All Posts (75)

The Council is consulting on proposals to introduce pedal cycle parking sheds in our local roads.  The impact on parking is low but nevertheless there will be a loss of parking places which is unnecessary.  There are some times of day (and some days of the week) when parking is very difficult and any unnecessary loss of spaces should be challenged.  The cycle parking can be located on the kerb build-outs at junctions or where the footway is sufficiently wide that they would not cause obstruction.

Please consider objecting to the Council's proposals at  All you need is set out in the following draft email, and you can get more details from the street notices that are still in place next to the proposed sites.

"Proposed Pedal Cycle Parking  Places (Amendment) Order

The Council gave notice of the above mentioned proposed Traffic  Management Order on 31 January 2020.  I wish to object to the following provisions on the grounds that they will result in the unnecessary loss of scarce on-street parking in an area of the Borough which experiences high levels of parking demand outside normal hours of control:

o/s 64 Victoria Road N22

o/s  8 Clifton Road N22

o/s  143 Albert Road N22

o/s 227 Alexandra Park Road N22. 

All these proposed cycle parking places can be located on the wider parts of the footway or on one of the many kerb build-out at junctions.  There is no need for any of the above proposals to result in the loss of on-street parking.

It relation to the Council's obligations to publicise these proposals and invite objections  I am extremely concerned that the Council,  having given notice on 31 January 2020, didn't publish the draft Order on its website until 27 February 2020; 6 days after the period of 21 days set aside for the receipt of objections had closed.  I understand that as a result the Council has undertaken to extend the period for the submission of objections,  but has not set a new end date.  Please confirm that my objection has been received within the new (unspecified) deadline."

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Coming up later this month are FOUR work in progress performances of DR FAUSTESS, with songs written by Alexandra Park composer Jamie Masters.

January 22nd to 24th, 2020

at the Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH



Wednesday 22nd January:           7.30pm

Thursday 23rd January:                2.30pm and 7.30pm

Friday 24th January:                     7.30pm

Running Time: 2.5 hours including interval


666 - this is an emergency!!  Burnt out Dr Madeleine Faustess turns to satanic aid in this modern musical twist on the Faustus story.  Faustess summons a demon to win the glittering prizes life has failed to deliver and maybe triage a few patients along the way. But instead of the great Satan she gets Hal - a hapless junior semi-demon, who causes chaos in her rundown hospital - and her life.

Over the course of one crazy year, Doctor, Demon, and the whole blasted institution discover that damnation has its plus points when there’s more of you.

A sparkling black comedy, with songs, social workers, love, death and zombies, presented as a work in progress.


Writer - D R Hood

Dictynna’s first feature film as writer/director 'Wreckers' is a cult hit starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy.  She has just completed her second feature 'Us Among the Stones' with Laurence Fox and Anna Calder-Marshall.  Dictynna and Jamie Masters (composer) have wanted to work together for a while, and 'Dr Faustess' is providing one hell of an opportunity.

Composer - Jamie Masters

Jamie has for fifteen years sold his soul to the devil in the world of advertising, winning many major awards in doing so.  In a cultural leap of faith he has also written music for several ancient Greek plays. Jamie is a multi-instrumentalist, playing piano, clarinet, recorder, violin, viola, guitar, mandolin, ukulele and banjo. In what time he has left, he invents boardgames and cranky electronic gadgets.

Director - Kolja Schallenberg

Hailing from Germany, the land of the original Faustus, Kolja trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts London.  In Germany, Kolja's prolific work as a director ranges from 'Bacchae' for Theatre League Hamburg through to stadium tour 'Massachusetts - the Bee Gees Musical', featuring original Bee Gees.  Kolja has also recently founded a new theatre in Sweden dedicated to putting on new musicals.

Music Director - Anthony Ingle

Anthony Ingle has over four decades of experience in music and theatre. He is Musical Director and pianist of Impropera, the world’s first improvising opera company. Anthony was the Musical Director of Tête à Tête’s acclaimed revival of 'Salad Days' at the Riverside.   Anthony also teaches at LAMDA where he has MD'd innumerable musicals with the talent of tomorrow including 'Tommy', 'Cabaret' and 'Hair'. We look forward to Anthony's onstage presence in 'Dr Faustess'.  


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Alexandra Park - Local history – Part 2

A few weeks ago, my last blog post (see below) dealt with the macro aspect of local history, looking at three maps of the Alexandra park neighbourhood through which we discovered much of its fascinating transformation.

This time we are going micro. I am going to investigate the history of just one building – the house that my family and I live in. And in the process, I am going to explain (in step by step details) how anybody can find out the history of their home, such as

  • When was it first lived in?
  • Who were the first owners?
  • What were their jobs and family roles?
  • And much more!

We moved into our house on Harcourt Road about six years ago and curiously when we bought the place it was two flats (with a hallway with two internal doors). So, one extra question that I had was whether our property started off as a single dwelling or two flats?

To find out the answers I knew that I would need to look up various censuses and electoral roll registers and I made contact with Haringey libraries to see if they had these records. Eventually I found that they did, and they were kept at Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, London N17 8NU.


These documents are kept in the “search room” at Bruce Castle which is open on Wednesdays and alternate Saturdays between 1-5pm. And you need to make an appointment via this email

And one wet Saturday afternoon I headed off to Bruce Castle on my personal history hunt. Now here is the first challenge. Because Bruce Castle is close to Tottenham Hotspurs’ football stadium (White Hart Lane), parking around this area is severely restricted and only available to local residents. Thankfully there is a museum car park (round the back of the building) which is open to the public and I would recommend you use that or take a bus or cycle there. 

Once I signed myself and met my friendly archives assistant, I was asked to put my rucksack in a locker and told that I was free to make notes (using a pencil only) but if I wanted a photocopy they were 50p each or I could take as many as many photos as I liked for £5. I chose the latter.

Luckily for me the search room was quiet, so I was able to quickly explain what I was after to the archives assistant. She asked me what year I thought my house was built in and I said that the year 1905 rang a bell and maybe we should start there.  She suggested we start with the Kelly’s Directories.


These are the Victorian versions of today’s Yellow pages, with lists of businesses and tradespeople of a particular town or city but with postal addresses too. Because of this they are now considered an important source for historical research.

So, I started with 1905 and although there were already some houses and occupiers listed on my street, my house number was not present.

“Could I have the 1906 Kellys for my area please?” I asked. Again, my house number was not present.

But when I looked at the 1907 edition – bingo!

It says, “Harcourt Road. South Side. Number X. Hardee Edward.” That is all. The Kellys only list the so called – head of the household – ie the man (sexist times I’m afraid).

But we now have the first occupier of our house a Mr Edward Hardee and the house number listed is not number Xa or Xb so my house did not start out as two flats. But what else can we find out about our Mr Hardee?


Bingo! Where I found details of the first occupier of our home.

At this point my helpful archives assistant suggested that the 1911 census might provide more answers. And she was absolutely right! But before I go on to what we found, let me give a short tour in the fascinating subject of the national census.

If anyone watches the long running and popular show Who Do You Think You Are? you will know that censuses are it’s bread and butter and a major tool in discovering family trees and local history. You could argue that the Domesday book of 1086, which was commissioned by William the Conqueror was the first UK census but as my archives assistant pointed out to me it was mostly concerned with recording the land rather than the people.

Interestingly a census is only performed on a year that ends with one ie 1911 with the next census being 1921. And there is an all important census day/night, because to allow for people travelling up and down the country, a census is a head count of everyone in the country on a given night.

A government clerk called an enumerator delivered a form to each household for them to complete. The heads of household were told to give details of everyone who slept in that dwelling on census night, which was always a Sunday. The forms were collected a few days later by the enumerator and the census produced.

It is said that some individualists worked very hard to avoid appearing on the census. It is rumoured that the artist J M W Turner rowed himself out to the middle of the Thames on census night in 1841 (6 June) to avoid helping the enumerator. And in the 1911 census some of the suffragette movement (fighting to give women the vote) boycotted giving their details to that year’s census.

The census day/night for 1911 was the 2nd of April, and for our own house on Harcourt Road, the 1911 census reveals that Mr Edward Hardee (name taken from the 1907 Kellys) was in fact Mr Edmund Hardie (he signed the census so that was his correct name). He was 36, his wife Ruth was 38. They had two sons Rudolph (10 years old) and Donald (1) with one daughter Evelyn (6). Mr and Mrs Hardie were originally from Lancashire (Manchester in Edmund’s case). And Edmund’s profession is listed as “Lithographic artist”. Lithography is a is a method of printing (usually art) from a stone or metal plate. 

The 1911 census shows something else that is interesting. Edmund and Ruth Hardie and family had now moved from Harcourt Road to Warwick Road, New Southgate. This address is very close to Ranelagh pub in Bounds Green, so they moved to a new house a short distance away.

Instead the new inhabitants in our home on Harcourt Road were the Goswells. Husband Edward Goswell was 31 originally from Stoke Newington and is listed as a commercial traveller (salesperson) representing an iron galvanising company (galvanising stops iron rusting). His wife Annie Goswell was 27 and born in Islington. Their children were Doris (3), Edward (2) and Alfred (9 months) born in Highbury, Southgate and Wood Green respectively. Also listed as being at the same address were two others, a 38-year-old cousin whose occupation was listed as a despatch clerk and 19 year old Emily Nicholls who is listed as a domestic or servant and was born in Cheshunt. Assuming that Emily lived with the Goswells, my family and I have wondered about the location of the servant’s room in our house?

As you can see censuses give a fantastic amount of historical information. And a lot of the censuses are online and easily searchable through chargeable websites such as or Findmypast. Luckily Bruce Castle Museum archives have an account with one of them and for free (well the 50p cost of a printout) I was able to get a copy of the Hardie’s and the Goswell’s census reports.

A couple of interesting things about online census records. Often you see a lot of names blacked out with a line saying “This record is officially closed”. This can mean a few things. The main one being that that person is still alive, so their data or information cannot be released to the general public. Another one, which is slightly creepy and not politically correct, is that up until the 1911 the census questionnaires (called schedules) asked for infirmities to be listed in four categories – Deaf and dumb, Blind, Lunatic or Imbecile!

The next census was in 1921 but unfortunately censuses are only released after a 100 year have passed so I am going to have to wait for another two years for that one. And then it gets worse. The 1931 census was destroyed during World War II and the 1941 census was abandoned because of so much coming and going with troops during World War II.

So that leaves elector roll registers which have less detail and only list those who can vote (so no children listed).

In the 1932 Wood Green register of electors, our house is now inhabited by the Dooleys- Mr Herbert J Dooley and Harriet and Maria with presumably one of them being his wife. Later, using the online records, my resourceful archives assistant was able to find a reference to the same Mr Herbert Dooley who was now registered to Bournemouth, Hampshire where he is listed as a retired schoolmaster who had previously worked for the London County Council.

And then was more change. In the 1938-39 register of electors, the voters now living in our house were Mr Arthur Alfred Wells and Jane Catherine Wells. Again my super sleuth archives assistant looked at the online records and Mr Arthur Wells as a LNER Supervisor (LNER was a railway company) and Jane Catherine had the acronym U.D.D against her name meaning Unpaid Domestic Duties which we would now classify as a housewife.

In just two and a half hours’ time I had discovered a huge amount of information (with the enormous help of my fantastic archives assistant). But I knew that I wouldn’t have the time to compile a full list of the former occupants of our house. With about five minutes till I had to leave I picked a more recent year (1961) and asked to see the register of electors. It listed the name of a family who share the same surname as a company still operating the Alexandra Park area. When I mentioned this to my archives assistant I was told, “You can make a note of the details but would like you not to take a photo as there is a good chance that some of the family members might be around today.” Naturally I complied.

There you have it. A wonderful afternoon finding out all this history related to the former occupants of our house on Harcourt Road. I should mention that I am not a historian in anyway just an interested member of the public and really anybody should be able to do what I did. As I mentioned previously my archives assistant was brilliant and she was as interested in my personal history project as I was. The archives assistants are the gate keepers to this wonderful information. There is no need to be intimated by them but obviously be open to their advice and act in a humble, scholarly way for the best results.

Finally, a word about the Bruce Castle Museum.  Although I grew up in Wood Green and have lived in this area ever since, shamefully I have never visited Bruce Castle before. And there is so much to see there, as it’s overflowing with history. A grade 1 listed 16th century manor house, it served as a school run by Rowland Hill in the 1827 that was incredibly enlightened for its time with no capital punishment and the teaching of foreign languages, science and engineering. Charles Dickens visited the school and was very impressed by it. And computer pioneer Charles Babbage sent his sons to there. You can still see the old school kitchen and the big metal range where all the food was cooked.

It also has a beautiful red brick Tudor tower which was believed to be built specifically to house birds of prey. Well worth a visit.

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This is an initial post in response to Annabel who suggested a lot of people don't know what permaculture is.

I thought I'd start by explaining why I have found it so compelling.


But firstly a quick introduction

I live on Victoria Road with my wife Sophia (teacher at Rhodes primary), my daughter Olivia (sixth form student at Alexandra Park) and my father-in-law, George.  I work at Lloyds Bank as a freelancer helping transform their ways of working to become more effective and, ultimately, survive in increasingly uncertain times.

I found my way to permaculture when I was reflecting on the climate crisis and asking myself the question:

How can our thinking or our world view have helped us arrive at a place where we have created the conditions for massive destruction of  our environment and home?

I recognise this is not exactly a light topic but I'd prefer to be straight forward and open about my thinking. There is a tendency to pussy foot around in this country to avoid offence.

Anyway, in my research, which I won't detail here to get to the point, I formed a few conclusions on both what the problems were and the role that permaculture could play.


The problems

These are a few of the themes that emerged on our world view (this is not universal across the globe but is becoming more dominant)

  • we act as if we are separate from and need to control nature
  • we believe that resources are scarce so we need to compete for my share to keep me safe


What is permaculture?

Permaculture is a framework that includes ethics and design principles for how to live in harmony with nature.

3783455147?profile=RESIZE_710xThe ethics are as follows:

  • earth care
  • people care
  • fair share


When it was first conceived in Australia in the 70's by David Holmgren, it was a combination of 'permanent' and 'agriculture' and is summarised by this quote taken from the wikipedia page.

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."

There are different ways in which it is realised but they all come back to the same basic idea of working with nature.

Epping Forest, for example, doesn't appear to need any input of fertilisers or pesticides to help the plants and trees to grow successfully. It is still very much managed but not to the same degree as required in modern agriculture.



One popular strand of permaculture is forest gardening which replicates the fertility and sustainability of a woodland ecosystem to grow food.

(Forest Garden at Dartington is shown on the left)

One of the features of permaculture is the reduced ongoing maintenance required - the phrase 'no dig' gardening is based on permaculture and understanding natural ecosystems.

No doubt you would be suprised if you were to see people regularly digging over the soil in Epping Forest!


How can permaculture help?

My interest in permaculture is that it provides an accessible way of reconnecting with nature. It is also a 'design system' that gives us a framework for how we might do that. It should, of course, be 'natural' for us to do this but I think we need some help to deprogram ourselves.

I am also very interested in supporting this as a community initiative because it helps build community strength and reslience which I feel is very much needed.

It provides us with the very relevant, practical skill to grow our own food and an appreciation of how nutritious it is or otherwise.

It is a way for us to help each other and those who suffer from food poverty.

Edible London is dedicated to providing nutritious food to those suffering from food poverty and is helping some allotment owners, schools and community gardens in return for donating a percentage of their produce.


Further investigation

You can read more about research into sustainable ways of growing food as Agrofrestry here (and even book a tour around one of their research sites).

You can volunteer (no expertise required) to gain some experience, learn and help with a community garden through Permablitz London.

Volunteer at one of the established sites running using permaculture principles:

Castle Cafe Garden

Meadow Orchard in Crouch End

Organic Lea Worker's Cooperative near Chingford

Edible London (specialise in forest gardens, Finsbury Park) (the website seems a bit flakey at the moment)


An easy way start to permaculture in your garden (which includes stopping digging and weeding!) is to take up mulching.

Permaculture tells us that soil is your most precious resource and an ecosystem that we need to nurture (and the science tells us that we are suffering a soil fertility crisis). I remember walking through pine trees recently and picking up a handful of pine needles to see the rich soil that is created naturally as these decompose. This layer or needles, leaves, dead wood or undergrowth that you will see in most natural environments is 'nature's mulch'. In fact, digging the soil can be very destructive - this article explores the true nature of healthy soil and why digging was a good idea but actually decreases fertility and forces us to supplement it artificially.

Mulching keeps the soil moist (reducing the need for watering), supresses weeds and provides nutrients for the soil.

You can start mulching by using wood chips although there is a whole variety of mulching techniques available (here's a website I have just found). I have been collecting leaves off the street as a natural mulch as well as sweeping the leaves from my garden directly into the bed. Shredding them through the mower is great to accelerate decomposition.

I am not an experienced gardener (I have only become interested in the last year or so) so I suspect you will have some great ideas for mulching which you can share.


Contact me if you've got a space (could be your back garden) where you'd like to try out permaculture. Or if you'd just like to know more and would like to talk.

I would love to start a conversation and share experiences - please comment below if you'd like to share.


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Alexandra Park - Local history – Part 1

“Fascinating”. “I love all this stuff”.  “Very interesting indeed.”

This was the response I received from local neighbours when I shared three historical maps of the area with them. And to kick start a couple of articles about Alexandra Park’s local history I am sharing them on the APN website.

You will see that there are three maps of the area dated 1894, 1912 and 1935.

Let us start with the 1894 map. And feel free to pull up an internet map to compare and contrast.


On first glance it seems difficult to reconcile what it represents with the area that we live in today because there seems to be very few buildings but plenty of fields and tree lined open spaces. And many of the local roads that we know so well don’t seem to be marked at all. Let me try and fill in some of the gaps.


In the middle of the map, where there is a crossroads between Alexandra Park Road and Queens Road to the north and the Avenue to the south. That crossroads still exists and it’s where the Maid of Muswell pub can be found.



The Queens Road listed on the map seems to have become Grosvenor Road but quite a lot of the 1894 map is very similar to today including the bends in the roads.


Albert Road is pretty much the same as today.


There is a small building called Tottenham Wood house in the location of where Rhodes Avenue and Alexandra Park schools are now. Also, there is a larger building marked “Laundry”. A laundry for who you might wonder? There doesn’t seem to be any houses nearby! More about this laundry later.


Heading east, and close to the edge of the map you see some more buildings and a listing for Victoria Road. In 1894 the road looks very small, but again that part of the road has got the same characteristics as present day Victoria Road. Just off the map around there (and we are going to have to imagine this) would have been the Palace Gates triangle.


There are three other roads which are important and which we can still see today. If you look to north-east and just above the small Victoria Road you can see the words “CRES…”. One would assume that this is modern day Crescent Rise and Crescent Road and again we have seemingly the same road bend as the present day.


In the south west corner, you can clearly see “Middleton Road” which is probably what we now call Coniston Road and nearby on the opposite side of Alexandra Park Road you can just about make out a road marked “We…rill Road”. This is probably what we now know as Muswell Avenue. Wetherill Road, presumably the correct name, still exists but is now a much smaller road to the north of Muswell Avenue.


That’s it for the 1894 map. But before we go, please take one final look at it’s handful of roads and wide open spaces. Things are about to change.


Now look at this 1912 map.



Wow, someone has been busy building! In the space of just 18 years the area which we know as Alexandra Park is now full of new roads with row upon rows of

Victorian/Edwardian terraced housing. Now it really looks like the present day. We have roads and avenues like Clifton, Harcourt, Clyde, Outram, Princes, Victoria and so on creating new neighbourhoods and the local population must have rocketed.


Just take a minute to have a good look at this 1912 map and the road that you live on or some of the neighbouring streets. Enlarge it and play with it and you will start to see some subtle details which can give you some clues to the past.

For example. I live on Harcourt Road and speaking to the neighbours (we have a lovely community on our road) we were all a bit puzzled because although most of the housing stock is Edwardian/Victorian about a quarter of the road is 1930’s type housing, so historically a big age difference. Theories like WW1 Zeppelin bomb damage were talked about.

Now if you look at Harcourt Road on the 1912 map you will see that there was a large amount of free space at the top and the bottom of one side of the road. And on the neighbouring Clifton Road there were barely any houses at all in 1912 (alright there were two!).

One would imagine that all this free space belonged to the developer (or another developer) who planned to build on it later. A sort of phase 2 development. But something obviously happened that stopped them building anytime soon.

Well the answer might be revealed in our final map - Alexandra Park in 1935.


If you look at Harcourt Road again you will see that all the open spaces were now built on. And that Clifton Road which had been virtually undeveloped, was now full of houses. Now the later houses on Harcourt and the new houses on Clifton I would say are similar 1930’s type houses. Which makes believe that they were probably built at the same time and maybe by the same developer.

It was when I presented this theory and these maps to my Harcourt neighbours that I received the comments

“Fascinating”. “I love all this stuff”.  “Very interesting indeed.”

Just coming back to why there was this big gap between phase 1 and phase 2 of the Harcourt/Clifton housing development? I don’t know the answer but apart from the possibility of the original builder running out of money, selling on the remaining land or even the great depression, I have one pet theory which I would just like to air. 

I once spoke to a learned housing surveyor who said that during WWI a lot of the building trades people were conscripted. And during one of these really horrible battles such as the Somme - a huge amount of these skilled building workers were killed.

So, it could have been that post WWI there was just not enough builders left to carry on these projects.


It’s been a long journey but since you are still with me (I hope) let me entice you with one more nugget- the laundry!

Remember we saw it in the 1894 map. Now let us have a look at the 1912 map to see if we can find it? Yep it is still there. If you look at the top north east of the map, you will see that is to the north of where Outram Road meets Albert Road. In 1912 is still quite a substantial building.

3778121385?profile=RESIZE_710xSo what does it look like now? Well this is a photo of where the laundry used to be.













The workshop like buildings on Albert Road complete with a huge chimney. By the way if you look at the 1935 map you will see that the laundry is now listed as a “Piano works”.

If anyone want to know any more about the fascinating story of the Wood Green and Hornsey Steam Laundry may I refer you to this series of excellent articles and postings below.

Thanks for travelling with me while looking at the past of Alexandra Park from 1894 to 1935. Please enjoy these maps and fill your boots finding out new things. If you have any discoveries and theories, please post them in the reply section below.


Ps In a couple of weeks’ time I hope to post my Local history – Part 2. What happened when I decided to investigate the history of the house that my family and I live in? We are talking archives, census, electoral role register – Who do you think you are? meets Location, location, location.

I will tell you how to research the former occupants of your own house in step by step details. Real local history giving you a fascinating insight in to the past. Watch this space.


  • All the maps featured were kindly supplied to by Alex King. Thank you.
  • The Tottenham Wood house was probably part of the Tottenham Wood Farm estate owned by the Rhodes family. Hence the nearby Rhodes avenue.
  • It’s last owner Thomas Rhodes, died in 1865 and was the uncle of the famous/infamous Cecil Rhodes, founder of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia).
  • Anyone interesting in learning more about our area should seek out the book “A history of Muswell Hill “by Ken Gay. Thoroughly recommended.



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Of the 179 people who filled in the questionnaire, 113 (63%!) made comments, in response to being asked for 'any additional issues that you may have, or other comments about the area'. Some people made several points (total is 180+), and some of these could be quite long, so this is a summary with quotes. Each point made by somebody is referred to as a comment, so as not to be pedantic about it! Most of the issues referred to below particularly affect children, and also the elderly, the disabled and carers with buggies. So although there are 20 references to children, these will just be mentioned in the relevant category.

Lovely neighbourhood

Local Shops



Speeding Traffic

Through Traffic

Traffic Volume

Lorries and Coaches

Motorbikes and scooters


Air Quality

Pedestrian Crossings


Rubbish and Fly-tipping

Road Repairs

Accessibility to AP Station

Specific issues for children, and the elderly and infirm



Lovely neighbourhood

Ten people took the opportunity to say what a friendly area this is to live in, and two thanked the residents' association and volunteers for their community gardening. e.g.

  • We have a fantastic community and it's a wonderful place to live
  • My thanks to volunteers who do so much to make the area attractive
  • good community spirit

Two people noted that local shops enhance the sense of community, as do play streets and street parties (another 2) and another suggested a community vegetable garden (perhaps in the bowling green in Albert Road Rec). One person who liked the local street planting initiatives (including around pavement trees) suggested that the Council could encourage people to do more by offering a free garden refuse bin as an incentive.

There were 5 requests for trees to be replaced that have been cut down, or new ones provided, in particular to improve air quality.


Local Shops

There were 8 appreciative comments about local shops and our 'high street'

  • I hugely value our local shops and the feeling of community they bring and think everything should be done to encourage local businesses.
  • our little high street is very important

There were a couple of concerns about shops being empty or challenged by planning applications, a wish for more diverse shops, and a proposal to

  • support measures to promote them and encourage other independent shopkeepers to set up here

There were 3 concerns about the increase in residential development in small areas like the yard of the local hardware store, and Crescent Mews.



Moving on to more critical comments, we start with the condition of local pavements because it is clearly something that should have been included in the tick-box section of the survey! 20 people commented on this issue, several from Palace Gates Road.

Most complained that the uneven, broken paving stones are a trip hazard, particularly for the elderly and disabled, and difficult for carers to push buggies over.

  • I have had 2 [electric wheelchairs] written off by vibration caused by the uneven pavements
  • With small children, it is very difficult to push buggies, ride scooters and small bikes on pavements as it is so bumpy on our street and those close by. The quality of the paving is poor and this must be a problem for older / disabled people too.

Some people noted that cars and heavy vehicles parking on the pavements are a major cause of broken paving, and one respondent suggested stronger slabs.

Other obstacles on pavements making it difficult in particular for the disabled and carers with buggies to get past include binbags left in front of the shops on Crescent Road because there is no provision for rubbish bins for the flats above (9 comments), and wheelie bins (particularly in Victoria Road, where some houses have flights of steps with no provision for bins at the bottom – 5 comments).

Overhanging hedges in front gardens which in effect narrow the pavements are a particular problem for the partially sighted and blind (4 comments), and cars emerging from paved-over front gardens were also mentioned:

  • cars roll across the pavement without warning, inches away from me

Parked cars and builders' lorries obstructing pavements have also been mentioned (including cars parked briefly on yellow lines in front of shops – 3 comments), as also snow in icy weather.

The inadequate provision of dropped kerbs was also mentioned (3 comments), essential for those on mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushing buggies, and the problem of parked cars making the dropped kerbs unusable, or dangerously limiting the visibility of traffic.



 Speeding Traffic

As in the tick-box section, the greatest number of comments was made about speeding traffic – 34, including 3 complaints about motorbikes.

  • The speed at which cars race past is unbelievable. When me or my wife are trying to take our children out of their car seats and the car door is slightly ajar, they still race past, missing the door by inches! I have written to the council in the past about having some traffic calming speed bumps put in, but they wrote back essentially saying "no one has been killed on that road yet" [Crescent Road]

The roads mentioned: Crescent road 3 and Crescent Rise 1, Princes and Outram 1 each, Albert 3 and Albert and Durnsford 1, Alexandra Park Road 2 and and APR and Durnsford 1,  Durnsford 1, Palace Gates 3, Bedford road and over Alexandra Park Way 3, and Bedford road roundabout 1; 13 non-specific.

6 people commented to the effect that 'the 20mph speed limit is not enforced, so is rarely kept to', though one notes that with the police over-stretched, this is not a viable option.

Speed Humps. Most people did not have a suggestion for reducing speeds, though 6 suggested installing speed humps, or replacing those that have been removed. It was notable in the tick-box section that people had polarised opinions about speed humps, with equal proportions saying that they are a good or a bad way of reducing speed. The comments shed light on the reasons for these differences.

3 people said that speed humps don't work, at least the current type. One person complained of

  • Excessively high bumps and road-calming measures which damage cars.

Two others complained about lower humps:

  • The current bumps do nothing due to parked cars making the road single lane, and the single lane element means vehicles race along when a gap appears from the other direction [Albert road]
  • Normal cars can speed over the speed bumps, it doesn't slow them down. It is only the buses and lorries go over them and shake the houses so there are crack on the walls, windows.

Two other people complained of negative effects from speed humps, resulting from the 184 bus shaking the houses.

Other suggestions were for a speed camera or tree gates; 2 said that narrowing roads only caused more congestion.

In conclusion, I guess most people would agree with the following comment:

  • Traffic calming measures need to be considered very carefully.


Through Traffic

Much of the speeding traffic mentioned above would have been travelling through this neighbourhood to get to somewhere else. 17 people made comments about traffic using this area as a cut-through, including 3 complaints about lorries. Comments particularly focused on Crescent Road 7, but also Albert 2, Alexandra Park Road 2, Outram, Princes and Victoria (one each), and 4 non-specific.

There were 3 complaints about damage to parked cars caused by through-traffic and buses, as well as 3 mentions of aggressive behaviour and bad tempers (particularly in Crescent Road), and the 'resting stop' [?] at Bedford Road roundabout often being crashed into.

  • Road rage is a huge problem as is the frequent use of the pavement by motorcycles avoiding the jams

There was one request for  tree gates to stop lorries getting through, and 2 for speed humps (one complaining about them being removed, making it more attractive to rat runners). The most frequent request (5), however, was for one or more roads to be 'filtered' – i.e. have some kind of block at one point in the road which would stop all cars, vans and lorries from travelling straight through. This would allow local drivers access to their homes, but could cause inconvenience on some journeys, because they would have to drive a longer way round.

  • In a perfect world, Victoria road, Albert road and Crescent road would all be blocked off to prevent ALL rat running traffic. Placing gates that could only be opened by emergency services would improve the quality of life of the residents immeasurably


Traffic Volume

There were 9 comments about the quantity of traffic, eg

  • The roads around here were clearly not designed for the level of motor traffic now using them… the current situation is massively problematic - excess traffic, too much pollution, impossible for cycling, unsafe for most, and unhealthy in most obvious ways.

Suggestions of factors which may increase the amount of traffic include commuters driving around trying to find a parking place (2 comments), and free parking in Ally Pally attracting commuters to the area. Also

  • Drivers on the north circular are directed by Sat Navs to come through our neighbourhood to get to central London, so traffic is increasing here, while, as I understand it, decreasing on the surrounding main roads. 


Lorries and Coaches

Apart from the comments referred to above, there were 2 complaints about HGVs not observing restrictions, and one mentioning 'huge lorries and coaches using the [Albert road] junction to reverse from Durnsford Road'.


Motorbikes and scooters

As well as the comments referred to above, there were four complaints about noisy, speeding motorbikes, including two concerned about these as well as joy-riders speeding along Bedford road and through the park, particularly at night. Also:

  • In our road some cars and motor cycles go far too fast. This happens at night too when the noise from fired up motorbikes can be extremely loud … The traffic fumes given off are really bad …
  • large number of noisy speeding motorbikes driven dangerously around the area … I believe the bike riders rely on the loud noise to alert other drivers to give them the wide berth they need to zoom past other traffic, often in the face of oncoming vehicles.



There were three comments about the dangers of cycling in this neighbourhood given the high volume of traffic, and three requesting secure cycle parking, including

  • Would love to see some car parks replaced by on-road bike sheds like they have in Islington & hackney

Also, two complaints about mature people riding on pavements, which perhaps also has to do with the volume of traffic on the roads, and three requests for the neighbourhood to be more cycle-friendly in general.


Air Quality

One of the consequences of large amounts of traffic is of course pollution, and in particular the effect on the health of local children, and 6 people commented specifically on this. Three raised the need for low-emission buses, including one referring to the buses parking outside the station on Spurs home match days. One suggested that the Palace should encourage visitors to travel to events by public transport rather than driving.


Pedestrian Crossings

There were 14 comments on this topic, with a particular emphasis on the importance of safe crossings for children, including 2 general requests for

  • more places to cross the road too since so many children walk to and from school.

Specific requests for crossings were varied:

At the roundabout where Bedford Road meets Palace Gates (3 requests, including one mentioning that children getting W3 bus to school have problems getting to the bus stop)

  • It is very dangerous to cross especially with children and there is no alternative

and at the junctions of:

  • Crescent Rise/Durnsford
  • Alexandra Park Road,Talbot (for the safety of children walking to school, or catching a bus)
  • Palace Gates/Crescent. A disabled resident requested that the hump by the bus stop be made into a zebra crossing, saying that they have to cross here if parked cars are blocking dropped kerbs elsewhere, and it is difficult to see if there is oncoming traffic.

Two people noted unsafe zebra crossings by the garden centre ('situated as it is on a bend at the bottom of the hill'), and another at the end of another unspecified road. One person commented that speeding cars do not stop at crossings promptly. One resident of Crescent Road noted that:

  • It is also impossible for our disabled residents to cross the road safely at any point. We have 3 neighbours on mobility scooters and one using a guide dog who have to travel well out of their way every time they wish to cross. This is clearly unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue. Apart from the obvious failure of Traffic Management this is an issue of social justice.



In the tick-box section of the survey, more people said that parking was not a serious issue for them than those who said it was a serious issue. However, parking has been a contentious issue for a long time, and comments are particularly often made by those with strong opinions. There were 27 comments about parking in all.

Six people said they did not have any parking problems, and did not want a CPZ (including a couple of people who were suspicious that this survey was a 'disguised attempt to foist a CPZ on the area'!).

14 people found parking to be a problem (particularly in roads adjacent to those in the CPZ, such as Victoria and Princes Avenue), and 7 of them were non-specific with regards to what to do about it. One of them did not want a CPZ, 5 of them did want a CPZ, and 1 complained about football fans parking here during Spurs home matches, and another that since the Palace has introduced plastic barriers on the South Terrace, visitors to AP now park in roads in this neighbourhood.

More miscellaneous issues: 4 people mentioned people people parking here for a long time (e.g. living elsewhere, holidays), or abandoning their cars;  there was a complaint about staff and parents from local schools parking in Clifton Road; 3 said that people owned too many cars; a few mentioned problems with the piecemeal approach to CPZ implementation; there was 1 request for residents-only parking bays; and one complaint about arrangements for parking permits.

A more specific suggestion re: disabled parking –

  • to get a disabled parking space you have to have a higher level of disability than for getting a blue badge alone, but once you get one anyone with a blue badge can park in it... It would be a good idea to make disabled parking spaces that are given to residents because of their level of disability for their use only and maybe have a few non-allocated disabled spaces in the area.

Finally, there was a suggestion to introduce a car-sharing scheme, which apart from saving its members money, would reduce the number of parked cars in the neighbourhood.  


Rubbish and Fly-tipping

There were three comments about fly-tipping, with a particular mention of the green triangle at the end of Palace Gates road, and Victoria road, and two comments about littering being a general issue in this area (see also in Pavements section re: rubbish outside the shops in Crescent Road).

Residents in Bedford road have particular problems with littering after events in Alexandra Palace, in particular in the lay-by there, but also a mention of bottles being thrown into a front garden.


Road Repairs

Three complaints about badly managed street repairs – roads being frequently re-dug up, one saying this was because they were badly done the first time, another complaining about lack of notice of roadworks. Another commented

  • The road surface on Bedford Rd is always in a poor way, which means the buses that pass shake the house when they pass.


Accessibility to AP Station

There were three complaints about accessibility to the station for the elderly, disabled or those with a pram, one referring in particular to the pedestrian bridge. Another comment about the bridge:

  • The bridge over the train station is unsafe and needs re surfacing

And more generally

  • … access to the train station from Bedford Road must be improved and is surely long overdue. Given the further redevelopment of Alexandra Palace and the increase in passenger traffic, this access is wholly inadequate.


Specific issues for children, and the elderly and infirm


  • Muggings are a big worry especially of children. There have been many around Alexandra Park and Muswell Hill. A safe and secure area where teenagers can enjoy themselves without fearing being mugged would be ideal.

Elderly and infirm:

  • More public seating as walking in this hilly area is very tiring for elderly, disabled and frail people.
  • Need a seat at exit /entrance to park where the bins are
  • Make the bus stop seats flat so that elderly, disabled and frail people have somewhere to sit down
  • [need] public toilets … or by educating and obliging all commercial property owners to give access to their toilets [for those with] medical conditions which cause them to need urgent access to a toilet.



Drowning hazard from flooding of parts of the playground in Albert Road Rec, prostitution in a car parked in Alexandra Palace Way, obscured street names, better street lighting, no local boundary changes, damaging effects of Go Ape and lack of lighting in Alexandra Park, installing bee hotels, car alarms going off, responsibility for access paths at the backs of houses, the Council not making sure that local businesses keep to health and safety guidelines, initiatives to reduce household plastics/against Heathrow expansion/initiate a local no-fly movement …

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Neighbourhood Street Survey - Results!

We have some interesting responses to our street survey, on a wide variety of topics (see this earlier post for info on why we ran the survey). A total of 179 people filled in the questionnaire, online or on paper - many more than the 100 or so that the Council consider adequate for a consultation, according to Tony Hopkins of the Palace Gates Residents Association. As well as publicising the survey on APN and the PGRA websites, we leafleted all residents in the triangle of roads shown below - apart from those blocks of flats which do not have mail boxes. If you did not know about the survey and would like to be involved, despair not, we will be having further meetings about it which you are welcome to attend. You can comment on it on this website, or email .

A powerpoint presentation of the results was given by Kevin Stanfield, chair of the PGRA, at their AGM on 30 October. He did most of the questionnaire design, and analysed the results - thanks Kevin! (heading substanceqi at the top of the slides below is the name of his market research company). The slides can be seen in larger format in Kevin's PDF document.




Here are the number of responses (i.e. questionnaires filled in) per road. Not surprisingly, the longest roads have the most responses, though the area around the Triangle is particularly well-represented (including Crescent Road, Outram and Princes Avenue), and also Albert Road.

12 of the respondents are not resident within the triangle of roads that is the focus of this study.













How do residents get around, and use the facilities in the neighbourhood?

Almost everyone uses local shops on a regular basis!

Transport: Fully 85% walk to a local station at least weekly, while two-thirds use buses. 70% have a car - slightly less than the national average of 73%, but much higher than the Haringey average of 46%. Only a quarter of respondents cycle regularly - perhaps only the brave, given the problems of London traffic and our hilly terrain.

Exercise - fully 84% of the sample 'go for a walk' at least weekly, while a quarter run/jog regularly. Smaller proportions 'walk to school with my children', or 'take dog for a walk'.

5 or 6 people use mobility assistance (e.g. a Guide Dog or mobility scooter), and street issues are clearly particularly important for them.







Neighbourhood issues that respondents personally believe need to be addressed are topped by speeding traffic, about which 90% of residents are at least slightly concerned, with 65% strongly concerned. Almost equally important, however, is promoting the success of local shops (great that the positive aspects of the neighbourhood are emphasised, as well as the negative!).

Over half are strongly concerned about air quality, with nearly as many citing safety of children and volume of traffic.

Slightly less than half are strongly concerned about pedestrian safety and littering or fly tipping.

For all the issues specified above, 20% or fewer of respondents were not concerned at all.


Respondents strongly concerned about Noise and vibration of traffic constitute 38% of the sample, with a similar proportion regarding pavements in icy/snowy conditions, and Crime

About a third are strongly concerned about Safety for the elderly/disabled, and accessibility for the latter, (26-29% are not concerned about this issue), with a similar proportion regarding pedestrian crossings (and a third not concerned about these).

Ease of parking is of strong concern to just under a third of the sample, but over a third are not concerned about this issue. Similar proportions regarding cycling safety.

Of least concern are the issue of More seating/play/grass areas (though these are of strong concern to 18% of the sample), and secure cycle parking is of no concern to over a half of the sample, though of strong concern to 16%.










Respondents' opinons of the success of current traffic calming measures are varied. Just over half disagree that the 20mph speed limit has reduced traffic speed in their road, including 30% strongly disagreeing. A quarter think that it had made at least some difference.

Opinions are much more varied as regards the ban on HGVs, split roughly into a third each agreeing that it had reduced the number in their road, disagreeing, or with no opinion.

Opinions are just as varied but also more polarised with regard to speed humps. An equal proportion think that they are a good or bad way to calm traffic in the neighbourhood (44%), with only 12% having no opinion.

The variation in responses may relate in part to what road somebody lives on - I will check this out.











Respondents were asked what future traffic calming measures they would like to see considered in their area and/or in their road. They could choose any number of them, or none.

136 people (76% of the sample) like the idea of having One way traffic to ease traffic flow, with just under 3702232626?profile=RESIZE_710xhalf of these wanting it in their road.

128 (72%) like the idea of having Tree build-outs to slow down traffic, with again just under half wanting this in their road. Much the same proportions favour Large planters to narrow road and help to slow traffic.

The next most popular measure is Closure of road to through traffic (to prevent rat running) - 105 people (59%) chose this, with 40% wanting it in their road.

89 people (50%) think that Road narrowing to slow down traffic is a good idea, but less than a third of these favour having it in their own road.

61 people (34%) think that No left or right turn in order to change traffic flow is a good idea, with 41% favouring having it in their own road.

34 people (19%) think that Pavement parking to ease traffic flow is a good idea, but not much more than a quarter want this in their own road.










Respondents were asked if they would like to see their road closed for a street party one day a year, and over three-quarters of them said they would!

An amazing 114 respondents (64% of the sample) made comments about issues that they would like to see addressed (and some about other things too, such as what a lovely neighbourhood it is to live in!). One issue mentioned in these comments that we clearly ought to have asked everyone about in the tick-box section is broken paving stones. See Kevin's PDF document for a quantitative summary of the comments, and I will discuss them in more detail in a later post.

Nearly a third of the sample said that they would like to be involved in taking this project forward, so we will be in touch with these people by email. If you would like to be added to the number, please let us know on .




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Great Fete at Alexandra Park

The slope in front of the Palace was full of people on Saturday, including lots and lots of babies !



Lots of Kids' activities under the trees; making ladybird crowns:



Re-designing the Park (see Stephen's picture in the Gallery of the designs drying in the wind!):



 What's going on here?    



Music on the main stage  



Yemalla drummers on the People's stage



Creative writing workshop, to be followed by Art workshop 


 Not so easy matching old photos with current locations in the Park:


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*** STOP PRESS ***  Here's a very short informative film of the Haringey street event produced by realmedia, together with a (written) explanation of the thinking behind using roadblocks and other methods of nonviolent direct action by Extinction Rebellion. Thanks realmedia.

The sun shone (thanks, global warming!) on the Crouch End street party last Sunday afternoon, when the local Extinction Rebellion (XR) group took over part of the green in front of Hornsey Town Hall for kids' activities, banner making and an impromptu People's Assembly. The latter focused in particular on air pollution in the neighbourhood (some radical suggestions were suggested by both adults and children).

Meanwhile a continuous program of singers, speakers, poets and a band inspired by African music performed in front of the still-being-refurbished Midgey's restaurant (beside the green),

with cakes from the cake stall keeping everyone going.






There were positive responses from many people on Crouch End Broadway, some of whom took part in discussions about the climate emergency, and over 100 signed up to receive more information about the local group and the demands and actions planned by Extinction Rebellion (which do not necessarily involve getting arrested!) – in particular, the International Rebellion taking place in the second half of April.Three very brief roadblocks were included in the afternoon's program. All in all, it was a very successful event.

The Rebellion will start with huge numbers of people descending on central London, with a view to bringing parts of it to a standstill with festive and artistic activities, among others. XR consider that such acts of non-violent civil disobedience are necessary to force the Government to address the fact that "Climate Breakdown and ecological collapse are a direct existential threat to us all"; to tell their citizens the truth about them; and to act to reduce our carbon emissions to zero within the 12 years that the recent IPCC report says is all we have before feedback effects will cause cascading climate breakdown. They demand that a citizens' assembly be convened to set out appropriate measures to tackle it (as has been done in Ireland, for example). 

To find out more:

  • Come to a talk – the next local one is on 11th April at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Muswell Hill.
  • Come to a meeting of the XR Haringey group - details on their Facebook page, and their email is
  • Check out national XR events and the International Rebellion – on their website or Facebook page


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Palmers Green is tackling rat-running

Just north of the lovely Broomfield Park in Palmers Green, there is an apparently quiet neighbourhood of substantial houses, mostly located on roads opening onto Aldermans Hill and parallel to Green Lanes. This is a very convenient route, however, for drivers wishing to avoid the congestion of Bourne Hill and Green Lanes, and a quick way to get to the North Circular. Enfield Council is trying to tackle the consequent rat-running, as part of the ongoing Mini-Holland scheme (for which they received funds from TfL). Last Friday I went to have a look at what they have been doing, thinking that it might be of interest to some residents in our neighbourhood who suffer from rat-running. Any Palmers Green residents who are members of this site might like to correct anything I get wrong!

The scheme – named Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood – is gradually being rolled out at the moment (one of several 'quieter neighbourhoods' being introduced by the Council). Its neighbourhood-wide strategy is simple (there are also other location-specific measures), using very large planters as a means of blocking one lane at the start and end of some of the roads. The idea being that residents should only be slightly inconvenienced, but hopefully drivers who want to cut through the neighbourhood to get to somewhere else will be deterred, or at least have to slow down. The intention is to have planters on most of the roads, but for the moment only a few roads are being trialled.










    The pairs of smaller planters have gaps between them to allow bikes through. Cars do slow down to check if anything is coming the other way, and I guess this should be still more effective if tall plants are grown in the planters.












A very large planter has been placed on a built-out section of pavement near the start of Old Park Road, rather than on the road itself. At the very start of the road the pavement and road are continuous. This tactic perhaps gives drivers a gentle hint that they should slow down.

I look forward to seeing how the scheme develops. There is a lively on-going discussion about it on the Palmers Green Community website. Contributors seem to be fairly postive about the proposals (after lots of consultation), although with doubts about particular aspects of the placing, colur and shape of the containers, and complaints about there not being enough of them! (Searching for Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood on the site displays links to many other discussions, documents and consultations about it).

At least, the scheme doesn't seem to be fostering the loud opposition generated by the new cycle lanes along Green Lanes – but in spite of the noise over these, most of the opposition seems to have come from people outside the area rather than residents. I'm not a cyclist myself (though might have been if the area were not so hilly, and the traffic so dangerous), and would be interested in how local cyclists around here view this cycling strategy.











I must admit to straying onto the brown cycle lane without realising it – there were few cyclists at that time of day, and the pavement is quite narrow for the many shoppers and others going to local cafes and such (Palmers Green has become so much livelier since I was last there!).

 At some points there is no room for a separate cycle lane, so the space has be shared with pedestrians, which could be a particular problem when the space is at a bus stop. Here the paving is a different colour, but I did find all the changes in paving-colour confusing.











In the Netherlands, pedestrians and all the different types of traffic have to watch out for each other – so maybe here it's a problem of transition, and people getting used to new sets of desirable behaviours - ?


There were also attractive flowerbeds at the corners of some side-roads, with tall plants, perhaps intended to slow down traffic turning into or out of them.


Finally, I noticed this lovely sign for Hazelwood School's Walking Bus.


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Music at St Andrew's 2018

A one hour (approx.) programme - tea served afterwards


Further events in 2018 include:

Saturday 30 June 7.30pm - Fortismere Community Symphony Orchestra


Please note:

Saturday 23 June 7.00pm - Alexandra Chorus (with Veronica Chacon & Jerome Royet)
Saturday 14 July 7.00pm - Hannah Gardiner, Jared Bennett, Robert Smith & others

Both of these concerts have been postponed - revised dates to follow



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Music at St Andrew's 2018

A one hour (approx.) programme - tea served afterwards


Further events in 2018 include:

Sunday Afternoon Recitals 4.00-5.00pm

3 June - Recital by Jennifer Lee (piano)


Saturday 12 May 7.30pm - Fortismere Community Choir

Saturday 23 June 7.00pm - Alexandra Chorus (with Veronica Chacon & Jerome Royet)

Saturday 30 June 7.30pm - Fortismere Community Symphony Orchestra

Saturday 14 July 7.00pm - Hannah Gardiner, Jared Bennett, Robert Smith & others
(programme inc. newly-commissioned works & Beethoven Septet - details tbc)


Details of a programme of concerts/recitals for the second half of 2018 and in 2019 is awaiting confirmation


Read more…


Music at St Andrew's 2018

A one hour (approx.) programme - tea served afterwards


Further events in 2018 include:

Sunday Afternoon Recitals 4.00-5.00pm

6 May - Recital by Sebastian Mueller (violin) & Yukiko Shinohara (piano)

3 June - Recital by Jennifer Lee (piano)


Saturday 12 May 7.30pm - Fortismere Community Choir

Saturday 23 June 7.00pm - Alexandra Chorus (with Veronica Chacon & Jerome Royet)

Saturday 30 June 7.30pm - Fortismere Community Symphony Orchestra

Saturday 14 July 7.00pm - Hannah Gardiner, Jared Bennett, Robert Smith & others
(programme inc. newly-commissioned works & Beethoven Septet - details tbc)


Details of a programme of concerts/recitals for the second half of 2018 and in 2019 is awaiting confirmation



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Searching for teenagers train enthusiasts!

My son is in year 7 at APS and is really fascinated by trains and is very knowledgeable about them! He thinks he is the only person his age (12) who likes watching trains, but I thought perhaps there is someone else out there of a similar age (and local) who would enjoy trainspotting with him. 

By trainspotting, I don't mean standing with a notebook noting down the number on the same type of train as they pass by. He likes taking photos and making videos and looking out for more unusual trains. He has done this at Alexandra Palace station and has also travelled into London to Euston, Paddington etc.

Please reply to this blog if you might know someone who would be interested in joining him.




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Garden drainage expert needed

This is what happened after the heavy rains over Easter. Almost our entire garden under water. It’s often got waterlogged but this was far worse than usual. It also doesn’t help that the soil in our garden is pretty poor and composed largely of clay.

If anyone can recommend garden drainage experts, I’d be very grateful. 

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Hello from a new member, the Friends of Alexandra Palace Theatre.  As you may know, the Palace's Victorian theatre, tucked away behind the Ice Rink, is being restored.  In the next year, it will reopen. For the theatre's history and the latest news on the restoration, the Friends have a YouTube page - New videos are being added every so often, so plese take a look and enable the 'subscribe' function so you'll know when there's something new.

We're also on Facebook ( and have a webpage, too ( If you want to join us as a Friend, it's not expensive - As a Friend, you will be kept bang up to date on what's going on and will be contributing to the fundraising still needed to complete the restoration work. 

In the meantime, we'll use this site to keep you informed as well, if you're happy for us to do that.  When the theatre eventually re-opens, we'll all have something to be really proud of on our doorsteps!


I'm Richard Smith and I'd be happy to answer any questions you have - and even happier if you are able to share the videos and messages with your friends and contacts.

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Click on an advert for more info.