Golden anniversary

Tottenham Community Sports Centre turns 50

By Luchia Robinson

Martial Arts demonstration     Credit: Stephen Furner

Tottenham Community Sports Centre celebrated its 50th anniversary with a family festival, full of sports and activities, last month.

The Mayor of Haringey, Cllr Sheila Peacock opened the festival to locals, and Tottenham Hotspur Club Ambassador, Ledley King was in attendance at the celebrations.

Mayor Peacock said: “I have been involved with Tottenham Community Sports Centre since it started in the old TA (Territorial Army) building 50 years ago.

“I am pleased that I, as Mayor have been asked to open their celebration of this wonderful centre, which is used by so many different people and so many different sports.

“Well done to all concerned for keeping this excellent centre still open and available to the public.”

Spurs ambassador Ledley King with Mayor Sheila Peacock and Chair of Trustees Malcolm Springthorpe
Credit: Stephen Furner

The former Territorial Army premises became a venue for sports in 1969 when, at the time, Haringey Sports Council was given permission by the Department of Environment to temporarily use the then defunct space, for sports activities.

The building was soon earmarked to become a drug rehabilitation centre but a community campaign and petition that went to Downing Street and was discussed in parliament stopped the development from happening. Having been permanently designated a space for sport, the site was renamed Haringey Sports Centre.

Kevin Lincoln, Secretary to the Trustees, Tottenham Community Sports Centre,has been involved with the centre for 50 years; he said: “Me and my friends used to run a football club, and when this place became a sports centre, after the army pulled out– we came here and trained.

“We were one of about 30 different clubs in those days, and it was us, the people within the clubs that persuaded the government to keep it as a sports centre.”

Haringey Council purchased the site at the request of Haringey Sports Council, who were unable to raise the necessary funds to buy it themselves.

Kevin said: “Haringey Council ran it directly from 1977 until 1989, and then it was closed as part of the first round of cuts in those days.

“Those of us that were still around from the early days, persuaded the council to let us take a 60-year lease on the building.”

Kevin, along with Chair of Trustees, Malcolm Springthorpe and others, set up the Tottenham Community Sports Centre Charitable Trust to manage the site, which by then had been renamed, Tottenham Community Sports Centre.

The self-funded centre, which is run by volunteers, has been managed by the charitable trust since 1990– it is now home to over 90 sports clubs. Kevin said: “We cater for all ages– from under a year old, in the toddlers group right up to the oldest who is in their 90s– in the Short mat bowls group.

“We think the sports centre is very important because we are the only sports provider in this part of north Tottenham, and we’re the only constant on the High Road. “Having been here for 50 years, we’re now seeing the third generation of families coming through.”

“We would dearly like to improve the facilities here, and it would be nice, when the time comes, to pass it on to somebody younger.

“It would be nice to see it continue to thrive.”