You might be wondering why there is a futuristic picture on a column that normally tends to trip through the archives. I expect you have seen over the last week that the Secretary of State is expected to make a decision soon on Haringey Councils plan to compulsory purchase some properties near White Hart Lane and thus help move the new stadium a little closer. Therefore it seems a suitable moment to look back at "The Lane" and a few moments in its history.
5- Lets first look at the Tottenham High Road. In this first image from a postcard dated 1900. This is from the south as you approach the ground. The shop blinds on the right are roughly where the Spurs mega store now stands. Just a year earlier in the summer of 1899 Charrington’s Brewery were planning to build houses on a plot of land they owned off the High Road in Tottenham. Beckwith’s Nursery had been used to grow flowers for the London markets. When the club offered to purchase the land from them. The brewery decided that the income from match day fans would be higher than the regular income from the houses and sold the land to the club.
That season we won the Southern League and were runners up in the Southern District Combination. With one FA Cup game that's a total of 45 games for the season.
Another moment in the Lane’s history worth remembering came with the Second Round of the FA Cup on 20th February 1904 which saw us entertain Aston Villa. Having won at Everton in the previous round Spurs hopes were high and a massive crowd was expected. The club installed extra seating with benches along the side of
It has been suggested that with Spurs trailing 0-1 they were trying to get the game abandoned something that had happened previously at other grounds and finally the crowd got their way. The FA fined Spurs £350 and the game was replayed at Aston Villa. A game Tottenham won with a goal from “Bristol”Jones. Known as Bristol as that was his previous club and we already had Jack Jones in the team. Sadly 'Bristol' died only a couple of years later from typhoid.
The first game with Coventry was postponed. The FA deducted two points but this was later changed to a fine on appeal. It was finally opened in time for the Arsenal game which we won 2-1.
White Hart Lane was taken over by the government during World War 1. The ground was used as a gas mask factory and a rife range. Tottenham would play their 'home' games at Highbury and Clapton Orient. During World War 2 Spurs played at the Lane and the East Stand was used as a morgue for air raid victims and the police stationed their horses in the lower levels. Highbury was used as an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) depot so this time we played host to our neighbours. On the 22nd April 1944 we had the strange occurrence of Arsenal playing their home Wartime League South game against Spurs at the Lane in front of more than 26,000. It was a 3-3 draw. Incidentally our 'home' game in December was won 2-1 as we won the League and the Football League South Cup that season.
Maybe someone out there can help! When I was knee high to a corner flag I was told that at the end of World War 2 the Arsenal Board said they would always have some blue in their badge to mark the fact we "had taken them in." Although I was told a number of stories which I found hard to believe at the time they turned out to be true, (I will save the dead parrot for another day). Except for this tale,I've not come across this 'fact' elsewhere If anyone else has heard it before please pass it on.
Images - Top -THFC, 1,3,4 & 5- Tottenham Summerfield, 2- English Heritage,
Thanks - THFC, THOS, Bob Goodwin - The Complete Record, Tottenham -Summerfield. English Heritage, Enfield Newspapers, The Daily Mail.
About the author:
Keith Harrison, Nilgiris, TN
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