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Harringay Residential Road.jpg
A street in the 'Harringay Ladder'
Grid reference: TQ316678
Location: 51°34’55"N, 0°5’58"W
Population: 16,500  (est.)
Post town: London
Postcode: N4, N8, N15
Dialling code: 020
Local Government
Council: Haringey

Harringay is a residential area in Middlesex centred on the section of Green Lanes running between the northern boundary of Finsbury Park up to the southern boundary of Duckett's Common, not far from Turnpike Lane. It is contiguous with all around it but rather distinctive.

The boundaries of Harringay form a rough boot shape running south to Finsbury Park. The western boundary of Harringay is formed by the Great Northern Railway. The northern boundary is to the south of Turnpike Lane, running parallel to it, somewhere between Sydney Road and Fairfax Road. In the northeast, the boundary roughly corresponds with a line drawn between the south of Duckett's Common and the north end of Warwick Gardens. A line due south of this point, as far as Eade Road, forms the eastern boundary. Southeast of here a line to Finsbury Park completes the southeastern limits, and the park marks of its south.


The name Harringay is far more ancient than the town seen today and reflects the village which it once was. It is from the Old English language: Hæringa hege meaning "Hæring's enclosure", after the name of a local lord otherwise unknown. The earliest written form of the name was recorded as Harenhg' in about 1195.

The development of this name gave rise to the modern-day names of Harringay and of Hornsey, another urbanised town immediately to the west. It has also given rise to the name of the local bureaucracy "the London Borough of Haringey", of rather different spelling.[1]

The town

A section of Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay

The main shopping street of Harringay is Green Lanes, a busy, cosmopolitan high street. Some shops have a long established presence (Disney's furniture store has traded there since 1913) while others reflect the more transitional nature of Green Lanes and include a scattered cluster of Kurdish and Turkish bakeries, grocers, cafes and restaurants. There are several pubs including The Salisbury; Grade II listed[2] and noted by Pevsner.

Part of the 1980 film The Long Good Friday[3] and the 1992 biopic of Charlie Chaplin[4] were shot there.

A little further south on the opposite side of the road is the Garden Ladder bar. Towards the southern end stands the well-preserved, Victoriana-laden Beaconsfield public house. Opposite is the new Arena Shopping Park with shops including Sainsbury's supermarket, Homebase store and one of Britain's first drive-through McDonald's restaurants.

A large section of the eastern side of Green Lanes is called Grand Parade. Interrupted only by the gaps introduced by the residential roads running eastwards, Grand Parade runs for nearly 600 yards from just north of Harringay Green Lanes railway station to St Ann's Road.

Whilst the main road feels definitely cosmopolitan, the population of the surrounding streets is somewhat more homogeneous. The streets to the west of Green Lanes are known as 'Harringay Park' or the 'Harringay Ladder' (due to their similarity to a ladder when seen on a map). The streets to the east behind Grand Parade are known as 'Harringay Gardens'. The "ladder" stretches for about a mile south to north; it is a series of parallel residential streets like rungs running east-west between Wightman Road and Green Lanes, with the Harringay Passage, a footpath running down the middle the whole length of this set of streets. The New River also cuts down the middle in the southern part of the "ladder".

Harringay Station is at the south of Wightman Road and Harringay Green Lanes level with it, on Green Lanes. Turnpike Lane Station is at the very north end of Harringay.

Geography and geology

The New River between the houses of the Harringay Ladder

Harringay is just under 5½ miles from the centre of London, sitting on a chalk bed covered by a thick layer of London Clay. The western part of the district is hilly, rising to 138 feet at its highest. Further to the west, beyond Harringay, the ground rises steadily to one of the highest points in the metropolis at Hampstead Heath about 3½ miles away. The eastern part of Harringay is low-lying, at between 60 and 90 feet, as the land descends towards the Lea Valley, 2 miles to the east.

Harringay covers an area of approximately ¾ of a square mile.

The only waterway still running above ground is the man-made New River, constructed in 1619 to bring water into London from Hertfordshire. However, two natural rivers still flow through Harringay beneath the ground. These are just two of the many springs and streams that used to flow through this part of Middlesex from the high ground to the west, down into the River Lea. Stonebridge Brook ran above ground meandering eastwards just to the north of the old Harringay House. It crossed the estate, running roughly beneath present-day Effingham and Fairfax Roads, ran along Green Lanes for a short way and then eastwards north of St Ann's Road and on to the River Lea.[5] Although still flowing underground today, the Harringay section was fully culverted by 1885. Hermitage Brook flowed roughly along the southern boundary of the western part of Harringay and then, staying close to its southern edge, under where the Arena Shopping Park stands today. It was eventually culverted and now flows underground just to the south of the shopping park.[6]


Tympanum-style ornamentation in the Grand Parade

The area was then largely covered with forest until the Middle Ages when it was developed as agricultural land. From 1750 to 1880 Harringay experienced the pressures of the burgeoning population in London. Gradually inroads into the pastoral landscape were made, first for the leisure and then for the settlement of Londoners.

The railway brought new suburbanites and the Harringay "ladder" was developed in the late Victorian period. By 1900 Harringay had become a respectable outer suburb with all the land built over and only Finsbury Park remaining as a hint of its former character. Harringay grew up as a town stretching across the ancient parish boundary, and the boundaries of the urban boroughs which succeeded to their role in government, and so remained until 1965, though identified as a single urban area from 1900; the parish the boundary ran slightly to the west of Green Lanes and on many of the roads in West Harringay, it is still possible to see the old Tottenham - Hornsey boundary where the paving stones give way to tarmaced pavement. The old parish / borough boundary markers are also still in place on some roads.


National and international sporting were once held in the Harringay Stadium and the Harringay Arena from the late 1920s until the 1980s. Greyhound racing, boxing and speedway were the main attractions.

Green Harringay

The New River Path
Railway Fields
  • Finsbury Park
  • Railway Fields Local Nature Reserve, near Harringay Green Lanes Station
  • The New River Path
  • Ducketts Common, opposite Turnpike Lane station
  • Harringay Stadium Slopes (a small area by the Sainsbury's car park
  • Falkland and Fairfax Open Space
  • A community garden in Doncaster Gardens (small, but very well kept and award winning)

Also close by are:

  • The Parkland Walk, running through nearby Stroud Greenup to Highgate
  • Alexandra Park
  • Queen's Wood
  • West Reservoir, on Green Lanes
  • Highgate Wood
  • Chestnuts Park, by St Ann's Road
  • Priory Park, at the end of Hornsey High Street

Harringay on film and television

Films shot in part or in their entirety in Harringay include:

  • London River, 2009, Dir, Rachid Bouchareb
  • Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, 2006, Dir Shaad Ali
  • The Lives of the Saints, 2006, Dir Rankin & Chris Cottam
  • Spider, 2002, Dir David Cronenberg
  • Face, 1997, Dir Antonia Bird
  • Chaplin, 1992, Dir Richard Attenborough
  • The Fourth Protocol, 1987, Dir John Mackenzie
  • The Long Good Friday, 1980, Dir John Mackenzie
  • The Angel Who Pawned her Heart, 1954, Dir Alan Bromly

TV productions in Harringay include:

  • Harringay Arena was the home of the Horse of the Year Show for its first ten years, from 1947 onwards. In 1958, the show featured in the first broadcast of the BBC's new Saturday afternoon sports programme Grandstand.[7]
  • Harringay Stadium was the home of Greyhound racing on London Weekend Television's World of Sport between 1972 and 1982.[7]

Railway stations

  • Harringay Green Lanes
  • Harringay
  • Hornsey
  • Underground:
    • Manor House
    • Turnpike Lane

Outside links


  1. Madge, Stephen J. (1936). An Introduction to the Early Records of Harringay alias Hornsey. Public Libraries Committee Hornsey. 
  2. National Heritage List 1358865: The Salisbury
  3. The Long Good Friday at the Internet Movie Database
  4. Chaplin at the Internet Movie Database
  5. 1869 & 1894 Ordnance Survey Maps.
  6. Pinching & Bell, Albert & David (2005). Haringey's Hidden Streams Revealed. Hornsey Historical Society. ISBN 0-905794-35-4. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ticher, Mike (2002). The Story of Harringay Stadium and Arena. Hornsey Historical Society. ISBN 0 905794 29 X. .