Hornsey Vale, Haringey
A family-friendly corner of Hornsey, merging with Crouch End to the west of Ferme Park Road
Until the late 1870s the ridge running across the district was known as the Hog’s Back and its slopes consisted of farmland with just a few mansions, including Womersley House, the home of Oxford Street retailer Peter Robinson.
Within the space of a few years the large houses were bought up and replaced by a succession of developments, including the Streatham and Imperial Estate Company’s Ferme Park estate, which filled part of Farnfields manor (also known as Harringay manor).
Montague Road and neighbouring streets were laid out in the former grounds of a house called Abyssinia, which had faced Tottenham Lane. Further east, JC Hill developed the Rathcoole estate in the grounds of a house of that name and later put up shops on Tottenham Lane. The Elder family’s land west of Ferme Park Road was built up by mid-1890s.
Many of the early residents were Hornsey tradesmen, industrial workers or lower middle-class commuters.
The Stationers’ Company moved its Fleet Street-based school to Mayfield Road in 1895 and the London Diocesan Home Mission built an iron church on the same road three years later, which was replaced by the red-brick St Luke’s in 1903. By the 1920s Hornsey Vale had some pockets of poverty but it has steadily risen in popularity since the Second World War, although a number of properties have been subdivided into flats.
The London Borough of Haringey was established in 1965 and two years later the council created Hornsey school for girls out of Hornsey high, Hornsey county, and Clemence Cave schools. At first the new school used Hornsey high and Clemence Cave schools’ premises, with huts and the halls of Ferme Park Baptist church. Meanwhile, all the homes, the Abyssinian public house and other premises on Spencer, Hanbury, Canon, Enfield and Gordon Roads were compulsorily purchased and demolished to make way for the school’s purpose-built home on Inderwick Road, which opened in 1971.
St Luke’s church, which had never been a success, was converted to flats later in the 1970s. The Stationers’ school closed in 1983 and its site was split into several parts, which are now occupied by the Abyssinia Court close care development, Weston Park primary school and the Hornsey Vale community centre. Stationers Park is a small but highly regarded open space with an impressive children’s play area.
Although the film’s credits call this Crouch End, location shooting for the ‘rom-zom-com’ Shaun of the Dead (2004) took place in Hornsey Vale. Our hero’s home is on Nelson Road.
Postal district: N8
Website: Hornsey Vale community centre
William Hogarth’s ‘little country box by the Thames’ in Chiswick is now a museum and gallery.
Camley Street Natural Park is a miniature ecological wilderness just north of St Pancras station.
Junction Road has a gastropub that was restored in 2010 with help from English Heritage.
You can’t go inside Debenham House but even from the street it’s a remarkable sight.