The Street Where I Was Born

Well not exactly, but nearly.
I put together the following piece for a correspondent, interested in this area of London. It was, mainly concerning Sussex Way and its former name, but it seemed a pity not to give it a wider audience.

My first childhood home was in Kingsdown Road, Upper Holloway, N19. This road ran from the Holloway Road, very close to the tram/bus depôt, to Hornsey Road. Between Stanley Terrace and Cornwallis Road stood the fine brick-built Church of St. Paul, Upper Holloway. The church was destroyed by firebombs in the Blitz and the site is now redeveloped as dwellings.

Sussex Way, Holloway, ran from Seven Sisters Road at the south end, to Elthorne Road at the north end. It was formerly Cottenham Road (the exact date of the change I cannot recall since we tended to use the original name for some years but it could have been about 1939) Other street names in the vicinity were changed at this time.

Present Bavaria Road was Blenheim Road.
Present Tollington Way was Grove Road
The top end that was Elthorne Road has been redeveloped.

There was a small shopping area in Sussex Way, either side of the crossing with Kingsdown Road, where there were two newsagent/sweet shops, a public house, a pawnbroker, butcher, baker, hardware and oils, cobbler, cats meat butcher and several others. Other shops were to be found on the stretch between Kingsdown and the school (Cottenham Road Infants and Girls School) adjacent to the railway line. These included a fried fishmonger, undertaker, and opposite the school, a tuck shop.

To the best of my recollection all the properties were terraced, and although there were no properties that I would describe as mews, a few toward the north end of Sussex Way may have had an opening into what we called a yard, where a cart or barrow could be kept. I can recall no stables as such.

Certainly in the Elthorne Road at the north end, I can distinctly remember such yards which were sometime in use for furniture sales, and, at the Holloway Rd. end of Elthorne Rd. there was a farrier in business until the early 1940’s.

The Prices Bread Co. kept roundsmans’ horses in a large double decker stable in Pine Grove off Tollington Park nearby.

Mitford Road running parallel to Sussex Way was almost completely destroyed by a parachute mine in WW2 which also caused serious damage in Sussex Way. However the Church of England school occupying the block end adjacent to Tollington Way survived virtually intact, although I no longer see it on the map.

The effects of the 1940 bombing were quite severe in this area and my childhood home in Kingsdown Road was then destroyed. Fortunately my parents must have had second sight, as we had moved across the Holloway Road only a week or two before. This location is now redeveloped too, and the bottom end of Ellenborough Rd. has disappeared.

I hope this draws a picture for you of this area of London over half a century ago - seems like yesterday. I believe that when I lived there, it had not changed much from earlier times.

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Copyright ©1998 Len Knott
Most recent revision 1st January 1998