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- 1 Location
- 2 History
- 3 Notable buildings
- 4 Education
- 5 Library Provision
- 6 Local arts scene
- 7 Location for literature, film and television
- 8 Notable residents
- 9 Transport
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Crouch End is in a valley between Harringay to the east; Hornsey, Muswell Hill and Wood Green to the north; Finsbury Park and Archway to the south; and Highgate to the west. Crouch End is located 4.6 miles north of Charing Cross and 5.1 miles from the City of London.
To the immediate west, it is bounded by Highgate Wood, and the adjacent Queen's Wood, as well as a large expanse of playing fields. To the north is Alexandra Park and to the south Finsbury Park. The Parkland Walk, a former railway line, connects these two parks. Other parks in the area include Stationers' Park, Priory Park and Crouch Hill Park.
Crouch End grew up as a hamlet on the old medieval route from London to the north. At this time it was governed as part of Hornsey, which became a parish in around 1300. This heavily wooded area contained farms and country houses, one of which was Crouch Hall, probably built in 1681 at the crossroads of what came to be known as Crouch End. The transcribed 1829–1848 diaries of William Copeland Astbury, recently made available, describe in great detail London life of the period, including walks to Crouch End. Crouch End remained rural until around 1880. Large parts remained in private ownership, inhibiting development. However, the development of the railway changed the area significantly. By 1887 there were seven railway stations in the area. Crouch End became a prosperous middle-class suburb due to an influx of mainly clerical workers who could easily commute to the city. The large old houses were replaced by comfortable middle-class housing, public parks were created, and a number of new roads and avenues, such as Elder Avenue and Weston Park, were laid out.
It expanded greatly in the late Victorian period and most of its present-day streets were built up in the late 19th century.
By the mid-1930s Crouch End had a popular shopping centre that included a Music Hall in the middle of Topsfield Parade.
Until 1965 it was administratively part of the Municipal Borough of Hornsey and that body's forerunners. In 1965, when local government in London was reorganised, Hornsey merged with the boroughs of Wood Green and Tottenham, and Crouch End became part of the London Borough of Haringey.
In the post-war years, the London-wide provision of social housing saw the building of council homes in and around Crouch End, Hornsey Vale and Hornsey itself. Many of the older houses in the area lay empty post-war and many were bought cheaply by speculative landlords who then let them out to the growing student populations of the Mountview and Hornsey Art College as well as to artists and musicians, who flocked to the area because of cheap rents. The area became known as student bedsit land for several decades into the early '80s until gentrification of the area changed the social profile and it became progressively more middle class. These social changes were illustrated by the changes in the shop types over the period; gentrification brought estate agents en masse along with up-market establishments and pavement-type cafes.
Among its more prominent buildings is the modernistic Hornsey Town Hall, built by the Municipal Borough of Hornsey as their seat of government in 1933-5. The architect was the New Zealand-born Reginald Uren. The interior and exterior have been used several times as a location by the BBC soap EastEnders. The centre of Crouch End is dominated by a red-brick clock-tower, built as a memorial to Henry Reader Williams in 1895.
For further details of education in Crouch End see the London Borough of Haringey article
There are three state secondary schools serving the N8 Crouch End area. Highgate Wood School in Montenotte Road is a nine form entry mixed school with Performing Arts Status reflecting the area's long association with the performing arts. Highgate Wood School was the senior school to the former Crouch End School based on the corner of Wolseley Road and Park Road, opposite the Maynard Arms. Hornsey School for Girls in Inderwick Road is the only single sex school in N8. In Hornsey, there is the Greig City Academy (formerly St David and St Katherines). Further away Heartlands High School which lies between Wood Green and Alexandra Palace was opened by Haringey in 2010; despite not being in Crouch End it is close enough to provide additional provision. Over 6,000 children school in the area, approx 2,300 in primary schools and 3,700 in secondary schools (11-18).
Kestrel House is an independent special school for pupils with autistic spectrum conditions and additional learning and behavioural needs. The vast majority of pupils are referred by local authorities in London and the Home Counties who pay the fees. It is housed in the former Mountview Theatre School premises at the north end of Crouch Hill -the end nearest Crouch End Broadway. Also in the independent (fee paying sector) are Highgate School and Channing School, both used by parents in Crouch End but located in Highgate.
There are a number of primary schools serving Crouch End ( seven in total within the N8 postcode):Weston Park, Rokesly School, Coleridge at the top of Crouch End Hill near the border with Islington, St Aidans in Stroud Green (not N8), St Gildas and St Peter-in Chains, just off Crouch Hill and St Mary's in Hornsey. Campsbourne Primary School on Nightingale Lane, North Harringay Primary School on Falkland Road and Ashmount Primary School. Ashmount  was until December 2012 on the south side of Hornsey Lane, in Islington and in the N19 postal district, but only meters from Haringey. (The border between Haringey and Islington runs down Hornsey Lane.) The school moved January 2013 to a new building in Crouch Hill Park adjacent to the Parkland Walk in N8. The new site while closer to Crouch End is both still within Islington and further from the border with Haringey than the old site on Hornsey lane.
The public library for Crouch End is Hornsey Library located off Haringey Park N8. The library building is on a site adjoining the south side of Hornsey Town Hall. The Library contains a large book stock, DVDs, provides free access to the Internet, meeting rooms for adult education classes, a gallery for exhibitions. There is also a cafe.
Local arts scene
A recording studio called KONK was established on Tottenham Lane in nearby Hornsey by Ray Davies, the Muswell Hill-born leader of The Kinks. Later, in 1990s Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics set up a recording studio in the old church on Crouch Hill (later sold to David Gray) called The Church. In the early 1980s The Church was owned by Bob Bura and John John Hardwick, the animators who worked on Camberwick Green, Captain Pugwash and Trumpton, who had converted part of it as a studio and later rented space to Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox. Previously, they had rehearsed (and worked) in the local record shop the Spanish Moon (now Elysian Fields).
Today Crouch End is home to Crouch End Festival Chorus, a leading symphonic chorus which has recorded with Lesley Garrett, Bryn Terfel, Ray Davies, Alfie Boe, EMI Classics and Classic FM as well as singing on the soundtrack for Doctor Who. They perform four concerts a year and also undertake other professional engagements for concerts and recordings.
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According to census data, 40% of the working population of Crouch End work in the creative industries - TV, film, theatre, music, art, design, etc. In 2011 the 'Crouch End Creatives' community group was established by Chris Arnold (a former student of Hornsey College of Art) and now has over 850 members. The group launched the 'Crouch End Arts Festival' in May 2012. which featured over 170 local performers/artists and involved over 60 venues. Besides art exhibitions, drama and music, it features a number of novel events such as 'Poets in a Phone Box', 'Invented Histories' and an outdoor cinema on the side of the library. The 2014 festival will take place on June 13–22.
Crouch End Open Studios was established in 2005 and presents an annual Group Exhibition in the Original Gallery at Hornsey Library to accompany a weekend 'Open Studios ' event. There are usually between 20 and 30 venues where professional visual artists show their work in their homes, studios or commercial venues within walking distance of the Clock Tower. The traditional date for the Crouch End Open Studios is the second weekend in May.
The former Hornsey Town Hall is to be the new home of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts subject to planning permission. It is expected the move will take place for Autumn 2014 but this timetable is dependent on the planning process. The listed building will also have exhibition space for local artists. Currently it is used for filming for TV programmes such as The Hour and Whitechapel.
Hornsey Art School
In 1880 an Art School was established which in May 1968, as Hornsey College of Art, was the centre of a protest against the ideology of the school's teaching methods. The Art College was merged with, what was then Middlesex Polytechnic, now University, in 1970s. Subsequently it was relocated to a Middlesex campus at Cat Hill and the lease of the building taken over by the TUC who used it as their national training centre. In 2005 the TUC surrendered the lease and Haringey Council took it over and decided to extend and convert the building to facilitate the enlargement of Coleridge Primary School in order to provide more school places to meet increased demand caused by an increase in the primary school aged population in Crouch End. Before expansion Coleridge School was located on a single site on Crouch End Hill directly opposite the former Art College building. The School now operates on a split site bisected by Crouch End Hill, the two sites being designated Coleridge East and Coleridge West, with a specially installed traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing linking them. This enabled the school to expand from two form entry, admitting 60 children a year into the reception year, divided into two classes of 30 each, to four form entry, that is admitting 120 children each year. Despite the unusually large size of the intake the school continued to be oversubscribed in common with other schools in Crouch End.
Arts scene urban legends
- According to legend, in the 1990s Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics invited Bob Dylan to drop into his Crouch Hill recording studio any time he wanted to. It is said that Dylan took him up on his offer, but the taxi driver dropped him off on the adjacent Crouch End Hill. Dylan knocked on the door of the supposed home of Dave Stewart and asked for "Dave". By coincidence, the plumber who lived there was also called Dave. He was told that Dave was out, and would he like to wait and have some tea? Twenty minutes later the plumber returned and asked his wife whether there were any messages. "No," she said, "but Bob Dylan's in the living room having a cup of coffee".
- Horror writer Stephen King once visited his friend, Peter Straub, whose house is in Crouch End. The legend goes that after asking for a good place to go for a walk, he was directed towards the old railway line, now called the Parkland Walk. While here, he was inspired by the strange unsettling surroundings and the sculpture of a spriggan (a pan-like green man), which was pushing its way out of an old arched wall. King wrote the short story "Crouch End", based on his visit, which was later adapted as an episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, which included the spriggan in the introduction.
- It is claimed[by whom?] that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy once performed at the music hall that is now Virgin Gym and that they stayed at the Queen's Hotel (now the Queen's pub). Artist Richard Hamilton is said to have taken visitor Marcel Duchamp to the Queen’s Pub. The pub was built as a hotel in 1899–1902 by developer and architect John Cathles Hill to serve visitors to the Alexandra Palace races. The bar is an excellent example of a Victorian pub and also features a fine example of Art Nouveau style glass.
Location for literature, film and television
Crouch End has been used as a location for film, TV and literature. Examples include:
Television (mainly using Hornsey Town Hall)
Nearest tube stations
Nearest railway stations
- Hornsey (parish) for the ecclesiastical and local government unit of which Crouch End was part from medieval times to 1867
- Municipal Borough of Hornsey for the local government unit of which Crouch End was part from 1903–1965
- "William Copeland Astbury". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "Haringey on Film - document from Haringey Council". Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Henry Williams was a local wine-merchant and local councillor who led the campaign to preserve Highgate Wood against threatened development.
- "Creative Festival of over 160 events". Crouch End Festival. 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "Paintings, Sculptures, Print, Ceramics, Photography, Installations, Film". Crouch End Open Studios. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "expectingrain.com". expectingrain.com. 1997-06-08. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "An Interview with Peter Straub (March, 2010) | Bookbanter". Bookbanter.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "The North London Book of the Dead". F2.org. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "The Loop". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "BBC Four - Breaking the Mould: The Story of Penicillin". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- Local community website for all of N8
- Local community website used by Crouch Enders
- Hornsey Historical Society
- Crouch End Cricket Club
- Crouch End Business directory
- Flickr: Photos tagged with "CrouchEnd"
- Crouch End Project - local shops listing
- Facebook group - Crouch End Creatives
- A True History of Crouch End
- Crouch End Open Studios Annual event promoting local artists