Once there was in Tottenham a medieval hamlet and a manor, and later a suburban village with grand buildings and impressive architecture.
Today, as you drive along the A10 or walk down to Seven Sisters tube station, you can still see some of the houses, and wonder what history they hold.
It was that sense of curiosity that drove a Tottenham couple to embark on a heritage project that mapped the best routes to enjoy the area’s rich past.
And the first thing that strikes you when you meet Mareeni Raymond and Edward Richards, the authors of Tottenham Walks, is how much they are invested in the subject.
Ed, who is born and bred in Tottenham, joined the regeneration team at Haringey Council after many years of working on social housing across London. He is amongst other things vice-chair of Friends of Bruce Castle Park.
When he met Mareeni, a doctor working in North-East London, she was also living in the area.
The Tottenham Walks project started when Mareeni was given a copy of the London’s Hidden Walks book, which explores the little noticed corners and walks around Soho and Bloomsbury.
Reading it, Mareeni says, she realised that “every building (there) had some sort of history.”
“I wished there was one for Tottenham,” she thought then.
So they set off to make it happen.
Their 56-page book guides readers – quite literally – through some of the area’s most interesting landmarks, such as the oak tree in Bruce Castle Park – which is more than 500 years old.
There is also some information on the Tudor tower on the left of Bruce Castle.
The place has been the subject of speculation for many years but recent research suggests it was possibly built to house falcons.
Today you may see local artists’ exhibitions or similar events inside the tower.
The book details four walks, such as Parks and Marshes and Hidden Tottenham. The oak tree and the Tudor tower are part of walk 3, from Bruce Grove to Seven Sisters.
Ed and Mareeni’s favourite walk is around the cemetery. “It’s such a world away from the rest of Tottenham,” Ed describes.
He likes “the difference when you cross Lordship Lane and get onto Church Road – it really changes.”
“If you really look carefully there’s a lot of hidden history in Tottenham.”
The book is aimed at anyone interested in the subject rather than history buffs, and also a way to encourage residents to feel proud about living in Tottenham.
It will make a great addition to the bookshelves of locals interested in the history and heritage of the area.
Interestingly, Ed also saw some international demand, sending a few copies to Belgium when Spurs were playing away.
There’s much talk in Tottenham these days about regeneration and the area’s future. Tottenham Walks is proof that there is also a rich past to be celebrated.
Words by Matt Preisinger
Images by Mareeni Raymond
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