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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Wood Green High Road was our first choice for shopping.  Walking from home on Green lanes you passed the Ritz Cinema - two different programmes every week each with the "B" film, Pearl & Dean advertising, Movietone News and the feature film (I was taken to see "The Dam Busters" several times in 1955 as my father had been in the RAF!)

Crossing the entrance to the bus station you came to Conways Furnishers and then Turnpike Lane Station. After crossing Westbury Avenue and Whymark Avenue there on the right-hand side of the High Road were the three large stores - British Home Stores, Marks and Spencer and Woolworths (actually the original F.W.Woolworth).  One source of entertainment was the antics of the "spivs" who illegaly sold things (possibly of doubtful origin) out of suitcases in front of the stores.  They had a look-out hovering on the kerb who signalled the arrival of the patrolling policeman.  The suitcases would then snapped shut and the spivs would quickly disappear into one of the stores only to re-appear again when the coast was clear.  The day of reckoning came one day when the police came through the stores from the back entrances on Bury Road and several spivs were "nicked".

Further on down past the Wood Green Empire was Halford's who were then mostly a cycle and sports shop and further still the Co-op.  This was a strange building in two parts joined by a long ramp.  They still had the central cashier's desk set up high with overhead wires connecting it to each sales desk. The assistants would write out your purchases on a form which would be put into a cylindrical canister with your payment.  This was put into the overhead system, a lever pulled and the canister sped quickly to the stern-faced cashier.  A few minutes later the canister would be back with your receipt and any change.

Further along still the road curved to the right past Strakers the stationers and then you passed under the railway bridge at Noel Park & Wood Green Station.  Sometimes high over the road a train would come in with a screech of brakes, you would hear the brake pump on the engine going "thump-thump-thump" then, with a slamming of doors, the train would start off again.  Past the station there were more shops or you could cross the road to see what films were on at the Gaumont Cinema.

On this side of the road going back towards Turnpike Lane just after Alexandra Road was a shop selling cooked meats.  We usually bought some Polony sausage (special treat!) which was sliced off from one hanging in the window.There were many more shops including J.Sainsbury who had two adjacent shops.  Just before arriving at the Wellington was a toy shop (best shop in the road!) where my first train set was bought - an OO gauge Rovex.

Other names and shops come to mind although, after 60+ years I can't locate them - "David Grieg, Provisions Merchant", "Home & Colonial Stores", butchers with skinned rabbits, plucked chickens and the odd animal carcase hanging outside.  Greengrocers where potatoes were tipped straight into your shopping bag with things like lettuces just having a sheet of newspaper wrapped round them.  The price of everything was calculated and added up in the head (in £sd of course) as you were served. For example - three pounds of potatoes at ..., one cabbage, one pound of carrots at .., three parsnips and half a pound of tomatoes at .. that will be ... thank you! - no need for pocket calculators even if they had been invented!

Tags for Forum Posts: harringay alumni memories, harringay memories, stephen holliday's childhood memories

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I remember being taken to see Old Mother Riley probably at Finsbury Park. All I can remember about the Wood Green Empire is some sort of cowboy show where children were invited onto the stage and had to say something like "I'm a cowboy, big and tough!".  Being quite shy at the time I did not participate!

I saw the ballet Copellia ,Arthur English ,  Ethel Revnell...also does anyone remember the ex servicemen group who played up and down green lanes .we would call it busking now .many were disabled ..,

Would love to see a photo of these guys that no doubt lies buried and long forgotten in some far flung spot.

Barton's stood where BhS stands today, so quite clsoe to Whymark Avenue. Barton's burnt down in the 1960s- I can remember my dad taking me to see the smouldering ruin after school one day. They said they would rebuild, but didn't,. and so British Home Stores built a new store and moved from their premises a little further along. Their old shop became Boots Chemists, but is now divided between Mothercare and another retailer, having briefly been a branch of Habitat.

So thats what happened! Many thanks for the explanation.

Thanks for that - Bartons was important to locals in the 50s as it was the only department store around - mind you back then it was very much Are You Being Served!

The toy shop was Garrisons - fantastic place, full of model railways, models of all kinds, plus bikes and accessories. Never since seen such a range of balsa wood as they seemed to stock, my Dad made many models for our Triang Railway!

Up the alleyways before Frobisher Road (not sure where now) there was a grocers shop on the corner. I worked there after school and at weekends as a delivery boy and at Christmas helped with dressing the freshly delivered chickens in the back store room - it wouldn't be allowed today.
Richard, did you also go to North Harringay school, I did from 1952 until 1962.

was that in Hampden road by the alley was it called archibalds ?

It sounds like you may be talking about this place.

yes it is two small shops ...and on the opposite side of the road lauasanne side maybe a few houses up going towards Wightman a  wartime nursery (kids) happy memories

I think the pub was gone by my time (1946-64) but top of Hampden en route to the railway station there was a short parade of shops on the southern side. Included a fags and sweets shop where we bought penny lollies and later single Woodbines! Mr Alison?

the shop was by the alley .the top shops had the off licence with the marvellous lemonades.the sweet shop was tomalins .and I also went to north harringay 1946-1952 ish.took the 11+ the day the king died..you little kids would have had a  day off..

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