The railways of yesteryear

A brief history of Tottenham’s stations

Belmont Road Bridge Credit: Nick Catford

By Liam Davis

Last month marked the 180th anniversary of the railways arriving in Tottenham. The original station ‘Tottenham’ is now the modern-day Tottenham Hale, but when it opened on 15th September 1840, it had little impact to the area, which, was only a small village with very few shops and houses.

The opening of Marsh Lane station followed in 1842. The present-day Northumberland Park station, was later called ‘Park’, however, the modern day name was adopted in 1923 to reflect the growing ward development of Northumberland Park as part of the borough of Tottenham.

It wasn’t until the 1870s that Tottenham developed as a commuter town for people travelling into and around Greater London. South Tottenham Station was the next to arrive opening in 1871 on the Tottenham and Hampstead railway, but it was the arrival of the line from Bethnal Green to Edmonton that really set off a boom in the area with three new stations at Seven Sisters, Bruce Grove and White Hart Lane opening in July 1872.

The original station building at South Tottenham survived as a cafe until 2014 before being demolished as part of an overhaul of the now London Overground station, whilst the original station buildings at Seven Sisters and more recently at White Hart Lane have both gone. Bruce Grove station survives entirely in its 1872 form, a fine piece of Victorian railway architecture.

The history of Tottenham’s forgotten closed railway stations is fascinating too. There are two stations in Tottenham which no longer exist: West Green and St Ann’s Road.

West Green Station was situated on West Green Road. If you look carefully today near the junction of Clinton Road, you will see a dark stern looking wall. It doesn’t seem to be of much use, except this wall is where the railway crossed under West Green Road before heading into West Green
Station. Beyond this, as the train drew towards Belmont Road near the junction of Langham Road, you will find a railway bridge with no railway! A relic of the past, this carried the line towards Wood Green under Belmont Road. Today the bridge is virtually intact in its 1878 form.

West Green Station closed to passengers in 1963, most of it had been demolished by 1968, however, the coal office of the station building survived until June 2001 as a cab office before catching fire. It was finally demolished in 2003. Most of the old station land is now used as the main entrance to Park View School.

St Ann’s Road Station was situated at the junction of St Ann’s Road and Seven Sisters Road. The station building and what appeared to be a decapitated lamppost on the ramp leading up to the old platforms remained until 2012. The old station building had subsequently become a newsagent before being demolished. Today all that remains is foliage that has since grown, but next time you go past, have a look, you may spot an old station relic that others have missed.

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