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Saturday 15 February 10.30am - 4.30pm

Haringey Local History Fair

Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, N17 8NU  

bruce castle

Please note the new earlier start time: the museum doors will open at 10.30am, for extra time to browse the stalls and network, before the talks programme begins.

All are welcome to the annual Haringey Local History Fair at Bruce Castle Museum and Archive - a time to discover more about Haringey’s wonderful history and community heritage.

A chance to get involved, network and browse stalls from different local organisations from around the borough, as well as an all-day talks programme, showcasing the area's wonderful heritage. You can visit the Searchroom, see films and special displays from the archive and museum collections and talk to our staff to find out how to use the Archive Service and undertake research.

All-day Talks Programme:

  • 10.50am: Alexandra Palace Theatre - Did it Roar in the 1920s?
    A hundred years ago the Alexandra Palace Theatre was dark after its requisition during the Great War. Re-opening to the public in 1922, how did it fare in the Roaring Twenties? Nigel Willmott and Patricia Brearey (co-authors of the Drama at the Palace books (external link) will talk about this historic theatre.
  • 11.25am: Exiled: Sixty Years Since the Arrival of Oliver Tambo
    2020 marks two significant anniversaries in the history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement - sixty years since the exile of Oliver Tambo, later ANC leader, and thirty years since the release of Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected President of South Africa. This talk by Nico Blackstock, of University of Southampton and a local resident, focuses upon how these two events link to the local history of Haringey, the place where Tambo spent his exile in Muswell Hill and where Mandela came to visit his friend on multiple occasions. Using archive photographs, letters and accounts, the talk aims to illustrate a global history in our own local context.
  • 12 noon: The NHS at 70: The Story Of Our Lives
    The NHS has been a part of all our lives for more than 70 years now: it's where many of us are born, where we work, and where we go when we need healing and care. The NHS at 70: The Story of Our Lives (external link) project is collecting stories from across the country to reflect the journey the NHS has been on and the ways it touches everyone. Patients, porter, policymakers and politicians; doctors, dentists, nurses, surgeons, drivers, carers, paramedics, cleaners and admins - and those who use the NHS to stay healthy or in times of illness - we've interviewed all of these, and we're still going. In this talk, Peter Mitchell, one of the project's co-ordinators, introduces you to some of the stories we've found, what we've learned, shares some local NHS histories and where we're going next - perhaps your story?
  • 12.35pm: The 1840 Revolution: Rowland Hill’s Uniform Penny Post Delivered 180 Years Ago
    It is 180 years since the world’s first postage stamp - the Penny Black - was created. Introduced by Sir Rowland Hill of Bruce Castle - former headmaster of Bruce Castle School and Great Britain's postal reformer - the Penny Post system was revolutionary, transforming how we send letters. Join Jack Zhang, postal historian and author of 'The Origin of the Penny Black', ('解密黑便士') - the first book to be published in Chinese about the Penny Black - as we hear how the world got stuck on stamps.
  • 1-2pm: Lunch break
    During the break, enjoy our collection of short films to include: Looking Back 80 Years: Food Flash – The Ration Books are Coming; the recently-digitised HRH’s Own Hospital! (1932) - the new wing at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Tottenham; and The Farm: Narratives of Home a short documentary film made by Wendy Charlton (external link), a local social practice artist, with a Broadwater Farm estate resident.
  • 2pm How the Poll Tax was Defeated in Haringey and Across the UK 30 Years Ago
    Mass non-payment, non-cooperation and protests rendered the Government's controversial new local tax unenforceable in 1990. A look back at possibly the most widespread and effective grassroots campaign in history, in which the people of Haringey contributed greatly. What exactly happened locally, and what inspiration can we take from this today? Find out from those that were there – Dave Morris and other former activists from Haringey Anti-Poll Tax Union.
  • 2.35pm Two Hundred Years in the Baking: The Freemans – North London Bakers
    Baking in North London since 1820, the Freemans are a family of Master Bakers - now in their sixth generation. Landmark Dunn’s of Crouch End is their family-owned bakery, set up by Christopher and his wife Christina. Christopher’s great-great-Grandfather, Robert Freeman, came down from Brackley, Northamptonshire in 1820 on a hay waggon and started work as a baker in South Grove, Highgate. Join David Winskill, of Hornsey Historical Society, as he gives us a taste of this local family’s baking heritage.
  • 3-3.30pm: tea break
  • 3.35pm: Having a Nose for It: Political Lampooning in the ‘60s
    Sharing his jokes from 60 years ago, Councillor Sheila Peacock and Deborah Hedgecock (Curator) look back on the humorous artwork of ‘Nosey Parker’ - a set of six political cartoons commissioned locally from the 1960s onwards, with some dating from the Harold MacMillan premiership. The cartoons have recently been donated to the collections of Bruce Castle Museum. Come and find out who the cartoonist was and how he got his name.
  • 4.05pm: Cheers! Serving Pints for 170 years: The Antwerp Arms, Tottenham
    What was the Bruce Castle area in Tottenham like in 1850? Looking at original evidence of this still rural and village-like landscape, we discover a beerhouse in this growing community. Join curator Deborah Hedgecock as she charts the history of this pub through the records, flourishing from its beerhouse origins to the much-loved local, the Antwerp Arms – still serving the community 170 years on.

NB Talks sometimes subject to change.

The Fair will have stalls run by local organisations and authors in the Compton and Coleraine Galleries showcasing a range of heritage, art and cultural work from around Haringey to include:

Antwerp Arms Association; Edmonton Hundred Historical Society; Friends of Alexandra Palace Theatre; Friends of Bruce Castle; Friends of Finsbury Park; Friends of Tottenham Marshes; Goodbye Coppetts Wood Project (with Sense of Locality); Hornsey Historical Society; London, Westminster and Middlesex Family History Society; Markfield Beam Engine and Museum; New River Action Group; the NHS at 70 Project, Noel Park Residents’ Association; Radical History Network for North East London; Steve Amor - Artist; Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and Tottenham Civic Society.

Information, films, leaflets, artwork and publications on local topics and local history will be available from many stalls, alongside the following authors, available to talk about or sign their books: Geoffrey Barton - ‘Tottenham Outrage’; Jenny Brown - ‘Front Door to the Past’ (about Vartry Road); Paul Collier’s soon-to-be published book ‘Harris Lebus: A Romance with the Furniture Trade’ and sports author Mike Donovan with his new book ‘The King of White Hart Lane: Alan Gilzean’

The Tudor Tower will be open too, with artwork by resident art group Art2View.

The Café in the Old Kitchen will be selling teas, coffees, sandwiches and cakes all day.

Start and finish times: 

10.30am to 4.30pm

Event contact details: 

Tel: 020 8808 8772 | email:

Price details: 


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