11 May 2016

Swain's Lane, Highgate West Hill, development of site

I have for many years been keeping my eye on the old garages at the corner of Swain's Lane on Highgate West Hill. It always pleased me that this sinuous low-rise 1930s building was still intact especially in the light of all the high rise apartments and modern shopping centres going up all around us.

The garages in 2008 – one expects a Bugatti to appear any minute
In August 2014 the plans for redevelopment of this site were published and businesses within the parade moved out. One lovely cafe, Forks & Corks moved to Archway but has had to close for a while during building works.
But nothing seems to have happened since then. It all looks a bit sad.
On a sunny day last month I took a few snaps for an update:

A hand car wash company was still trading at the rear of the garages. As the plans for redevelopment show, these garages will soon be converted into shops and cafes.
On the curved corner end a lovely old sign for an Ekcovision TV shop has been revealed
The Swain's Lane side of the terrace is all boarded up. I am not sure about the relevance of Liz Taylor's decorating skills; it looks like she is advertising Wall's ice cream.


  1. My Dad used to keep our car in one of these garages, from 1947 (when I was 3) till they moved from West Hill in 1985. I remember the way the doors slid on a curved rail and the wonderful smell of stale petrol (not everyone's cup of tea I'm sure, but I loved it). I have so many happy memories of the whole area, roller skating on the path between the tennis courts, the Heath as my playground and having to walk all the way through the estate and Waterlow Park to get to school. I often got rather wet as Dad would only go and fetch the car if it was pouring with rain and in those days there was no bus that would cope with the dizzy heights of West Hill! So different now - last time I visited I got quite a shock seeing a single decker swanning up. Parliament Hill Fields used to be a terminus when I was a girl! It makes me feel sad that all the old shops have gone from the West Hill end of the parade and sincerely hope that the new development won't look too out of place.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to share your memories, Mizzy. What sort of car(s) did your dad have?
    Yes, let's keep everything crossed that at least this little area of North London doesn't get homogenised like most of the rest.


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Thanks, Jane