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History
Muswell Hill is named after a mossy spring or well on land given in the 12th century by the Bishop of London to the Augustinian Priory of St. Mary, Clerkenwall for use by the nuns as a dairy farm. The well was dedicated to Mary and because it was said to have great healing properties, it became the subject of pilgrimages. 

Muswell Hill was once part of the Forest of Middlesex. Tracks along the higher ground were made by man where the views were better and the going was drier. The Romans came and left evidence of their stay in the form of coins found near Muswell Hill Road, and in the remains of pottery kilns in Highgate Woods. The extent and duration of their settlement is unknown, but a fort may well have been established on the Highgate plateau, with it's steep slope on two sides and radiating ridgeways.

After the Romans left, the hilly nature of the area seems to have held back the clearance of the land for agriculture. Woodland and its wild creatures flourished and became, as elsewhere, a feudal domain, in this case a manor of the Bishop of London. His hunting park embraced a large part of modern Highgate and Finchley. The southern boundary was contiguous with Hampstead Lane and Hornsey Lane, a demarcation which was also used between parishes and is perpetuated today in the boundaries of Haringey, Camden, and Islington.

After the upheaval of the Civil War, with great changes in Land ownership, the outskirts of Muswell Hill started to develop with nearby Highgate developing as a country town with terraces of houses and shops for the Click on Muswell Hill for Map of Areaprofessional men and tradespeople. Urban amenities included chapels of different denominations and numerous schools. Writers, academics, politicians, actors, and business people made their homes there. There are still to be found many homes dating back to the eighteenth-century and a few to an even earlier period.

Muswell Hill is situated at the eastern end of the Northern Heights, which fall away dramatically here. Its commanding views over the Thames and Lee valleys have made it an attractive place to live over the centuries, providing a rural retreat graced by woods and hills for those who could establish estates. It was to escape urbanisation until the very end of the nineteenth century.

The earliest recorded reference to Muswell Hill dates back to the mid-twelve century when the Bishop of London, who was the Lord of the Manor of Hornsey, granted some 65 acres to an order of nuns recently established in Clerkenwell. Situated on the east side of Colney Hatch Lane, this land contained a natural spring or well. John Norden, the Tudor Historian described how a King of the Scots was cured of a disease by taking the waters of this well, and in medieval times this well was to become a place of pilgrimage. The nuns built a chapel near it, "bearing the name of our Ladie of Muswell", and Muswell Hill became the name of the district in place of an earlier name. The chapel was to disappear with the dissolution of religious houses by Henry VIII, but administration of the land was to remain with Clerkenwell parish until 1900, and was known as "Clerkenwell Detached".

St James Church in 1842Distinguished residents in the seventeenth century included Sir Julius Caesar, Master of the Rolls to James I, and in the eighteenth century Sir Topham Beauclerk, an illegitimate descendant of Charles II who entertained Dr Samuel Johnson and other notables at The Grove. Nearby were Bath House, The Elms and the Limes, large houses which clustered near the the pond at the top of the hill. London's nineteenth-century expansion led to many Victorian villas in their own ground being established, marked by the profusion of mature trees and bounded by chestnut paling. North Bank is a surviving example. But most were to disappear when, in 1896, the vacant The Limes and the adjacent Fortis House estate were purchased by James Edmondson of Highbury, giving him 30 acres of flat land in the heart of the village.

Edmundson created a perimeter of shopping parades and laid out Queens and Princes Avenues. He went on to purchase Hillfield, the Elms, Wellfield and North Lodge, and to create a new suburb. Commodious terraced houses attracted middle-class residents. Another developer, W.J. Collins, simultaneously built over the Fortismere and Firs estates, and elsewhere. Between them Edmondson and Collins created within a short period of time a homogenous and unique suburb. Its shops and well-built houses, and its topographical position, continue to attract residents, and Muswell Hill maintains its reputation of being a good place to live. 


CURRENT CHARACTER
Muswell Hill's distance from any train station has caused it to become an insular community of elegant shops, leafy, Edwardian terraces and devoted residents. The population is known for its community spirit and is primarily composed of families, liberal, media-type professionals, and first-time buyers interested in its spacious houses and good schools.


COMMUNICATIONS

Tube: Highgate and Bounds Green are both a ten minute bus ride away.
Finsbury Park is a fifteen minute bus ride.
Train: Runs from Alexandra Palace to Moorgate
Bus: Several routes serving West End and City, one to London Bridge.

ESTATE AGENTS

Bairstow Eves Estate Agents:

(020) 8444-4143

Barnard Marcus:

(020) 8449-4215

Folkard and Hayward Estate Agents:

(020) 8883-2340

JH-K Estate Agents:

(020) 8883-5485


SCHOOLS

Top Primary Schools, Borough of Haringey (based on 1998 DFEE performance tables)

St. Martin of Porres RC Primary
Voluntary aided, ages 3-11
Blake Road New Southgate N11 2AF
020 8361 1445

Muswell Hill Junior School
County school, ages 7-11
Muswell Hill N10 3ST
020 8444 9011

St. James Church of England
Voluntary aided, ages 3-11
Woodside Avenue
Muswell Hill N10 3JA
020 8883 6540

Tetherdown Primary School
County school, ages 4-11
Grand Avenue Muswell Hill N10 3BP
020 8883 3412

Other Muswell Hill-area Primary Schools

Our Lady of Muswell Catholic
Primary School

Voluntary aided, ages 3-11
Pages Lane Muswell Hill N10 1PS
020 8444 9997

Coldfall Mixed and Infant School
County school, ages 3-11
Coldfall Avenue N10 1HS
020 8883 0608

Hollickwood JM&I School
County school, ages 3-11
Sydney Road Muswell Hill N10 2NL
020 8883 6880

Top Secondary Schools, Borough of Haringey (based on 1998 DFEE performance tables)

Highgate School
Independent selective, boys 3-19
North Road N6 4AY
020 8340 1524

Channing School
Independent selective, girls 4-18
Highgate N6 5HF
020 8340 2328

Fortismere School
County comprehensive, mixed 11-18
Southwing Tetherdown
Muswell Hill N10 1NE
020 8444 5124


PROPERTY PRICES

Flat/maisonette:

105,000-175,000

Terraced house:

257,000-650,000

Semi-detached:

300,000-750,000

Detached: 500,000-1Million+

COUNCIL TAX
Band A: 599
Band B: 698
Band C: 798
Band D: 898
Band E: 1,098
Band F: 1,297
Band G: 1,497
Band H: 1,796

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Barbara Roche (Labour)
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

COUNCIL
Borough of Haringey
Civic Centre
High Road
Wood Green
London N22 4LE
(0181) 975-9700

Political make-up: Labour 54, Conservative 2, Liberal Democrat 3

ATTRACTIONS
The North London Performing Arts Centre offers theatre courses and performances. There is a swimming pool and a golf course, Alexandra Palace has been restored for arts and leisure, and the Odeon cinema shows mainstream films.

SHOPPING
The area offers a good choice of everything from pizza and pasta chains to individual wine bars and brasseries, delicatessens, cafes, independent restaurants and a Marks and Spencer food hall. There are also original and new pubs and restaurants on the Broadway drag. Boasting local bookshops, toy stores, art, furniture and interior design stores, reasonably priced clothes shops, a Sainsbury's, shopping centres at Brent Cross and Wood Green, a 24 hour Tesco, and Ikea, Muswell Hill is one of the best shopping areas in the borough.


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