The New River in our heraldic heritage

I was doing some research on London borough coats of arms and found this nice image of Wood Green's:

Isn't it striking how green it is! The "official blazon" or explanation for the image is:

"The bands of blue and silver represent the New River Cutting and the yew trees and archers symbolize the original Wood Green Common upon which our forebears practised the ancient sport of archery."

The arms were officially granted on 1 August 1933. It's good to see that the New River was considered so important back then that it represented the Municipal Borough. The motto means "Wood Green flourishes or Our strength is as a green tree"

The New River also flows through Enfield's arms, this version was granted in 1966:

The 1946 version shows it even more prominently. 

Of course, now Wood Green is part of Haringey, whose logo is commonly thought of as broken glass in a post-Tottenham riot age, but originates from the 1965 coat of arms when Wood Green, Hornsey and Tottenham came together to form Haringey, featuring a bright spark. 

You can still see Wood Green's coat of arms represented on the Civic Centre balcony, although not in glorious technicolor:

Other boroughs: Islington also features the New River in its arms. Hackney features blue and white wavy lines which represent all its rivers and canals. Amusingly, Hertfordshire where the River begins does feature water in its coat of arms, but this originates from a pun on the name Hertford - it's a hart in a ford. 

Views: 1492

Comment by GB Kaz on April 4, 2013 at 10:00

Very interesting!  Thanks for this!

Comment by Rachella Sinclair on April 4, 2013 at 16:57


Comment by Finsbury Park Ranger on April 12, 2013 at 12:12
I've got an old sweet box I picked up on eBay which I use for tooth picks, what was charter day do you think ? A quick google didn't seem to provide an obvious answer ...

Oh can't seem to paste in the picture, what's the way to post pictures here ?
Comment by Finsbury Park Ranger on April 12, 2013 at 12:19
Comment by Richard McKeever on April 12, 2013 at 12:21

Not sure about Wood Green but I suppose it 's similar to Enfield - Charter Day was when the London Borough of Enfield was given its official status as an Independent borough in a Royal Charter from HM QE2 in 1955

here's a video of the celebrations:

PS: You can post pics by selecting the little frame icon in the edit bar

Comment by Finsbury Park Ranger on April 12, 2013 at 12:28
Hmmm, thanks, I wonder if this tin was made in the chocolate factory ...
Comment by Colin Marr on April 12, 2013 at 14:41

The 1965 coat of arms shown not so much a "bright spark", but more a symbol to record Haringey as the world birthplace of TV broadcasting. The design is to represent broadcast signals from Alexandra Palace, which is the site on 2 November 1936 where the first ever regular 'high-definition' public television broadcast took place. The original BBC Studios at Alexandra Palace still exist and hopefully will soon be restored and re-opened to the public as part of the ambitions to regenerate the Palace.


Comment by GB Kaz on April 12, 2013 at 16:23

I always wondered about the spark. Thanks for the info, everyone.

Comment by Caroline Simpson on April 16, 2013 at 9:10

What a great piece of research!

Thank you.

Had never seen Wood Green's coat of arms, and it is great to see the New River on it.

The exhibition of 2009 about the Tunnel will go up on permanent display on the Gym land this Saturday.  Many thanks to Barhale - again.

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