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Crouch End is an area of north Londonmarker, in the London Borough of Haringeymarker.

Location

View north from Crouch End Hill towards Crouch End Broadway.
Crouch End is in a valley between Harringaymarker to the east, Hornseymarker, Muswell Hillmarker and Wood Greenmarker to the north, Finsbury Parkmarker and Archwaymarker to the south and Highgatemarker to the west.

The locale

Crouch End has a busy town centre with many shops and restaurants. A large number of open green spaces give the area a green aspect. To the immediate west, it is bounded by Highgate Woodmarker, and the adjacent Queen's Woodmarker, as well as a large expanse of playing fields. To the north is Alexandra Parkmarker and to the south Finsbury Parkmarker. 'The Parkland Walkmarker', a former railway line, connects these two parks. Other parks in the area include Stationer's Park and Priory Park.

History

Crouch End grew up as a hamlet on the old medieval route from London to the north. At this time it was governed as part of Hornsey which became a parish in around 1300. This heavily wooded area contained farms and villas, one of which was Crouch Hall, probably built in 1681 at the crossroads of what came to be known as Crouch End.

Crouch End remained rural until around 1880, probably because of the lack of adequate sewerage. Large parts remained in private ownership, inhibiting development.

But the railway was to change the area significantly. By 1887 there were seven nearby railway stations. Crouch End became a prosperous middle class suburb due to an influx of mainly clerical workers who could easily commute to the city. The large old houses were replaced by comfortable middle class housing and public parks were opened and number of new roads and avenues, such as Elder Avenue and Weston Park were laid out.

It expanded greatly in the late Victorian period and most of its present-day streets were built up in the late 19th century.

By the mid-1930s Crouch End was a solid, middle-class Middlesexmarker borough with a thriving and popular shopping centre that included an Opera House in the middle of Topsfield Parade.

Until 1965 it was administratively part of the Municipal Borough of Hornseymarker and that body's forerunners. In 1965, when local government in London was reorganised Hornsey merged with the Municipal Borough of Tottenhammarker and Crouch End became part of London Borough of Haringeymarker.

In the post war years Crouch End reverted to a more mixed social grouping and the London wide provision of social housing saw the growth of council homes in and around Crouch End into Hornsey Vale (known as Abyssinia) and Hornsey Village itself. Many of the houses in the area lay empty post war and many were 'bought' cheaply by speculative landlords who then let them out to the growing student populations of the Mountview and Hornsey Art Colleges. The area became known as a student bedsit land for several decades into the early 80's until gentrification of the area changed the social profile and it became progressively more middle class. Eventually many houses became so highly priced that the working class profile became slowly marginalised and their children unable to afford to live in the area moved away. These social changes could be seen by the changes in the shop types over the period, gentrification brought estate agents en masse until the pace slowed and this was replaced by up market establishments and pavement type cafes.

Notable buildings

Hornsey Town Hall is in the centre of Crouch End
A brick clock-tower dominates the junction of Crouch End Broadway
Among its more prominent buildings is the strikingly modernistic Hornsey Town Hallmarker, built by the Municipal Borough of Hornseymarker as their seat of government in 1933-5. The interior and exterior have been used several times as a location by the BBC soap Eastenders.
The centre of Crouch End is dominated by a red-brick clock-tower, built as a memorial to Henry Reader Williams in 1895. The stone placard on its base reads:

ERECTION BY SUSBSCRIPTION

IN APPRECIATION AND RECOGNITION

OF THE PUBLIC SERVICES RENDERED BY

HENRY READER WILLIAMS ESQ SP

TO THE DISTRICT OF HORNSEY

DURING A PERIOD OF TWENTY FIVE YEARS

JUNE 1895


The oldest building in the area, and in Haringey, is the tower of the former Hornsey Parish Church, St. Mary's in the neighbouring district of Hornseymarker.




Education

For details of education in Crouch End see the London Borough of Haringey article.

There is one secondary school serving the Crouch End area, Highgate Wood School in Montenotte Road is a nine form entry mixed school with Performing Arts Status reflecting the area's long association with the performing arts. Highgate Wood School was the senior school to the former Crouch End School based on the corner of Wolsey Road and Park Road, opposite the Maynard Arms. Additionally, in Hornsey Village, you will find Greig City Academy (formerly St David and St Katherines.) Haringey Council are also building a new secondary school in the nearby regeneration 'Heartlands' on the former Gas works land off Hornsey Park Road which is scheduled to open in 2010.

Crouch End Community College of Arts & Design, also known as CECCAD or Crouch End College, was set up with Social Enterprise funding in Spring 2007 - offering a range of short-courses including; web design, graphic design, video production, filmmaking & photography - venues include Highgatemarker Library and Hornsey Town Hallmarker.

There are a number of primary schools in Crouch End. Some of these include Weston Park, Haringey's newest Primary and Rokesly Schools. There are schools on the edges of Crouch End these include, Coleridge at the top of Crouch End Hill bordering Islington, St Aidans in Stroud Green, St Gildas and St Peter-in Chains on the ridge between Crouch End and Stroud Green and St Marys in Hornsey.

Local arts scene

Music

There has been a thriving local music scene for some years, Crouch End was served in the 1960's and 1970's by two colleges the Mountview Theatre and Hornsey Art College, student life associated with the colleges formed the focus for a vibrant student life and local public houses became live music venues, most notably the Queens Public House. A recording studio was established in Tottenham Lane associated with the band the Kinks. This in turn generated a continued interest in band formation and production and local musicians continued to play and work collaboratively giving rise to the formation of the Eurythmics, among others, in the pre and post punk phase. Following the gentrification of the area and the closure of the live musical venues the spontaniety of musical creativity gave way to a more formalised music production. Crouch End still draws artists and bands to the area based on it's historic associations with musical production. It is home to Crouch End Festival Chorus, a leading symphonic chorus which has recorded with Lesley Garrett, Bryn Terfel, Alfie Boe, EMI Classics and Classic FM as well as singing on the soundtrack for Doctor Who. They perform four concerts a year and also undertake scores of other professional engagements for concerts and recordings.

Hornsey Art School

In 1880 an Art School was established which in May 1968, as Hornsey College of Artmarker, became the centre of national and even international headlines. As with similar radical protests including the Paris Sorbonne, students and lecturers occupied the building as a protest against the ideology of the teaching methods. The building has now been enlarged and converted to accommodate Coleridge Primary School, previously located on the opposite side of Crouch End Hill.

One of the lecturers and leaders of the occupation, Kim Howells, is now a Minister in the current British government.

A private art school - Crouch End Art School in Middle Lane, was set up in 1993 and offered classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, pottery, stained glass and more, for beginners and for those wishing to enhance their skills. Additional classes such as creative writing, wine appreciation, student exhibitions, and children's art parties, ensured the school played an important role within the local community.

Arts scene urban legends

  • In the 1990s Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics had a recording studio on Crouch Hill. According to legend, he invited Bob Dylan to drop in any time he felt like it. Bob took him up on his offer, but the taxi driver dropped him off on the adjacent Crouch End Hill. Bob knocked on the door of the supposed home of Dave Stewart and asked for Dave. By coincidence, the plumber who lived there was also called Dave. He was told that Dave was out, and would he like to wait and have some tea? Twenty minutes later the plumber returned and asked his wife whether there were any messages. "No", she said, "but Bob Dylan's in the living room having a cup of coffee".


  • Artist Richard Hamilton lived on the Highgate side of Crouch End and is said to have taken visitor Marcel Duchamp to the Queen's Pub on the corner of Elder Avenue and Topsfield Parade.


  • Horror writer Stephen King once stayed at a friend's (Peter Straub) house in Crouch End. The legend goes that after asking for a good place to go for a walk he was directed towards the old railway line, now called The Parkland Walkmarker. While here he was inspired by the strange unsettling surroundings and the sculpture of a spriggan (a pan-like green man), which was pushing its way out of an old arched wall. King wrote the short story Crouch End, based on his visit to Crouch End, which was later adapted as an episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, which included the spriggan in the introduction.


  • It is claimed that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy once performed at the music hall that is now Holmes Place/Virgin Gym and that they stayed at the Queen's Hotel.


  • The local comedy club, Downstairs At The King's Head, is London's oldest comedy room. Many greats of comedy have performed there, including Robin Williams, Al Murray, Eddie Izzard, Jack Dee, Robbie Coltrane, Rowan Atkinson, in fact virtually every British comedian has performed there at some stage in their career. The club is run by Peter Grahame and hosted by Dominic Frisby. There are also music nights and Peter recalls one occasion when Dave Stewart was playing that saw Bill Wyman on bass, Harry Dean Stanton on harmonica with Bob Dylan watching from the audience.


Literature, film and television connections

  • Most of the movie Shaun of the Dead was shot here, with a fictional Crouch End Underground Station.
  • Stephen King's short story, "Crouch End", where Crouch End is an interdimensional portal. He chose the location because of a number of fantasy authors have lived there, including Clive Barker and Peter Straub.
  • Nick Hornby's book, High Fidelity
  • The introduction sequence to the television programme Peep Show
  • Andrew Riddles's urban vampire novel The Papyrus Voice is set in Crouch End
  • Part of the first series of A Life of Grime (narrated by the late John Peel) was set in and around Crouch End, featuring the indefatigable Edmund Trebus.
  • Will Self's short story The North London book of the dead.
  • In the Ally's World series of books, the title character lives in Crouch End.
  • Street scenes were shot for the TV series The Professionals in the early 1980s.
  • An episode of the TV series Poirot was filmed at the Town Hall in the early 1990s.
  • Anthony Horowitz's short story Killer Camera.


Notable residents

The following people have lived in Crouch End for some period of their lives:









Transport and local area

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See also



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References and notes





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