Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

For years I've been finding in my garden lumpy bits of what looks to me like slag from smelting Iron. I'd been assuming that it was related to the occupation at Harringay House since my house is very close indeed to the site of the house. However, one of the estate plans published by the British Land Company shows no building of any sort just where my garden is.

It's not just one or two pieces. It's a lot. I used to just throw them away. But, fearing it will all soon be gone, I've started preserving the pieces I find now.

I've begun to wonder, even if there was a building associated with the estate just where my garden is, would they really have been smelting iron or any sort of metal (especially in full view of the southern aspect of the house - all the functional buildings seem to have been to the west). Ironworking, like fashioning horse shoes for sure, but smelting iron?  So I've begun to wonder if the smelting could have been from any earlier sort of occupation.

I'm trying not to let my fancies run away with me, but would be interested in finding a possible explanation. There's probably a simple and very mundane one, but I don't want to close off other possibilities.....just yet. 

Does anyone else find anything similar? Does anyone have any ideas for an explanation?

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Front garden walls of Rosebery Gardens N8 have loads of it.

Cheers, Vaneska. I'll take a look. 

Thanks Raymond.

I have included some pics of exactly how these walls looked. These are from the Chingford area, but are exactly the same as the many that once existed on the ladder. 


This is some of what I've found.

I think it's just clinker from a furnace where rubbish was burned as there are inclusions of broken crockery and pots. It seems to have been part of what the builders used to make up the ground level where needed and was amongst other hardcore, brick dust etc. & even old bottles & bones. Most organic waste would have rotted away completely but, amazingly there were some bits of leather from old shoes too. The whole lot seemed to be waste which was being reused to build the house. BTW I'm on the Stroud Green side of the tracks.

That looks similar, apart from the broken bits of pot. As you say, it was probably some type of building fill. Like I said above, it could well have been fill used for the terrace outside the rear of my house.

I see your image is dated from January. So, had you been ferreting around about it back then?

No, it's just that the camera wanted me to set date/time when I turned it on & I somehow only managed the year! Actually I'd kept them from a long while before intending to use them for some work in the garden that I haven't gotten round to yet. 

Thats it.... Its old school hardcore.......best description, so far :)

Hugh.  Do you need me to come over and give your garden a swing with my metal detector? 
Might give you more history to build a better picture :)

I can buy the theory about the use of slag for building purposes. (I'll shelve any wilder ideas then!)

Thanks for the offer Colin. Since I'm not ready to subject my garden to to any Time Team style assault, I think any metal detecting results would just tease me. Have you used it elsewhere locally with any success?

yeah.  I used it in my own back garden and fount this.


I could dig 20 holes in your garden and you wouldnt even see them.

Its a shame I cant find a photo I took of a garden, after I detected it.   You would be hard pressed to find a clue of a hole :)



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