Tottenham: Economic history

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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'Tottenham: Economic history', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, (London, 1976) pp. 333-339. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

In this section



In 1086 Tottenham was assessed at 5 hides and Countess Judith had a further 2 carucates in demesne. There was meadow for 10 ploughs, pasture for the cattle of the vill, a weir, and woodland for 500 pigs. The value had fallen from £26 T.R.E. to £10 when the countess received it, presumably after Earl Waltheof's execution in 1076, but had afterwards risen to £25 15s. and 3 ounces of gold. The lady had 2 ploughs on the demesne and her tenants had 12 ploughs. The tenants included 6 villeins on 6 virgates, 24 villeins each on ½ virgate, and 12 bordars each on 5 a., in all accounting for 20 virgates, as well as a priest on ½ hide and 17 cottars. There were 2 Frenchmen on 1 hide and 3 virgates, and 4 serfs. (fn. 1)

Tottenham, with rich grass-land along the Lea and poorer clay to the west, was probably always better suited to livestock than to crops. (fn. 2) In 1254, on the eve of the manor's division, meadow was valued at 5s. 4¼d. an acre and pasture at 3s. 3d., whereas the best arable, on the demesne, was worth only 4½d. (fn. 3) At that date there were 527 a. of demesne arable, 40 villein holdings each of a 32-acre virgate, 92 a. of meadow, and 16 a. of pasture. The number of Domesday virgates had doubled, presumably from assarts, but the total of 1,915 a. covered less than half of the parish; the rest was made up of woods of unknown extent and the lands of free tenants, who paid £4 10s. 4d. in quit-rents.

Isolated accounts for the three manors in the early 14th century give a total acreage reduced by less than one eighth from that of 1254 but show 14 per cent less demesne arable. In 1304 Bruces had 110 a. in demesne, part of which was leased out by 1318; 60 a. were leased out 30 years later and 108 a. by 1399. On the larger manor of Balliols or Daubeneys, with 171 a. in demesne in 1334, tenants leased 162 a. by 1389-90, although John of Northampton briefly tried to resume direct cultivation in 1392. After John Gedney had reunited the manors, the demesne was farmed by one individual and later by three or four tenants. In 1585 Henry, Lord Compton, retained the manor-house (later Bruce Castle) and a mere 38 a. apart from woodland, letting some 475 a. of the demesne on long leases and 150 a. at will. (fn. 4) In 1619 the woods alone remained in hand. (fn. 5)

In the 14th century holdings were relatively numerous for so much indifferent land. The manors probably contained over 100 unfree tenants in the 1340s and as many, with at least 20 free tenants, fifty years later. Their numbers suggest that pressure from a rising population was relieved only briefly by the Black Death. Most holdings were small, the median size on Pembrokes being 7½ a. c. 1343, although a few were considerable: John atte Marsh held 41 a., nearly a tenth of the villein land on Pembrokes, c. 1343, when his family in all held some 92 a., and Thomas Harding held some 55 a. in 1368. Of the 20 villein land holdings on Pembrokes, perhaps 15 were held by families bearing the name of their tenement at the beginning of the 14th century, 11 were so held c. 1343, and 7 in 1368. It therefore seems that the subdivision of the original whole or half virgates did not begin much before 1300.

Copyhold lands customarily were inherited by the youngest son or, in default of male issue, were divided among daughters. The practice, known as Borough English, was recorded in the 15th, (fn. 6) 17th, (fn. 7) and early 19th centuries, and was still observed in 1771. (fn. 8) A heriot was due only from owners of cattle and admission was granted at the age of 14. (fn. 9) Copyholds might not be sublet for more than a year and a day without permission. (fn. 10) By the late 14th century, however, numerous property transactions had produced an active free market in land, subject merely to the lord's licence.

After 1368 the number of very small tenants fell and that of tenants with 15-30 a. increased. By 1459 large holdings included those of St. Mary's, Clerkenwell, with 260 a., St. Paul's, with at least 220 a., and John Drayton, with more than 180 a. Many of those who bought both free and copyhold lands, and so helped to break up the old virgate holdings, were rich Londoners. The Marsh family itself was among those which made way: a 24-acre tenement held by John atte Marsh in 1368 passed in turn to his son Thomas and then to a daughter of Gilbert atte Marsh, who, with her husband Richard, sold it to a London girdler named Thomas Purnell.

Nothing certain is known of the original common fields. There was no simple division of each main field in 1254, which would have fragmented the tenants' allegiance, and probably no geographical division for the same reason; perhaps the tenants themselves were shared out, later divided allegiances being attributable to purchases or indirect inheritance. (fn. 11) It has sometimes been assumed that common fields never existed, since almost the whole parish, in contrast to Edmonton, had been inclosed by 1619. (fn. 12) The large amounts of demesne leased out in the 14th century presumably were farmed in severalty. On the other hand references to crops and services suggest a three-course rotation and many land transactions reveal widely scattered strips; references to inclosed land, moreover, were comparatively rare, while attempted inclosures included one by James Northampton concerning land 'common every third year'. The many fields recorded from that time offer little guidance, since most were small ones which had resulted from assarting. Those most often mentioned were South field, also called St. Loys field in 1619, (fn. 13) when it was north of High Cross Lane, and Home field, both of which may have been open fields surviving as part of an enlarged and complicated pattern. In all, it seems that common agriculture persisted in the late 14th century, side by side with a growing tendency towards farming in severalty.

Manorial officers in the late 14th century included a steward, reeve, and woodward. Both Bruces and Daubeneys produced a considerable surplus of faggots, hay, and pasture, which was sold for the lord; demesne animals were not recorded and neither meat nor dairy produce was sold. Services on Pembrokes in the middle of the century were not heavy: 37 winter and 31 summer works were required for a virgate and the villeins' ploughing accounted for a mere 45 a., implying that most of the demesne was already leased out or worked by hired labour. There were apparently no payments in kind. In addition to the 20 villein holdings, on which varying amounts of services had been commuted, there were 8 molmen, paying much higher rents but performing lighter services, and 9 cottars, who owed rents and minute works.

A comparatively mild regime did not prevent unrest. In 1351 offenders against the Statute of Labourers were forcibly rescued from custody (fn. 14) and at the beginning of Richard II's reign services went unperformed, the entire homage of Daubeneys being in mercy in 1378-9. Things were 'taken away from the mill' in 1380-1 and mysterious payments to a priest 'coming with a certain sign' were erased from the accounts, perhaps because they indicated sympathy with the Peasants' Revolt. John of Northampton in 1392-3 tried to reverse the general trend by restoring services and sowing former grass-land on the demesne, which secured a high yield. By 1394-5 his accounts were in deficit, perhaps because tenants withheld their rent, and the reaction was over. Daubeneys was spared in 1399, when Henry of Lancaster's army seized all the hay from the grange of Bruces, presumably in revenge for the Waldens' close association, through Archbishop Roger Walden, with Richard II. Pembrokes may have been similarly despoiled, for in 1403 a commission of oyer and terminer was set up after the Waldens' tenants had refused their services. (fn. 15)

Hay-making or cutmead, on the lord's land in the marshes, was among the last services to be abandoned. Works owed by every tenant on the reunited manors were specified in 1478-9 (fn. 16) and the obligation to mow and to stack in the lord's grange was recorded in 1619. (fn. 17) The lord held 172 a. in the marshes in 1585, keeping 21 a. in hand and leasing out 76 a. for long terms and 75 a. from year to year. (fn. 18)

Tottenham marsh had been divided into six by 1585: Wild marsh, Michley, and Mill mead lay east of the Mill stream, Broad mead, Clendish Hills, and Lock mead to the west. The marshes were made up of shots, each comprising several parcels. (fn. 19) In 1619 Wild marsh contained 72 parcels, Michley 41, Mill mead 13, Broad mead 11, Clendish Hills 33, and Lock mead 7, a total of 177 parcels covering some 303 a. In addition there were 8 parcels in the 20-acre Hale field and 8 in the 45-acre Downfield, both of which adjoined Clendish Hills. (fn. 20)

A hayward for the marshes was normally chosen every year at the manorial court, together with two cattle-markers and two drivers for all the common lands. (fn. 21) A tenant might claim pasturage in summer for as many beasts as he could support on his own lands in winter. (fn. 22) In the mid 19th century the right was said to extend to every resident landholder, while a householder occupying property assessed at less than £10 for the poor-rate was entitled to pasture 2 head. The marshes then were normally open to the commons from 12 August until 5 April and known as the Lammas lands. The hayward, who had taken over the duties of the markers, branded all livestock entitled to common pasturage, supervised their driving, and patrolled the commons, in order to detect surcharging and turn away or impound hogs and other unauthorized beasts. (fn. 23) There was a 'pound garden' at the north corner of Lordship Lane and High Road in 1619. (fn. 24) A pound-keeper was recorded from 1766, (fn. 25) the pound being in High Road close to Pheasaunt's alms-houses, until its removal in 1840 to Tottenham Hale, where it was rebuilt in 1883 and finally condemned in 1922. (fn. 26) The lord's agent appointed one man to the posts of pound- and marsh-keeper and common driver as late as 1891, nine years before the Lammas lands were vested in Tottenham U.D.C. (fn. 27)

In 1585, when most of the demesne was leased out, by far the most substantial tenant was Richard Martin, a goldsmith and future lord mayor of London, (fn. 28) who held c. 279 a., including 50 a. at will. (fn. 29) In 1619 the whole demesne, apart from the woodland, was divided among 18 tenants. (fn. 30) Nearly all enjoyed new leases for 21 years, the chief tenants being Joseph Fenton with 179 a., John Burrough with 139 a., Sir Thomas Penistone with 86 a., Thomas Adams with 85 a., and Edward Barkham with 66 a. The largest freeholders were Barkham with 174 a., Ambrose Wheeler with 141 a., Edward Osborne with 82 a., Bridget Moyse with 78 a., Lady Heybourne with 75 a., and the heirs of Michael Lock, with 71 a. The chief copyholders were Elizabeth Candler, with 345 a., Anthony Crewe with 80 a., Thomas Bolton with 63 a., and Erasmus Greenway with 62 a. London merchants predominated: Fenton was a barber-surgeon, Barkham an alderman, Crewe a mercer, as Lock had been, (fn. 31) and Greenway a grocer; Bridget Moyse was the widow of John Moyse, also a grocer, and Elizabeth Candler the widow of Richard Candler, a mercer, and related both to the Locks and the Heybournes. (fn. 32) Other residents connected with the City included William Gore, an alderman, with a 'sumptuously built' freehold house in High Road, Sir James Price in the right of his wife Joan, widow of John Ballett, a goldsmith, and Thomas Goddard, son and namesake of an ironmonger. Only 4 small wastehold parcels were recorded, although in 1656 many unauthorized cottages were ordered to be pulled down. (fn. 33)

Most of the arable in 1619 was on newly-cleared woodland in the north-west, between the Moselle and the New River, or along Stonebridge stream or to the west of the marshes. The centre of the parish, like the marshland, was chiefly meadow. (fn. 34) Much the same pattern persisted in 1800, when the largest block of arable lay around the remnants of Tottenham wood. (fn. 35) Three quarters of the parish was grass-land and 440 a., little more than a tenth, was arable. (fn. 36)

Grass-land dwindled faster than arable in the late 19th century. Corn and green crops accounted for 338 a. in 1870, almost the same acreage in 1890, 298 a. in 1900, and 161 a. in 1910, while grass-land shrank from 1,943 a. to 1,268 a., 1,173 a., and, in 1910, to 720 a. Corn itself was grown on barely one quarter of the arable in 1870 and on one third in 1890, when wheat was the main crop, and on a mere 17 a. in 1900. The chief green crops in 1870 were vetches on 85 a., followed by mangolds, potatoes, and swedes or turnips; potatoes formed the largest crop in 1890, on 67 a., cabbages in 1900, on 50 a., and potatoes again in 1910, on 70 a. Most of the grass-land was mown annually in the 1870s and 1880s but by 1910 grazing predominated. The number of cattle fell steadily from 611 in 1870 to 110 in 1910; sheep, numbering c. 300 in 1870, had almost disappeared by the end of the century but increased to 176 by 1910, while the number of pigs similarly declined, only to rise again to 315; there were 103 horses in 1870, 149 by 1900, and 31 in 1910. (fn. 37)

In 1619 roses were grown on land in Marsh Lane belonging to Asplins farm and on two neighbouring crofts, as well as south-east of High Cross green, opposite the east end of the parsonage grounds, and on larger rose-fields by the New River north-west of Serles green. (fn. 38) The Asplins farm site, 6 a. called Hencroft, was marked as 'now converted into a garden of roses', (fn. 39) implying the recent expansion of a considerable business, presumably to supply apothecaries with petals. (fn. 40) Although roses were not recorded again, the Asplins lands lay very close to those of William Coleman (c. 1743-1808), who had a local nursery by 1777. Coleman held some 60 a. at the end of the 18th century, half lying west of High Road on each side of Church Road, where Nursery Street and Nursery Court survive, and half bordering Marsh Lane in a block later marked by Lansdowne, Sutherland, Chalgrove, and Shelbourne roads. William's widow Ann and son George (d. 1822) continued his Tottenham nursery, presumably from the 'Old Nursery' in Marsh Lane after 22 a. west of High Road had been auctioned in 1810. (fn. 41) Sarah Coleman, probably George's widow, ran the business until 1833, while Charles Coleman worked a smaller area in Church Road. (fn. 42) There were also market gardens on the north side of Marsh Lane and along Willoughby Lane c. 1800. (fn. 43) All had gone by the 1860s, when there was a Whitehouse nursery west of Church farm. Whitehouse nursery existed in the 1890s, as did Tottenham nursery south of Paxton Road and 8 other nurseries in the neighbourhood of Park Road and Northumberland Park, as well as two south of Tottenham Hale. A nursery survived off Trulock Road and another off the later Tariff Road in 1920. (fn. 44)

The total amount of agricultural land decreased from 2,280 a. in 1870 to 1,604 a. in 1890, 1,495 a. in 1900 (of which 513 a. were in Wood Green), and 881 a. in 1910. In 1870 there were 85 agricultural holdings, in 1910 twenty-one. (fn. 45) Among the last farms were Graingers farm in the 1890s, Devonshire Hill (formerly Clayhill), Rectory, Broadwater, and Whitebraid Hall farms, all of which existed in 1920, (fn. 46) and Asplins farm, which survived in 1933. (fn. 47)

Allotments, worked by members of a society in the mid 19th century, (fn. 48) were first provided by Tottenham U.D.C. at Downhills and elsewhere during the First World War. (fn. 49) In 1920 Tottenham had allotments near the Edmonton boundary, both on the marshes and north of White Hart Lane, and Wood Green had sites north and south of White Hart Lane and by the railway south-east of Durnsford Road. (fn. 50) In the 1930s Tottenham U.D.C. permitted the temporary use of marshland north of Ferry Lane, (fn. 51) acquired 8 a. as a permanent site in Marsh Lane (fn. 52) and set aside 10 a. on the new White Hart Lane estate. (fn. 53) Allotments in the 1960s included sites in Marsh, Willoughby, Devonshire Hill, and White Hart lanes, on the White Hart Lane estate, along the Moselle, and, at Wood Green, near Durnsford Road and on the edge of Muswell Hill golf course. (fn. 54)


Countess Judith held woodland for 500 pigs in 1086. (fn. 55) Presumably the woods were divided equally in 1254: they accounted for 100 a. on the manor of Robert de Bruce and 110 a. on that of John de Hastings in the early 14th century, (fn. 56) for 400 a. on the reunited manors of Sir John Risley, (fn. 57) and 500 a. on those of Sir William Compton. (fn. 58) Tottenham wood was leased out separately in 1530, (fn. 59) when in the king's hands through the minority of Peter Compton, and Holy Trinity priory likewise made a separate lease of 174 a. (fn. 60) Sales by the Crown later separated most of the woodland which had been held by religious houses from the rest of the former monastic estates. (fn. 61)

There were well over 500 a. on the demesne in 1585. Tottenham wood covered 425 a. in the extreme west of the parish and Hawks park, (fn. 62) recorded in 1455-6, (fn. 63) covered 72 a. east of Ducketts, on the north side of West Green Lane (later West Green Road). Spottons or the Little Lords grove comprised 18 a. on the north side of Lordship Lane. Lords grove, c. 9 a. a little to the east of Spottons grove and bordering Chapmans Green, was not mentioned, while a second Lords grove, on the south side of West Green Lane opposite Hawks park, was said to have been sold to Richard Martin, alderman of London and a substantial tenant. Probably the timber alone had been sold to Martin, as it had at Spottons grove, since both the tracts called Lords grove belonged to the demesne in 1619. Two recent fellings had taken place at Hawks park, which was well stored with young trees, and Spottons, which had been poorly stocked. Conditions were worst in Tottenham wood, where no timber trees had survived the felling of 90 a. in the previous year; there had been little replenishment with staddles and the ground was choked with varied undergrowth. (fn. 64)

The same woods remained in the lord's hand in 1619, although Tottenham wood had been reduced to 388 a. and the total acreage to 501 a. Tottenham wood contained 4,660 timber trees awaiting sale, Hawks park had 888, Spottons grove 248, and each Lords grove had about 100. There was little woodland outside the demesne, apart from a block adjoining Spottons and Lords groves to the north and including the 27 a. of Crokes Grove held by Edward Barkham, a parcel at Wood Green held by Ambrose Wheeler, and strips along the Moselle by Ducketts land and south of Ducketts Green. (fn. 65)

Inroads continued, perhaps more rapidly, after 1619, leading William Bedwell to complain of the daily reduction in the timber. (fn. 66) In 1754 Tottenham wood still crowned the western heights (fn. 67) but most of it had been cleared by 1789, when it was auctioned as a separate estate with the rest of Henry Townsend's property. (fn. 68) Tottenham Wood farm-house had been built by 1818 and was surrounded by some 400 a., of which 11 a. made up the last remnants of the parish's woodland in 1840. (fn. 69) The farm was sold to the builders of the first Alexandra Palace after the death of Thomas Rhodes in 1856 (fn. 70) but the farm-house or its successor still stood, as Tottenham Wood House, north of the junction of the new Albert and Alexandra Park roads, in the 1890s. (fn. 71)


A water-mill was divided with the rest of the manor in 1254 and included the right to fish in an adjacent pond in the early 14th century. (fn. 72) The head of water may have been provided by a weir which had been held by Countess Judith in 1086. (fn. 73) In 1374 Sir Thomas Heath's share of the mill was ruinous. (fn. 74) The mill was farmed, apparently by the year, in 1470-1, (fn. 75) the common miller was fined for excessive tolls in 1530, (fn. 76) and a tenant was fined for refusing to take his corn there in 1558. (fn. 77) It was leased out with 12 a. of near-by meadow in 1585 (fn. 78) and stood next to a leather mill in 1619, when both were known as Tottenham mills. The mills stood on the west side of Mill mead, approached from the Hale by a lane slightly south of the later Ferry Lane; they included a new tile-hung tenement and two oysterbeds in Mill mead. (fn. 79)

In 1656 the lord was presented for making gunpowder in place of flour. (fn. 80) A paper-mill alone seems to have existed from c. 1680; it was insured in 1735 by Israel Johannot, one of a well-known family of French paper-makers, and in 1757 and 1761 by Thomas Cooke, perhaps the man who was rewarded by the Royal Society of Arts for making paper with copper plates. (fn. 81) In 1770 it was let to Edward Wyburd, (fn. 82) who converted it into a corn-mill, which was burned down in 1788. (fn. 83) Corn- and oil-mills, on opposite sides of the road, were at once erected and were sold to John Cook soon after the general auction of the Townsend estates. In the 1790s the corn-mill itself (fn. 84) was said to pay for the rent, enabling Wyburd to sublet the oil business. In 1824 there was a coalwharf at the mills, (fn. 85) which were occupied by Messrs. Curtoys and Mathew as successors to Charles Pratt, who had bought Wyburd's interest. The freehold was bought from Cook by the New River Co. in 1836. The mills, badly damaged by flooding in 1817, were not rebuilt after a fire c. 1860, (fn. 86) although their ruins survived in 1920. (fn. 87)

Some 57 a. were offered with the mills in 1789 and were still attached to them in 1840: the buildings, with inclosed grass-land and part of Tottenham Hale field, covered c. 15 a., while 21 parcels in the marshes made up the remainder. The River Lea Navigation Act of 1779 safeguarded the flow to the mills and approved annual payments which were already being made to James Townsend. (fn. 88) In 1790 lessees received £50 a year from the River Lea Co., as well as tolls levied at the bridge, (fn. 89) and in 1810 they were also paid by landowners in Mitchley marsh, who had to cross the mills' lands after the parish declined to rebuild a bridge to the marsh from Down Lane.

Trade and industry.

Brick-making flourished by 1435-6, when 28,500 'breeks' were sold. The date was an early one for the use of the term, which evidently included tiles, and for such activity so far inland. Over 100,000 bricks were sold over three years, to John Drayton and other local landowners, and to men from Edmonton, Enfield, and London. It is possible that sales thereafter increased so much that details were not entered on the bailiff's accounts, (fn. 90) for the only other 15th-century reference to the working of clay or brickearth is the occupation of Perkyn the Potter, hero of the Tournament of Tottenham. (fn. 91) Brickearth, which lay close to the parish church as well as east of High Road, was exploited by Sir William Compton for rebuilding Bruce Castle, but few bricks were made, or at any rate used, locally later in the 16th century. (fn. 92) Brickearth was exploited around High Cross and elsewhere in 1631 (fn. 93) and digging by High Road was licensed in 1704. (fn. 94) The industry flourished during 19th-century building when brick-makers also used clinker from domestic fires; (fn. 95) three brick-makers recorded in 1832-4 were still in business in 1845 and included one in Green Lanes who, with a builder, was the only manufacturer in Wood Green ward. (fn. 96) In 1818 there was a brick-field on the Rectory estate, close to the Edmonton boundary, (fn. 97) and in 1843 Nathaniel Lee owned a tile-works with at least 13 cottages in the extreme south-west of the parish, near the site of Harringay Stadium. (fn. 98) The tile-kilns survived in the 1860s, with a brick-field immediately east of Tottenham cemetery and a brick-works between the railway tunnel and Bounds Green Road. By the 1890s both works were potteries; in addition the Tottenham and White Hart Lane potteries were near together, north of White Hart Lane, and a brick-works operated in the south, between Vale and Seven Sisters roads. All the potteries save the one at Harringay survived in 1920, when the Bounds Green works made glazed bricks and tiles, (fn. 99) and those in White Hart Lane still made horticultural pottery in 1934. (fn. 100)

Of 178 male residents whose occupations were recorded between 1574 and 1592, 119 or some two-thirds worked on the land. Another 12 were in household service, accounting for 7 per cent of the total and perhaps an underestimate of the fluctuating domestic servant population. There were 11 men engaged in the clothing and 6 in the building trades, 9 'moniers', who may have made tradesmen's tokens, and 6 blacksmiths, at least 4 of them in business at the same time. Presumably it was the need to cater for travellers and the presence of rich Londoners which produced so many families not engaged in agriculture. (fn. 101)

Tottenham, despite its 19th-century growth, had little industry before the 1890s. (fn. 102) By 1801 twice as many persons were engaged in trade or manufacture as agriculture, yet 30 years later nearly all the men in the first category were shopkeepers or craftsmen, catering for the well-to-do. (fn. 103) In 1824 they included, among commoner tradespeople, 2 auctioneers, 3 chemists, 5 straw-hat makers, a bookseller, and a perfumer and hairdresser; a pawnbroker, a furrier, and an umbrella-maker existed by 1845. (fn. 104)

Apart from Tottenham mills, with their paper-making and other businesses, and a short-lived tannery at White Hall, (fn. 105) the first factory was one built for lace-making by William Herbert of Nottingham in 1810. It comprised two four-storeyed ranges in Love Lane, on part of the site of Coleman's nursery, where Herbert employed some 140 persons before his retirement to Nottingham in 1837. He was succeeded by crape manufacturers, John and James Baylis (fn. 106) and afterwards Messrs. Le Gros, Thompson & Bird, who moved to Norwich after a fire in 1860. (fn. 107) Another early factory, for winding silk, was built by Louis Frébout in 1815 and gave rise to Factory Lane. From c. 1820 it was leased for lace-making by Messrs. Lacy & Fisher, who had some 300 employees. In 1837 it was taken over by the new London Caoutchouc Co., (fn. 108) which had been empowered to maintain imports of India rubber and promote its use (fn. 109) and which was later known as William Warne & Co., (fn. 110) from a partner who died in 1861. The rubber mills were extended after one of the four-storeyed blocks had been burned down in 1839 and included a 160-feet high stack, demolished in 1903. Part of the site was sold in 1904 to the Society of Licensed Victuallers, who built Dowsett Road, but the company continued to make rubber solution and a wide range of articles in Tottenham until it completed a move to Barking after the First World War. (fn. 111)

There were 2 local brewers in 1824 and 5, including Jeremiah Freeman and son, in 1845. (fn. 112) Frederick Freeman and John Fullagar owned Tottenham Brewery and Gripper Bros. owned the Bell Brewery in 1862. (fn. 113) Both firms survived in 1890, when Otto Vollmann managed the Tottenham Lager Beer Brewery and Ice Factory (fn. 114) for a German company which had bought Grove House on the closure of the school. (fn. 115) Grippers' premises were bought by Whitbread & Co. in 1896 and turned into a bottling depot in the same year, although some of the older brewery buildings, on the east side of High Road south of Park Lane, were still used in 1924. (fn. 116) Fremlin Bros. had a bottling depot and stores at no. 20 White Hart Lane from c. 1908 until the 1950s. (fn. 117)

A floor-cloth factory in Bathurst (later Laurence) Road and a tobacco-works south of Wood Green Common, both recorded in the 1860s, were apparently short-lived. (fn. 118) At the beginning of the 20th century there were still no large factories in Tottenham, apart from that of Harris Lebus, (fn. 119) furniture-makers who in 1900 acquired 13½ a. for their Finsbury works on former nursery-land south of Ferry Lane. (fn. 120) Although other firms were to follow at Tottenham Hale, Lebus remained exceptional until the 1930s in having a site east of the railway line there, presumably chosen for the carriage of timber by water. (fn. 121) Wood Green meanwhile was developing as a preponderantly residential suburb: there was a tobacco factory on the Hornsey border, south of the gas works, in the 1860s (fn. 122) and later arrivals included the confectioners Barratt & Co., who moved from Islington to a former piano factory in Mayes Road in 1880. (fn. 123)

Industry had begun to concentrate in three areas before the First World War: (fn. 124) in the east at Tottenham Hale, in the north-east from Northumberland Park towards Edmonton, and in the extreme south half way along the old boundary with Stoke Newington. Factories at the Hale, served by Tottenham station, were mostly between Broad Lane and the railway, along Fountayne and Fawley roads, and included those of Millington & Sons, manufacturing stationers, from 1903 (fn. 125) and of Gestetner Duplicators from 1906; by 1920 a few more firms, including the Eagle Pencil Co., had opened north of Ferry Lane, in wartime buildings along Ashley Road. Factories in the north-east, served by Park (later Northumberland Park) station, sprang up first along Tariff Road, where Kolok, founded in 1904, were making carbons and ribbons at their Rochester works from 1913. (fn. 126) Also in the north-east, alone on the marsh-land save for the Longwater pumping station, English Abrasives bought the site of their London Emery works in 1902 and moved there from Clerkenwell in 1904. (fn. 127) Off High Road a wide variety of family businesses, including Kolok, started in and around Paxton Road; Edward Barber & Co., water-fittings manufacturers, who opened their non-ferrous sand foundry and finishing shop in 1908, were the last to come there and were the oldest survivors by 1973. (fn. 128) In the south industry occupied a more constricted area of former waste ground between Vale and Eade roads, where Maynard's, the confectioners, moved from Stamford Hill in 1906. (fn. 129) In the north-west the Standard Bottle Co. started to make glass containers at Bounds Green in 1921 and continued there until 1971, the year after its acquisition by Heenan Beddow. (fn. 130)

The spread of housing over the centre of the parish between the World Wars left little room for new concentrations of industry, except along the north side of White Hart Lane near the potteries. (fn. 131) Newcomers there included Wonder Bakery, a new firm which opened in 1937. (fn. 132) In Queen Street, close to the Edmonton boundary, L. Lazarus & Son had a large furniture factory by 1935; in 1950 it was acquired by Sparklets, a subsidiary of the British Oxygen Co. (fn. 133) Building continued in the extreme north-east, where by 1951 Brantwood Road and its factories had been extended eastward to Willoughby Lane, and started in the north-west along Cline Road, Bounds Green. Factories were also erected on sites or gardens of older buildings on both sides of Tottenham High Road near Edmonton, those on the east stretching beyond Tottenham Hotspurs' football ground as far as Lansdowne Road. By 1959 some 40 firms occupied the Wingate trading estate, which had then recently replaced a plate-glass manufacturer's at nos. 784-792 High Road.

In the south-east Keith Blackman, fan manufacturers, moved in 1938 to a 10½ a. riverside site, approached from Ferry Lane by the new Mill Mead Road. (fn. 134) Harris Lebus built a large depot on adjoining land, immediately east of the railway, in 1956 and owned some 36 a. in 1970, when its entire Finsbury works was sold to the G.L.C. The buildings on the south side of Ferry Lane were then demolished, while the depot on the north was used by the G.L.C. for supplies. (fn. 135) Gestetner (see below), too, expanded, opening a plant in Brantwood Road in 1965, a research centre off Fountayne Road in 1967, a despatch centre at the Fawley Road plant in 1970, and an adjacent training centre in 1972. (fn. 136) In the following year John Dickinson & Co., which had merged with Millington & Sons (see above) in 1918, transferred its London warehouse to the enlarged Basildon works, formerly Crown works, in Fountayne Road. (fn. 137) At Bounds Green an industrial estate which was established in the mid 1960s housed 39 firms in 1970; (fn. 138) building work there was still in progress in 1973.

In 1973 Tottenham contained many engineering and light industrial firms whose names were household words. (fn. 139) Gestetner, the largest duplicator manufacturers in the world, had some 3,000 employees at their Tottenham plants. John Dickinson & Co. employed c. 900 in making stationery at their Basildon works, Keith Blackman employed 750, and Barratt & Co. (from 1966 a member of the Geo. Bassett group) c. 700. Other firms with work-forces of several hundred included Kolok (from 1963 a division of Ozalid Ltd.), Maynard's, with 590, Charrington & Co., with 500 at a bottling and keg store in Brantwood Road, English Abrasives Ltd. and Wonder Bakery (a branch of Spillers-French Baking) with 450 each, Cannon Rubber, with over 360 at Ashley Road and High Road, and Whitbread's, with c. 250 at their bottling depot. London Transport had a staff, including bus crews, of c. 710 at its Tottenham garage and 420 at its Wood Green garage. (fn. 140)


  • 1. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 129.
  • 2. Except where otherwise stated, the following 8 paras. are based on D. Moss and I. Murray, 'Land and Labour in 14th cent. Tottenham', T.L.M.A.S. xxiv. 199-220, and 'A 15th-cent. Mdx. Terrier', T.L.M.A.S. xxv. 285-94.
  • 3. C 132/16/7. The extent is largely transl. in Robinson, Tottenham, i. 163-4.
  • 4. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 5. See p. 336.
  • 6. A custumal of 1457-8 is transl. in Robinson, Tottenham, i. 186-96.
  • 7. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9 f. 146.
  • 8. M.R.O., Acc. 695/14.
  • 9. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9 f. 142.
  • 10. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 190.
  • 11. Tottenham Man. Rolls (1377-99), iv.
  • 12. Ibid. (1318-77), xi-xii.
  • 13. Robinson, Tottenham, map of 1619.
  • 14. Cal. Pat. 1350-4, 158.
  • 15. Ibid. 1401-5, 361.
  • 16. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/94.
  • 17. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9 f. 150.
  • 18. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 19. Ibid.
  • 20. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9 ff. 125-39.
  • 21. e.g. M.R.O., Acc. 695/1 f. 20v.
  • 22. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9 f. 140.
  • 23. M.R.O., Acc. 1016/470, /471.
  • 24. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9 f. 17.
  • 25. M.R.O., Acc. 695/1 f. 554.
  • 26. Fisk, Tottenham, ii. 44, 341.
  • 27. M.R.O., Acc. 1016/472, /473.
  • 28. D.N.B.
  • 29. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 30. Except where otherwise stated, the para. is based on M.R.O., Acc. 695/9.
  • 31. See p. 331.
  • 32. Prob. 11/125 (P.C.C. 24 Rudd, will of Ric. Candler), /141 (P.C.C. 4 Swann, will of Eliz. Candler); Robinson, Tottenham, ii. 41-3.
  • 33. M.R.O., Acc. 695/1 f. 88.
  • 34. Ex inf. the archivist, Haringey L.B.
  • 35. T. Milne, Plan of . . . London and Westminster, circumjacent towns and parishes (1800).
  • 36. Middleton, View, table facing p. 560.
  • 37. M.A.F. 68/250, /1276, /1846, /2416.
  • 38. Robinson, Tottenham, map of 1619.
  • 39. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9 f. 65.
  • 40. Ex inf. Mr. J. H. Harvey.
  • 41. Partics. in Robinson, Tottenham, i. 26-30.
  • 42. J. H. Harvey, 'Nurseries on Milne's Land-Use Map', T.L.M.A.S. xxiv. 193-4.
  • 43. Milne, Plan (1800).
  • 44. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. NE., NW. (1863-9, 1894-6, and 1920 edns.).
  • 45. M.A.F. 68/250; M.A.F. 68/1276; M.A.F. 68/1846; M.A.F. 68/2416.
  • 46. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. NE., NW. (1894-6 and 1920 edns.).
  • 47. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1933).
  • 48. See p. 339.
  • 49. Ex inf. Chief Supt. of Parks, Haringey L.B.
  • 50. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. NE., NW. (1920 edn.).
  • 51. D. H. Smith, 'Industrialization of Greater Lond.' (Lond. Univ. Ph.D thesis, 1932), 59-60.
  • 52. Ex inf. Chief Supt. of Parks.
  • 53. Bruce Castle Mus., 961 [cutting].
  • 54. O.S. Maps TQ 29 SE., 39 SW. (1962-8 edn.).
  • 55. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 129.
  • 56. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, p. 141; v, p. 230.
  • 57. Cal. Pat. 1494-1509, 535.
  • 58. C 142/47/64.
  • 59. L. & P. Hen. VIII, iv(3), p. 2857.
  • 60. Ibid. xix(1), p. 495.
  • 61. See p. 331.
  • 62. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 63. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/76 (TS. transl. p. 9).
  • 64. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 65. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9, ff. 2-5 and Robinson, Tottenham, map of 1619.
  • 66. W. J. Roe, Ancient Tottenham, 107.
  • 67. Rocque, Map of Mdx. (1754).
  • 68. M.R.O., Acc. 1016/475.
  • 69. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 50-55 and map of 1818.
  • 70. Fisk, Tottenham, ii. 182.
  • 71. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. NW. (1863-9 and later edns.).
  • 72. Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, p. 428; ix, p. 113.
  • 73. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 129.
  • 74. Cal. Inq. p.m. xiv, p. 35.
  • 75. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/90.
  • 76. Tottenham Man. Rolls (1510-31), 243.
  • 77. Ibid. (1547-58), 151.
  • 78. Bruce Castle Mus., MR/121.
  • 79. M.R.O., Acc. 695/9, ff. 27-9; Robinson, Tottenham, map of 1619.
  • 80. M.R.O., Acc. 695/1, f. 88.
  • 81. A. H. Shorter, Paper Mills and Paper Making in Eng., 48, 86, 213.
  • 82. M.R.O., Acc. 1016/475; Shorter, op. cit. 213.
  • 83. Except where otherwise stated, the rest of the section is based on Robinson, Tottenham, i. 136-7.
  • 84. See plate facing p. 240.
  • 85. Pigot's Gen Dir. (1824), 74.
  • 86. Mrs. J. W. Couchman, Reminiscences of Tottenham, 16.
  • 87. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XII. NE. (1920 edn.).
  • 88. See p. 308.
  • 89. Oldfield and Dyson, Hist. Tottenham, 38-9.
  • 90. F. H. Fenton, Some Recent Work on Tottenham Man. Rolls (Edmonton Hund. Hist. Soc. 1961), 12. The entries are transcribed in D. Avery, Poverty and Philanthropy in Tottenham (ibid. 1963), 21.
  • 91. Oxford Bk. of Light Verse, ed. W. H. Auden, 42.
  • 92. Tottenham Man. Rolls (1510-31), p. v.
  • 93. Roe, Ancient Tottenham, 104.
  • 94. M.R.O., Acc. 564/76.
  • 95. Fisk, Tottenham, ii. 185.
  • 96. Pigot's Com. Dir. Six Home Cnties. (1832-4); P.O. Dir. Six Home Cnties. (1845).
  • 97. Robinson, Tottenham, map of 1818.
  • 98. Bruce Castle Mus., D/PT/102A/3, p. 185, and Tottenham Tithe Apportionment Map.
  • 99. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. SE., NE., and NW. (1863-9 and later edns.).
  • 100. Tottenham, Official Guide [1934].
  • 101. The figures are taken from the burial regs.: D. Avery, 'Male Occupations in a rural Mdx. par.' Local Pop. Studies Mag. and Newsletter, ii. 29-35.
  • 102. D. H. Smith, 'Recent Industrialization of Greater Lond.' (Lond. Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1932), 47.
  • 103. Census, 1801-31; Pigot's Com. Dir. (1832-4).
  • 104. Pigot's Gen Dir. (1824); P.O. Dir. (1845).
  • 105. See pp. 336, 332.
  • 106. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 68-9; Bruce Castle Mus., D/PT/102A/3, pp. 24, 67.
  • 107. Mrs. J. W. Couchman, Reminiscences of Tottenham, 53.
  • 108. Robinson, Tottenham, i. 66-8.
  • 109. Lond. Caoutchouc Co. Act, 7 Wm. IV & I Vic. c. 132 (Local and Personal).
  • 110. Kelly's Dir. Essex, Herts. and Mdx. (1890).
  • 111. Fisk, Tottenham, ii. 200.
  • 112. Pigot's Gen. Dir. (1824); P.O. Dir. (1845).
  • 113. P.O. Dir. Mdx. (1862); Tottenham and Edmonton Advertiser, 1025.
  • 114. Kelly's Dir. (1890).
  • 115. Biog. Cat. Lond. Friends' Inst. (1888), 836; see p. 376.
  • 116. Ex inf. Whitbread & Co. Ltd.
  • 117. Kelly's Dir. (1908); P.O. Dir. Lond. (1952).
  • 118. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. NE., NW. (1863-9 edn.).
  • 119. Smith, 'Industrialization of Grtr. Lond.' 47.
  • 120. Urban Develop. of Haringey Area (Haringey L.B., Local Hist. Occasional Papers, 1973), 4.
  • 121. Smith, op. cit. 57.
  • 122. O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. NW. (1863-9 edn.).
  • 123. Ex inf. Barratt & Co. Ltd.
  • 124. Except where otherwise stated, the para. is based on Smith, op. cit. 57-8; O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. NE., NW. (1920 edn.); Haringey Guide [1972].
  • 125. J. Evans, The Endless Web, 185.
  • 126. Ex inf. Kolok Div., Ozalid Co. Ltd.
  • 127. Ex inf. Engl. Abrasives Ltd.
  • 128. Ex inf. Edw. Barber & Co.
  • 129. Ex inf. Maynards Ltd.
  • 130. Ex inf. Heenan Spark Ltd.
  • 131. Except where otherwise stated, the foll. two paras. are based on O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XII. NE., NW. (1920 edn.); 1/25,000, TQ 38, 39 (1951-2 edn.); 6", TQ 39 SE., SW., TQ 38 NW. (1968 edn.); P.O. Dirs. Lond. (1952-70).
  • 132. Ex inf. Wonder Bakery, Wood Green.
  • 133. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Mdx. XII. 3 (1935 revn.); P.O. Dir. Lond. (1949); ex inf. British Oxygen Co. Ltd.
  • 134. Builder, clvii. 110; ex inf. Keith Blackman Ltd.
  • 135. Ex inf. Harris Lebus Ltd.
  • 136. Ex inf. Gestetner Ltd.
  • 137. Ex inf. John Dickinson & Co. Ltd.
  • 138. P.O. Dirs. Lond.
  • 139. The section is based on inf. supplied by the cos.
  • 140. Ex inf. L.T.E.