SE18: Equitable and Co-operative

SE18 is Woolwich, known for the former Dockyard and Royal Arsenal, but also as the home of two major institutions, sadly no longer with us – the Woolwich Equitable Building Society and the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society.

We start our walk at Woolwich Post Office which is Numbers 68 – 72 Powis Street. Turn left out of the Post Office and our first stop is soon on the left.

Stop 1: McDonald’s, Numbers 56 – 58 Powis Street

Now I would not normally mention McDonald’s, but the one in Woolwich has a special place in the story of fast food in the UK.

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The branch here in Powis Street was the first McDonald’s in the UK – opening in November 1974. There is a plaque to the left of the entrance but weirdly this makes no mention of the fact it was first British McDonald’s.

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Instead it focuses on this branch being the 3000th “restaurant”. By the way McDonald’s was founded in 1940. Therefore it look 34 years to get up to 3,000 locations. But the growth since has been astounding. By the end of 2016 it traded in around 36,500 locations – so in 42 years from November 1974 to December 2016 it added around a net 33,500. That is quite some going,

Now return along Powis Street and our next stop is a little further along the street, on both sides of the road.

Stop 2: Former department store buildings

Here as today’s shopping street peters out we get to the former Royal Arsenal Co-operative Stores (RACS) Department Store buildings. On the left we have the Edwardian one, dating from 1903.

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And in the niche over the main door is a statue of Alexander McLeod.  McLeod (1832-1902) was one of the founders of RACS and was its first full-time secretary from 1882 until his death.

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More about him from the entry on the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association site::

http://www.pmsa.org.uk/pmsa-database/3132/

Now look over the road and you will see the 1930s extension

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It looks like a cross between a cinema and a multi-storey car park.

We have come across the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (RACS) before. It was started in 1868 as the Royal Arsenal Supply Association by workers from the Royal Arsenal, and became Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society in 1872. In the century that followed, the society’s activities expanded from selling food into a huge range of commercial, social & political activities. Eventually by the 1970s it had branches across most of South London and into parts of Hampshire, Berkshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex. But by the 1980s it was a retail dinosaur in big trouble and in 1985 it merged into the national Co-operative Wholesale Society.

The department stores were I think soon closed down, leaving these buildings as a reminder of what had been a major retailing chain. What is noticeable about the RACS stores we have come across is that they were not well located. The one in Lewisham was on the wrong side of the main road from most of the other shops except the other (now closed) Department store. The one in Peckham was right at the end of the main shopping street and so it is here  in Woolwich.

Today the Edwardian building houses a Travelodge amongst other things and the 1930s building is being converted into apartments.

Now continue along Powis Street. Our next stop is ahead on the right. You might note as you walk along how suddenly there are some quite modest buildings sandwiched between the grandeur of the RACS store and the upcoming Granada cinema.

Stop 3: Former Granada cinema, Numbers 174 – 186 Powis Street

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Today the building is used as church but according to the wonderful Cinema Treasures site, it was opened in April 1937 by Granada as a cinema, with stage facilities.

Although the outside is a sweeping Art Deco brick box and tower, inside was Gothic style. Apparently this was a scaled down version of the Granada, Tooting. Like Tooting the interior design was carried out by Russian set designer Theodore Komisarjevsky.

The Granada Theatre had a full working stage. It hosted Christmas pantomimes and during the 1960s ‘one night only’ pop music shows were put on – the Beatles even played here once on 3 June 1963.

It became a part time Bingo Hall in 1961 and finally took on Bingo full time in October 1966. The building was Grade II listed in January 1974 and this was enhanced to a Grade II* Listing in October 2000. Bingo ceased in July 2011 and it was taken over by a church.

Now look ahead and you can see our next stop across the road – another former cinema.

Stop 4: Former Odeon cinema, John Wilson Street

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This is the kind of streamline Art Deco that screams Odeon, as indeed it was. It opened as the Odeon cinema in October 1937, just months after the Granada over the road.

The interior could not have been more different from the Granada with troughs of concealed lighting and moulded plaster decoration. According to Cinema Treasures, much of the interior was lost in a “modernisation” in May 1964. However it was listed heritage listed Grade II in December 1973.

It continued as the Odeon cinema until October 1981. The building lay empty and unused for almost two years until it was reopened by an independent film exhibitor in July 1983 as the Coronet Cinema. Having been converted into a twin cinema in July 1990, it finally closed in June 1999. It was taken over by the New Wine Church from 2001 and it remains a church to this day.

Whilst it is good to see the building is use, it does look kind of bare without any signs on the bulk of the interior.

Now as you look at the cinema go to the left and you will see a gardens, go in the gate and straight ahead is our next stop.

Stop 5: St Mary Magdalene Church

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The Church’s website says this has been a church has been on the present site for over 1000 years. However the building we see today dates from the 18th century.

Architectural bible, Pevsner, says this is: “One of the churches rebuilt with money from the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711 but begun only in 1727 and not completed until 1739.” It was extended in the 1890s.

High up on the east end of the church is a stone panel with an inscription: “Ne Despectetes Qui Peccare Soletis Exemplo Meo Vos Reparate Deo”.

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This translates as: “Do not despair, you who have fallen into the way of sin, restore yourself through my example and through God”  This is a quotation from, I believe, the book of Luke and is commonly associated with St Mary Magdalene. Interesting isn’t it that it takes 20 words of English to say what only needs 10 words in Latin.

Now head to the right between the church and the back of the old Odeon Cinema. Ahead you will see a grand tomb with a lion on the top. Pevsner describes this as “pathetic and a little ridiculous”.

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The plinth has the following inscription: “Respect the ashes of the dead”

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This is the last resting place of one Thomas Cribb (1781 – 1848)

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He was an English bare-knuckle boxer, in fact he was so successful that he became “world champion”. He later turned his hand to being a publican, running the Union Arms in Panton Street, just off Haymarket in central London. Today that pub is called the Tom Cribb. He retired to Woolwich in 1839 which is where he later died.

Now head out of the church yard. You will have to go almost to the front of the church to access the path that goes downhill away from the church.

You will see our next stop across the way by the river.

Stop 6: Woolwich Ferry

We saw this from the other side when we were in E16. There has been a ferry operating in Woolwich since the 14th century. The free service opened in 1889, following the abolition of tolls across bridges to the west

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Looking along the river you get a nice view of Canary Wharf.

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And just along the river front from the ferry terminal is the distinctive brick rotunda which houses the entrance to the foot tunnel which opened in 1912.

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Now keep walking along the river front. This is where the Royal Arsenal once was. This whole site is in the process of being redeveloped.

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Soon you will see some of the older building on the Royal Arsenal site

Stop 7: Woolwich Royal Arsenal site

The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich carried out armaments manufacture, ammunition proofing, and explosives research for the British armed forces. The land here was part of the grounds of a Tudor house and known as Woolwich Warren. The Government purchased the Warren in the late 17th century in order to expand the nearby base in Woolwich Dockyard which was to the west of the modern day ferry.

Over the next two centuries, the site expanded massively so by the time of the First World War the Arsenal it covered 1,285 acres (520 ha) and employed almost 80,000 people. In the 20th century its operations were scaled down. It finally closed as a factory in 1967 and the Ministry of Defence moved out in 1994. But for most of its life, it was a closed place, not accessible to the public.

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It is now being redeveloped mainly for housing. And they seem to using the rather terrible acronym RARE – Royal Arsenal Riverside Explore – which is kind of meaningless in a meaningful way.

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By the riverside are two brick pavilions which were built as Guardrooms in 1814/15.

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Then just in the square nearby is a modern sculpture installation consisting of around 16 metal figures which are partly cut away

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The name of this work is Assembly and it is by Peter Burke from the early 2000s. They are made of cast iron and this is edition 1 of 4. So somewhere there are three more like this!

Now you will see a roadway heading away from the river. It is called No 1 Street. Follow this.

On both sides there are some old buildings surviving from the old Royal Arsenal.

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On the left is the site of Firepower – The Royal Artillery Museum. This closed in 2016 after having been based in Woolwich for almost two centuries. It was moved to Wiltshire.

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Note in particular on the right in Artillery Square, there is the Heritage Centre, which is worth a quick look (It is free to enter).

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The Heritage Centre tried to fill the gap left by the loss of Firepower by creating a new permanent exhibition “Making Woolwich: The Royal Regiment of Artillery in Woolwich”.

A number of the buildings around here are now owned by Greenwich Council with a view to creating a new cultural and heritage quarter.

Continue and you will see ahead is the Royal Brass Foundry of 1717.

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This building is attributed to Sir John Vanburgh. The Government decided to build its own foundry for brass here in what had been a naval storage establishment since the 16th century. The move was precipitated by an explosion at a privately owned foundry in Moorfields near the City. Guns were cast here until the 1870s.

Now head out of the site past the Dial Arch pub.

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Cross the main road and look back and to the right.

Stop 8: site of Crossrail station

This massive apartment development stands over the new Crossrail station, due to open at the end of 2018.

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There is not much to see now as the entrance has yet to be built and one cannot go down. However back in 2013 I was lucky enough to have a chance to take a tour round the concrete box that will hold the station.

Here is a link to a post and some pictures from that visit.

https://stephensldn.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/woolwich-crossrail-station-a-window-into-the-future/

Now go through the Royal Arsenal Gatehouse

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And then go into Berresford Square.

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Stop 9: Equitable House

Our next stop dominates one side of the square.

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The building underneath this scaffolding was built by the Woolwich Equitable Building Society as its headquarters in 1935.

The Society was founded in Woolwich in 1847 as the Woolwich Equitable Benefit Building and Investment Association, one of the first permanent building societies. Previously it had been a temporary society since 1842.

Building Societies grew up as a way of using the savings of a group of people to lend to some of those people so they could buy property. At first the societies were temporary in that they were time limited and would be wound up when all the members had a property. But they then start working on a rolling basis, taking on new savers and lending to new people. Hence the term “Permanent Building Society”. The key point about building societies were that they were owned by the members and not by shareholders.

The Woolwich (as it became known) grew to be one of the largest UK building societies and was famous in the 1980s for its entertaining TV advertising incorporating the slogan “I’m with the Woolwich”.

Like most building societies it gave up its mutual status to become a bank giving shares to investing and borrowing members of the society, and listing on the London Stock Exchange: This happened in 1997. It did not survive as an indepenedt company for very long as it was taken over by Barclays Bank in 2000

Initially the Woolwich brand was retained but in 2006, Woolwich branches were either closed or rebranded Barclays, although The Woolwich was kept for a time as a Barclays mortgage brand.

The Building Society had started in Powis Street, where it occupied various premises. From 1896 until 1935 they had a purpose built office at 111-113 Powis Street. From 1935 to 1989, Equitable House was the head office until they moved to new headquarters in nearby Bexleyheath, Equitable House continued as a branch office until 2007.

In 2010-11 it was converted to have a pub, a cafe and shops on the ground floor. The upper floors were initially rented out to a College but in 2016-17 the upper floors were converted into apartments.

The pub by the way is run by Antic – a chain of over 40 pubs mainly in south London.

Now head to the other side of the square. You will see a bear statue.

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This is Buddy Bear presented by Greenwich’s twin town of Reinickendorf, Berlin to commemorate 50 years of the link in 2016.

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Now head down Wellington Street. This has “The Great Harry” pub on the corner.

Stop 10 Woolwich Town Hall

Our next stop is ahead on the right. This is Woolwich Town Hall dating from 1903 – 1906

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Pevsner describes this as “florid Edwardian baroque” and goes on to say the “Interior is mainly given over to a large entrance hall of amazing grandeur for a London borough.”

The borough that built this was the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich which had been created in 1900. They clearly wanted to make their mark.

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After merger with neighbouring Greenwich in 1965, the new bigger borough eventually decided to concentrate its offices here rather than in Greenwich.

By the  way, the site next to the Town Hall used to be a place of entertainment, according to Cinema Treasures.

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First there was a theatre – opened as the Grand Theatre and Opera House in October 1900. From 1908 it was renamed Woolwich Hippodrome Theatre presenting twice nightly variety shows. But from November 1924 the Hippodrome Theatre was converted into full time cinema use, eventually becoming owned by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) from July 1935.

The Woolwich Hippodrome Theatre was closed in 1939 and demolished to enable a new ABC Cinema to be built on the site. Building work had commenced when war broke out and all construction was halted. ABC called the cinema the Regal and it eventually opened in September 1955.

It was renamed ABC in 1963 and closed in November 1982. The building was unused and derelict for several years and was later converted into a nightclub.

In May 2010, it was reported the building had been sold to an Apostolic Church. The church backed out of the deal, and it was sold to a community based theatre group in June 2011. It re-opened as a live theatre & performance space with plans to create & two-screen cinema, known as the Woolwich Grand Theatre. Sadly this did not go to plan, and demolition of the building began in November 2015. Now a new building is going up on the site.

Return to Beresford Square and head to the right where you will see our next stop.

Stop 11: Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre

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According to their website, the building which is now home to Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre was built as a generating station in 1916 and powered trams in the area until they ceased to run in 1953. For the next 20 years, the building was used as factory units, housing a wide variety of small businesses, under the ownership of the local council.

It opened as The Tramshed Theatre in the autumn of 1973, originally intended as a ‘youth’ offshoot of the Greenwich Theatre, but was relaunched the following summer with a bar and a wider variety of activities. The theatre was run by a company specially set up for the purpose, The Woolwich Theatre Ltd, although the building was (and still is) owned by the council. In 1985 the company went into liquidation and the operation was taken over by the Arts and Entertainments division of the London Borough of Greenwich.

Now go along a little bit and you will reach our last stop.

Stop 12: Woolwich Arsenal station

The station opened in 1849 on the North Kent Line from London to Gillingham. The station building was rebuilt in 1906 but the current station building dates from 1992-93. It is a striking design in steel and glass by the in house Architecture and Design Group of British Rail.

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Woolwich Arsenal was expanded in early 2009, when Transport for London completed the construction of an extension of the London City Airport branch of the Docklands Light Railway from King George V to Woolwich Arsenal, which is the branch’s new terminus. A new entrance was created and a tiled artwork was installed.

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This is called “Street LIfe” and is by Sir Michael Craig-Martin (1941 – ), an Irish born artist who has lived and worked in London since 1966. In the 1980s Craig-Martin was a tutor at Goldsmiths College. He is credited as being a significant influence on that group known as “Young British Artists”, which included people like Damien Hirst.

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Well that brings us to the end of our SE18 walk.

Woolwich has been shaped by its naval and military connections but it also has an important place in the history of mutualism with the eponymous Building Society and the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society. Plus there are two old cinemas which have somehow survived. And I know there is so much we could have seen in Woolwich but sadly we did not have the time.

We are now right by the main station for onward travel. Need I say more.

N10: The Folks who live on the Hill

N10 is Muswell Hill and I am indebted to fellow guide Jenni, a local resident, for showing me round this lovely part of London and also lending me a little book on Muswell Hill by Ken Gay.

Ken Gay sums it up nicely by saying “The key fact about Muswell Hill is its height and remoteness. This meant it was slow to be developed and only really got going in the late 1890s. But when it was developed it was on a grand scale with massive shopping parades and large family houses.” It is certainly an impressive centre – and unusual for a place of this size in that it is not served by any railway station. But more of that anon.

We start at the Post Office at 420 Muswell Hill Broadway. Turn left out of the Post Office and head for the roundabout. Our first stop is just between Boots and the Giraffe restaurant.

Stop 1: Keith Blakelock memorial

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Keith Blakelock was a London Metropolitan Police constable who was killed on 6 October 1985 during rioting on the Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham. The trouble broke out after a local black woman, Cynthia Jarrett, died of heart failure during a police search of her home. He was according to Wikipedia the first constable to be killed in a riot in Britain since 1833, when PC Robert Culley was stabbed to death in Clerkenwell, London.

Despite three investigations over the years and a number of people being brought to trial, no one has been convicted of his murder.

So why is the memorial here in Muswell Hill? Well it is because at the time of his death he was the local beat officer assigned to Muswell Hill.

Our next stop is just over the way in the middle of the road.

Stop 2: Bus turn round

Here we have a roundabout and in the middle is a bus stand and a little building – a most unusual arrangement.

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But if you actually venture on to the island you will see a little London Transport roundel on the door and if you go round the building (to what looks most like the “front”) you can look inside.

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There are tables and chairs and a hot drinks machine, so this is presumably for the bus drivers. But although there were plenty of buses siting at the terminus, no one was inside.

Now this set me off wondering why there was such an unusual arrangement and I thought maybe this started off as a tram terminus. But no. Ken Gay’s book explains on page 87 that Middlesex County Council had considered applying for an order to allow the building of a branch of the tramway up from Archway Road. But there was a lot of local opposition, so it never happened. Trams never got to Muswell Hill.

But Gay”s book does explain on page 83 that this unusual arrangement was for horse buses which had started running from here to Charing Cross in 1901. One of the local developers, Thomas Finnane, objected to a horse bus stand being at the road side by his newly built properties, so it was put in the middle of the road. Later in 1904, a shelter was provided for the bus drivers, and this is what we see today.

Now look to the left of the shelter (assuming you are still at the Blakelock memorial). Our next stop is over the way there.

Stop 3: The future “Mossy Well”

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My reference book Pevsner refers to a building at the top of Muswell Hill described as a “low Swiss Chalet … dated 1900 [which] began life as an Express Dairy.” Well in later life it seems to have been a pizza restaurant and now it is being converted to a Wetherspoons pub, although the hoarding does seem to promise rather a lot …

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Not the normal way in which Wetherspoons advertise their coming!

By the way, the name Muswell is said to be derived from the “Mossy Well” which was a natural spring (or well) said to have miraculous properties. Indeed a Scottish king was cured of disease after drinking the water. The River Moselle, which has its source in Muswell Hill and Highgate, derives its name from this.

I must say I had never heard of the Moselle as being a river in London. When the Footprints guides did a River Walks festival earlier this year another fellow guide, Jen, joked she would do a walk following the Moselle. She did and it turned out to be the best selling walks of the three week Festival!

Now proceed along Muswell Hill Broadway on the right hand pavement. Our next stop is just on the right.

Stop 4: W Martyn, Number 135 Muswell Hill Broadway

W Martyn is an amazing survival of an old fashioned grocery store. This shop has traded here since the building was built in the late 1890s. In fact it even gets a mention in the architectural bible, Pevsner.

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Continue walking along Muswell Hill Broadway our next stop is just across the road at the corner with Hillfield Park.

Stop 5: Numbers 74 – 80 Muswell Hill Broadway

This was the location of the home of William Barlow (1845 – 1934). Although actually the plaque is actually in the side street, Hillfield Park

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Well you may well ask: Who is he? I thought maybe he might be the man who built St Pancras Station but then what has that to do with mineralogy.

Well it turns out he was an English amateur geologist specialising in crystallography which is the experimental science of determining the arrangement of atoms in the crystalline solids. Wikipedia tells me the word derives from the Greek words crystallon “cold drop, frozen drop”, with its meaning extending to all solids with some degree of transparency, and grapho “I write”.

Note too there is a great view of Canary Wharf from here down Hillfield Park, reminding us of how high up we are here.

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Now continue to the roundabout and across the way you will see St James’s Church on one side and a 1930s block sweeping round the other way. The latter is our next stop.

Stop 6: Everyman cinema (formerly Odeon)

This cinema was until recently operated by Odeon and has now been taken over by Everyman, along with three others (in Gerrards Cross, Barnet and Esher). When I visited it had lost its Odeon branding but not yet gained its new Everyman identity.

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This was one of the original cinemas in the Oscar Deutsch owned Odeon chain designed by architect George Coles and opened in September 1936.

The whole corner was redeveloped with a parade of shops on the ground floor and flats above. These largely hide the bulk of the auditorium.

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The entrance to the Cinema is round one side and not given pride of place at the corner as you might have expected. According to Gay (p110) this was because St James’s Church opposed having the entrance directly opposite the church.

This is a wonderful example of art deco Odeon style with creamy faience tiles in the central section and in black faience tiles either side. Inside the building, the decorative Art Deco styling continues, although the cinema itself was tripled in May 1974, creating one screen in the former circle and two smaller screens under the circle in the rear stalls area The front stalls area was unused, and as far as I know this arrangement continues today.

Now look across at the Sainsbury’s opposite the cinema.

Stop 7: Site of the Atheneum

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This Sainsbury’s store in Fortis Green Road is on the site of another place of entertainment. Built in 1900, there was a building here called The Athenaeum. Inside were two halls, seating 466 and 200. Films were a regular attraction in the early days.

The wonderful Cinema Treasures website says that the Athenaeum Picture Playhouse (as it became known) was operating until at least 1937, when Home Counties Theatres Ltd. were the operators. No doubt the arrival of the Odeon (and another modern cinema – the Ritz also opened in 1936, just down Muswell Hill and demolished in the 1970s) killed off what was probably a rather old fashioned movie house.

The Atheneum was also used as the Muswell Hill Synagogue from the 1920s until 1963. The building was demolished in 1966 to be replaced by this supermarket.

Now continue along Fortis Green Road to the corner of Birchwood Avenue where you will see a hall.

Stop 8: former St James Church Hall

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One thing I tend to do is look at the inscriptions on foundation stones and the like to see if there are any interesting connection. And I happened upon the one on this unprepossessing church hall.

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This shows the architect was G G Wornum. Now George Grey Wornum (1888 – 1957) has a special place in my heart. His most well known building is the HQ of the Royal Institute of British Architects in Portland Place and it was this building I had to give a 5 minute presentation on when I was interviewed to get my place on the City of Westminster Guiding course.

He is not particularly well known. But apart from his RIBA building, his other claim to fame in London is that he was responsible for laying out Parliament Square in 1950 and for designing a street lamp for the City of Westminster – rather a large and a small variant of the same design.

Here is a bit of an obscure post about the Grey Wornum lamp post. Although the design can still be seen in the streets of Westminster, it would seem the City Council has replaced most, if not all, with replicas.

http://www.simoncornwell.com/lighting/collect/lanterns/revo-c-10/index.htm

Now retrace your steps to the Odeon and turn right along Muswell Hill Road. Stop just by the mini roundabout.

Stop 9: Cranley Gardens

I will just show the street sign here because the reason I am including this street is that this is the location of the flat where the notorious mass murder Dennis Nilsen lived and did some of his murders.

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Dennis Nilsen (1945 – ) was a serial killer and was known as the Muswell Hill Murderer. He murdered at least 12 young men between 1978 and 1983, some at a flat in Melrose Avenue, NW2 and from 1981 at flat at Number 23 Cranley Gardens.

Now notice you look like you have gone over a bridge and there are some steps going down on the left. Follow these.

Stop 10: Parkland walk

You are now in what is described as a “Parkland Walk”. It is actually a linear park which follows the line of an old railway which ran from Highgate to Alexandra Palace.

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And this holds the key to the mystery of how all this area got developed when it has no railway connection. Well when this area was being developed there was a railway and this was where it was. It was a branch off the line from Kings Cross and Finsbury Park to Edgware and High Barnet. It was built to go to nearby Alexandra Palace and it opened in 1873 well before Muswell Hill began to be developed.

Gay tells us that in 1910  there were 61 trains a day – some going to Kings Cross, some to Moorgate (presumably via Farringdon, as they were not electric trains and could not use the Underground section between Finsbury Park and Moorgate) and some to Broad Street. The main Muswell Hill station was a little further along the line towards but a stop was added at Cranley Gardens in 1902 just here where we joined the walk. And there appears to be nothing left of it.

Follow the pathway. This clings on to the side of the hill but then the land drops away completely and you go over a viaduct.

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From here you have a view over to the City and you can also see Canary Wharf.

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This stretch of walk ends by a subway where you have a choice of either going right and up to the street or continuing under the subway. Do the latter. Once through the subway, the path veers to the right and ahead is Muswell Hill Primary school. Once this was the site of Muswell Hill station, which opened at the same time as the line in 1873.

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So how was it that this area lost its railway. Well it is all tied up with the Northern Heights project which we have already heard about in various previous NW and N posts. The plan would have involved taking over this branch line along with the lines to Edgware and High Barnet, modernising them for use by electric trains and incorporating them into the Northern line.

Works began in the late 1930s but were halted by the Second World War. The works between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace were postponed and the line continued operation as before, but with wartime economies, services were reduced to peak hours only.

After the war, the dwindling passenger numbers and a shortage of funds led to the cancellation of the unfinished parts of the Northern Heights project in 1950. Passenger services to Muswell Hill station were ended in July 1954 along with the rest of the line between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. Goods traffic staggered on until complete closure of the line in May 1957. The track was removed and the platforms and station buildings were demolished. Today there is no trace there was a station here.

Follow the path round to the road and turn left down the hill, which is actually called Muswell Hill.

Take the third turning on the right.

Stop 11: Number 101 St James’s Lane

Go a little way down St James’s Lane and soon on the right you will see a detached house standing high above the road. This is number 101, our next stop.

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This was home to William Tegetmeier (1816 – 1912) between 1858 and 1868. He was a correspondent and friend of Charles Darwin. Tegetmeier was influential in developing ideas on evolution and is thought to have been of value to Darwin in compiling his seminal work “On the origin of Species”.

Tegetmeier did research work on bees, some of it carried out here at this property. According to Gay, he also pioneered pigeon racing, with some pigeon racing beginning from Alexandra Palace.

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Retrace your steps along St James’s Lane. Turn right at the end of St James’s Lane and keep going down the hill until you reach the junction. Veer round to the right into Park Road and take the first right.

Stop 12: Number 33 Etheldene Avenue

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This modest house was the home of one Walter J Macqueen-Pope (1888 – 1960).

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He was was a theatre historian and publicist. From a theatrical family which could be traced back to contemporaries of Shakespeare, he was involved in the management of a number of West End theatres including the Queen’s, Duke of York’s and the Whitehall and then he specialised in publicity. He was in charge of publicity at Drury Lane for some 21 years. But after the Second World War he became a prolific author of theatrical related books.

If you want to stop here, go back to Muswell Hill (the street) where you can get a W7 bus to Finsbury Park which is probably best for onward travel. Or else you can get a 43 or a 134 from Muswell Hill centre to Highgate.

But I should just just mention there is one other Haringey green plaques you might want to search out.

Postscript

So what you need to do is go back up the street called Muswell Hill and at the roundabout, head back towards the Post Office. Keep going. The road becomes Colney Hatch Lane and eventually you will reach Alexandra Park Road on the right. Go down there and our extra final stop is at the corner of Windermere Avenue.

Number 51, Alexandra Park Road

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This was the home of Oliver Tambo (1917 – 1993), South African  anti-apartheid politician and a central figure in the African National Congress, (ANC) along with Nelson Mandela.

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In 1958 he became Deputy President of the ANC and in 1959 was served with a five-year banning order by the government. Tambo was then sent abroad by the ANC to mobilise opposition to apartheid. He settled with his family in Muswell Hill, where he lived until 1990. Sadly he did not live long enough to see the election of 1994 which led to ANC coming to power in South Africa.

(By the way isn’t it a shame that Haringey chose to use painted metal for their plaques. As we can see from the various examples here in N10, some have not weathered well, unlike the blue English Heritage ceramic plaques which seem indestructible.)

So that finally does brings us to the end of our N10 walk in lovely Muswell Hill. Thanks again to Jenni for showing me round and for the loan of the Ken Gay book which gave me some fascinating insights – indeed far more information than I could possibly use!

Now for onward travel from here, you can get a 102 or 299 to Bounds Green station. Or else head back to Muswell Hill for the other options previously mentioned.