Northumberland Park to Finsbury Park Station
Monday February 11th 2013
True to our starting point we headed down Northumberland Park with its mixture of housing – one very tall block named for Kenneth Robbins and some older houses, often subdivided. The Cedar Nursery’s cedar was gently covered in snow, and we wondered after whom the Bill Nicholson Pub was named – Jo was nearest to right in guessing a Spurs player, though player/coach/manager/guru is nearer the mark, so not surprisingly this is a supporters pub. Shortly afterwards the bus emerges onto Tottenham High Road ever so briefly, just north of the stadium, before crossing over and heading down almost the entire length of White Hart Lane – today it was indeed white as snow had fallen and not yet thawed and though no sign of harts; it clearly was a lane, winding its way as only lanes can and do. The eponymous train station also boasts a ‘Railway Tavern’ with a pub sign depicting a fine engine; however it proves to be a dead pub which seemed to be a reflection of the rather derelict nature of Tottenham High Road generally, showing little sign of recovery post riots. At least the cemetery looked both kempt and cared for, and quite pretty in the snow, extending as it does south to Bruce Castle, though the little fish-shaped pond was not visible today. Its most notable ‘resident ‘ is Sir William Butterfield whom we have to thank for innumerable churches and the very striking Keble College Oxford.
By now my travelling companions, between their competitive historical trivia, were pointing out Alexandra Palace on the hill ahead but first we had to negotiate Wood Green. On the way we passed the Rowland Hill Primary School, whose large circular roof seemed modelled on African round huts (though standing up to the UK weather). We all knew he had started the Penny Post but he also was a head teacher (and ran a school before free education for all) just round the corner in Bruce Grove, which would account for him being remembered here. Turning off White Hart Lane just before the New River we passed a series of roads named for Scottish landmarks and thus emerged into Lordship Lane by an imposing Gothic Revival (see Butterfield above) building – another passenger put us out of our misery and told us it was Wood Green Crown Court. Formerly a Masonic School it oozes solid Victorian grandeur and its website offers it up as a wedding venue – perhaps you tie the knot quickly before getting sent down??
Crossing Wood Green this way (the W3 is excellent at taking you to but not tangling with several key venues) we did not have to crawl past all the shops but headed on down past the Piccadilly Line station. Again this is not the obvious route by which to leave Wood Green, so we were interested to be passing a sign to the ‘Wood Green Cultural Quarter’ (have you noticed how boroughs are trying to rebrand bits of themselves by calling them quarters?) and Heartlands High School, so named by the local children as it sits at the heart of Haringey.
race-track, hence the pub called the Victoria Stakes.
The excellent views led to a discussion of what was the highest point in North London, which I had generally taken to be Hampstead Heath; this link should settle any disputes.
What a delight – a double-decker route which takes you (in an hour) from one Premiership Club patch to another via the low points and high points of Haringey borough, and in spite of the temperatures we emerged cosy and glowing.