Bruce Grove

Bruce Grove, Haringey

A station and street in central Tottenham, with Bruce Castle as the principal place of interest nearby

geograph-5189508-by-Julian-Osley - Bruce Grove

The Bruce fam­i­ly built Tot­ten­ham manor house here in the mid-13th cen­tu­ry but Edward I sequestered their prop­er­ty after Robert the Bruce rebelled and became king of Scot­land in 1306. The house was rebuilt in 1514 on a scale that would befit vis­its from Hen­ry VIII and Eliz­a­beth I. The house was known as ‘The Lord­ship’ until the late 17th cen­tu­ry, when it was remod­elled and named Bruce Cas­tle.

With the break-up of the mano­r­i­al estate in 1789 a new road called Bruce Grove was laid out, and semi-detached vil­las were erect­ed on part of its south-west­ern side. Almshous­es were built at the north­ern end of the road in the ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry.

A tower of Brus
The main entrance and clock­tow­er of Bruce Cas­tle

In 1827 the Hill fam­i­ly acquired Bruce Cas­tle and con­vert­ed it into a school. For its first six years the school’s head­mas­ter was Row­land Hill, who lat­er devised the basis of the mod­ern postal ser­vice.

The area remained pop­u­lar with wealthy mer­chants, espe­cial­ly Quak­ers, until the arrival of the rail­way in 1872.

Cheap hous­ing for work­ing-class com­muters filled the area over the remain­der of the cen­tu­ry, with shops and places of enter­tain­ment around the sta­tion. After the school’s clo­sure in 1891, the local board bought Bruce Cas­tle and opened the grounds as a pub­lic park in the fol­low­ing year.

The house is now a muse­um of local his­to­ry, with a spe­cial col­lec­tion devot­ed to the postal ser­vice. A Holo­caust memo­r­i­al gar­den was unveiled in Bruce Cas­tle Park in July 2013 – and was very bad­ly dam­aged in stormy weath­er a few months lat­er.

The Tot­ten­ham Car­ni­val used to be held in Bruce Cas­tle Park in late June but per­sis­tent finan­cial prob­lems seem to have brought the tra­di­tion to an end, at least for the fore­see­able future.

Slight­ly few­er than half the res­i­dents of Bruce Grove ward are white and over a third are black or black British. At Bruce Grove Pri­ma­ry School on Sper­ling Road almost two-thirds of chil­dren speak Eng­lish as an addi­tion­al lan­guage.

Bruce Castle is glorified in John Abraham Heraud’s lengthy poem Tottenham (1835). Here is a very short extract:

Lovely is moonlight to the poet’s eye,
That in a tide of beauty bathes the skies,
Filling the balmy air with purity,
Silent and lone, and on the greensward dies —
But when on ye her heavenly slumber lies,
Towers of Brus! ’tis more than lovely then.—
For such sublime associations rise,
That to young fancy’s visionary ken,
’Tis like a maniac’s dream — fitful and still again.

Postal district: N17
Population: 14,483 (2011 census)
Station: London Overground (zone 3)
Websites: Bruce Castle Museum, Friends of Bruce Castle
Bruce Castle News
* The picture of the Bruce Grove at the top of this article is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Julian Osley, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.