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Farms, Nurseries, Allotments and Market Gardening

Mid 13th Century: Tottenham was mainly arable farming with only small area of pasture land.
Identified as two large woods and a windmill.

1609 - 1613: New River built to bring fresh water from Hertfordshire. Project engineered by Sir Hugh Myddleton and the New River Company.

Asplins Farm
Pre 1619 - 1933: Asplins farm is noted on 1619 map in occupation of G. Chapman-one of earliest settlements on the marshes and one of the oldest farms in Tottenham. Was a working farm until the twentieth century when it closed in 1933.
One of its fields shown as garden of roses- first example of market gardening in this area.

Devonshire Hill Farm
1619 - 1921: Devonshire Hill Farm (1890) (formerly called Clay Hill farm - which can be seen on the 1619 in tenure of Thomas Goddard and was used for mainly arable farming.- produced mixed crops, cows, pigs and hay meadows.
By mid 19th century was largest single holding in Tottenham (80acres).
1894: Seven acres of land leased to South Potteries.
1930: 30 acres of Devonshire Hill farm land purchased by Wood Green Council. 3 acres set aside for allotment use.

Pre 1619 - 1878: Ducketts Farm: 1878 sold off for development to make way for the Noel Park estate.

Pre 1619 - 1916: Broadwater Farm- Land of rich meadowland due to increased flooding by Moselle, was used to farm cattle and milk was delivered to the local market.
1916: Ceased to operate.
Used as space for allotments during the war.
Site of current Lordship Recreation grounds and the Broadwater Farm estate.

17th century small field used for growing roses, either for perfume or cut flowers.

1714: Tottenham Quakers purchased land to build meeting house. There is evidence of Quakers in high waters, punting to their meetings down the Moselle down what is now Tottenham High Road.

1735: Blue coats school for girls founded in Tottenham.
School still stands today having undergone renovation and enlargement in 1833 and 1876.


1751 - 1832: Famous Quaker, Priscilla Wakefield led a life pursuing social reform & 'Education for All' . She was one of a few women from Haringey who left a powerfull legacy behind her.

1752: Josiah Forster (Quaker) opened boarding school in old house

Tottenham Wood Farm
1777: Tottenham Wood deforested
1789: Estate auctioned off. Land purchased by Michael Mitchell who built a farmhouse alongside today’s Rhodes Avenue.

1791: Priscilla Wakefield established a lying-in charity for poor women in pregnancy
1792: She then established Green Coat School- a girl’s school that continues today in Somerset Road-the Green School.
1798: She also set up a Benefit Club to encourage people to save, ran from her home in the Old Ship Yard, High Cross. Later prototype for savings bank moved to grammar school and extended to other areas.

1798: First clay workings in the Wood Green area were located at the southernmost of Wood Green, site that is now home to Sainsbury’s.


1815: Lancasterian Girls School opened for the poor. in 1840 there were 70 girls being taught,"reading, writing, Knitting & Needle work and a little arithmetic"...

1827: Bruce Castle boarding school opened by the Hill family. Closed in 1891.

1829: Old Rectory building Hornsey is demolished - the Moselle ran alongside house which is now the site of St Mary’s Primary and the Territorial Army Centre.

1831 - 32: Cholera outbreaks. Moselle cleaned and deepened using pauper labour.

1840: Arrival of the railways through Tottenham and Hornsey.

1851: population 9,120, by 1891 this had risen to 71,343 - not including the area that is now Wood Green.
Water born diseases, eg, Cholera and Typhoid, because of misuse of Moselle and contamination through lack of sanitation. Arrival of Northern & Eastern Railway lines began population explosion (1860),coupled with construction of GER line (1878), led to crowded brick terraces 40 dwellings per acre. This ended Tottenham's Reputation for health and gentility!, CRISES over water supply continued...

1848: 800 houses in the borough were still depositing their sewage into the Moselle.

Tottenham Wood Farm
1840: Farm owned by Mr Rhodes
1850: increased farm with acquisition of part of neighbouring Nightingale Hall Farm.

1860’s: land sold off and part became Alexandra Park (opened in 1873), another part became Muswell Hill Golf Club.

1856 - 1905: Williamson’s Potteries located in Green Lanes taken over from clay workings in Wood Green - closed in 1905 (partly due to health concerns of workers cottages).

Coles/Tottenham Potteries
1856 - mid 1950’s: Tottenham Potteries (Cole’s) situated along White Hart Lane - made pots for the nurseries and market gardening trade.

1864: Wood Green Nursery opened.

1866: Tottenham Board of Health obtained an injunction against Hornsey Parish preventing them from allowing sewers and drains to empty into the Moselle.

1871: A pipe was built along Lordship Lane and Hornsey constructed own sewers and the Moselle was properly cleansed.

1871: Bowes Nursery opened.

1873: Alexandra Palace opened as 'The People’s Palace’.

South Potteries
1886: Samuel South takes over Cole`s firm - produced mainly flower pots in the hand forming technique. One of the largest horticultural pot makers in Britain, producing up to 100,000 hand-made pots a week.

1910: Acquired seven acres of land from Devonshire Hill Farm to graze firm’s horses and produce hay. Lived in house on land.

5/10/1960: Closed down- business sold to soft drinks company Idris Ltd for development.

1886?: Moselle on site of current Hornsey waterworks was culverted

1888 - 1905: Markfield Beam Engine opened for use until 1905 when it was put on standby duty for storm pumping. (125 years ago) Markfield Beam Engine was the answer to high-level storm waters and untreated sewage.

14 July this year (2013) is 'Victorian Mayhem Celebrations!', marking the presence Markfield's parallel Beam Pump Engine, that helped pump the Cholera out of Tottenham.

1902: Tottenham had 18 nurseries and 20 florists.

1903: Alexandra Nursery

1906 - 1910: Moselle Brook culverted towards White Hart Lane - site of later Risley Avenue.

1906: Area of Moselle along Lordship Lane culverted, as well as area running under Carbuncle Passage (previously Garbell Ditch and Carbuncle Ditch.)

1912: Moselle on site of Hornsey gasworks sites culverted.

1921 - 1922: (July - February) Large parts of the rest of the Moselle were culverted.

Modern dates of Tottenham High Road flooding nr Scotland Green in, 1927, Wood Green 1937 and in 1961 culverting continues in Scotland Green Area.

1902: Tottenham had 18 nurseries and 20 florists.

1910 - 1960: Bounds Green Nurseries stood on site of Bounds Green Road, now flats on the site,

19th and 20th century - former agricultural land used as both private and publicly owned allotments. Weir Hall Road and Devonshire Hill Lane used as Rectory Farm allotments.

1925: Allotment Act required local authorities to consider the provision of allotments when building houses.

Nurseries popular in 19th century - used greenhouses to produce crops for London markets. Dwindled with increasing house development in the area and most were gone by the onset of World War 2 (WW2).

WW2: Piggeries located at one corner of Tottenham Cemetery. Lasted into the 1950’s.

With thanks to Lucy Gray