Haringey’s heroes of past go plaque to the future

THE Haringey lives of two influential historical figures are to be commemorated with special plaques

Charlotte Newton

THE Haringey lives of two influential historical figures are to be commemorated with special plaques.

Artist, illustrator and cartoonist William Heath Robinson and architect and developer William James Collins will be remembered for generations, thanks to the green plaques.

Haringey Mayor Cllr Sheik Thompson, and John Hajdu, chairman of the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association will unveil the tributes at the former homes of Collins and Heath Robinson on Monday.

Mr Heath Robinson was born on May 31, 1872. He is probably best remembered for his numerous book illustrations and satirical drawings of outlandish machines and inventions.

The phrase "Heath Robinson contraption" came into common usage shortly before the First World War to describe complex machines that achieved ludicrously simple results.

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He also published two books, The Adventures of Uncle Lubin and Bill the Minder. He lived in Southwood Avenue, Highgate, from 1935 to 1944.

Mr WJ Collins was an influential architect and builder in the early 1900s. Among his major developments was Rookfield Garden Village, a group of spacious houses at the foot of Muswell Hill, similar in appearance to Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Set among communal green spaces and unadopted roads, his homes appealed to those who wished to live in a rural setting, close to the centre of London.

Mr Collins lived in Cranmore Way, Muswell Hill, from 1902 to 1911.

They are both being celebrated under Haringey's green plaque scheme, which was the brainchild of Mr Hajdu.

He said: "When I started to work on this project three years ago, I hoped I could persuade people to consider my proposals and make the idea happen.

"It is good to see that with the help of Haringey Council this scheme is now firmly established and will continue to grow. We are proud to acknowledge the contributions of so many famous people who lived and worked in our borough."

In October last year the first two green plaques were unveiled at the former Haringey homes of crystallographer and mineralogist William Barlow in Muswell Hill Broadway and the late ANC President Oliver Tambo in Alexandra Park Road.

Cllr Kaushika Amin, said: "London's contribution to the history and culture of this country doesn't just suddenly stop when you leave Zone 1.

"We're proud that so many influential people through the centuries have lived in Haringey and we hope the new Green Plaque scheme will go some way towards restoring them to the cultural map. We hope too that the new plaques will inspire future generations of residents.

"I'd like to thank John Hajdu and everyone else who's helped make this scheme possible, and I look forward to seeing many more green plaques introduced around the borough."

Plaque Facts

o In order to qualify for a plaque candidates have to have lived in Haringey and must have been dead for at least 20 years.

o Their former property must still be identifiable.

o All plaques are financed by Haringey Council and should be in the "Haringey green" colour.

o They have been created by artist Paul Jones from Crouch End.