Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

This weekend I made HoL's latest local history acquisition with the purchase of a set of photos showing the exterior and interior of Northumberland House.

For those who aren't familiar with Northumberland House, it was built as a private mental hospital in about 1830 on the bank of the New River by Green Lanes, opposite Finsbury Park. 

It's most famous patient (that I've yet discovered) was T.S. Eliot's first wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood. It's a sad story. Read more here.

The hospital closed after the Second World. War and the property was demolished in 1955 to make way for the Rowley Gardens estate. HoL Members Ken Hanson and Roy both recall it being a great playground for local children during the fifties.

The photos are in an album which I'm assuming was an Edwardian marketing brochure. Richard Ayres from whom I bought the album told me that he had two relatives working at the hospital in the late nineteenth / early twentieth century. Richard told me:

Emma Matilda Jordan (my grandmother) was matron there and her sister Lucy Annie Jordan was head nurse. They both appear on the 1901 census for Northumberland House and I assume they both resided there, although I don't know for sure. Whether they are on the staff photo is also unknown since there are no names ~ alas!

I apologise for the image versions reproduced below. But, unwatermarked high resolution versions are available if needed.  

On this photo, looking through the gateway, you can just see the path leading up the hill from Green Lanes into Finsbury Park. This path is still there today and firmly locates the position of the gateway


This terrace of houses stood to the north of the Finsbury pub. The next photo in the series suggests that they might have been used for staff accommodation. If this was the case they would have belonged to the hospital and so would have been demolished along with it in the 1950s. See another photo showing the view up the hill towards this terrace here.


Tags for Forum Posts: manor house, manor house / woodberry down, new river, northumberland house

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Replies to This Discussion

Jo, the stay of your great grandmother (which you've said elsewhere was c1910 to c1950) and Vivienne Haigh-Wood would have overlapped. Haigh Wood arrived in 1938 and died at the hospital in 1947. You can read a little more on other posts here and here.

Thanks for these links Hugh, It's very interesting but SO tragic. Both women were young and heartbroken and found themselves not conforming to what was expected of a woman in high society at this time. After all there were reputations and standards to maintain and woe betide anyone should not conform. I hope that they may have found comfort in each other's company. Did you see my comments on Henry Percy/6th Duke of Northumberland? He lived in Newington Green in C16th.

I did see those comments thanks.

I'd made the Stoke Newington connection to the Percys a few years back then just earlier this month, I posted about how I've followed-up and have determined to my satisfaction that there was no link. (Never say never, but for me right now it's a sleeping dog that I'm letting lie).

Ah okay, I just thought it was interesting that a prominent Percy and 6th Duke of Northumberland lived quite close by. Over and out. I won't mention it again!!

I'd wondered the same as you, but I think I've now satisfied myself that's there's no connection.

Thank you Hugh for the photos and your other interesting information about Northumberland House.
I have recently viewed patient records for the City of London Asylum at the London Metropolitan Archive (LMA). These show that my wife's Great Grandfather was transferred there from Northumberland House in January 1901, i.e. around the time the photos were taken.
Have you come across any Northumberland House patient records during your research? I cannot find any in the LMA and TNA catalogues.

I haven’t, I’m afraid. Baroness Aldgate, (https://www.harringayonline.com/forum/topics/the-terrible-blight-of...) who joined the site for reasons similar to yours may be able to point you in the right direction. Her member page is at https://www.harringayonline.com/profile/ElaineMurphy

What a beautiful grand old house that looked.  And what a fabulous history pieced together.   We were told as kids that it was an asylum, a hospital for "mad" people which conjured up quite frightening scenarios.   I can only really remember the hoardings erected along the frontage, during the demolition I now suppose, but I do have vague recollections of the grand gate.  I think the pillars remained for some time.  We could gain access to the site for mucking around in.  The best views would be had from the upper deck of a bus passing by.   What a sad demise for such a building.    And that poem !  Thought provoking.   Wonderful stuff again Hugh and contributors.

We too were told it was a house for mad people, said in hushed breath and no details given.  I was rather afraid to go too near to it.  What a beautiful house it was, though it must have contained much sadness.



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