DEMOLITION OF UPPER SCHOOL
Unless indicated the following sequence of photos were taken by and supplied by Philip Nyman.

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This picture, by PAUL WOOD was taken in whilst the school was still in use, so I would imagine is dated at about 1985.
It shows the view from the south-western playground (bordering Creighton Road) and looking north-east across the school site.

On the right you can just make out the gymnasium storeroom. To the left of the picture you can see the school building has no pitched roof. this is where the roof was replaced with a flat roof following the fire in 1975.

To the left of this picture, but out of view would have been the west field and the V2 memorial stone.
This is the first picture in an extraordinary sequence which has been compiled with help from visitors to the site

This photo, taken on Sunday 23rd April 1989 shows demolition of the building has begun, and is well under way.

Taken from Creighton Road, the main building has all but gone. The gymnasium remains standing, and the east wall of the building shows where the `four-square` square was situated.

The extent of demolition was so rapid it was almost impossible to recover any items of historical value from the site, as contractors flattened almost the whole site unannounced over the Easter weekend in 1989..

Several items were recovered and are held by the trustees of the Old Grammarians Rugby club.

Again taken on Sunday April 23rd 1989 and looking from Creighton Road, this time towards the north-east cornet of the school site. The 1960 extension is still standing, as in the background is the caretakers house. This entrance is where in the 1970`s the ice cream van would park at lunch-times.
To the right and out of view would have been the east field, with its white painted running track and reasonably long grass, compared to the normally immaculate west field.

It was at this point that various bodies, including the Old Grammarians Rugby club, the TGS Foundation and the schools` Masonic Lodge became aware of the imminent demolition, and made some attempts to recover historical items, although they only had a few days to get what the could.

The same date (April 23rd 1989). Looking south-east across the west field from White Hart Lane, towards the Tottenham football ground.

Demolition cranes stand where the playground used to be. In the foreground the 1970`s woodwork extension blocks have gone.

Demolition of the north facing front is about to start. The V2 memorial has already been removed for safe keeping.

Looking this time across the east field towards the 1960`s extension block. In the background the `old` building which once dwarfed the extensions has gone. The unkempt grass of the east field shows how long since it was last tended by the caretaker and groundsman.

On the left of the photo is Creighton Road, where over the years hundreds of excited schoolchildren walked, making there way to the Tottenham Grammar School or Somerset Upper School, depending on their era of education.

Although many people thought the buildings were listed, in fact they never where, and it is that lack of foresight by Haringey Council which eventually led to the demolition of the buildings.

Its now the following day - Bank Holioday Monday (April 24th 1989).

This view is looking south-east from White Hart Lane, near the junction with Queen Street - towards the Spurs` football ground.

On the left is the `main` entrance and the offices of the School secretary, Headmaster and Deputy Head.

Seen through the gap in the middle of the two remaining buildings are the houses in Creighton Road.

Monday April 24th 1989.

The `main` entrance to the school building, complete with school crest, partly damaged and about to be demolished above the door.

Scenes like this were repeated over and over again as demolition continued over the next few days.

Although the building was of `Important historical value` the fact that it was not listed led to the complete loss of part of Tottenhams` history.

Whether this actual crest was `saved` at the last minute is unknown, but if anyone has any information of its whereabouts I would be interested to know.

Monday April 24th 1989
I can see over to the right in the distance the buildings of the old St Katherines School, which later became part of Middlesex University campus.

This un-demolished building is the toilet block on the north-east corner of the school, just beside the Caretakers house and the refectory?
The toilets were in the single storey nearest to the camera and the higher storey behind with the pitched roof was Harry Wright's art room.

JOHN BECKFORD WRITES:- In my day (1950 - 1954) this was the junior playground so I can vividly recall my first day there. I can remember skulking nervously around because there was then a tradition of "firsties" being baptised in the toilets by second-formers !

Monday April 24th 1989.

Looking east across the west field from the south-west corner of the field. Most of the buildings have gone.

The trees to the right line Creighton Road, and on the extreme left can be seen the council flats on Trafalgar Avenue N17.

Whatever happened to the TGS/Somerset School rugby posts?

Another shot from April 24th. This time looking north across what used to be the school gymnasium and main hall. The far side of the picture is Queen Street.

Rubble and ironwork litters the site in what used to be the finest school hall in London, until the fire.

September 5th 1989

NOTHING LEFT. this is the scene looking north across the school site from Creighton Road five months after demolition began.

The south sided school `car-park` gates into what was the south west playground adjoining the west field the playground still stand.

It was only weeks after this photo was taken that building work began on the housing estate which now stands on the site.

The orange sign is an advert from the demolition company Syd Bishop & Sons, and states "Watch it come down". A sight that many people did with a small tear in their eyes.

September 5th 1989

Looking south across the site towards the houses in Creighton Road. All that remains is a small `basement` which was once the school `main` entrance in White Hart Lane.

The complete site is cleared ready for council housing to be built on the land.

September 5th 1989

The same view across the site, but this time from the Creighton Road side looking towards White Hart Lane.

September 5th 1989

The whole of the building has disappeared, the demolition men have all gone home, and all that remains is to let the public of Tottenham know what is happening to the site of the once proud Tottenham Grammar School.

May 2002

This is how the site looks now. A housing estate `Somerset Gardens N17` now stands on the site of the old school.

The site includes housing and a large Doctors Surgery complex, as well as accommodation for residents of Middlesex University. It is these campus buildings in the north-east corner of the site that now houses the V2 memorial plaque.

*As a footnote, it is these flats which stand on the old school site that was the focus of recent (2002) news events, when eight year-old Victoria Climbie died from horrific injuries. She lived in one of the flats with her aunt.

Photo by Paul Wood

Two photos of Philip Nyman, who recorded the scenes of demolition in 1989.

The photo on the extreme left shows Philip in 1989, pictured outside the school main gates in White Hart Lane.
The photo on the right was taken 13 years later & is captioned by Philip himself: "Looking at my old notes, I must tell you that on Monday 24th April 1989, 2 days after I first witnessed the school being demolished, I returned to try and get a "souvenir" and take some photographs. I managed to get a metal window frame. Whilst walking around to the front of the school, I noticed someone with a camcorder. It turned out to be Dick Yarrow. He was rather angry how the school governors and council had been responsible for its demise".

© Paul Wood 1999-2003