Inventory Site Record

Tottenham Green and Tottenham Green East (Haringey)

Brief Description

Tottenham Green and Tottenham Green East are two triangular plots either side of the High Road. Tottenham is recorded in the Domesday Book as a settlement around the Green but almost certainly dated back to pre-Norman times. It centred on Tottenham High Cross, a wooden cross by the road for which there are records from 1409. Formerly commonland, Tottenham Green was probably enclosed with railings and laid out as a public garden soon after 1897. In the centre of Tottenham Green East, Haringey Peace Garden was created in 1985 when part of the site was dedicated to Olof Paume, Swedish Prime Minister.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
High Cross Greene; High Cross Common; Trinity Church Common; Hospital Common
Site location:
Tottenham High Road/Town Hall Approach, Tottenham
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Seven Sisters (Victoria). Bus: 76, 149, 259, 279, 318, 41, 123, 230, W4
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.haringey.gov.uk

Full Site Description

Tottenham High Road dates from Roman times when it formed part of the route of Ermine Street, the main highway out of the City of London to Lincoln and York in the north of the country, although the present High Road dates from the C16th when it was realigned to avoid the occasionally flooding Moselle River. As a result of the importance of this route to and from London, hamlets, houses and coaching inns grew up at points along its way, although much of the surrounding area was farmland until housing development took place in the C19th. Tottenham itself is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 with a settlement around Tottenham Green, but almost certainly dated back to pre-Norman times. It centred on Tottenham High Cross, a wooden cross by the road for which there are records from 1409. The High Cross was repaired in 1809, when it was covered in stucco. During the C15th well-to-do people began building country residences here. Abraham Reynardson, a wealthy merchant who became Lord Mayor of London in 1648 and who was Master of the Merchant Taylors Company and Governor of the East India Company, bought an existing house overlooking Tottenham Green in 1639, and his son Nicholas later founded almshouses nearby. Reynardson's House was later demolished in 1810.

Tottenham Green and Tottenham Green East are two triangular plots flanking the High Road. The former commonland was described by William Robinson in 1840 as 'a large open space enclosed with posts and rails, and surrounded by many excellent family residences. The lately erected chapel of ease Trinity chapel, stands on the north side...'. Holy Trinity Church by James Savage was built in 1828-30 on part of the Green where there was once a large pond, which was partially filled when the church was built. The remainder was infilled in 1837 when the Green Sunday and Infants School was erected, so named because of the colour of the uniforms. The High Cross Pump was originally a well sunk in 1791 by the Lord of the Manor, Thomas Smith, to replace an earlier well to the west. In 1859 the Board of Health provided a drinking fountain with a conical roof and pump in place of the well but its water was declared to be unfit to drink in 1883, it was subsequently surrounded by decorative railings. In 1892 a fire station originally in the form of a hut was situated next to the pump, but by 1905 a small building had been erected. Tottenham Green, like many commons, was used for cricket and football, and was also the location where the Tournament of Tottenham was held.

Tottenham Green, also known as Trinity Church Common, was enclosed with railings and laid out as a public garden in a scheme for the unemployed, possibly pre-1906 and certainly by 1913. The ground level was raised and contoured in parts, curving paths laid out, shrubs beds created and new trees planted. A group of brick and stone buildings on the west side, built in 1905, included the former Town Hall, Fire Station and Public Baths. A War Memorial comprising a bronze figure of a winged female Victory was erected on the Green in 1923. Sculpted by L F Roslyn (1878-1940) the figure is set on a tall granite pedestal, and is identical to those found at Darwen (1921) and Oswaldtwistle (1922) in Lancashire. After WW2 and pre-1954 Tottenham Green was partly re-landscaped with a formal scheme focused on the War Memorial. By 1967 a formal pond had been constructed and although the structure for this remains it was later filled in for use as a planter. Today Tottenham Green has undulating turfed terrain with scattered trees including London plane, oak, hawthorn, Sorbus, Robinia pseudoacacia, Irish yew, Prunus, Lombardy poplar, Ilex altaclarensis, and lime. Much of the east boundary has clipped privet hedge with railings to the north, south and east and curving paths cross the site.

Tottenham Green East was for a time known as Hospital Common, referring to the Deaconesses' Hospital to the east that was established in 1868 and became Tottenham Hospital in 1899. In 1907 it was re-named the Prince of Wales General Hospital, which closed in the 1980s and in 1993 was converted into flats, named Deaconess Court. Today Tottenham Green East has some formal beds, a circular former rosebed now has 3 or 4 trees planted in it, and two formal display beds. In the centre Haringey Peace Garden was created in 1985 when part of the site was dedicated with a plaque to Olof Paume, Swedish Prime Minister. Trees on Tottenham Green East include C19th plane, black poplar and horse chestnut trees, and C20th lime and horse chestnut.

Sources consulted:

Fisk 1913, pp39-40; F Fisk 'History of the Ancient Parish of Tottenham' 1923 (Bruce Castle Archive), p 340; William Robinson the History & Antiquities of Tottenham High Cross' 1840, vol 1, pp 59, 79-83; Tottenham UDC 1892-7; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Peter Curtis, 'In Times Past, Wood Green and Tottenham with West Green and Harringay', Hornsey Historical Society, 3rd ed.1995; Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners for LB Haringey, 'Tottenham High Road Historic Corridor Conservation Areas Character Appraisal', 2009

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ337893 (533700,189370)
Size in hectares:
c. 0.8
Site ownership:
LB Haringey
Site management:
Parks Service (West Green Neighbourhood)
Late C19/early C20; post WW2
Not known
Listed structures:
LBII: Holy Trinity, Green School, Old Well & Parish Pump, Mountford House; War Memorial
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Tottenham Green (within Tottenham High Road Historic Corridor)
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of archaeological importance; Tottenham Green Urban Regeneration Area
Other LA designation:

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