This narrow, and currently very yellow passageway near Bruce Grove station in Tottenham has seen a lot of changes in it’s fairly short life.

The alley leads off Tottenham High Road, squeezing in between two shops and leading to a road behind the shops. However, when first laid out in the early 19th century, it was a dead-end passage that led to a wider courtyard surrounded by houses.

It’s possible that the passageway and surrounding buildings were constructed by Mr Ives, as there’s a record of them being sold as a large plot of houses for rent in 1872 following his death. The auction details described the alley courtyard as consisting of thirteen “well built cottages”.

One of the later occupants of the cottages, at number 31, was the Federated Council of Suffrage Societies, founded in 1912 to set up a united policy and action across suffrage societies campaigning for women’s right to vote in elections.

At some point, probably it seems in the 1930s, the smaller shops facing onto Tottenham High Road were cleared and replaced with larger shops and flats above.

The north side is now Rigby House, while a larger former bank dominates the southern side, and if you stand on the other side of the road to see above the shop front, a rather fine Edwardian facade above the shop. The area declined though, and in the 1940s most of the housing to the east of the alley was cleared for rebuilding, although it took until the 1960s for most of that to be completed, as a war got in the way.

That was also when what had been a dead-end alley leading to a courtyard became a passageway as the houses at the far end blocking the passage were also demolished.

The eastern end of the alley now opens up to the sky thanks to backing onto a beer garden, for the Beehive Pub, which looks superficially Tudor in appearance, but actually dates from rebuilding works in 1927, when mock-Tudor was all the rage for pub design.

In 2014, the alley brightened considerably with the application of copious quantities of yellow paint and a mural of the alley’s name. This was part of a wider project to improve the appearance of the alleys that lead off Tottenham High Road.

They also pedestrianised the eastern end of the alley, which had been a small single-car parking space.

These days, the alley seems notable only for blocked drains, complaints about graffiti, and — as I spotted on Google Street View’s archive — a public toilet.


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