The mainly residential districts of neighbouring Bounds Green and Bowes Park form the north-east corner of the London Borough of Haringey with a small part in the south-east corner of the Borough of Enfield.
The story of Alexandra Palace and Park is integral to that of Wood Green. This Victorian enterprise has been the subject of many trials and tribulations, but it has, nevertheless, dominated Wood Green from its lofty position on its western boundary.
Erected in 1848 as Hornsey Infants’ School for St. Mary’s Parish, the Old Schoolhouse, designed by architect John Henry Taylor, is now the home of the Hornsey Historical Society. Although the society moved into the building in 1981, the Old Schoolhouse has a long history.
Hornsey’s history as a parish and administrative area goes back to at least the 13th century. For most of that time, Hornsey was a rural backwater in the county of Middlesex but, with the coming of the railways in the 1850s, developers realised the opportunity to create a suburb.
The Ordnance Survey was established in 1791 and the survey commenced in 1794 the first sheets to a scale of one inch to a mile were published in 1801. We have facsimile copies of Ordnance Surveyor’s Drawings for the London Area 1799-1808 which are to the scale of two inches to a mile and form the basis of the one-inch series.
The tower was built as part of the medieval church of St Mary when Hornsey was a small rural village in Middlesex. The lower part of the tower is medieval, and was probably completed around 1500.
Hornsey, established as a settlement in the pre-Conquest county of Middlesex, is a name with Anglo Saxon origins and derives from the Old English name Heringes-hege (with the ‘g’s pronounced as ‘y’s), meaning ‘the enclosure of Hering’ or ‘of Hering’s people’.
Today, all that remains of St Mary’s Church is its bell tower, standing in the former churchyard, a little back from Hornsey High Street. St Mary’s Tower is a focal point for the local community and a poignant reminder of the long history of this site as a place of worship.
There had been talk of the need for a local history society in Hornsey as long ago as 1909 but despite early efforts nothing was achieved until 1971. On 29th April that year, in response to a poster designed and distributed by Margaret Gellay, a young local teacher, about fifty people attended a meeting in Hornsey Library.
The name Stroud Green signifies a wet, marshy place, overgrown with brushwood and liable to flooding. Stroud Green, near Highbury, was first mentioned in 1403 when it was no more than a number of farmsteads outside London on the low lying land of Tollington, in Islington, to the west of Brownswood in Hornsey.