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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Saw in the Londonist today that a building was made for a Harringay Underground station.

It's the building next to Hawes and Curtis. I've never heard before that this could have been a tube station and it seems a bit far-fetched. Does anyone else know more?

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It's not wholly inaccurate, but it's not quite right. What the video shows is a good honest ventilation shaft that was never intended as anything else. It's there because of the long run between Manor House and Turnpike Lane.  A tube station certainly had been planned for Harringay, but not I believe quite in that spot.

There are various mentions on the internet that the Harringay Station was stopped by Frank Pick who felt that Harringay was well enough served with trams and buses. However, I've never been able to find any reference for this assertion so have never given it full weight.

This plan for an Underground railway from Wood Green to Strand (Aldwch) was partly sponsored by the Great Northern Railway. It was planned to run trains under the main line from Finsbury Park to Wood Green (the reason for the unusual depth of Finsbury Park platforms, which were to become part of the overhead station) The stations at Harringay, Hornsey and Wood Green would have replaced the overhead stations at those locations.  There was a subway for this railway built at Wood Green (Alexandra Park). It survived until at least the 1970s. Not sure if it is still there.

When actually built, both proposed railways were joined around Holborn and that is the reason there was an Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly Line. The section of line between Holborn and Angel was never built.

In the 1920s, a new re-routed northern extension of the Piccadilly line was planned. These plans included a station at St Ann's Road (Harringay). Frank Pick (who by coincidence, died 75 years ago today) disliked parallel services and decided that because of the frequent tram and bus services, later trolleybuses, that a station in Harringay would be surplus to requirements. The proposed station site had been used as an entry point during tunnelling and was later used as a ventilation shaft.

A memorial to Pick has been unveiled at Piccadilly Circus station:Pick was also the instigator of Johnson's Roundel.

Thanks Stephen. I guess I can count you as an authority on anything transport related.

I've done a bit more digging since reading your post, Stephen, and here's what I've come up with.

Of course, you were bang on about where it was originally intended to site underground stations in what in now Haringey.  The line would have run below the Great Northern Railway with stations beneath the existing mainline ones. However, my understanding is that they would have sat alongside the existing stations rather than replacing them.

As to the Piccadilly Line extension, I've still been unable to find any reference to support the  claim all over the web that the reason for missing out Harringay was due to a direction by Frank Pick that we were well enough served by trams and buses. What I did come up with, however, was that the decision was related to the more pressing matter of tube running times. This reason matches the referenced explanation I found (and put in my Wikipedia article) from the Hornsey Journal (30 October 1931). It could be that both reasons are true, but I've yet to put my hands on any references for the Pick intervention. Your expertise on anything transport related is far greater than mine, however, and you may be able to point me in the right direction. 

Below is a scan of a chunk of info on the story behind the extension. 

An extension northwards from Finsbury Park, envisaged as an integral part of the original Great Northern & Strand project, remained a pressing requirement — though still blocked by the absolute undertaking agreed between Yerkes and the Great Northern Railway in 1901. Finsbury Park was the northern terminus of both the Piccadilly Line and the Great Northern & City Railway, and was an extremely busy place. Not only was there a substantial exchange of traffic with the main line railway, itself overcrowded and using out-of-date suburban trains, but there was also massive interchange with both trams and buses, with no purpose- built facilities, reflecting the geographical fact of the London suburbs in North London which already extended beyond Tottenham and Palmers Green. The situation was regarded as intolerable by many observers.

The Great Northern Railway periodically reviewed electrification of the main line out of King’s Cross but could not afford it even without the disadvantage of competing tubes. As matters grew worse the attitude of the GNR (and, after 1923, its successor, the London & North Eastern Railway) towards any tube extension was widely considered unreasonable. The GNR vetoed a 1920 proposal by the LER to extend the Piccadilly Line northwards.

In 1925 the London & North Eastern Railway conceded that it could not afford electrification, and reluctantly acknowledged that if it were not itself able to improve travelling facilities then it could not reasonably withhold consent to a tube extension. An Inquiry held by the London & Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee in October 1925 came to the conclusion that an extension was warranted, and the Underground Group made preparatory moves towards meeting the need. Various districts had applied pressure for the tube to serve their own territory, but it could not serve all of them directly. The Committee supported an extension to Manor House, and an interchange station there with trams and buses; the tube company was advised also to explore the possibility of extension to Wood Green or Southgate. The interchange at Manor House would be ‘invaluable’ for ‘the districts of Tottenham, Edmonton, and the Eastern part of Enfield’ who ‘would continue to rely largely upon the tramway services’. 

Unfortunately the Underground Group was not in a much better position than the LNER to pay for the high cost of new capital works, but the passing in 1929 of the Development (Loan Guarantees and Grants) Act at last made possible, as with the western extensions, the financing of a substantial northward projection. The LER successfully sought powers in 1930, despite continued LN ER opposition and promises of main line electrification if the tube scheme were dropped. In October 1930 the overall costs of the Piccadilly Line extensions were estimated as £7 7 million before interest, comprising £4.4 million and £23 million respectively for the northern and western extensions, and £1 million for rolling stock. Further costs were to be incurred by alterations to the existing Piccadilly Line, including station reconstruction in central London. The overall cost of Underground works (including other schemes) to take advantage of the Development Act was £l2.4 million and the Treasury guaranteed interest on nearly £10 million for the following 15 years, by which time the works should have been capable of paying their way. The northern extension was forecast to carry 36 million passengers a year once the open fields beyond Wood Green had high-quality housing, filled with affluent travellers.

The terminus was initially planned to be 6.75 miles from Finsbury Park, in greenfields at East Barnet, the need for a large depot requiring the line to continue at least this far out. The depot site first recommended was just south of the proposed East Barnet station and to be above the running line as it dropped into tunnel for about half a mile. This plan changed by November 1929 - at least part of the reason being the operational objection to a ‘single-ended’ depot. The now site was somewhat larger,to the north of the station, spreading most of the way towards Trent Park. This added a new terminus to the scheme initially named after the park but soon called Cockfosters. 

To the north of Finsbury Park the extension would at last achieve the original intention of the old Great Northern & Strand Railway — to relieve the pressure of the suburban traffic traffic on the main line railway — though the exact line of route was somewhat, different. Intermediate stations (with their earlier public names prior to opening within the brackets) were to be at Manor House, Turnpike Lane (ex-Ducketts Green), Wood Green (ex-Lordship Lane), Bounds Green (ex-Brownlow Road), Arnos Grove (1-x-Bowes Road), and Southgate (ex-Chase Side). East Barnet was hurriedly renamed Enfield West Just before opening, then Enfield West (Oakwood) on 3rd May 1934, and finally plain Oakwood on 1st September 1946. A pair of stations had originally bee intended for Harringay at St Ann’s Road and Turnpike Lane; the former was deleted to keep average speeds high ~ a recurring priority for the extension – in substitution for a proposed third track between Finsbury Park and Wood Green. 

From The PIccadilly Line, Mike Horne, Harrow, 2007)

When I was a child growing up on Beresford Road there were lots of stories about this!
Lots of people said that the location of the tube station was to have been the small parade of shops at the bottom of Beresford Road (towards Turnpike Lane ) of course 'that's why the pavement was made so wide' they said - alternatively, and more believably - there is (or was) a ventilation shaft on the western side of Green Lanes which is a less fantastical suggestion.

I seem to have a vague recollection of a campaign to get a station built when the trolleybusses were withdrawn.

I can still remember lying in bed as a small child hearing the rumble of tube trains - and that was right up the top at number 26!

I grew up in Seymour Road and there's an apocryphal tale that the first words I learned to speak were "too tumber" which translates as "tube under."

I came across the attached article from an as yet unidentified  "regional newspaper" in 1930 (exact date also unknown). It mentions an 1899 plan to extend the tube north of Finsbury Park.




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