Tottenham is very dear to my heart. I’ve never lived there; I don’t particularly care for the football team; but I’ve spent a lot of time around N17, and there’s much to love. Of course, from a neutral perspective, there’s much to loathe as well: Tottenham’s one of the most deprived parts of the capital, deemed to be rife with crime and yoots, full of drug dealers, thugs, gangs and the like.
It’s partially true, I suppose. Swathes of Tottenham High Road are chicken shop after boarded-up building after internet cafe. But the High Road’s being tarted up (it was shortlisted for the Regeneration and Renewal Awards this year) and look a little bit closer and you’ll see beautiful Georgian townhouses, colonnaded churches, dramatic Victorian buildings and history everywhere. I love nothing better than a stroll through Bruce Castle Park from Tottenham Cemetery, then down Bruce Grove to the market stalls and shops of the High Road, then further on past the old cinemas and libraries near High Cross to the bustling Seven Sisters end of West Green Road. A slice of life, indeed.
Sadly, Tottenham has little going for it in the way of charity shops. There’s a fairly average Sense on the High Road near Bruce Grove station, but what helps is the Mencap near Sainsburys.
As well as being a stuffed, sizeable shop in its own right (the books/music collections won’t muster much enthusiasm, but there’s always a goodly array of tat, or ‘homeware’ if you prefer), this is a furniture shop, and the biggest that I’ve visited in London. Whereas the Sally Army shop in Walthamstow is spacious and has a decent selection, this is a small warehouse stuffed to the rafters with fully tested electricals, myriads of cabinets, coffee tables, shelving and sofas, even pianos, computer equipment, printers, white goods. Definitely an early point of call when something specific is being searched for, then.
But whatever, I heart Tottenham and I don’t need charity shops (gasp!) to tempt me here.
Find: Tottenham @ Google Maps
Transport: Bruce Grove for Sense, White Hart Lane for Mencap, both on the National Express to Liverpool Street.
Consume with: Literally anything you can from Marmalade, the ‘homemade food cafe’ on Lordship Lane.
Visit: Bruce Castle Museum, Haringey’s local history hub and a spectacular building in its own right
Overall rating: three pianos