Cranley Gardens

Cranley Gardens, Haringey

A hillside residential locality in southern Muswell Hill, centred on the dog-legged avenue of the same name and overlooked by Queen’s Wood

Hidden London: The former home of serial killer Dennis Nilsen
23 Cran­ley Gar­dens

The Impe­r­i­al Prop­er­ty Invest­ment Com­pa­ny bought farm­land here from the Eccle­si­as­ti­cal Com­mis­sion­ers and built the first hous­es in Cran­ley Gar­dens and Onslow Gar­dens in the 1890s. Lack of inter­est from poten­tial home­buy­ers prompt­ed the com­pa­ny to sell plots to oth­er builders, who soon began work on Wood­land Rise and Wood­land Gar­dens.

In around 1900 the Eccle­si­as­ti­cal Com­mis­sion­ers gave land at the cor­ner of Park Road as the site for St George’s church but this was instead built on Pri­o­ry Road.

The local­i­ty was most­ly built up before the First World War and com­plete­ly filled by the out­break of the next war. Many of the ear­ly prop­er­ties are well-pro­por­tioned but the qual­i­ty of build­ing seems inverse­ly pro­por­tion­al to the prop­er­ties’ alti­tude.

Dur­ing the first half of the 20th cen­tu­ry Cran­ley Gar­dens had a sta­tion on the Alexan­dra Palace branch of the Great North­ern Rail­way.

After the Pri­o­ry Road church was destroyed by wartime bomb­ing, a new St George’s was built on the orig­i­nal­ly pro­posed site at the east­ern end of Cran­ley Gar­dens. Fol­low­ing the demo­li­tion of Hornsey’s struc­tural­ly unsound St Mary’s church in 1969, its parish was joined with St George’s.

Dennis Nilsen, London’s most notorious serial killer of modern times, lived in the top floor flat at 23 Cranley Gardens. Nilsen was caught in February 1983 after body parts he had flushed down the lavatory blocked the drains, prompting the neighbours to call in Dyno-Rod. The so-called Muswell Hill Murderer died in prison in May 2018.

Postal district: N10
Further reading: Brian Masters, Killing For Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen, Arrow, 1995


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