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I feel I should contribute something to the former residents memories as I am a son of Tottenham.
The Rowe family came from Cornwall as Rowe is a Cornish name, the village us Rowe’s 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

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First the photo attached.
The picture was shot by the Tottenham Weekly Herald after the bells at St Ann’s Church were increased from 6 bells to 8 bells at the end of 1957. My father was a bell hanger for the Whitechapel Bell foundry which is the oldest company in the UK and established in 1570.
I am the young lad standing on the chair and yes I was ringing at that age. On the far left wearing a Downhills Central uniform is my sister Pat, next is Janet Sekker, then myself aged 4 to the right is my brother Paul who lives in Geelong in Victoria Australia, on the far right is Jean Alwright. Vicar Finch got the money for the extra bells and my fathers name is on the second bell in St Ann's.  

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I was 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 Ann’s 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).
Now 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 Ann’s and Seven Sisters Road. The shops were in a semi-circular shape that led from St Ann’s into a Northerly direction up Seven Sisters, The butcher shop was Charlie Bartlett’s and I used to call the railway bridge Charlie Bartlett’s 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.

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Often mum would run with the pram down St Ann’s 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



Then 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 Ann’s 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

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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'

Walking down Avenue Road from St Ann’s 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 Ann’s 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

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There 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


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Dad 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 the flats.

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 Green’s the builder which was always interesting. I went to school with one of the Green boys. This was at St David’s in Hornsey, he was two forms behind me so would now be about 56 or 57.

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Going the other way down St Ann’s to Seven Sisters I clearly remember Hetchin’s the bike shop also a homemade sweet shop on the same side, on the left side on the corner of Westerfield Road was Farrer’s, 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.


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Back in the 60s due to financial reasons mum had to go to work, she found work in Grieg’s the grocers which was next to the Railway Bridge in West Green Road and next to Dobber’s 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.

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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..

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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.


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Pictured Robert Wood -Diving at Tottenham Lido

We acknowledge the permission granted by Paul Wood to use this photograph

I have 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 away.

I was always interested in exploring and loved going around Clyde Circus and up and down Summerhill Road and Lawrence Road.

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How 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 can’t 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 minor’s 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

ritz_turnpike_lane_2.jpg (71470 bytes) THE 'RITZ' CINEMA - TURNPIKE LANE

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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.

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I am always on the lookout for anything to with Tottenham railways and especially the branch lines. I do remember coming home from St David’s 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.


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Then we 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 the Salisbury.

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 Ann’s 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).

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Often 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 ‘Farrer’s’ 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.

Running parallel with St Ann’s 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.
Anyway after getting home from train-spotting mum would be in front of the telly doing her pools and then we would have smoked haddock with a poached egg on top for tea.  Simple days but good days !

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.
You know growing up in the 50s and 60s my parents didn't go to church but I went to Sunday school etc, but I was taught honesty truth and told you do the right thing not because you could get caught. I could see the downfall happening as popular thinking took over and unfortunately the baby got thrown out with the dirty bath water.

The riots that started in Tottenham made it big time on TV here, and you can see the undercurrent of anti social behaviour come to the fore. Why people want to justify bad behaviour because of something that didn't affect them is what concerns me. For example looting, smashing up shops, burning buildings against innocent victim.s a lot who were either black Muslim or both, the total lack of respect is scary.

One thing I am very grateful of is I was born into a community, where I was known and I knew others. Today this has all gone, people don't know their neighbours you become simply people living in houses in a street next to other people.

Anyway enough of my preaching, but regarding bells, my father was involved in installing Bow Bells, when they were cast in 1956 by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, but were not installed until December 1961, when they were opened by Prince Phillip who dad had met and also had a pint within the pub afterwards. He also hung the bells at St Michael's Cornhill but these have now been replaced by Taylor's bell last year.


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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.
This 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


I loved 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.

Kind Regards
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.

He returned to the UK in 1947 when he met my Mum and got married. Dad always said he wanted to go back to Aus and I suppose I thought that sounded fun. Well in 1971, when Mum was working at David Grieg’s in West Green Road, the manager Mick Alston, who was friends with Mum and Dad, got together and they decided to become ten pound poms. Well one Saturday night after the shops had closed Mum and Dad and myself went to the 'Fountain' for a pint and Dad decided to emigrate.

The rest is history we arrived on 18th Feb 72, I guess for me what was I supposed to do, stay behind ? It was an adventure, and I do miss England but I am glad I live here now)



Article prepared from original notes written by Steve Rowe

May 2012

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