Downstairs at the Kings Head

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The Kings Head, Crouch End, 2021

On Thursday 19th August, Crouch End will see the return of a major part of its cultural life.  After a nearly eighteen month absence, Downstairs at the Kings Head, one of the oldest comedy clubs in the country, will reopen.

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Crouch End Opera House

Crouch End Opera House on the right, Topsfield Parade, c.1900
Crouch End Opera House on the right, Topsfield Parade, c.1900

Crouch End, today, provides no obvious evidence that it was once the location of a theatre. You won’t see a huge auditorium that has been through various incarnations such as cinema, bingo hall, or space used for worship. The evidence is there though, at 31 Tottenham Lane nestled in amongst the shop units. The restored semi-circular glass window is recognisable from old images and a new glass canopy echoes the structure that previously covered the whole pavement.

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TELEVISION HOPES AND FEARS

An article from the North Middlesex Chronicle, 13th January 1940

The fact that the Alexandra Palace television studio is closed continues to be a very sore point with the founders of the system. It is feared that the lead gained before the war will be lost, as was the lead in films during the last war, never to be regained.

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The Athenaeum, Muswell Hill

As the Old Schoolhouse is closed for the time being, we thought we’d share some extracts from HHS publications over the coming weeks and months.  Cinemas of Haringey by Jeremy Buck was published by HHS in 2010 and includes a section on The Athenaeum

The Athenaeum, Fortis Green Road, 1905
The Athenaeum, Fortis Green Road, 1905

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Chung Ling Soo: The Man Behind the Magician

The death of a famous Chinese magician as the result of an accident at the Wood Green Empire in the spring of 1918 provided a hot topic for discussion in north London and beyond. The reporting of the inquest in newspapers such as the Bowes Park Weekly News did nothing to halt speculation that the death had not been an accident.

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A CHILDREN’S DAY AT HORNSEY

SCHOOLS CELEBRATE PEACE

An article from the Hornsey Journal, 25 July 1919

The Peace celebrations in Hornsey were mainly confined to the children. On Friday afternoon (18 July) the pupils attending public elementary schools in the borough were given a tea, games and entertainments at public expense and enjoyed themselves as only youngsters can.

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1895: Women’s Football makes its official debut in Hornsey

With all the interest in the current FIFA Women’s World Cup it is satisfying to know that Hornsey hosted the first official women’s football match attended by an enthusiastic crowd of 10,000 spectators. The 23rd March match was between North and South, the North winning 7-1. One of the South team, Emma Clarke, was the first recorded black woman football player.

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HORNSEY JOURNAL’S SCATHING COMMENTS ON THE FIRST OFFICIAL WOMEN’S FOOTBALL MATCH IN 1895

From the Hornsey Journal, 30th March 1895

The much talked of football match between British ladies has been played and the world has not moved an inch out of its orbit. There was an enormous gathering, the number probably approached ten thousand. There was a great curiosity as to the ability of females to play football and between three and four o’clock the procession along Park Road to Nightingale Lane was close and continuous.    

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