/ The London Traveler
London — By Andrea Kirkby on May 24, 2010 at 8:06 am
Filed under: architecture, featuredarticle, football clubs

Tottenham’s historic buildings saved

In the struggle for the soul of London’s built heritage I’m glad to report one success – historic buildings on Tottenham High Road have been saved from demolition.

Lancaster House - not one of the four saved buildings but a good example of Tottenham's fine Georgian heritage

Enter the villains: Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, a.k.a. Spurs. The club’s plans for a new stadium involved demolishing the buildings on the High Road, in order to create a huge plaza. (Otherwise known to Londoners as a big empty space where the wind can blow all those Kentucky Fried Chicken wrappers and plastic bags that lurk in the road.)

Now Tottenham is a place I quite like but you couldn’t call it a fascinating historic place. Still, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was a nice little village outside London, the kind of place that genteel families might have a house, out of the murk and noise of the City.  Some corners of Tottenham still have that little villagey feel.

The fine Georgian and early Victorian terraces with their browny-yellow brick, the small pubs and narrow houses, the gingerbread-house Old School and the conical-hatted well, are all important in giving the place a bit of character. There’s the old Whitebread Brewery, a severe classical building which I always loved as a landmark on my way home, with its cubic white clock turret poking up. Take all or any of these aspects away from Tottenham and all you’ve got is an urban wasteland with the A10 down the middle of it.

It turns out though that the villains aren’t quite villains after all. SAVE Britain’s Heritage approached Spurs  to work out a new scheme, and the club has cooperated to come up with a design that keeps these splendid old buildings and still provides the much needed stadium.

What’s ironic, though, is that by saving the Red House pub, SAVE has actually helped preserve a bit of Spurs’ own football history – it was the original headquarters of the club. There’ll be a few pleased Spurs fans today, I reckon!

Photo by Alan Stanton on flickr

Tags: architecture, featuredarticle, football clubs

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