Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

People will tell for years to come of where they were on that fateful day when Pemberton, and surrounding Harringay streets either side of Green Lanes, were overcome by what will become known as "The Great Harringay Smog". Oral history will pass the story of where forebears were the evening the Great Smog wrapped itself around Harringay for generations to come.

Here are first hand images for posterity. The first is the view down Pemberton on a clear night, the second showing the plume of smoke coming from the extractor at Devran.

I actually had conversations with neighbours who had come out to see if something was on fire (I spoke to at least 4). The smoke was creeping into our drafty Victorian houses and filling our rooms. What was interesting was that the smoke was more of a wood smoke smell, not the normal BBQ smell. The industrial levels of smoke settling around us could not have been from a single house hold with wet wood in its fire though, it must have come from elsewhere.

Once inside our clothes stank and went straight into the wash, it was like bonfire nights of old!

Tags for Forum Posts: air pollution, great harringay smog, pollution, wood smoke

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Oh, wait, this happens all the time, what am I thinking? Sadly the Gardens gets it worst than most Ladder roads given the prevailing wind...

True Justin. Even with windows closed, it gets in and there is always a layer of black dust around my place. You can see it in the lamplight on many nights. It's an awful form of pollution that never gets mentioned let alone tackled. We are breathing this junk everyday! 

I have to admit to feeling a bit of a hypocrite here Ruth. I love the kebabs from these places.

However I do not think it unreasonable that they act as good neighbours. If I have a dog, I do not let it crap in your garden. Worse, this (and I do not want to sound hysterical about this) is a genuine health hazard, not just an inconvenience...

Not just Green Lanes and Ladder roads though as I was in Crouch End and a friend remarked how smoggy it was and that it smelt of bonfire night. The massed ranks of charcoal burning can't help though.

I know I’m going to regret asking this Jus but any idea if Haringey are taking action over the pollution (hides behind settee)?

Simple answer is yes (and no). A few residents have been discussing this for a while and we (which includes the LCSP and GRA reps) have engaged with Councillors on both sides of GL to try to see what can be done.

Initial feedback was not massively positive. I need to go back to the emails we have had to pull out exactly what we ahve been told can/cannot be done. However, this will revolve around having council Officers see the issue for themselves. I am sure we would be happy to support this on both sides of GL, and I asked for the number of someone who might be prepared to come on an evening, possibly at a weekend and potentially at short notice... You see where this begins to fall down a little!

Lets see where this gets us. Mean time we have discussed finding a research group that might be able to go beyond the NOx monitoring the LCSP have been carrying out to assess the levels of particulate matter (which is the really dangerous stuff that is causing the smog/haze you see). I am meeting with an old tutor from Imperial later this week for example to see if we can find a way to gather some empirical evidence, as opposed to this just being seen as another unsubstantiated moan fest but a few self appointed individuals. Hopefully some empirical information may allow us to drive things a little.

Don't get me wrong, I am not averse to these guys operating, far from it. But if they are using wet wood as it seemed at the weekend that simply has to stop for starters. Their profits cannot come at a cost to well-being of residents who were here long before, and will likely be here long after, these restaurants and their shareholders are in the picture.

Does the thick black dust I clean from around my flat count as empirical evidence? I could send them a whole pile of filthy dusters. I think of that stuff going into my lungs.... 

It may do. If we get Councillors and officers to come and meet us in the day we may look to bring them to someone's home to see for themselves what we are talking about... I will let you know.

Thanks Justin. As always, you are community minded and active, much appreciated. 

Just a thought but analysis might pin down the source?

1952 - this is a smog....

Yes, and I remember walking to primary school during a few of these!

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