Osidge, Barnet

A comfortable 1930s suburban locality lying on a westerly slope beside the Pymmes Brook, west of Southgate

Hidden London: Lipton memorial hostel, Osidge

The local­i­ty’s name (which is pro­nounced to rhyme with ‘sausage’) comes from the Old Eng­lish, mean­ing ‘hedge belong­ing to a man named Osa’. Osidge was first record­ed in 1176, in a char­ter from Hen­ry II to the Abbot of St Albans refer­ring to the abbot’s wood­land prop­er­ty here, where pigs were kept.

The land was sold off after the dis­so­lu­tion of the monas­ter­ies and a sub­stan­tial house called Osidge was erect­ed, with park­land laid out around it. A con­di­tion of tenure was that the woods should sup­ply fag­gots for the burn­ing of heretics. In 1652 the house became the res­i­dence of local nota­bles the Hadley fam­i­ly.

John Kingston of Oak Hill built a new Osidge in 1808, and prompt­ly sold it. From 1893 this was the home of Thomas Lip­ton, who had been born into pover­ty in Glas­gow and cre­at­ed a nation­al chain of gro­cery stores. He is best remem­bered for his blends of tea, and for pop­u­lar­is­ing the bev­er­age in the USA. After his death in 1931 most of the 60-acre estate was built up, but Lip­ton endowed his home as a hos­tel for nurs­es. Now a care home for elder­ly female res­i­dents, the house (shown above) stands in five acres of grounds at 151 Chase Side.

Hugh Davies, the devel­op­er of the Osidge estate, adver­tised the prox­im­i­ty of South­gate sta­tion with a para­phrase of a pop­u­lar song: “Home, James, and don’t spare the hors­es, it’s a home on the Tube for me.” The prop­er­ties are most­ly semi-detached, with gen­er­ous gar­dens. On avenues such as Chase Way a num­ber of the prop­er­ties have dis­tinc­tive ‘ski-ramp’ roofs. To the west, Ham­p­den Square pro­vides a pleas­ing local focus, with shops, restau­rants and the Osidge Arms.

The singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse grew up on Osidge Lane and attended Southgate school and Ashmole school. She left her Jewish family home for the bright lights of Camden Town at the age of 15.

Postal district: N14
Further reading: Alex Waugh, The Lipton Story, Cassell, 1951


View larger OpenStreetMap