If you've never heard of Fortis Green, never mind, There's not much there. And that's being generous.
Fortis Green is the nether world between Muswell Hill and East Finchley - it's both street name and district. There are a few early and mid-Victorian properties, some small terraces which might merit further delving - but broadly this is late Victorian and Edwardian suburbia, with a few slightly later mansion blocks on the main road.
If you have heard of Fortis Green, it's probably because this is where that quintessentially north London band the Kinks came from - and escaped from. Ray and Dave Davies were brought up at 6 Denmark Terrace, bang opposite the Clissold Arms, a pub which has been trading on the Kinks brand name with a determination which smacks of desperation. Though in this part of London, any USP is a USP.
Fortis Green has another claim to musical fame - Simon Nicol's Dad was a GP with a surgery in a local mansion black on Fortis Green (now apparently demolished) called 'Fairport'. Yes, the 'Fairport' of Fairport Convention, This wasn't where the totemic cover of 'Unhalfbricking' was shot - that was at Sandy Denny's parents' place in Wimbledon. And this isn't where Fairport played its first gig - that was, Alan Dein tells me, at a church hall in Golders Green. But this patch is more than a footnote in the story of Britain's best folk rock band. Respect!
Yet, look around the place - and the imposing police station is empty and semi-derelict ... just opposite, the street's oldest pub, the Alexandra, is closed and apparently squatted by some sort of Frankenstein fan club. What is happening to Fortis Green!
But as so often - if you wander around the back streets, there are delights to stumble upon. Even in forsaken Fortis Green.
Take a look at Keynes Close - a wonderful assemblage of thirty-four single storey, one bedroom cottages laid out as a mini-estate. These were built as homes for the elderly by the local authority back in 1947 - and seventy years later they are still being used for that purpose.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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