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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Wood Green High Road - Site of Mothercare to Sainsbury's c1925

The building with the striped canopy (that's the second canopy from the right) is the Palladium Cinema. That stood where the former Marks & Spencer building is today. According to Jeremy Buck's book, it was operating from 1913 to 1937.

The terrace of buildings on the left of the picture, with a Dutch gable at either end, is still standing, although it's lost its southern dutch gable today. The far end of the terrace is on the corner of Dovecote Avenue.

The building on the extreme right was the entrance to a billiard club. It stood just about opposite Coleraine Road, pretty much where Mothercare is today.

The extract from the 1925 Kelly's directory below suggests that the date is just about right and lists most of the shops visible in the photo. Dorothy Perkins appears in the 1926 directory at number 40 and Barretts Shoe Shop has taken over the the Premier Boot Company premises (just to the left of the ABC canopy). By the end of 1926 Marks & Spencer had moved in next door at number 44. Although they expanded, they stayed on the same site for 90 years until they closed in 2015.

Kelly's Directory 1925

The map snippet below is from the 1935 OS Map.

When the cinema closed in 1937, you could pick up its furnishings, I'm guessing for a keen price!

The Stage, 18 November 1937

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Albums: Historical Images of Wood Green | 2 of 2

Comment by andy thomas on August 4, 2019 at 9:50

What a brilliantly researched article, thank you! Also, it's interesting to see Woolworth's. M&S and Dorothy Perkins were there in 1925 at more or less the same addresses as they were until they closed in recent years. Presumably this block was demolished and replaced bt the present Mothercare to Sainsbury's buildings in the late 1930's?

Comment by Hugh on August 4, 2019 at 10:47

You can see from the 1937 map snippet above, that north of Whymark, four probably early/mid Victorian buildings survived (The second two of those still stand today, set back from the road). After them, to the north, came what looks from it's squared-off shape to have been a Twenties or Thirties structure. The facades of the buildings on that site today look very Seventies (the first three or four were BHS and are now Poundstretcher). The aerial plans suggest that there was redevelopment of the rear part of some of that site in the second half of the Twentieth century, probably in the Seventies. 

With regards to the buildings in the photo, the development seems to have taken place between the date of the map above and 1955. So probably after the war. With the exception of the demolition of the three Victorians to the north of Whymark, the footprint of the buildings that front on the the High Road in that strip has not changed since 1955. 

Comment by andy thomas on August 4, 2019 at 11:46

I really ought to remember what was there in the Seventies but I'm afraid I can't! Although I grew up in East Barnet, the family used to shop in Wood Green from time to time (mainly for clothes at M&S and visits to Crescent Radio in Mayes Rd). Also, I learnt to drive in 1974 at the Eastern National bus garage (also used as the location for the 'On The Buses' TV sitcom) that used to stand in Dovecot Avenue where the snooker club is now. So as you say, the redevelopment there must have been between 1974 and 1988 when I moved to this area.

Comment by Hugh on August 4, 2019 at 12:48

By 1937 Green Shops had moved in to 38-40 (where Clara Reid and Dorothy Perkins are in the image above and where Mothercare is today).

Green Shops was a variety store chain with a 3d. to 5s. price range. It had been started up by an American chain store proprietor,  H. L. Green of New York. It set up in the UK in 1935. The first Green Shops in the UK opened in Hounslow and East Ham, followed by Wood Green and Bedford. In 1943, BHS acquired Green Shops and rebranded them as BHS stores. (BHS itself was founded in 1928 by a group of U.S. entrepreneurs).

The current Mothercare looks like it might inherit a storefront from a 1930's build, either by Green Shops or BHS.

By the 1920's Barton's Department Store used to occupy 26-36 High Street. That's the area now covered by the Seventies looking building plus the older one next to Mothercare. The store originated in the establishment of Thomas Drapers at 30-32 High Road shortly after the turn of the century (It is listed in Kelly's by 1902). Barton bough the store in 1907 when it started trading at Bartons. By 1911, he had extended tht store to include number 28 and by 1924 it extended from 26-36. A Barton & Co Ltd, was incoporated as a private limited liability company in 1925. At soem point after that the company became a subsidiary of Hide & Co Ltd.

HoL member Jeremy Bevan filled in some of the gaps for us after that in a comment he made on HoL in 2015:

Barton's burnt down in the 1960s- I can remember my dad taking me to see the smouldering ruin after school one day. They said they would rebuild, but didn't,. and so British Home Stores built a new store and moved from their premises a little further along. Their old shop became Boots Chemists, but is now divided between Mothercare and another retailer, having briefly been a branch of Habitat.

The date of the fire was 4 April 1968. I've just added a picture of Bartons in the 1960s.

Comment by Hugh on August 5, 2019 at 12:21

With regards to the construction of Bartons (26-36 High Road). Comparing this screenshot of a 1938 photo on from the Britain from the Air website, with the Sixties photo linked to at the end of my last comment, the distinctive tower makes it to see that by the date of the photo the new Bartons store was fully constructed.

It also seems to show that the "Mothercare building' was constructed by thsi date.

Comment by Hugh on August 5, 2019 at 14:30

Here's a photo shot from a remarkably similar viewpoint, just twenty years earlier. On the left is Coleraine Road. On the right, set back from the road behind the trees are Dovecote Villas. These were on the ground in the foreground of the 1925 photo. Dovecote Villas were seven pairs of mid-nineteenth century villas. Four pairs (Numbers 1-8) were opposite Coleraine Road. The remaining three were further up the road, behind the trees you can just make out past the later Victorian three-storey buildings shown above.

Comment by Hugh on August 5, 2019 at 14:31

This whole strip is likely to be demolished to make way for a major new development

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