Tottenham (/ˈtɒtənəm/) is a district of north London, England, within the London Borough of Haringey. It is located 8.2 miles (13.2 km) north-north-east

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This article is about the district of London. For the association football team, see Tottenham Hotspur F.C. For other uses, see Tottenham (disambiguation).

Grade I listed tower near Bruce Castle TottenhamTottenham shown within Greater LondonPopulation 129,237 (2011 census)[1]OS grid reference TQ344914• Charing Cross 8.2 mi (13.2 km) SSWLondon borough Ceremonial county Greater LondonRegion Country EnglandSovereign state United KingdomPost town LONDONPostcode district N15, N17Dialling code 020 Police MetropolitanFire LondonAmbulance London EU Parliament LondonUK Parliament London Assembly
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51°36′18″N 0°03′29″W / 51.605°N 0.058°W / 51.605; -0.058Coordinates: 51°36′18″N 0°03′29″W / 51.605°N 0.058°W / 51.605; -0.058

Tottenham (/ˈtɒtənəm/)[2][3] is a district of north London, England, within the London Borough of Haringey. It is located 8.2 miles (13.2 km) north-north-east of Charing Cross.

Contents History Toponymy

Tottenham is believed to have been named after Tota, a farmer, whose hamlet was mentioned in the Domesday Book. 'Tota's hamlet', it is thought, developed into 'Tottenham'. The settlement was recorded in the Domesday Book as Toteham.[4] It is not related to Tottenham Court Road in Central London, though the two names share a similar-sounding root.[5]

Early history Dorset Map of Tottenham, 1619

There has been a settlement at Tottenham for over a thousand years. It grew up along the old Roman road, Ermine Street (some of which is part of the present A10 road), and between High Cross and Tottenham Hale, the present Monument Way.

When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, about 70 families lived within the area of the manor, mostly labourers working for the Lord of the Manor. A humorous poem entitled the Tournament of Tottenham, written around 1400, describes a mock-battle between peasants vying for the reeve's daughter.

In 1894, Tottenham was made an urban district and on 27 September 1934 it became a municipal borough. As from 1 April 1965, the municipal borough formed part of the London Borough of Haringey.

The River Lea (or Lee) was the eastern boundary between the Municipal Boroughs of Tottenham and Walthamstow. It is the ancient boundary between Middlesex and Essex and also formed the western boundary of the Viking controlled Danelaw. Today it is the boundary between the London Boroughs of Haringey and Waltham Forest. A major tributary of the Lea, the River Moselle, also crosses the borough from west to east, and often caused serious flooding until it was mostly covered in the 19th century.

From the Tudor period onwards, Tottenham became a popular recreation and leisure destination for wealthy Londoners. Henry VIII is known to have visited Bruce Castle and also hunted in Tottenham Wood. A rural Tottenham also featured in Izaak Walton's book The Compleat Angler, published in 1653.[6] The area became noted for its large Quaker population[7] and its schools (including Rowland Hill's at Bruce Castle.[8]) Tottenham remained a semi-rural and upper middle class area until the 1870s.

Modern era

In late 1870, the Great Eastern Railway introduced special workman's trains and fares on its newly opened Enfield and Walthamstow branch lines. Tottenham's low-lying fields and market gardens were then rapidly transformed into cheap housing for the lower middle and working classes, who were able to commute cheaply to inner London. The workman's fare policy stimulated the relatively early development of the area into a London suburb.

An incident occurred on 23 January 1909, which was at the time known as the Tottenham Outrage.[9] Two armed robbers of Russian extraction held up the wages clerk of a rubber works in Chesnut Road. They made their getaway via Tottenham Marshes and fled across the Lea. On the opposite bank of the river they hijacked a Walthamstow Corporation tramcar, hotly pursued by the police on another tram. The hijacked tram was stopped but the robbers continued their flight on foot. After firing their weapons and killing two people, Ralph Joscelyne, aged 10, and PC William Tyler, they were eventually cornered by the police and shot themselves rather than be captured. Fourteen other people were wounded during the chase. The incident later became the subject of a silent film.[10]

During the Second World War Tottenham also became a target of the German air offensive against Britain. Bombs fell within the borough (Elmar Road) during the first air raid on London on 24 August 1940. The borough also received V-1 (four incidents) and V-2 hits, the last of which occurred on 15 March 1945. Wartime shortages led to the creation of Tottenham Pudding, a mixture of household waste food which was converted into feeding stuffs for pigs and poultry. The "pudding" was named by Queen Mary on a visit to Tottenham Refuse Works. Production continued into the post-war period, its demise coinciding with the merging of the borough into the new London Borough of Haringey.

Broadwater Farm, the scene of rioting in 1985 Riots The former Bruce Grove Post Office was destroyed during the 2011 Tottenham riots Railway history South Tottenham railway station (November 2005) Governance Parliament

Tottenham the biggest part of the parliamentary constituency of Tottenham. The constituency was created in 1885 when the first MP was Joseph Howard of the Conservative Party. The boundaries were redrawn in 1918, and Tottenham was divided into two separate constituencies: Tottenham North and Tottenham South. Since being reinstated in 1950, it has been predominantly represented by MPs from the Labour Party, with the exception of Alan Brown who defected to the Conservatives due to disagreement with the Labour Party's defence policy at the time. The current MP is David Lammy who won a by-election in 2000 following the death of Bernie Grant.

Local government

Tottenham was at the centre of a local administrative area from the medieval period until 1965. The administrative area developed from a parish in Middlesex into an Urban sanitary district in 1875, after a local board of health had been established in 1850. It was then divided in 1888 and Wood Green became a separate authority.[17] In 1894, Tottenham was reconstituted first as an urban district then as a municipal borough in 1934.[18] Under the Local Government Act 1963, it became part of the larger London Borough of Haringey. The Tottenham neighbourhood is now one of twenty neighbourhoods in Haringey.

Geography Sub-districts

Because of Tottenham's long history as borough, the Tottenham name is used by some to this day to describe the whole of the area formerly covered by the old borough, incorporating the N17 postcode area and part of N15. However, there are differing views as to what constitutes the Tottenham neighbourhood in the present day. Many think of Tottenham today as most of the area covered by the N17 post code, sometimes using the phrase 'Tottenham Proper' to describe it and to distinguish it from the other parts of the old borough.[19]

Neighbouring areas Demography

A claim made by MP David Lammy in 2011, indicated that at that time Tottenham had the highest unemployment rate in London and the eighth highest in the United Kingdom, and it had some of the highest poverty rates within the country.[20]

Ethnic composition

Tottenham has a multicultural population, with many ethnic groups inhabiting the area. It contains one of the largest and most significant populations of African-Caribbean people. These were among the earliest groups of immigrants to settle in the area, starting from the UK's Windrush era. Soon afterwards, West African communities – notably the many Ghanaian and Nigerians – began to move into the area. Between 1980 and the present day, there has been a slow immigration of Colombians, Congolese, Albanian, Kurdish, Turkish and Greek-Cypriot, Turkish, Somali, Irish, Portuguese, Polish, Vietnamese, Filipinos and Zimbabweans populations.[citation needed] There have been major tensions between the African-Caribbean community and the police since (and before) the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot[citation needed].

In the 2011 UK Census, the ethnic composition of the Tottenham constituency, of which Tottenham is a large part, was as follows[21]:


Tottenham has been one of the main hotspots for gangs and gun crime in the United Kingdom during the past three decades. This followed the rise of gangs and drug wars throughout the area, notably those involving the Tottenham Mandem gang and various gangs from Hackney and all of the areas surrounding Tottenham, and the emergence of an organised crime ring known as the Turkish mafia was said to have controlled more than 90% of the UK's heroin market.[22]

In 1999, Tottenham was identified as one of the yardies' strongholds in London, along with Stoke Newington, Harlesden, Lambeth and Brixton.[23]

Landmarks Bruce Castle, the old Tottenham manor house, now a museum. (November 2005) The towers of the Broadwater Farm Estate dominate the western part of Tottenham Transport Rail and underground

The Victoria line has two stations in the area, one at Seven Sisters and the other at Tottenham Hale.[27] The line also has its operating depot in the area at Northumberland Park.[27]

London Overground services on the Lea Valley (Enfield Town & Cheshunt Branch) call at Seven Sisters, Bruce Grove and White Hart Lane. London Overground trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking line serve South Tottenham station.[28]

National rail services on the main Lea Valley Line (West Anglia Main Line), call at Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park, with services provided by Greater Anglia. The Stansted Express serves Tottenham Hale.

Should the Crossrail 2 scheme be approved, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park will also be served by Crossrail services.


Tottenham is well served by many bus routes. They include Routes 41, 76, 123, 149, 192, 230, 243, 249, 279, 318, 341, 349, 476 and W4[29]

Sport White Hart Lane prior to its demolition in 2017

Tottenham is the home of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur. From 1899 until 2017, the club's home ground was White Hart Lane. In 2017, White Hart Lane ground closed and demolition commenced to make way for a new stadium on the same site, to open in September 2018. For the 2017-18 season, the club played their home games at Wembley.

Tottenham also has a non-League football club, Haringey Borough F.C. who currently play at Coles Park Stadium. Semi-professional football club Hashtag United F.C. currently play at Coles Park.

Namesakes Tottenham cake

Tottenham cake is a sponge cake baked in large metal trays, covered either in pink icing or jam (and occasionally decorated with shredded desiccated coconut). Tottenham Cake "was originally sold by the baker Henry Chalkley, who was a Friend (or Quaker), at the price of one old penny, with smaller mis-shaped pieces sold for half an old penny." The pink colouring was derived from mulberries found growing at the Tottenham Friends burial ground.[30] Originally "a peculiar local invention"[31] of north London, the cake is now mass-produced by the Percy Ingle chain of bakers.

Notable residents Further information: Category:People from Tottenham References
  1. ^ "Local statistics: Office for National Statistics". 
  2. ^ Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, ISBN 9781405881180 
  3. ^ Roach, Peter (2011), Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521152532 
  4. ^ "DocumentsOnline | Image Details". The National Archives. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Mills, A.D. (2010). A Dictionary of London Place-Names. Oxford University Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-199-56678-5. 
  6. ^ "The Complete Angler by Isaak Walton – Free eBook". Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Tottenham Quaker Meeting (Religious Society of Friends)". Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "E.Howard, ''Eliot Papers'', 1895". Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  9. ^ The Tottenham Outrage. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
  10. ^ Tottenham outrage- silent film. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
  11. ^ Newman, K. Archived 8 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Brook Street Chapel". Brook Street Chapel. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "Bruce Castle Museum". Archived from the original on 24 April 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  14. ^ a b Transport for London (December 2017). Standard Tube Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 January 2018. 
  15. ^ Transport for London (October 2015). London Overground Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 January 2016. 
  16. ^ National Rail Tottenham Bus Map
  17. ^ Ferris, Ken; Lane, Wyart. "Frequently Asked Questions about the Spurs" (HTTP). The 'My Eyes Have Seen the Glory' website. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  18. ^ "Dressed in Simplicity: 300 years of Quakers in Tottenham". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tottenham. London Borough of HaringeyDistricts Attractions Parks and open spaces Constituencies Tube and railway stations Other topics Areas of LondonCentral activities zone Town centre
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by borough Fictional The London Plan 2011, Annex Two: London's Town Centre Network – Greater London Authority

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