Friday, 6 March 2020

Fantastic Place - Finsbury Park (1)

During the early part of the second quarter of the 19th century, following developments in Paris, Londoners began to demand the creation of open spaces as an antidote to the ever-increasing urbanisation of London. In 1841 the people of Finsbury on the northern perimeter of the City of London petitioned for a park to alleviate conditions of the poor.

Originally to be named Albert Park, the first plans were drawn up in 1850. Renamed Finsbury Park, plans for the park's creation were ratified by an Act of Parliament in 1857. Despite some local opposition, the park was opened in 1869.

Yes, there really IS a park at Fisnbury Park!
It had been allowed to decay in the 1980s but efforts over the last few years have refreshed and rejuvenated it and it seems quite splendid now. It has a lake ...
... and a stretch of the "New River".
It has the usual offices ...
... and what looks like a nice caff.
It's not just splurging suburbia; there has been history in the form of an ancient pub on Seven Sisters Road ...
... sadly now a very impersonal block of flats.
There are loads of sports facilities including (on the western edge of the park) tennis courts ...
... elsewhere basketball courts and a running track. A few yards along from the tennis pitches is an intriguing footpath ...
... which leads to a footbridge across the East Coast main line just north of Finsbury Park station. There are some convenient railings, ideal for train watching!
The track layout here, together with the brickwork on both sides of the line, deserve further investigations, as does a branch-off path on the far side of the bridge.
On the eastern apex you will find the old main entrance, Manor Gates ...
... still in place but now at a very busy intersection. The gates are over there, honest!
Just to the right of the bus in the shot above is Manor House station on the Piccadilly Line ...
... typically with subway entrances at various corners of the busy junction.

To complete this railway survey of Finsbury Park (the park), we need to trot off to the north where we find Harringay Green Lanes station on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.
fbb was originally befuddled with this, trying to find a way in. But there are two entrances, one on the south side of the overbridge (almost hidden by the bus, above) ...
... where the station building is now the slate-roofed Green Lane Cafe. The other entrance is on the north side of the bridge ...
... all branded for overground, of course.
The station name has a chequered history ...

It was opened on 1 June 1880 with the name Green Lanes, but has since been renamed a number of times:
Harringay Park, Green Lanes (1883)
Harringay Park (18 June 1951)
Harringay Stadium (27 October 1958)
Harringay East (12 May 1990)
Harringay Green Lanes (8 July 1991)
There were originally wooden platform buildings, which were replaced by brick and concrete structures in the 1950s.
To cope with the huge number of passengers visiting Harringay Stadium/Arena, right next to the station ...
... very long platforms were provided, but these were shortened in late 2003 due to subsidence.

Station facilities are now much more basic!
With dog track cum speedway track and indoor facilities Harrigay was a popular and large muti-function venue.
It found great fame in 1954 as the venue for the very first UK Crusade led by the late Billy Graham.
All gone now, the area is filled with "retail facilities" including McDonalds and Sainsburys.
A tad further from the park is Harringay Station, a suburban service stop out of Kings Cross and rather well hidden!
We can bring this all together in the map below.
On Monday we will explore Finsbury Park Station which fbb visited for the first and last time in 1963! Of course, he has passed through, entrained, many many times since.

It has changed a bit since then!

 Weekend Oddmenst blog : Saturday 7th March 

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