Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Tony's singular adventures - Bruce Castle

Its time for another post of a previous 'singular adventure'.
This one was an adventure into deepest darkest Tottenham, to discover the mysterious Bruce Castle.

'The Bruce Castle adventure:'

After leaving Delargo Towers. I took time to view the architectural merits of the lesser manor houses ( note the exquisite window hangings ) and gardens of the area.

Then off into the unknown.
Tottenham has a surprising amount of parks and green open spaces. My journey first took me through Lordship Recreation Ground.
It was here that I stumbled on the first bit of history of the day.
The sad little cross with the poppies marks the spot where in September 1940, 41 people lost their lives.
A packed air-raid shelter took a direct hit on the night of the 19th. The death toll would have been much higher if not for the bravery of the police rescue team and one man in particular.

'Inspector Newark quickly restored a situation fraught with grave danger. He organized the work of stretcher parties and, with his men, worked for nearly three hours during a heavy raid. It was largely due to the Inspector's leadership and organizing ability that one hundred persons trapped in the shelters were rescued.'

In 1941 Ernest Newark was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) by King George VI for leadership and gallantry
Onwards to the park next door

Downhills park
The rose garden - worth a visit in the summer, methinks.

As I walked away from the parks in search of  Bruce Castle everything started to look a bit run down and shabby. Lovely (mainly Edwardian) houses let to go to rack and ruin.
Broadwater Farm Estate

 Things were not looking good. Thank you Google maps for the directions!

Just as I was giving up, there in front of me was...
Bruce Castle. 

...a Grade I listed 16th century manor house; one of the oldest surviving brick houses in England. It was remodelled in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Home to Sir William Compton, the Barons Coleraine and Sir Rowland Hill, among others,
it was converted into a museum exploring the history of the areas which constitute the present London Borough of Haringey and, on the strength of its connection with Sir Rowland Hill, the history of the Royal Mail.

Hence these in the court yard.
Sources disagree on the house's initial construction date, and no records survive of its construction. There is some archaeological evidence dating parts of the building to the 15th century.
The front may have formed part of a courtyard house of which the remainder has disappeared.
A detached, cylindrical Tudor tower stands immediately to the southeast of the house. Its considered to be the earliest part of the building
The tower is built of local red brick, and is 21 feet (6.4 m) tall, with walls 3 feet (0.91 m) thick.
In 2006, excavations revealed that it continues for some distance below the current ground level.
It was described in 1829 as being over a deep well, and being used as a dairy
North elevation.
 The Coleraine crest on the north pediment.

Well worth the trip I thought but of course the museum was closed that day!

With my journey all but complete I strode over to view the ancient parish church of Tottenham
It is one of the oldest buildings in the Borough of Haringey.
Built as All Saints Church in the 12th century. It was re-dedicated as All Hallows (all souls) in the 15th century.
The south porch is Tudor.

Unlike all my other adventures this one was completely on foot. Not a bad thing on a glorious, sunny, early Spring day but I was now starting to flag a bit. Pleased with finding Bruce Castle and it being worth the hike I set off to find a nice pint of bitter.
Then on the other side of these rather nice Art Deco flats I found the Drapers' Almshouses
And eventually...

The Elmhusrt. Now it is a Tottenham pub, and I did have second thoughts, but it looked nice and I was very thirsty!
It was in fact very pleasant, and had a very friendly barmaid but only John Smith's smooth on tap.
I sat in the beer garden in the sunshine and contemplated my day.

Tottenham is far more historic than I had thought and just like the curate's egg - very nice in parts.

Thence home by bus.
I will leave you with a couple of old prints.

Tottenham Church c1849
Oh and a map because we love maps
Tottenham 1844

T.T.F.N. Thanks for reading. comments and feed back always welcome.

1 comment:

  1. It certainly sounds like a lovely day - and one which I wish we could have shared. Hey ho. Jx