Thanks to the heads up from Bowes and Bounds Connected, I found out about the Haringey Local History Fair that took place yesterday at the Bruce Castle Muesum.

 

I am ashamed to say that despite being born and brought up in North London (with a mother that worked in the Broadwater Farm area for 25 years), and living in Bounds Green for 15 years, I had never been to the Bruce Castle Museum, so this was an opportuntiy to put that right, as I love looking at local history and past photographs of places that I recognise.

 

The fair was very well organised and the 'Friends' of Bruce Castle very welcoming. We arrived in time for a talk entitled 'From Green Lanes to Shopping City' by Albert Pinching (author of Wood Green Past) which was what we had come to hear.  I can remember being a 17 year old in 1981 when Wood Green Shopping City first opened, and making the pilgrimage on the 41 bus from my home in Archway as back then it was THE place to shop in North London alongside Brent Cross.  I was keen to hear how the area had developed into what we know today. 

 

Mr Pinching was engaging and his talk and slides were fascinating.  It made me realise how important it is to look up as you walk around, as some beautiful architecture can be found above many of the shops in Wood Green High Road, and other clues of days gone by.  I felt slightly sad that departments stores such as Bartons (and later in my own memory DH Evans) have now gone from the High Road, but then I guess that is progress.

 

There was also great insight into the railways - Wood Green did not escape Dr Beeching's axe with Noel Park station and the railway bridge that once crossed the High Road disappearing in the 1960s - again I had no idea that the station had even existed, so this was particularly interesting to my husband and myself as we have been engrossed in the Michael Portillo programmes on British railway journeys.

 

After the talk, we had a good look around the museum and the stalls on the top floor, before heading back home (via Wood Green Shopping City).  The event was completely free and I had to ask where I could leave a donation - there was no expectation of any kind of payment, but I think that it was definitely worth a few quid to show our appreciation.

 

I have now put myself on the Bruce Castle mailing list - so that I do not miss out on any future events.  If you have not been to the museum and local history interests you, do check it out - even now the Fair is over, there is so much to learn about the borough and much of what you see may surprise you.

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Thanks for this Caroline - I'm glad you enjoyed the event, and have finally made your first trip to Bruce Castle.

There is more discussion about the the Local History Fair on the Harringay Online site.

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