1/10 Start outside Sainsbury’s at the top of Stamford Hill, N16 5LW. The Regents Cinema opened here in 1929 with a wurlitzer. Previously on this site had been Lion House situated in thickly wooded ground. The cinema closed in 1972 and was derelict for over 10 years; a campaign to make it into a sports centre failed. It was demolished in 1984 for the building of a supermarket.

2/10 The cinema had been built in an early Art Deco style with two adjoining blocks of flats, which remain. The one on Amhurst Park Road, Stamford Lodge, was home to 17 year old Melanie Coe.  She ran away from home in 1967, which was reported in the newspapers. Her story caught the attention of Paul McCartney and John Lennon who wrote ‘She’s Leaving Home’.

3/10 Walk Down Stamford Hill, on the same side of the road, to Beis Ruchel D’satmar school. This building was purpose-built in 1890 as The Skinners’ Company’s school for girls for 250 girls aged 7-8. This was a private school until it became voluntarily aided by the state in 1949. In 2010 Skinners moved to new premises at Woodberry Grove.

4/10 Walk on to Lubavitch House on the right, rebuilt in 1968 after a building here had been acquired in 1959 by this leading Hassidic movement, founded 250 years ago in Lubavitch, Belarus. One of world’s largest Jewish religious organizations, Lubavitch UK HQ runs nursery, girls primary and secondary schools and outreach programs.

5/10 On to Colberg Place. Until the surrounding streets were laid out for houses, there were no lanes nor roads leading westwards off Stamford Hill. The Hassidic Jews are not Stamford Hill’s first Jewish community. Between here and the next road in a house with 8 acres of land lived from 1816 to 1835 the prominent Jewish financier, Nathan Myers Rothschild who married Henrietta Montefiore.

6/10 Further down on the right is Montefiore Court. Rebuilt in 1969, it was the site of a house where Abraham Montefiore lived, a few doors down from his sister. In the 1850 and 1860s the house was the home of insurance broker Mr. Lancaster, his wife, eight children, a cook, 2 housemaids, a nurse, a nursemaid and a groom who lived in a separate cottage with his wife and family.

7/10 Before it was rebuilt, Montefiore Court was home to Stamford Hill Boys and Girls Club attended by local kids Marc Feld (Bolan), Helen Shapiro, Alan Sugar. Further on in 1933 nine five storey blocks of flats were put up by the Guinness Trust. This development, unlike the Stamford Hill estate opposite, provided facilities for residents.

8/10 No 51-53 Stamford Hill, built after 1831, are the oldest houses on the hill. Typically they are had big gardens, stretching back 300-500 yards. In the late c19th many of the large houses lining Stamford Hill became institutions or homes of ‘affluent tradesmen’. Vinegar merchant Henry Sarson lived at No 91. The Hamley (toy shop) family lived in Lampard Grove opposite.

9/10 Walk further down the hill, passing No, 45,once R Garwood and Sons, a transport hire company established in 1865. In 1930 you could get your car washed there for 4/6 (4 shillings, 6 pence). Cross Manor Road and walk past the houses leading down to the bottom of the hill  which were called Willow Place; due perhaps to willows growing on the banks of the Hackney Brook.

10/10. On to Abney Park Cemetery, at the bottom of the hill. You are in the valley of the Hackney Brook which until the 1850s, when it was covered over, was crossed by Stamford Hill over a bridge here. The first burial in the cemetery was in 1840; in total about 200,000 people have been buried in the cemetery. Occasional burials still happen. The entrance was erected in an Egyptian style so as not to refer to, and not offend, any contemporary religion.

Comments are closed.