 1900 when it was absorbed into Stoke Newington. The Manor of Brownswood, one of the two principal manors in the parish ceased to exist in the 1850s when the lands were taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

Nowadays few people know that there was a manor of Brownswood in Hornsey or that there was a district called South Hornsey between the Seven Sisters Road and Newington Green. This lecture by John Hinshelwood will describe the history of the manor and the earliest developments of South Hornsey.

Wednesday 9 October

St Mary Hornsey: Tombs and Memorials

Bridget Cherry talks about the monuments erected during centuries of burials in St Mary’s church and churchyard. What do they tell us about the character of Hornsey and the approach to commemoration in the past and today? The speaker examines the evidence both for the monuments in the lost church and in the churchyard, drawing on material collected during the recent tomb survey carried out by the Friends of Hornsey Church Tower.


Bridget leads a walk around St Mary’s Churchyard on Thursday 10 October. Meet at 10.30am outside the Tower in the High Street. Free to all.

A garden, a park, a steaming beam engine and a model traffic area

Here are some local events to keep you entertained for the next 3 weekends!

NGS Open Day: 27 Wood Vale N10, Sunday 14th July 1.30pm – 6pm
Come and marvel at this amazing garden, owned and kindly opened to the public by Hornsey Historical Society members Alan and Anne Dallman. Follow in the footsteps of Prince Edward, who visited recently, and enjoy tea and cakes on the lawn, in the summerhouse, under the pergola and all the other amazing spaces in this secret garden. Seeing is believing, and we must hope for further opportunities next year. After 26 years of opening for charity under the National Gardens Scheme, Alan and Anne are saying this may be their last!

125th Anniversary of Markfield Beam Engine, Sunday 14th July 11am – 5pm
Victorian Mayhem Festival with live music, vintage fair and the beam engine in steam.

150th Anniversary of Alexandra Park, Sunday 21st July 11am – 4pm
Hornsey Historical Society will have a stall in The Grove for the duration of this exciting celebration.

75th Anniversary of the Model Traffic Area, Saturday 27th July 11am – 5pm
This unique model traffic area, opened in 1938, has recently been restored. See also the Moselle River and other Heritage Lottery-funded improvements. Lordship Rec, Lordship Lane, Tottenham, N17




Wed 26 Jun  A Walk through the History of Alexandra Park (see Archives Activities)

Sat 6 Jul       Summer Coach Outing to Faversham Open House (late bookings - ring 020 8889 7388)

Thu 11 Jul    AGM & Social

August         Please note that the Tour of  the Supreme Court previously advertised has been cancelled


Talk on Weds 12 June

The Coronation and Our Palace

by John Thompson


Royal Family on balcony

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation, this talk explores Alexandra Palace’s contribution to its televising in 1953. Illustrated with photographs of the outside broadcast equipment at Westminster Abbey, the personalities involved and maps of the route, the excitement of the occasion will be recreated by viewing original tele-recordings on period television receivers.


John Thompson is Chairman of the Alexandra Palace Television Group and Chairman of the British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum and runs a business specialising in the restoration of vintage electronic equipment.


Visit on Thurs 23 May

Visit to College of Arms & St Benet's Welsh Church


Talk on Weds 8 May

Arthur Morrison and 'Child of the Jago'

by Stan Newens


NEW COURSE starting on Thurs 18 April

Education in the Ancient Parish of Hornsey to 1965

Six seminars at the Old School House on Thursdays.

(click 'Courses' on left for full details).


Visit on Weds 17 April

Denis Severs’ House

Dennis Severs' House in Folgate Street is a "still-life drama" created by the previous owner as an "historical imagination" of what life would have been like inside for a family of Huguenot silk weavers.[1][2] It is a Grade II listed Georgian terraced house in Spitalfields, London, England. From 1979 to 1999 it was lived in by Dennis Severs, who gradually recreated the rooms as a time capsule in the style of former centuries. It is now open to the public.

The house is on the south side of Folgate Street, and dates from approximately 1724. It is one of a terrace of houses (Nos 6-18) built of brown brick with red brick dressings, over four storeys and with a basement. The listing for the house, compiled in 1950, describes No 18 as having a painted facade, and that the first floor [window] frames are enriched with a trellis pattern. [Source: Wikipedia]


 Denis Severs House

Photo: Dennis Severs House façade photographed  by Alan Will from Folgate Street, London in 2010. [Source: Wikipedia]


TALK on Weds 10 April

The Alchemy of Dust - Waste and Recycling in 19th-century London 

Dr. Peter Hounsell

  Somers Town Dust Heap

The Somers Town dust heap, showing dust sifters at work.

In early 19th-century London, dustmen paid local councils for the privilege of collecting refuse from the houses in the district, and still made a profit! A contemporary journalist called this the Alchemy of the Dusthole, and many other writers found the whole subject fascinating. Peter Hounsell explains how, by an early form of recycling, domestic refuse could have value, and the means by which this value was released.


VISIT on Friday 22 March

William Morris Gallery

 William Morris Gallery (view of front)

View of the front of the William Morris Gallery [image: ProfDEH, Wikipedia]


Some members may remember visiting the gallery, once the home of William Morris, some years back. At that time there was a strong possibility that it might close permanently, and an on-line petition attracted a huge number of signatures. It was spared closure and secured funds for a huge re-vamp instead. It has recently re-opened after substantial refurbishment and is well worth another visit.

I was fortunate to be taken round the building after it had closed and had been emptied of all its displays. It was fascinating to see it stripped bare, with original fireplaces and other items of interest on view as the work commenced to turn it into the smart new gallery which we shall be visiting.

If you have never visited before, this Curatorial Tour, specially arranged for HHS, is a must (PLEASE NOTE - we are sorry - this tour is now fully-booked). The tour costs £7.50 and takes place at 11.30am. It will last for 1 hour (plus as long as you want to walk round at leisure), so time for morning coffee beforehand or lunch afterwards. With delightful views over Lloyd Park, the new Tea Room offers sandwiches, salads and home-made cakes as well as a range of hot drinks, teas and coffees, soft drinks, wines and beers: an ideal place to meet for lunch or enjoy afternoon tea. All sales help the William Morris Gallery.

There is very limited parking, mostly for Blue Badge holders, and public transport is advised. This is easy by tube and/or ‘bus with the 123 from Turnpike Lane stopping right outside.

Rachael Macdonald


We are sorry, but this tour has been fully-booked for some time.

You can find out more about the William Morris Gallery at

If you would like to visit, the gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm. Free entry.


TALK on Weds 13 March

The Building of St Paul's Cathedral

Dr Neil Houghton


St Paul's Cathedral in 1896 

St Paul's Cathedral in 1896 from the south west [image from Wikipedia)


VISIT on Saturday 2 March

Brook Street Chapel, Tottenham

Built in 1839, and still in use as a place of worship today. [continued below photo]


Brook Street Chapel is a Grade II listed non-denominational place of worship in a small
side street off Tottenham High Road (opposite Bruce Grove station). The building, opened in 1839 as the Meeting House, was constructed for use as a meeting place for local Christians affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren movement.

The original members included the chemist John Eliot Howard (a pharmaceutical chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society, responsible for developing the use of Quinine as a treatment for malaria) and his brother Robert. Their father, who provided some of the necessary funding, was Luke Howard (“The Father of Meteorology” or locally “the man who named the clouds”), who moved to Tottenham shortly afterwards and whose home nearby at 7 Bruce Grove is marked by a blue plaque. A Haringey green plaque marks the site of John Eliot Howard’s home, Lord's Meade (commemorated in a street name near Bruce Castle Museum).

The history of the chapel is fascinating, as are the archives held there, which will be
revealed to our group by John Frost.

After the tour and talk we shall be given refreshments by some of the friendly chapel members. The visit will last from 2pm to approximately 4pm. I first visited this lovely place thanks to an invitation from Joyce Rosser of the Tottenham Civic Society (and HHS) and have reciprocated with an invitation for their members to join us on this occasion. We shall be giving a donation to the chapel from the society for our visit and the wonderful work they do in the community, so please contribute £4 towards this. You may, of course, contribute more on the day should you wish.

Rachael Macdonald

Further details including booking are in the newsletter, or contact Rachael, email: webmaster[at] or tel: 020 8889 7388.


TALK on Weds 13 February

Music Hall Memories on Film

Roger Fillary and Keith Fawkes




Image: George Laybourne whose song, Champagne Charlie, became the first, great hit of Victorian Music Hall. Sixty years after George Leybourne's death, the story of George's life, and his rivalry with another performer, The Great Vance, was told in the 1944 film 'Champagne Charlie, which starred Tommy Trinder as George.


VISIT on Monday 21 January

The Magic Circle Museum

With a membership of magicians, all of whom have passed a rigorous entry interview, examination, and demonstration of their skills, and are sworn to secrecy, the Magic Circle exudes mystique. As well as the museum, the building includes a theatre and library, along with members' facilities such as a clubroom, bar and dining room.

Staircase at the Magic Circle.

Further details including booking are in the newsletter, or contact Rachael, email: webmaster[at] or tel: 020 8889 7388.

TALK on Weds 9 January

The History of Wanstead House

Illustrated talk by Stephen Denford

Wanstead House and Park have a history that fully deserves superlatives, being long (with important Roman remains), and important (royal inhabitants included Henry VII and Henry VIII). However, in the early 19th century, this history culminated in an extravagance so unconstrained that in just a dozen years it brought about the total destruction of the magnificent Palladian mansion pictured below, and the loss of most of the estate - the former royal hunting park - that originally stretched over 1,500 acres.

Hear more of the fascinating story at the talk by Stephen Denford.

Wanstead House as built. Image: Wikipedia.



on Weds 19 December at the Raglan Hall Hotel, Muswell Hill

Full details in newsletter.


TALK on Weds 12 December

The History of Lord’s Cricket Ground

Illustrated talk by Stephen Green

Stephen Green is a former curator of the archives of Lords.

The Victorian Pavilion at Lords. Photo: Ben Marsh.

Visit on Weds 21 November

Battle of Britain Ops Room

Full information in Newsletter.

Plotting table as it was at the height of the Battle of Britain, 15 Sept 1940.

MEETING on Weds 14 November

The History of the Old Schoolhouse

Illustrated talk by Marius Reynolds and Paul Travis


The Old Schoolhouse



EVENT - Crouch End Hills Guided Walk

Sunday 21 October 2012

Meet at 2.30 pm near the main entrance of Hornsey Town Hall for a 2 hour walk around Crouch Hill and Crouch End Hill. Cost £3 includes a map of the area as it used to be. Books on Crouch End published by the HHS will be available.

For more information, phone Joy on 020 8883 8486 or mobile 07790 254 251.

Image: Crouch End Clocktower erected in 1895 as a memorial to Henry Reader Williams, who campaigned successfully for the preservation of green spaces including Queens Wood, Alexandra Park and Palace, and Priory Park, among other philanthropic and charitable works.



MEETING - Alexandra Palace - Restoration after the 1980 Fire

Illustrated talk by Richard Loren

Weds 10 October 2012

Image from



Markfield Beam Engine Steaming

A chance to see this magnificent piece of Victorian engineering in full steam – an impressive sight!

Monday 27 August
Open 11:00am to 5:00pm

Steaming times:

1:00pm to 1:45pm
2:30pm to 3:15pm
4:00pm to 4:45pm

While there, have a snack at the cafe next to the museum or take a walk in Markfield Park or along the banks of the River L  pea.

Limited car parking on site. Park in Markfield Road and walk into Markfield Park. Markfield Road is off Broad Lane (41 bus from Hornsey) and not far from Tottenham Hale Station (rail & tube).

Markfield Beam Engine
Markfield Road
South Tottenham
London N15 4RB

Tel: 01707 873628
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



London and Middlesex Archaeological Society and the Museum of London 

Local History Workshop

Museum of London, Clore Learning Centre 

Wednesday 17 October 2012

2.00pm – 5.00pm 

This workshop is intended for members of local history societies, librarians and museum workers and others who visit schools or explore historical and archaeological sites with young children and would like to exchange ideas and enhance their skills.
Nicholas Garrick of Lighting Up Learning will explain the place of Local History in the primary and secondary national curriculum in a changing landscape of education, and will lead a discussion about what teachers would find useful and offer professional advice on preparing packages for schools.

Nina Sprigge (MoL Primary Schools Programme Manager) will discuss how the museum supports local history through its sessions for primary schools, and Rhiannon Looseley (MoL Digital Collections Programme Manager) will look at the kind of online resources that can be produced for schools.

A n/pIllustrated talk by Marius Reynolds and Paul Travisumber of Case Studies from Local History Societies will be presented as examples of what has been achieved and what was successful.

The cost of this workshop is £10. For more information please contact Eileen Bowlt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01895 638060. 

To reserve a place please send £10 with your contact details (email, phone and address) to:

LAMAS Local History Workshop,
9 Umfreville Road, London, N4 1RY.



ENJOYING YOUR LOCAL OPEN SPACE: A Children’s Project About Priory Park

7 July, 2012

Published by Hornsey Historical Society – price £6

This new publication is aimed at children ages 8-12 or school years 5-7.
It comes as a pack with plastic carrying wallet, ideal for use outdoors.

The pack can be used by:
 Parents and children as a family activity
 Schools as a local history project
 Home/School Associations as a week-end or holiday activity for parents and children
 Local Primary and Secondary teachers as a transition project for Key Stage 2 children moving to Key Stage 3
 Children’s groups such as Woodcraft Folk, Brownies, etc.
 Any other groups of adults and children interested in finding out more about the history of their local park.

The pack contains:
 A detailed history of Priory Park, chiefly for the adults
 Many photos of the park over time
 A guided walk through the park
 Information and discovery sheets for the children to use
 Interactive and group work for the children
 Opportunities for written work during or after the walk
 Extension activities

The work has been planned and written by Jennifer Bell and Janet Owen, who have over 70 years’ teaching experience between them. Jennifer and Janet are both members of the Archive Team at Hornsey Historical Society and are interested in promoting to children knowledge and love of local history and how it shapes our lives today.

The Shop is open Thursdays and Fridays 10am – 2pm and Saturdays 10am – 4pm. As we rely on volunteers, please telephone 020 8348 8429 to check that we are open before making a special journey.



The Tottenham “upside down” map now available through HHS

7 July, 2012

The Parish of Tottenham (1619) A full-colour reprint (15.5″ x 24.5″ / 39cm x 63cm) of the so-called “upside down” map (north is at the bottom) by J T Barrow, engraved by W C Waller for Robinson’s History and Antiquities of Tottenham.

This shows an area from the River Lea in the east (on the left) to Tottenham Wood (where Alexandra Palace now stands) in the west. Clearly visible are such features as the old course of the New River and the unculverted River Moselle.

This is a beautiful and unusual map – perfect for framing and giving as a present!

For sale at £6.00 at our Old Schoolhouse bookshop. (See website for opening hours or telephone 020 8348 8429).
Can be sent in a tube for £3.00 P&P (UK). Overseas postage on request.


HHS AGM Film Show Update

6 July, 2012

Film London are now unable to host their film event at the Hornsey Historical Society AGM on 11 July, but have loaned us DVDs for a DIY session.

We shall be showing 2 films:

Beauty in the Borough – a film of mainly parks and gardens (and even windowboxes) in full bloom, mostly in Hornsey and Muswell Hill. Was your garden featured?

What Future for Haringey? – 1974 vision by the council’s planning department of how Haringey might develop. It’s interesting to see how accurate this was, and fascinating to see things you might have forgotten over the last 38 years!

The films will last for 54 minutes following the AGM. Doors open 7.30pm and as usual will close at 8pm for a prompt start. Latecomers will not be admitted.

Entry to this meeting is free to HHS members, with a donation of £1.50 requested from visitors. There will now be no tea and biscuits on arrival, but after the AGM wine and the usual delicious snacks will be available for a suggested donation of £2.50 from members and visitors alike.

We look forward to seeing you there.


HHS AGM & Film Screening 11 July

3 July, 2012 

Film London are hosting a free archive film event for Hornsey Historical Society at the AGM on 11 July.

Film London and the London Screen Archives are developing a new archive film project – London: A Bigger Picture (info at

The project’s aims are
1) to use the vast and fascinating collection of film footage of London over the last century to allow people to engage with their city in a new way
2) to keep the archive film alive and useful by showing it to the people it was made by, about and for 3) to spread the word about the importance of archiving and restoring film for our collective histories.

London Screen Archives will show us a DVD of archive films and want us to help them fill the gaps in their knowledge of the film contents so far.

We shall have a screening of the most relevant and engaging footage from the archive film in short sections, interspersed with interpretation. They aim to include local archive footage of the Hornsey area over the last century – this is still being compiled. What’s guaranteed is a variety of entertaining and fascinating views of London since the early 20th century.

The event will be informal, and will last about an hour, following what we hope will be a short AGM. As usual, the doors will close at 8pm for a prompt start and latecomers will not be admitted.

Free tea and biscuits will be served on arrival (doors open 7.30pm). This meeting is free to all HHS members but a donation of £1.50 is requested from visitors (to include the tea & biscuits). Following the AGM there will be wine and snacks (donations welcomed from everyone for this).


The Collections of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards

26 June, 2012 

Hornsey Historical Society members may be interested in the exhibition detailed below and the accompanying talk. You may also remember that John Farrer – “The Man Who Changed Hornsey” (see Janet Owen’s excellent HHS publication) was a member of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards, and the Master From 1919-1920 when the “Master’s card” bore a picture of Winged Victory to celebrate the end of WW1.

The Makers of Playing Cards have often looked to the world of sport for dynamic images suitable for use on pictorial packs or to produce souvenir packs for particular sporting events. The widespread popularity and very strong design ethos of the Olympic Games has ensured that for more than half a century Olympic sports have appeared regularly on the faces or backs of playing cards. The current exhibition, Sporting Aces – Playing Cards and the Olympic Games, drawn from the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards collection deposited at LMA, explores the astonishing range and variety of playing cards with an Olympic theme. The exhibition is at London Metropolitan Archives from 8 May – 13 September. Entry is free.

To coincide with the exhibition, Roddy Somerville, curator of the Company’s collections, will describe the history of the Company and highlight the strengths of its collections. This talk, The Collections of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards, held at London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB on Wednesday 4 This unique model traffic area, opened in 1938, has recently been restored. See also the Moselle River and other Heritage Lottery-funded improvements. Lordship Rec, Lordship Lane, Tottenham, N17/pSt Paul's Cathedral in 1896 style=July from 2 to 3 pm is also free – but you must book in advance on 020 7332 3851.



Tottenham Carnival and Festival on Saturday 23 June

18 June, 2012

The Carnival Parade this Saturday will end at Bruce Castle about 1pm.

Hornsey Historical Society will be there along with other local groups from 12pm – 6pm to publicise their activities and sell their publications.

In addition, the St Ann’s Hospital development plans will be on display. Those who have attended the wonderful tree walks with Tree Trust for Haringey will be able to query where in the development has space been left for any of these incredible, rare and historically important trees?


From East Finchley to Alexandra Palace – follow the new HHS walk booklet

12 June, 2012 

Hampstead Heritage Trail – Section E: East Finchley to Alexandra Palace (2012)

This new 44-page booklet is the last in a new series of booklets describing a 15-mile walk through London’s Northern Heights from Camden Town to Alexandra Palace. This booklet covers the 3.5-mile section from East Finchley, through Cherry Tree Wood, Fortis Green and Muswell Hill, and concludes on the terrace of Alexandra Palace with its panoramic view over London. The booklet contains 63 colour and 10 B&W photographs, 4 maps and descriptions of architectural, historical and aspects of social history found en route. This publication can be purchased for £4.50 at our HQ The Old Schoolhouse (open Thurs & Fri 10am – 2pm; Sat 10am – 4pm – but as the shop is staffed by volunteers, do please ring 020 8348 8429 to check that we are open before making a special journey). Alternatively, you can order by post (60p p&p).


Haringey’s Hidden Streams Revealed

1 May, 2012 

Albert Pinching and David Dell are giving an illustrated talk on their Hornsey Historical Society publication “Haringey’s Hidden Streams Revealed” at Alexandra Park Library, Alexandra Park Road, London, N22 7UJ (Tel: 020 8489 8770).
This is a free event – just turn up on Friday 11 May at 12.30pm.



Next HHS Meeting – Bodysnatchers!

1 May, 2012 

Hornsey Historical Society’s next meeting is on Wednesday 9 May, when Dr Simon Chaplin of The Wellcome Institute will give an illustrated talk on Bodysnatchers, Resurrection Men and Surgeons in Georgian England.

Meetings are held at the Union Church Hall, corner of Ferme Park Road and Weston Park, N8.

Refreshments are available from 7.45pm. Doors close and talks start at 8pm prompt. Latecomers cannot be admitted.

Talks are free to HHS members. A donation of £1.50 is requested from visitors.

ADVANCE NOTICE – members may be interested in the following:

Doctors, Dissection & Resurrection Men

Exhibition at Museum of London starts 19 October


Fortis Green History Walk this Sunday

20 April, 2012 

Fortis Green History Walk – Sunday 22 April 2.30pm

Just a reminder that The Hornsey Historical Society holds its annual Fortis Green History Walk this Sunday, flash floods, tornados and thunderstorms permitting. Check website for possible updates or ring Joy Nichol on 8883 8486 if coming some distance to join us.

Starting in the lane on the LEFT HAND SIDE of Tetherdown Hall (not Spring Lane, which is on the right), a few yards along from the junction with Fortis Green Road, the walk costs £3 and will last approximately 2½ hours. This is a gentle stroll with plenty of stops to hear interesting historical facts and anecdotes.

You will hear about the effects of the Enclosure Act on Fortis Green and where Fairport Convention got their name. You will see the boyhood home of the Davies brothers (The Kinks), and the pillarbox where Noël Coward posted his cards home. You’ll also see Fortis Green’s back-to-back cottages, the Firemen’s Cottages (and a reminder of the Fire Station), and an early estate laid out by the Freehold Land Society.

The walk, led by HHS Conservation Officer David Frith and Chairman Keith Fawkes, will finish in Grand Avenue near the old Tollington Girls’ School, now Tetherdown Primary.


The History of Highgate Gatehouse and its Theatre

3 April, 2012 

Hornsey Historical Society’s next meeting is on Wednesday 11 April at the Union Church Hall, corner of Ferme Park Road and Weston Park, N8.
John Plews of The Gatehouse Theatre will give an illustrated talk on The Gatehouse, Highgate: Pub and Theatre.
 Refreshments are available from 7.45pm. Doors close and talks start at 8pm prompt. Latecomers cannot be admitted.
Talks are free to HHS members. A donation of £1.50 is requested from visitors.


Change of programme for 14 March meeting

27 February, 2012 

HHS Monthly Meeting – please note change of programme:
Wednesday 14 March at 8pm prompt

From Green Lane to Shopping City- the story of the Wood Green High Road
Illustrated talk by Albert Pinching

URC Church Hall, cnr of Ferme Park Road / Weston Park N8
Visitors welcome. Donation £1.50 suggested. Doors close 8pm


Images from the North Middlesex Photographic Society

11 January, 2012

HHS Monthly Meeting
Wednesday 11 January at 8pm prompt

Images from the North Middlesex Photographic Society
Illustrated talk by Janet Owen

Photographs of Highgate, Muswell Hill, Crouch End and other local areas from 1880-1910

URC Church Hall, cnr of Ferme Park Road / Weston Park N8
Visitors welcome. Donation £1.50 suggested. Doors close 8pm



APTV75 – 75th Anniversary of Television

12 December, 2011 


Alexandra Palace – birthplace of the world’s first regular high-definition public television broadcast – joined forces with the BBC to celebrate 75 years of TV on Wednesday 2 November (private event) and on Saturday/Sunday 5/6 November with series of free activities for the public, staged at ‘Ally Pally’ where there was a rare opportunity to take a tour of the famous BBC Studios where history was made on 2 November 1936, and sample 1930s-inspired food from the ‘BBC canteen’ (sadly, at 2011 prices) sited in the old BBC Transmission Hall (known for a long time as the Old Boxing Club but now to be known again by its previous name).

Visitors saw audio visual displays featuring rarely-seen BBC footage, and were able to prepare to go ‘on air’, made up in authentic 1930s TV style (with blue lips and eyes and white pancake makeup) and see demonstrations of the latest innovations in 3D TV.

Members of the public also had the opportunity of being “greenscreened” and later watching their performances back on YouTube. HHS webmaster was one of them, and you can view the unscripted, unrehearsed, completely spontaneous result (you’d never have guessed, would you?!) by visiting, clicking on their Youtube icon and scrolling down to video 123.

It was heartening to experience such an event at last at the palace and we must hope more use can be made of its historic areas.

Alexandra Palace CEO Duncan Wilson OBE and Alexandra Park Manager Mark Evison will be telling HHS their plans for the future at next HHS meeting on 14 December.


WW1 Internment of German Civilians at Alexandra Palace

16 November, 2011

WWI – the internment of Germans in the UK – the paintings and journal of the artist George Kenner

Wednesday 16th November 2011

Tickets £5 (on the door) 6.00 pm for 6.30pm

This talk will be at St George’s German Lutheran Church in Alie Street, London E1, the oldest surving German church in England. The church closed in 1996 and is now one of 20 redundant non-conformist places of worship that are in the care of the Historic Chapels Trust, a registered charity.
Proceeds of the talk will assist towards maintenance and repair of this historic church.

Nick McCormick’s fascinating talk will focus on the work and life of the German artistTHIS PROJECT PACK IS ON SALE AT: br /br /, George Kenner, ph3pbr /br / who was interned at Alexandra Palace for part of the First World War. Some of his paintings depicting the life of these little known internees are held by the Imperial War Museum. HHS members will remenber his talk 3 years ago, which was the suject of his article in our Bulletin No.49.

George Kenner’s paintings executed at Alexandra Palace are online. You can view them via the Imperial War Museum’s website: Click on art collections, type ‘ Kenner’ in the ‘Artist’ box and press search – this takes you to the collection. The images have been photographed at a low resolution but by right-clicking they can be transferred to ‘My Pictures’ where they enlarge very well.


Celebrate 75 years of television – latest info

3 November, 2011


Alexandra Palace – the iconic North London entertainment venue and birthplace of the world’s first regular high-definition public television broadcast – will join forces with the BBC to celebrate 75 years of TV.

On Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November 2011 a series of free activities for the public will be staged at ‘Ally Pally’/p border=A number of Case Studies from Local History Societies will be presented apLOCAL HISTORY IN SCHOOLS – THE LOCAL HISTORIAN’S ROLEbr //ps examples of what has been achieved and what was successful. to encourage the public to explore the past and discover the future of television. Not least, they will beh2 WW1 Internment of German Civilia h2/strongpns at Alexandra Palace given the rare opportunity of taking a tour of the famous BBC Studios where history was made on 2 November 1936 – and worldwide communication and entertap src=/h2pinment was transformed beyond recognition.

As visitors explore and delve into TV’s colourful past through a series of interactive and immersive audio visual displays featuring rarely-seen BBC footage, the words “This is direct from Alexandra Palace” – made famous by one of the first television presenters Elizabeth Cowell – will be heard once more from within the BBC studios.

Matt Cooke, Chair of Alexandra Park & Palace Trust, said: “The BBC’s place in the history of Alexandra Palace was sealed when the first public service broadcast in the world was made from the building in 1936. Not only did the event pave the way for a new kind of social entertainment, but it also prompted technological advances in the way we coimages/brook_street_chapel_01.jpgmmunicate with each other which still impact on us to/pbr /day.
“The Trustees are delighted to be co-hosting a weekend of interactive and futuristic activities with the BBC to mark 75 years since this important milestone in UK and world history.”

Head of BBC History, Robert Seatter, added: “On this momentous 75th anniversary, we are delighted to be working with Alexandra Palace to open up these unique studios where television really began. We hope that this exciting open weekend will help visitors to celebrate television in all its diversity – old and new, technical and aesthetic, serious and fun.”

When the BBC leased the studios at Alexandra Palace from 1935 – 1981, it was afforded incredible reception capabilities and broadcasting opportunities. The building, standing at over 306ft above sea level, provides outstanding views across the city and – crucially – guaranteed BBC production staff at the time close proximity to Broadcasting House – the corporation’s headquarters in central London.

Withstanding the Second World War years – when television equipment was commandeered for defence purposes and the Alexandra Palace transmitter was re-tuned to defend London from Nazi bombers – the studios became the corporation’s primary production centre for television broadcasts until the 1950s. Over the years landmark programmes such as Muffin the Mule, The Grove Family – the nation’s first television ‘soap opera’ – and historic events including the 1953 Coronation, the News and Open University television were made there, entertaining growing numbers of families in Britain.

Visitors to Alexandra Palace on the weekend of 5 and 6 November will be able to take centre stage and prepare to go ‘on air’, made up in authentic 1930s TV style (with blue lips and eyes and white pancake facepaint)! They will also be able to share their memories of the BBC and ‘Ally Pally’ in front of the cameras and sample 1930s inspired food from the ‘BBC canteen’.

For those who are more interested in what television has to offer in the future, students of the world-renowned digital media and design college Ravensbourne will be on site to provide demonstrations of the latest innovations in 3D TV. Members of the public will also have the opportunity of recording the news for the cameras and later watching their performances back on YouTube.

Cameras will roll from 11am – 4.30pm on both 5 and 6 November.

Entry is free to the activities in the Transmission Room and 3D TV demos in the foyer of the Victorian Theatre, where you will also find the HHS bookstall.

Please note, tours of the BBC studios are now fully-booked.

75th Anniversary of the Birth of TV

1 November, 2011

“This is coming live from Alexandra Palace”

Alexandra Palace – the birthplace of the world’s first regular high-definition public television broadcast – is joining forces with the BBC to celebrate 75 years of TV.

Visit Alexandra Palce for a weekend of TV-filled fun and discovery to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the birth of TV live from the studios where it all began.
Explore the original studios and delve into TV’s colourful past through exhibits and displays.

Take centre stage and prepare to go ‘on air’, as you share your memories of the BBC and Ally Pally in front of the cameras.

On Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November 2011 a series of free activities for the public will be staged at ‘Ally Pally’ to encourage the public to explore the past and discover the future of television. Highlights include: -

Tours of the famous BBC Studios where history was made on 2 November 1936 – and worldwide communication and entertainment was transformed beyond recognition

Interactive and immersive audio visual displays featuring rarely-seen BBC footage

Taking centre stage and preparing to go ‘on air’, made up in authentic 1930s TV style (with blue lips and eyes and white pancake facepaint)

Sharing your BBC and ‘Ally Pally’ memories with roving reporters

1930s-inspired food from the ‘BBC canteen’

Demonstrations of the latest innovations in 3D TV

Become a BBC newsreader! Record a snippet of the news and take the recording home with you as a unique souvenir.
Cameras will roll from 11am – 4.30pm on both 5 and 6 November.

Entry is free, but anyone wishing to take a tour of the BBC studios needs to call 0208 365 4321 to secure a timed ticket.

Entry: free admission by timed ticket (donations welcome)

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The 75th anniversary of the world’s first television broadcast by the BBC from Alexandra Palace is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on London’s role as a pioneer and innovator. With master-planning underway to regenerate the iconic Alexandra Palace site for future generations to enjoy, it is a chance to celebrate the great achievements of public service broadcasting and also discover how world-renowned colleges like Ravensbourne are helping to shape the future of television and digital media.”



This week’s events

12 October, 2011 

HHS Monthly Meeting
Wednesday 12 October at 8pm
URC Church Hall, cnr of Ferme Park Road / Weston Park N8

The History of Highgate
Illustrated talk by Stephen Denford

Stroud Green Book Launch
Friday 14 October
See separate News item for full details

The Lost Theatres of Haringey
Friday 14 October 7pm
Marlene McAndrew will be at the Big Green Bookshop, Brampton Park Road, Wood Green, talking about her book The Lost Theatres of Haringey, which will offer a fascinating insight on the changes that the borough has seen in the last 150 years.

Markfield Open Day
Saturday 15 October
12 noon – 4pm
Find out all about the different services offered at Markfield, and their exciting plans for the future, with the launch of their new 5-year strategic plan for 2011-2016. There will be free refreshments provided, and family activities in the building and adventure playground. They will also be holding their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the day, between 2.30 and 3.30pm. For more information please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 020 8800 4134.

HHS Highgate Walk
Saturday 15 October
Meet 2pm at Highgate Scientific & Literary Institute. £3 donation requested.



Stroud Green Book Launch

12 October, 2011 

invites you to meet author John Hinshelwood at the launch of

Stroud Green – A History and Five Walks

Friday 14 October 2011
6.30 – 8.00 pm
at The Stapleton Tavern,
Stroud Green

An opportunity to talk to the author and purchase a signed copy of this recently-published book. John’s latest book The Campsbourne Estate and also HHS 40th Anniversary publication A Vision of Middlesex (co-authored with Janet Owen) will also be available.

Refreshments will be available and a pay bar will also operate.

The book launch will be held in the unusual “retro” dining area (entrance from Mt Pleasant Crescent) and some of us are staying on afterwards for dinner. Might we suggest you do the same!

Stapleton Tavern
2-4 Crouch Hill
Stroud Green N4 4AU

Close to Crouch Hill Station
Buses W3, W7, 210 stop nearby
On-street parking from 6.30pm
(some earlier a short walk away)

RSVP by 13 October:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 020 8889 7388
Txt: 07583 097293



HHS Membership Subscriptions 2011-2012

6 October, 2011 

The website is currently being updated and changes will meanwhile be shown on this page. The new seaspn’s Events have already been posted here, and for the benefit of new members, or members wishing to renew but who have not received season’s programme, the increased rates for this year are show below. Please copy and paste the form below and print down to join by post.

How to join HHS (2011 – 2012)

Members receive the Society’s acclaimed annual Bulletin, containing well-researched articles of local interest with many illustrations, and 4 quarterly Newsletters giving details of outings, walks, etc. Members also receive free entry to the Society’s lectures and free help with queries from the Archives.

Membership form

Print down, complete and send with sterling cheque or order to:
The Membership Secretary, Hornsey Historical Society, The Old Schoolhouse, 136
Tottenham Lane, London N8 7EL.
Signing the Gift Aid form also helps us keep the Membership fee low.


Please enrol me/us as an *individual / concession / institutional member (*please delete as applicable)

Name (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/other): ………………………………………….
Additional member at same address:
Address: …………………………………………….
Tel: ………………………………………. Date: …………………………
E-mail address: …………………………………………………………….

I enclose £………. to cover membership as appropriate for the current year commencing 1st September. I enclose a donation of £……….

United Kingdom:
Individual: £15
Additional member at same address: £5
Concessions: £12
Institutional: (includes 3 copies of quarterly Newsletters and 2 Bulletins): £25
Overseas: Please add £8 to your subscription (to cover higher postal charges).

Hornsey Historical Society is a registered charity and as such greatly welcomes all donations. If you are a UK taxpayer and wish to make a donation, please complete and sign this form:
Name: ……………………………………………………….
Address: …………………………………………………….
I would like the Hornsey Historical Society to treat as Gift Aid donations, all subscriptions and donations I make to the Society, from the date of this declaration until otherwise notified.
Signed: ……………………………………….
Date: ……………………………………



London Open House Sun 18 September

16 September, 2011 

Old Schoolhouse open 11am – 4pm
The Schoolhouse was built in 1848 and still has some original featurespRSVP by 13 October:br //strong. The exhibition shows its history and the transformation into our HQ in 1981 – 30 years ago. There are alsoand the Museum of London h2br /br /hr /br / exhibitions on the society’s history – we are now in our 40th year – and on John Farrer, the local architect of the Warner Estate and of many other Hornsey buildings including The Three Compasses in Hornsey High Street.

Just along the road from the pub, The Friends of Hornsey Church Tower will be opening the tower – the last remnant of old St Mary’s Church – from 2 – 4pm. Well worth the climb to the top for the great views.


London Open House Sat 17 September

16 September, 2011

Muswell Hill Walk
Meet 2pm next to Muswell Hill Library, Queen’s Avenue for a guided architectural Walk of about 2½ hours round Muswell Hill led by the Hornsey Historical Society, seeing its development from a rural village to an elegant Edwardian suburb. We end up at North Bank, one of the area’s few remaining Victorian villas, with a lovely garden, for a short talk and tea and cakes. Numbers may be restricted for reasons of safety. First come first served.

HHS New Season: Talks & Events 2011-2012

16 September, 2011



Sep 14 History of London’s Underground Railway – Peter McMahon
Oct 12 History of Highgate -Stephen Denford
Nov 09 The First English Actresses – Marlene McAndrew
Dec 14 Alexandra Park, Past and Present – Mark Evison


Jan 11 Images from North Middlesex Photographic Society – Janet Owen
Feb 08 From Mean Streets to E strongHHS SUBSCRIPTION RATES Sep 2011 – Aug 2012pping Forest - Dr Chris Pond
Mar 14 A New Story of Hornsey – John Hinshelwood
Apr 11 History of Highgate Gatehouse and its Theatre – John Plews
May 09 Bodysnatchers – Dr Simon Chaplin
Jun 13 Capability Brown, Father of English Landscape Gardening – Russell Bowes
Jul 11 AGM & Social Evening



Sept 24 Coach Outing to Houghton Mill & Wimpole Hall
Oct 19 Visit to City of London Police Museum
Nov 2 Tour of Postal Museum Stores, Debden
Dec 15 Christmas Dinner at Raglan Hotel


Jan 18 London Waste EcoPark “Rubbish Trail”
Feb 15 Cinema Museum, Kennington
Mar 21 Old Wanstead Hospital Chapel
Apr Burlington Arcade or Society of Antiquaries
May Visit to St Mary’s, Wanstead
Jun Carlyle’s House
July Myddelton House Gardens tour
Aug Thames Boat Trip to Hampton Court


Website update

16 September, 2011 

Please note our website is under re-construction, so please check this News page for events etc. Sorry for any inconvenience.


Our latest book: Stroud Green – a History and Five Walks

27 July, 2011

Stroud Green – A History and Five Walks by John Hinshelwood (2011)

This book in a new format describes the growth and development of Stroud Green from a wet and marshy wasteland in mediaeval times to the present-day cosmopolitan suburb. The five walks allow exploration of various aspects of the history of the area. The 96-page book includes 36 local views and eight maps.

HHS £7.50 + £1.50 P&P


A Vision of Middlesex

27 July, 2011 

A Vision of Middlesex by Janet Owen and John Hinshelwood (2011)

This book, published to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hornsey Historical Society, presents a selection of over 120 19th- and early 20th-Century photographs from the North Middlesex Photographic Society’s survey and record of Middlesex. They record long-vanished scenes of Crouch End, Edmonton, Enfield, Hampstead, Highgate, Hornsey, Palmers Green, Stroud Green, Tottenham, and Wood Green. Details of the photographers and locations are given.

The book may be purchased in person from HHS:

The Old Schoolhouse, 136 Tottenham Lane, London N8 7EL
Opening hours are 10am-2pm Thurs & Fri; 10am-4pm Sat

As shop is staffed by volunteers you may wish to check we are open before making a special journey (020 8348 8429)

Alternatively, you can order by post. An order form may be downloaded from the Bookshop page of our website:

HHS ISBN 978-0-905794-42-6 £15.00 + £2.00 p&p



Cinemas of Haringey

27 July, 2011

Cinemas of Haringey by Jeremy Buck (2010)

This 140-page well-illustrated best seller describes the histories of more than 40 cinema buildings in various parts of Haringey from the early shop conversions, purpose-built cinematographs, through the 1930s picture palaces to today’s modern multiplexes. Well researched and written by a locally-based cinema enthusiast and HHS member the book includes a number of previously unpublished photographs and records the memories of local residents’ visits “to the pictures” and those of staff who used to work in these local cinemas. A nostalgic treat for cinema buffs.

ISBN 978-0-905794-41-9

HHS £9.99 + £1.40 P&P



The Lea Valley Series by Jim Lewis

27 July, 2011

Lea Valley Series

This series of 6 books by Dr Jim Lewis continues to be a best seller and is available from the Hornsey Historical Society:

From Gunpowder to Guns – the story of two Lea Valley armouries tells the history of the Royal Small Arms Factory and the Royal Gunpowder Mills, who were responsible for supplying weapons and explosives to British and Commonwealth forces for over 200 years.
Paperback – ISBN: 978 1 904750 85 7 – £9.99

Water and Waste – four hundred years of health improvements in the Lea Valley documents the challenges faced by early engineers to eradicate cholera and typhoid from London and the Lea Valley, from the early 17th-century engineering feat of the New River to modern environmental issues.
Paperback – ISBN: 978 1 904750 86 4 – £9.99

Battleships, Buses and Bombers – a history of transport in the Lea Valley describes the remarkable range of transport innovations in the region, from AEC buses to AVRO aeroplanes (A V Roe’s early ’planes were powered by JAP engines from Tottenham).
Paperback – ISBN: 978 1 904750 87 1 – £9.99

Weapons, Wireless and World Wars – the vital role of the Lea Valley explores the advances in weapons manufacture to the development of wireless technology. The book also reveals the role played by Alexandra Palace in WW2.
Paperback – ISBN: 978 1 907471 00 1 – £9.99

Industry and Innovations – the technological revolution in the Lea Valley looks at inventions and businesses, such as Charles Babbage, the Victorian “inventor of the computer”, the Ediswan Factory’s electric light bulbs, and Gestetner copying machines.
Paperback – ISBN: 978 1 907471 02 5 – £9.99

From Eton Manor to the Olympics – more Lea Valley secrets revealed contains aspects of Lea Valley history connected to the forthcoming 2012 Olympics, including how the redundant track surface from the 1948 Olympics at Wembley was uplifted, transported to Leyton and used to repair the track at Eton Manor, close to where international athletes will be competing in 2012.
Paperback – ISBN: 978 1 907471 03 2 – £9.99



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HHS Monthly Meeting – please note change of programme:br /Jan 11 Images from North Middlesex Photographic Society – Janet Owen16 September, 2011