Crouch End: safe, sociable and stuffed with independent shops
- Credit: Archant
Crouch End is a hub for independent shopping and cafe life with a plethora of vintage and second hand boutiques and quiet residential streets lined with period property. No wonder it’s so popular with artists and their children.
Crouch End is a district within the London borough of Haringey. Its parliamentary constituency is Hornsey and Wood Green. Council tax ranges from £986.23 for a Band A property to £2,958.65 for a Band H property. ‘Average’ Band D properties would pay £1,479.32.
For a time, Crouch End paled in desirability in comparison to some of its more affluent surrounding areas – particularly Highgate – but as its image has changed in recent years, so have its house prices, and buyers are now snapping up many of its period Victorian and Edwardian designs.
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The average price of a two-bedroom flat in the area is £455,817, for a semi-detached home it’s £1,241,829, and for a detached house it’s £2,750,000.
Homes in the area were built in swathes by local developers and industrialists, many of whom called the streets they built home (look out for houses with special details or surprising pockets of extra space to guess which ones they lived in). The Victorian and Edwardian red brick architecture is highly evocative of this era of rapid urbanisation and many of the homes still boast at least some original features.
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Local buyers love the turn-of-the-century tiling, iron work and fireplaces and businesses abound in the area to help people restore or replace these features.
Crouch End has an excellent selection of local schools with Coleridge Primary School and St Gilda’s RC Junior School both rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. For secondary education, Highgate Wood Secondary School is a large mixed gender school with a ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted. Greig City Academy and Hornsey School for Girls are based in nearby Hornsey and both have been rated ‘Good’ by Oftsted.
Crouch End is in zone 3 of the transport network but has retained its village-like feel in part due to the lack of a local tube or train station. The nearest London Underground stations are Highgate and Archway on the Northern line; Turnpike Lane on the Piccadilly line; and Finsbury Park on the Victoria and Piccadilly lines. Overground services can be picked up at Crouch Hill, Hornsey and Alexandra Palace, as well as Finsbury Park. Buses are a popular option for commuting locals with routes heading to King’s Cross, Finsbury Park, Tottenham and Archway.
Landmarks and history
The famous clock tower on the Broadway was built to honour Henry Reader Williams, who was Chairman of the Hornsey Local Board for 10 years in the 19th century and was instrumental in securing funding to improve the area’s architecture and greenery.
Crouch End has a noted artistic heritage and is home to several music recording studios. One of these, The Church Studios on Crouch Hill, was owned by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics in the 1990s. When Bob Dylan was invited to visit he was dropped by a taxi on parallel Crouch End Hill where he rang on a door and asked for “Dave”. By coincidence, the plumber who lived at this address was also called Dave and his wife invited Dylan in to wait for him until he got home. When plumber Dave arrived home he asked his wife if there were any messages, to which she replied (so the story goes) “No, but Bob Dylan’s in the living room having a cup of tea.”
Shopping and culture
Crouch End is something of a vintage and second hand hub with an afternoon browsing the area’s independent outlets a retro fiend’s paradise.
For clothes, shoppers should head to Scarlet Rage and Painted Black, while vinyl lovers should check out Flashback Records for a comprehensive stock of second hand vinyl.
Vintage furniture and bric a brac can be found at Little Paris and Junk N8 Disorderly or, for new design, try Indish, which stocks contemporary designer furniture, lighting, accessories and gifts.
Specialist food and drink spots also abound, hardly surprising in an area renowned for its old time pleasures. Dunns bakery, Walter Purkis & Sons fishmongers and Morley’s Butchers are long-standing, family-run establishments. More recent additions include Bottle Apostle, for better than average wine and Urban Flowers, for the perfect finishing touch.
Eating and drinking
The Haberdashery is a charming cafe and restaurant which has won numerous awards for its fresh meals and excellent coffee and has a second branch in Stoke Newington.
An array of pubs service those after a decent pint. The King’s Head serves good pub grub and real ale and hosts regular comedy nights while the Maynard Arms is a gastropub with a large beer garden housed in an old Victorian bulding.
The Queen’s pub and dining room dates from the turn of the century and retains much of its original Art Nouveau glass.
Sports and leisure
Crouch End is spoilt for choice regarding its surrounding woodlands, with Highgate Woods, Alexandra Park, Queens Park and the popular Priory Park all nearby. The area is disproportionately well served for cricket facilities too, with Crouch End Cricket Club, Highgate Cricket Club and North Middlesex Cricket Club all based at the playing fields. Keen fans may even get the chance to watch national cricketers standing in on the odd occasion.
The annual Crouch End Festival is a renowned showcase of the area’s talents and lovers of choral music will no doubt have heard of the associated and world-famous Crouch End Festival Chorus, who celebrate their 30th anniversary this year. Comedy is also embedded in the village with the Kings Head pub – said to be London’s oldest comedy club – whose alumni include Robin Williams and Rowan Atkinson.
Good for kids
Banners is a longstanding Crouch End favourite operating as an all day family restaurant with a dedicated children’s menu and drawing materials and books on hand and turning into a casual dinner spot later in the evening.
Pickled Pepper books is a specialist children’s bookshop, café and events space with pre-school activities and an after school group with illustration, creative writing and book group activities and occasional author visits. Niddle Noddle on Topsfield Parade is a children’s emporium selling clothes, toys, books and party accessories.
Stationers Park is a Green Flag award winning site nestled between a Victorian housed community, local school and community centre. Children love the newly expanded wooden play fort