Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Over on another thread, a discussion started about the origins of the Woodberry Down name. This happened to coincide with some occasional research I've started doing recently on the Woodberry Down area.

Till relatively recently I'd always thought that Woodberry Down was a council confection to sugar the pill of a fairly brutal looking council estate. It doesn't take much rooting around to discover that this was a very incorrect assumption.

In fact, in extreme contrast to its character for the second half of the twentieth century, Woodberry Down was developed as a home to the wealthy. It included some huge houses with gardens stretching from Seven Sisters Road down to the New River. Here's a potted history I added to Wikipedia some years back. 

That entry ends explaining the radical change the area experienced about seventy years ago:

With the increasing suburbanisation of the area, mainly for the middle and lower middle classes, many of the original families had moved out by 1895 and others were being replaced by poorer people in 1913. Social decline continued, until in 1954 the district was inhabited mainly by students, foreigners, and the working class, with most houses containing four or five families and all in decay

You'll note that this text is on the entry for Manor House, London, rather than for Woodberry Down. This is another classic London story of 'What's my neighbourhood's name'.

In Victorian times, the area from Manor House Junction, north and south to the New River (as it loops around) and east as far as South Tottenham was widely known as Woodberry Down. After the building of the council estate given the name "Woodberry Down Estate" however, 'Woodberry Down' fell out of fashion as a name for the wider area, the majority of which had been subsumed by the estate anyway.

With the 'regeneration' of the area, Berkley Homes have clearly decided that they like the name and so it is experiencing something of a revival. I was keen to learn if this was just property developer's hype or whether there were any local roots to the name. So I started digging around.

The earliest reference I have to the history of the name so far is from The Survey And Valuation of The Manor of Stoke Newington in 1649. I found the following two excerpts:

One parcel of Pasture Ground, called by the name of Berrie Downs, in the occupation of Mr. Leverett, abutting on Mr. Chace's land on the north, containing by estimation 21 acres, which we value, to be worth per ann. £35.

One parcel of Wood Ground, called by the name of Berrie Down Wood, in the occupation of Colonel Alexander Popham, abutting on the New River on  the north, containing by estimation 5 acres which we value to be worth per ann 35s.

The next reference is from a 1734 map of the demesne lands of Stoke Newington Manor. It shows 'Wood Berry Downs Meadow'. Next to it it shows 'South Berry Meadow' and 'North Berry Meadow'. The common name here obviously was 'Berry'. Fascinatingly for me, ancestry.co.uk seems to think that 'berry' would have referred a 'fortified manor house'. 

As in many old maps, 'north is not up'. In this case east is at the top of the page.

With regards to the other part of the name, 'down', my understanding is that it refers to an area of rolling, grassy, treeless upland used for grazing.

An 1844 map suggests that a century after the demesne map the wider area had taken on the 'Woodberry Down' name.

Excerpts from old Ordnance Survey maps showing the northern part of the old borough of Stoke Newington

So Woodberry Down certainly seems to have authentic local roots. As to 'Manor House', I've always been interested in how tube and train stations get their names. This case has proved the tipping point for me to actually try and get some hard information on this. I asked StephenBln if he could help and within a few hours his network is pointing towards the LU Design & Heritage Manager. So it sounds like we might get closer to an answer. I'm sure that one of us will report back on the findings.

In the meantime however, it seems that whether by intention or accident, London Underground's naming of the tube station as Manor House may not have been far off the historical mark.

See some images of old Woodberry Down here.

And of course, this is a great opportunity to remind you that on 1st May. the London Wildlife Trust is re-opeinung Woodberry Wetlands as an all-singing all-dancing wetlands nature reserve. Information about free opening weekend tours here.

Tags for Forum Posts: manor house / woodberry down, stonebridge brook

Views: 3391

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Try Mapco. They probably have it.

Dubmill / Stephen, here's another map to conjure with (sorry not very clear). Cruchley's map of 1847 shows the Seven Sisters Road east of Manor House as "Woodberry Villas". This was the 111th edition of a map that was first published in 1827. It was updated with each new edition, though of course it's difficult to say how comprehensively. 

This is pre 1868 I guess, as the THJ Railway is not yet shown. Once again, it shows a small community at what is now the boating lake in Finsbury Park and some villas at the east end of Woodberry Down.  

I bet there are still footprints of these buildings near the boating lake in the park. Untouched now for over one hundred years. Would be very interesting if a some excavations could take place.

It shouldn't be forgotten, that this part of Middlesex was a highly wooded area, as many local names suggest Tottenham Wood, Wood Green, as well as Wood Berry Down, as well as the many Groves. I do wonder what the 'Down' actually refers to? The area that later, if for only a short while, became known as Woodbury Town?  It definitely has something to do with the roll down from Hackney/Stoke Newington to Tottenham.

Until the 1960s, there was a very nice street of houses of 'better standard', built around 1880 on the site of what is now Edgecot Grove, known as Woodville Grove.  The name Woodville never seemed in keeping with the street names in that area, which were all Patriotic and Political:

Victoria Crescent, Kent Road, St George's Road, Elizabeth Road, Southey Road, Russell Road, Braemar Road

There were two public houses on this Devlopment, The Victoria (St Ann's Road) and The William the Conqueror (Southey Road). 

Woodville interests me as it could also be a reference to Woodbury Town and was perhaps condisdered part of it, or at least its boundary.

BTW, the name of part of Seven Sister's Road as Woodberry Villas is not uncommon. Terraces or rows of cottages often had their own names, but these gradually disappeared with time, mostly to clarify their locations.

This map of around 1869 (ref: Tottenham & Hampstead Junction Railway - opened 1868 is shown, but not the Stoke Newington and Edmonton Railway  - opened 1872) shows the villa development on Woodberry Down as having spread westwards towards Green Lanes. This map also places Alexandra Palace as being part of Tottenham Wood (not shown). Tottenham Wood House in fact, lays to the west of Ally Pally. At that time Wood Green was still part of Tottenham, known as Tottenham Wood Green.

Apart from the Tile Kilns, there's not much building activity along Green Lanes in Harringay. That had to wait for the late victorian 'infill development'.  Tile Works (Kilns) were used to produce tiles and bricks for local buildings. Another can be seen in Edmonton. In the 1840s, there were still brickfields along Back Lane, Stoke Newington, where local clay was removed to produce bricks. Many earlier local buildings, using locally produced bricks. By the end of the victorian period, brick producing for London developments was moved out to Bedfordshire

Woodville Grove, mentioned above, had also been laid out.

This subject has gone a bit quiet recently.

Thought I'd add a link to this map which I guess dates from the period 1928-1933 (Oakdale Road not yet constructed - Washhouse on Tiverton Road not built).

Image reproduced under creative commons licence from : https://www.flickr.com/photos/alandenney/24564167661 - two clicks will enlarge. (Added by site admin)

This map was used to detail WW2 damage and indicates that most of the Woodberry Down villas suffered war damage.

The  'Woodberry Town' tram depot can also be made out.  The Henry, Sutton & Minster Road area was a quite early (1850s onwards) development. Henrietta, Catherine & Laura Roads, were three storey 1880s multi occupancy housing.  St John's Community Hall can also be made out. As well as the gap in housing on Hermitage Road, where the stream surfaced (today's Green Court - built 1968).

Any idea what the building colours mean or what that turquoise map layer showing through indicates?


Black -Total destruction

Purple - Damaged beyond repair

Dark Red - Doubtful if repairable

Light Red - Seriously damaged, but repairable at cost

Orange - General blast damage, not structural

Yellow - Blast damage, minor in nature

Green - Clearance areas

O - V1 flying bomb. Large circle

o - V2 rocket. Small circle

I've actually viewed these maps at the London History Centre near to Spa Green, where they are freely available.

The colours denote the levels of damage from black 100% to yellow via purple, red and orange. A circle denotes a V1 or V2 site: i.e. Bethune Road, purple at the point of impact, layered out through red, orange to yellow, which denotes slight damage.

I've no idea what the block turquoise denotes - hhmm?? Or do you mean the boundary of the L.C.C. County of London area turquoise??

If you follow the like of Amhurst Road, you can see a apparently unrelated turquoise street pattern showing through.

Yes, that's just an overprint denoting the boundary of the County of London

Any idea what became of Catherine Road, Henrietta Road and Laura Road? They are all green space now, but I wonder why this came about.

They were demolished ca 1964/65 along with the lower part of St John's Road, Albert Road, Franklin Street & the buildings on St Ann's and Seven Sisters Road.  Twyford & Oatfield Houses opened in late 1967 & early 1968. The Chisley Road block was the first completed and opened late 1966. Franklin Street  houses 1967.

Catherine Road was pronounced Cath-a-rhine by locals, but I've no idea why.



© 2020   Created by Hugh.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service