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Hornsey is a district in the London Borough of Haringey in north London, England. Whilst Hornsey was formerly the name of a much larger parish and later a municipal borough of Middlesex, today, the name usually refers only to the London district. It is an inner-suburban area located 6.2 miles (10 km) north of Charing Cross.
The boundaries of Hornsey neighbourhood today are not clearly defined. Since the Municipal Borough of Hornsey was abolished in 1965, the name may refer either to the N8 postal district which includes Crouch End and part of Harringay, or to an area centred on Hornsey High Street, at the eastern end of which is the churchyard and tower of the former parish church which used to be the administrative centre of Hornsey (parish).
North of Hornsey High Street, and immediately to its south, some of the area is public sector housing, surrounded by the late Victorian terraces developed by builders such as John Farrer. Between the western end of the High Street and the bottom of Muswell Hill, the character of the area changes dramatically. Much of this part is the Warner Estate built up with large well-appointed late Victorian houses. To the south west of the High Street is Priory Park, a pleasant urban green space.
The High Street has a range of shops and an increasing number of restaurants. The eastern section retains strong echoes of its rural past and hosts the 13th Century tower which is all that remains of St Mary's Church.
On the north side of the High street is the old public bath and wash house. Opened in 1932, it had 33,000 users a year in the 1950s. It is now abandoned and sits on a site the future of which is documented here. A small group of local residents have suggested to Haringey Council that it should be developed as an arts & crafts studio and gallery for local artists.
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The name Hornsey originated from a Saxon chieftain named Haering; 'Haering's Hege was Haering's enclosure. It shares this derivation with Harringay neighbourhood and Haringey borough. The 'Haringey' variant is the oldest recorded form.
Hornsey Village, which was first recorded in 1202 according to the Place Names of Middlesex, was the focus of parish with its Church first mentioned in 1291. The village developed along what is now Hornsey High Street, and in the seventeenth century it was bisected by the New River that crossed the village in three places: first at the end of Nightingale Lane, secondly from behind the Three Compasses and lastly, as it does now, at the bottom of Tottenham Lane. The village grew dramatically after about 1860 and eventually merged with the separate settlement at Crouch End (first mentioned in 1465) to form an urban area in the middle of the parish.
Much of Hornsey was built up in Edwardian times, but the tower of the original parish church still stands in its ancient graveyard in Hornsey High Street, at the centre of the old village. Other notable places are the Doragh Gasworks, the former Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End, and Highpoint and Cromwell House in Highgate.
In 1954 the first Lotus Cars factory was established behind the Railway Hotel (now Funky Brownz Bar) on Tottenham Lane. Adjacent to it was their first showroom (now part of Jewson's) where there is now a memorial plaque to Colin Chapman.
- For details of education in Hornsey see the London Borough of Haringey article.
Hornsey in literature, on film and television
In Jonathan Coe's 1987 debut novel The Accidental Woman, the protagonist Maria shares a flat in Hornsey with two women for several years.
Notable current and former residents
Former residents include poets A.E. Housman and Thomas Moore, publisher Andrew Melrose, eminent theatre architect Frank Matcham, soviet communist apologists William Peyton Coates and Zelda Coates. Actor Bob Hoskins grew up here. The once-famous poet Samuel Rogers, a friend of Byron and Dickens, is buried in Hornsey churchyard, as is Thomas Frye, artist and founder of the Bow porcelain factory. Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars.
Other notable residents are:
- Sway DaSafo
- Jo Frost
- Lilian Harvey
- Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer
- Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars
- Jazzie B, musician
- Paul Eddington, actor
Transport and locale
Nearest tube station
Nearest railway stations
- Hornsey Past by Steven Denford (Historical Publications 2008
- "The Wright Stuff Monday 12 November". Channel5.com. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "Hornsey Town Hall’s Hour in the spotlight". haringey.gov.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- Etymology Section in Wikipedia History of Harringay Article
- Harringay Online N8's biggest community website - for Harringay, Hornsey & Crouch End
- Local community website for all of N8, i.e. Crouch End and Hornsey
- Hornsey Historical Society
- The Colin Chapman Museum and Education Centre - includes a history of Lotus in Hornsey.