This small building stands aloof adjoining the Sainsbury's car park just off Hornsey High Street. I suppose we should be grateful it has survived at all. But what was it? I'm not at all sure. A watch room? The lobby to a larger building?
You can see the coat of arms. These were the arms of the Borough of Hornsey granted in 1904 - two oak trees representing the woods which once extended across the area, and crossed swords borrowed from the arms of the Diocese of London. The Latin motto translates as; 'the better prepared, the stronger'.
The borough disappeared in 1965, amalgamated into the new London Borough of Haringey - one of the more unfortunate names bestowed on the new outer London boroughs. If you want to get a sense of the area the borough covered - though beware, the boundaries did change from time-to-time - this map will help:
This was taken from an early municipal publication, Healthy Hornsey. The area prided itself on being part of the northern heights of London and so healthier than the lower-lying (and poorer and more crowded) area to its south. As you can see, the coat of arms features in this publication -
The coat of arms also appears on the plaque on the side of Hornsey Library - the last building to be commissioned by Hornsey Borough before it disappeared beneath the waves of municipal progress. The plaque is in the shape of the old borough, which is a nice design touch.
But that brings me back to where I started. What was that building in Sainsbury's car park?
This is all that remains of Hornsey’s Public Baths and Washhouse which was built in the early 1930s on Hornsey High Street. There was a campaign to save it when planning permission was granted for the new flats and retail outlets. It was moved to its current location and one of the blocks in the Myddleton House flats is called Bath House Court.
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