MY TOTTENHAM MEMORIES - STEVEN ROWE
feel I should contribute something to the former residents memories as I am a son of
The Rowe family came from Cornwall as Rowe is a Cornish name, the village us Rowes came from is St Mabyn. My Dad was born in London as was my grandfather but my great grandfather came from Cornwall to London to find work
First the photo attached.
ST ANN'S CHURCH - TOTTENHAM
born at 3 Avenue Road and Jean lived at no 5, these are the model cottages. The model
cottage is where we lived in the photo shown left. We lived at no 3 the middle one and all
my memories of Tottenham are good ones.
Across the road is the new memorial hall that replaced the old one in St Anns Road. Previous to the new hall were old fibro prefabs as a bomb had destroyed the houses during the war, I can remember the old vicarage before it was pulled down, the church was built by Fowler Newsom (I think that is the correct spelling).
perhaps a fond memory or two of Tottenham.
Mum used to go shopping every day, either up Avenue Road or further afield to West Green Road to the fish mongers just past Braemar Road. The other destination, and probably my favourite, were the shops on the corner of St Anns and Seven Sisters Road. The shops were in a semi-circular shape that led from St Anns into a Northerly direction up Seven Sisters, The butcher shop was Charlie Bartletts and I used to call the railway bridge Charlie Bartletts bridge. I used to sit in my pram waiting in anticipation for plumes of steam coming from South Tottenham to see huge steam trains cross the bridge. My other fascination was the trolleybuses as the poles squeezed under the bridge.
mum would run with the pram down St Anns Road past Dingles Toy shop so I could
glimpse the steam train as it past the first dead end street on the left, We would pass
Batsford chip shop and mum would often go into the hardware type store which was the last
shop on the left, it was run my Mr and Mrs Spellar who were Welsh.
Pictured Left - Route 627 Trolleybus at junction of Seven Sisters Road and St Ann's Road
off home so I could turn on the TV to watch 'Watch with Mother', my favourite was Bill and
Ben but also like Andy Pandy.
Also remember St Anns infants school in Avenue Road, it was pulled down in the 60s to become an electrical sub-station, and in the school yard was the wooden scout hall that burnt down one night. The scout master was Bert Gibbs, we called him Kim but his nickname was Gibbo, Kim used to walk funny because he had contracted polio, he was a really loving and caring man and a very godly man too.
Next to it was a favourite haunt, a blacksmith who used to shoe horses and I used to watch the blacksmith make the horseshoes
This extract from the 1894 map of Tottenham shows St Ann's church situated at the foot of Avenue Road. On the opposite side it shows the school and immediately above would be the location of 'The Model Cottages'
down Avenue Road from St Anns Road there was a builders yard and next to it was the
lane that ran down to the blacksmiths and next to it was St Anns infants, walking
further along on the right side you came to the off license and another shop that was
there and then another yard where I think the mechanic was. Further along on the corner of
Avenue Road and South Grove was a fruit shop and on the other corner was Ron's the
hairdresser, I used to go to South Grove Infants and the headmistress was Miss Moore.
On the left hand side on the corner of Roslyn Road was Sawyers grocers. There was a few shops on the left between Roslyn Road and Seaford Road, from memory a bakers on the corner a few other shops another grocers that was run my Bert Riddleston who was a bell ringer and lived in Dongola House in Dongola Road N17. The shop was later taken over by Mrs. Palmer who lived in Westbury Avenue. Then there was a greengrocer, as I recall. There were two news agencies too; one in the middle and one a little further up run my Mr. Fisher. Then the last shop we called the oil shop, it sold soap paraffin, cleaning products and buckets etc
used to be dry cleaners on the corner of big Seaford and once over the railway bridge
another Off Licence on the corner of Elmar Road. There were garages on the left where you
could climb the fence to get to the railway embankment.
Pictured left the Railway Bridge crossing Avenue Road Circa 1981
told me that there used to be a footbridge that crossed the railway line between Avenue
Road and Cornwall road but sometime after the war it was removed. As a child I kept away
from the flats down near the 'Dagmar Arms', as it was well known that rough kids lived in
Anyway a bit of info for you, also somewhere I have a photo of our house done up for the coronation. My Granddad got a TV so that mum and dad could watch it. I was born in June so missed out, but Granddad bought me a coronation crown which I still have.
|Then at the bottom of Avenue Road at the junction of West Green Road was Greens the builder which was always interesting. I went to school with one of the Green boys. This was at St Davids in Hornsey, he was two forms behind me so would now be about 56 or 57.
the other way down St Anns to Seven Sisters I clearly remember Hetchins the
bike shop also a homemade sweet shop on the same side, on the left side on the corner of
Westerfield Road was Farrers, he sold model trains fishing gear and guns including
air rifles. Mr. Farrer was a really lovely bloke
Then you came to Wards corner, I remember going into Wards and they had a central counter and all these wires that went out to other counters and little canisters with money and receipts used to fly back and forth, most interesting for young boys like me and you.
|The Trolleybuses were lovely, I was intrigued by the poles and the wire and all the cobwebs for junctions, and the biggest in London was at the Nags Head.
WARD'S CORNER 1961 - WARD'S STORE LEFT WITH TROLLEYBUS
TURNING FROM TOTTENHAM HIGH ROAD
WARD'S CORNER 1961 - TROLLEBUS WITH OVERHEAD CABLING PROBLEM
|Back in the 60s due to financial reasons mum had to go to
work, she found work in Griegs the grocers which was next to the Railway Bridge in
West Green Road and next to Dobbers the chemist.
After work on a Saturday mum and dad and often me would go down to the 'Fountain' for a drink, but dad had a few watering holes, including the 'Prince of Wales' in Cornwall road. He had a mate who ran a garage in North Grove. His name was Dennis Young and he lived in Avenue Road and drank in the 'Prince of Wales'. Dad also drank in the 'Victoria' a lot.
|As a young lad I have sat outside many of the Pubs in
Tottenham so that Mum and Dad could go inside "for a one" which was really a
four. Yes me and my big brothers sat outside many a pub with a warm lemonade and a packet
of crisps looking for the blue bag of salt in it.
I always wanted Dad to go to the Ferry Boat Inn as there was a beer garden where we could be with Mum and Dad. However Dad didn't like Flowers beer. My Dad also liked the Brownswood Park Tavern, as they sold Worthington E.
Speaking of pubs, just up from the Woodberry Tavern going to up the hill towards Manor House but on the same side was the pie and liquor shop, where you bought pies and mashed potatoes and it had this green liquor..
PIE & MASH WITH LIQUOR
|Of interest to all boys in West Green Road was the Swap Shop, where you could buy all sorts of boy stuff including sling shots and daisy air guns made for the rough kids who always lived in the flats.
Pictured Robert Wood -Diving at Tottenham Lido
We acknowledge the permission granted by Paul Wood to use this photograph
worn glasses since the age of 5 and I can remember going to the eye clinic in Lordship
Lane right next to the Lido. I loved the Lido and can remember going there the first time.
The water was almost thick as it was nearly ice. I got in and it just about took my breath
I was always interested in exploring and loved going around Clyde Circus and up and down Summerhill Road and Lawrence Road.
good it was that you could safely walk at night along the path (Always known as Midnight
Alley) from West Green Road to Downhills Park Road without getting shot or mugged.
There was a bike shop in Tottenham High road that I cant think of the name of, it was between Sevens Sisters Road and South Tottenham station on the right hand side if you were heading towards Stamford Hill. I got hold of a Claude Butler bike frame and they re-sprayed it for me.
|I used to go to Saturday morning pictures at the Ritz at Turnpike Lane and we would sing the ABC minors song. If you can remember, in those days, if it was you birthday, you were invited to go up on the stage and you then got free entry the next week. The boys booed the girls and vice versa. My silly brother Paul went up every week and said it was his birthday until one day he got challenged and they asked him his birthday to which is reply was "The 36th of some month" to which he got kicked out. LOL
THE 'RITZ' CINEMA - TURNPIKE LANE
THE TOTTENHAM ROYAL DANCE HALL - 1967
|There was also another band that came out of Tottenham called
The Magill 5 I seem to remember. They played at the Tottenham Royal and had a
hit record called Mockingbird Hill. I have no idea what happened to them.
On Saturday afternoons, when I was just 6 in 1959, my big bruvver who was 10 used to take me train-spotting at Hornsey. We would catch the 41 bus and buy a ticket to Harringay West, and we would stand on the platform for hours watching trains.
ROUTE 41 BUS - WEST GREEN ROAD
|I am always on the lookout for anything to with Tottenham
railways and especially the branch lines. I do remember coming home from St Davids
in 1965 and seeing the odd freight train trundle through as there was a connection with
the Hertford North loop line at Bounds Green.
I have some DVD's that show some interesting cine film of the Palace Gates branch including a loco leaving Seven Sisters for Palace Gates, another one showing the final days at Palace Gates and some footage of an event that took place at Noel Park goods yard in 1958. There was some Wood Green celebration going on and some well know locomotives including Mallard and new diesels were on display at Noel Park.
RAILWAY EXHIBITION - NOEL PARK STATION - WOOD GREEN 1958 (PICTURED TOP LEFT 'MALLARD')
would walk home down Burgoyne Road into Green Lanes. Do you remember Greenways??? They
were on the left hand side of Green Lanes after walking down Burgoyne Road heading towards
They sold stationery but if you walked up the stairs they had a huge toy department that had a big model railway with Hornby Dublo and Tri-ang trains, they also sold Meccano and had huge cranes etc made from Meccano along with Dinky toys and Corgi cars, then we used to walk home along St Anns Road past the Every Ready factory and Chestnuts Park.
My brother Michael, who died last year, used to work at the Oceanna laundry (The bag wash).
wonder what toy shops were in Tottenham or shops that interested young lads like me. There
was Dingles Toy shop in St Ann s Road, they sold Dinky cars etc but also
sold wool and knitting needles, how boring that was. There was
Farrers the Fishing shop in Seven Sisters Road, on the Corner of
Westerfield Road, who also sold air guns and Tri-ang trains. I can also remember there was
a toy shop in West Green Road near Black Boy lane and also a store on the corner of West
Green and the High Road called Rudds, they sold Hornby clockwork trains. There
was also a shop in Wood Green High Road called 'Garrisons' close to Turnpike Lane.
The only true model railway shop I knew off was in Lordship Lane between the railway bridge and Tottenham High Road, it was called Dymocks and run by a big fat geezer called Dudley Dymock.
When I was really young dad used to take us down to Gamages at Holborn at Christmas time so we could drool over all the stuff we can never have unless you were kid of a rich dad. Funny though Dad always had beer money and mum drank Guinness that she got from the Off license every day.
parallel with St Anns Road behind the laundry is Ascot Road. It had a sweet shop s
there which was run my Mr and Mrs Simpson. They had big jars of all types of stuff like
dolly mixtures, humbugs gobstopper you name it and they weighed it out on scales.
I joined the scouts and every Tuesday night we went to the Municipal swimming pool for 45 minutes even in mid winter. We used to walk past Clyde Circus then down to West Green Road towards Braemar and along Seaford Road. We would call into the chip shop in West Green Road for a sixpenny bag of chips and some crackling. Not really healthy stuff but at least you never got shot or mugged walking down West Green Road and as long as you kept away from council flats you were OK. The council rough heads used to go to Markfield school, where everyone feared to go as 1st formers got their heads stuffed down the bogs and the chain pulled.
I suppose what really grieves me is the total moral decline in
Britain and yes it is happening here too, but you know Britain had great values, took
Christianity to the world and now it is a Godless country and wonders where the fabric of
British society had gone.
'ST MARY LE BOW CHURCH' - LONDON (BOW BELLS)
|I have rung at St Mary Le Bow a few times, the last being in 2010, and I have a video clip on YouTube of Bow that I took in 2000 along with the largest swinging bell in the UK that is Great Paul in St Paul's Cathedral. Have a look at my video clips.
one is of Great Paul
This is of the St Mary Le Bow. This a peel of 12 bells. The largest bell in the middle, the tenor, has a weight of 41 cwt or just over 2 ton.
Lastly is some ringing at St Andrews Cathedral in Sydney which also has 12 bells, but on this occasion were ringing the back 8 bells. The heaviest is 19cwt or just under 1.5 tons. I am ringing the tenor on the far right, ie the bald git
Tottenham, it was an age when you knew everyone, and mum's gathered at the shop up Avenue
Road to buy groceries and have chit chat about how the weather had changed since the end
of the war. Mrs Wonkins who lived up on the right hand side of Avenue Road just past the
Off-licence always said it was because of those Russians and the sputniks.
My memory of Tottenham is extremely vivid.
Steve Rowe - Tottenham born and bred and proud of it too.
Steve now lives in Sydney Australia
(My Dad first came to
Australia by himself as a youth. He decided to join the Australian Army for the adventure
I suppose in 1940. He had lied about his age to get in and saw service in North Africa and
Papua New Guinea against the Japanese.
Article prepared from original notes written by Steve Rowe