Hotspur Towers - The Marsh Lane End
In this latest collection of images of White Hart Lane from across the ages we concentrate on the Marsh Lane End. You may know it better as Park Lane.
There is a few more of the non-Tottenham games that we have hosted across the years and some Lane trivia. I was requested if I could include some information on the history of the site in the next collection. I’ve dug out what I can of the clubs earliest days at the Lane, with mentions going back to the seventeen hundreds, hope that’s far enough!
left - "Marsh Lane end" 1913
It was at the Club’s AGM in August 1898 that founder member Bobby Buckle stood up and announced that the club, just sixteen years old, was looking for a new ground as it was felt that they had outgrown the Northumberland Park site they were then using. Bobby stated it would happen within the next three years. The club at that point still had five years to run on their current lease. As it turned out things moved a lot faster than were expected.
The Weekly Herald reporting in the following January in 1899 that ‘rumours abound concerning the Spurs new ground.’ Charles Roberts the chairman recalled the events a few years later (1). He said that he had heard that a new football club was being formed and would play on the then vacant space behind the White Hart public house in the High Road. You must remember that this would be just a good defensive punt away from where Spurs were currently playing. Roberts decided to investigate and called upon the publican. He had recently moved from a premises near to Millwall’s ground and knew that there was good custom in football crowds. On being questioned he admitted he had not heard of Spurs (2).
After reaching an agreement with the landlord Roberts went straight to the brewers (Charrington’s) and within another 24 hours a lease was being drawn up. Just a year after announcing their intentions Tottenham were in their new home.
Roberts whilst pleased with the outcome admitted the club now had two grounds and little money. At this point the fates stepped in as shortly after this the club were approached and asked if they would be willing to surrender the lease to Northumberland Park. The club lept at the opportunity and within a year Northumberland Park had disappeared under new housing.
Above 1991 and right the 1960's
The history of the clubs new site has been traced back to January 1789 when the pasture land then known as Birds Field which lay on both sides of Marsh Lane had been leased as nursery or garden ground. It included an orchard, a brew house, stable, several cottages and the out-house in the High Road formerly the Hare and Hounds but now known as The White Hart.
Marsh Lane changed its name in the latter part of the nineteenth century becoming Park Lane.
Right - Another look back at 1913.
The records from 1843 show dwellings surrounding the White Hart. A chap called George Beckwith (3) took over the public House in 1859 and by 1870 had built greenhouses where he ran his nursery business. Which gave the site its more commonly used name at the time of our acquisition. He passed away in 1898 which would have led to the brewers looking for a new licensee. Just a few weeks after we first became aware of it in the February The Weekly Herald reported that that Spurs were expected to occupy the site on a fairly long lease at terms which were distinctly favorable.
In the next collection of images from the Lane we will explore how the club proceeded.
Left - Match-day crowds from 1948.
One of the first ‘non-Spurs’ games to be played at Tottenham’s new ground was in December 1899 only a few weeks after it was officially opened. Tottenham Schools overcome Finsbury Schools (4). Then at the end of the season Thames Ironworks (West Ham) and Fulham met in a play off (then called Test Matches) in the Southern League. March 1905 saw us host the Amateur Cup semi-final between two local teams Clapton and Ilford. The Tottenham Charity Cup, a competition for local teams which started in 1900 and had the incentive for the teams that the semi’s and final were played at White Hart Lane. This continued up to the mid 1960’s.
Schools football continued in the 1970’s and 80’s with the Bill Nicholson Cup. This was played for by Under 14 sides under the umbrella of London Schools. Various other competitions have been played out at the Lane since and include such ties as RAF Uxbridge V The Royal Horse Guards, Edmonton Police V Kings Cross Police, The Metropolitan Police played their West Midland rivals in the Police Association Final and Spitalfields V Covent Garden in a market traders competition(5).
Right - Queuing for tickets in the 1960's. The White Hart Pub on the left.
How times have changed, did you realise that the club have nylon string under the pitch which intertwines with the grass roots.
In fact if you laid the nylon out it would stretch around the world.
For more tales of White Hart Lane see - Hotspur Towers no’s 5, 16, 33, 58 and 3. Hotspur Towers - the Cockerel, The East Side.
As well as White Hot Lane and Talking Tottenham - At the Lane.
1- See - The Romance of Football, the 1921 history of the club.
2 - At that point both sides were in the Southern League. Spurs were in their third season.
3 - Amazingly in the 1980’s I was working briefly with a lady of the name Beckwith, who told me by chance her family came from the Tottenham area and that her family had run a brewing and nursery business. I have no reason to doubt her statement.
4 - The first non-Spurs game was rather special and we will return to that tale in the future.
5 - A number of other games and tales from White Hart Lane can be found in the articles listed above.
Thanks - Edmonton Historical Society, Weekly Herald, Tony Matthews,
30/10/2015 01:00:38 am
Nylon string under the pitch??? That's something unheard of
30/10/2015 11:20:14 am
I gather it helps prevent the grass being pulled out at the roots but I'am no techo-gardener
23/12/2017 12:51:38 am
6/3/2018 06:58:28 pm
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