Fortis Green

Fortis Green, Haringey

A leafy and lovely locality situated between Muswell Hill and East Finchley, although many think of it simply as the south-western corner of Muswell Hill

Denmark Terrace, Fortis Green, opposite the Clissold Arms

What became For­tis Green Road was just a track across Hornsey Com­mon until the ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry. Enclo­sure allowed indi­vid­ual fields to be sold off to spec­u­la­tors and the ham­let began to expand out­wards from the vil­lage green and its pub, the Clis­sold Arms.

Two East Finch­ley broth­ers bought one of the fields in 1835 and built a pair of Ital­ianate vil­las, Springcroft and Colethall (lat­er Uplands). In 1853 an adja­cent field was laid out with roads and divid­ed into plots for sale to local builders. The result­ing Har­well estate took sev­er­al decades to com­plete, lead­ing to an incon­sis­tent but not unpleas­ing appear­ance.

For­tis Green now con­sists of a mix­ture of late Vic­to­ri­an and ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry semi-detached hous­es, with a few grand vil­las in the shady cor­ners. The avenues are tree-lined almost to the point of being wood­ed. St Luke’s Wood­side Hos­pi­tal and Thames Water’s For­tis Green pump­ing sta­tion (with cov­ered reser­voir) are on Wood­side Avenue, just north of High­gate Wood.

For­tis Green brought forth two dis­parate bands in the 1960s. The Davies fam­i­ly, which spawned The Kinks, lived in Den­mark Ter­race, in the house imme­di­ate­ly to the left of the group shown in the pho­to above.* Broth­ers Ray and Dave attend­ed what is now For­tismere school and first per­formed in pub­lic at the Clis­sold Arms.

Around the same time as the Kinks emerged, a group of young folk musi­cians used to con­vene for rehearsals at a house called ‘Fair­port’, and named their band Fair­port Con­ven­tion in its hon­our. A grander affair than the Davies fam­i­ly home, the house stands at the cor­ner of For­tismere Avenue and the road called For­tis Green.

More than half of the 16- to 74-year-olds in For­tis Green are qual­i­fied to degree lev­el or high­er, and employ­ment lev­els are very high.

Fortis Green’ is the title of a nostalgic song by Dave Davies, first recorded in 1999 and included on his solo album Bug in 2002.

Postal districts: N2 and N10
Population: 12,488 (2011 census)
* The picture of Denmark Terrace, Fortis Green, on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Christopher Hilton, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.