Author: Julie, 21/07/2016
Tottenham is an area in north London; It is situated 8.2 miles (13.2 km) north-north-east of Charing Cross.
Tottenham is believed to have been named after Tota, a farmer, whose hamlet was mentioned in the Domesday Book; hence Tota’s hamlet became Tottenham. It was recorded in the Domesday Book as Toteham.
When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, about 70 families lived within the area of the manor, mostly labourers working for the Lord of the Manor. A humorous poem entitled the Tournament of Tottenham, written around 1400, describes a mock-battle between peasants vying for the reeve’s daughter.
From the Tudor period onwards, Tottenham became a popular recreation and leisure destination for wealthy Londoners. Henry VIII is known to have visited Bruce Castle and also hunted in Tottenham Wood.
In late 1870, the Great Eastern Railway introduced special workman’s trains and fares on its newly opened Enfield and Walthamstow branch lines. Tottenham’s low-lying fields and market gardens were then rapidly transformed into cheap housing for those who were able to commute cheaply to inner London.
An incident occurred on 23 January 1909, which was at the time known as the Tottenham Outrage. Two armed robbers of Russian extraction held up the wages clerk of a rubber works in Chesnut Road. They made their getaway via Tottenham Marshes and fled across the Lea. On the opposite bank of the river they hijacked a Walthamstow Corporation tramcar, hotly pursued by the police on another tram. The hijacked tram was stopped but the robbers continued their flight on foot. After firing their weapons and killing two people, Ralph Joscelyne, aged 10, and PC William Tyler, they were eventually cornered by the police and shot themselves rather than be captured. Fourteen other people were wounded during the chase. The incident later became the subject of a silent film.
During the Second World War Tottenham also became a target of the German air offensive against Britain. Bombs fell within the borough (Elmar Road) during the first air raid on London on 24 August 1940. Wartime shortages led to the creation of Tottenham Pudding, a mixture of household waste food which was converted into feeding stuffs for pigs and poultry. The “pudding” was named by Queen Mary on a visit to Tottenham Refuse Works.
Our guide to Tufnell Park