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About Muswell Hill

Close to Alexandra Park and Highgate Woods, Muswell Hill is a comfortable mainly Edwardian north London suburb. Muswell Hill Broadway and Fortis Green Road, the main shopping streets, still maintain their historic character with most of the original facades preserved above street level. The area has a synagogue and four churches, one of which has been converted into a bar. Some parts have very clear views over London.

The Start of Muswell Hill

The earliest records of Muswell Hill date from the 12th century. The Bishop of London, who was the Lord of the Manor of Harringay, owned the area and granted 65 acres (263,000 m²), located to the east of Colney Hatch Lane, to a newly formed order of nuns. The nuns built a chapel on the site and called it ‘Our Lady of Muswell’.

The name Muswell is believed to come from a natural spring or well (the "Mossy Well"), said to have miraculous properties. The traditional story tells that a Scottish king was cured of disease after drinking the water of the spring/well. The area became a place of pilgrimage for healing during medieval times. The River Moselle, which has its source in Muswell Hill and Highgate, derives its name from this district; it was originally known as the Mosa or Mosella.

In the 18th century Muswell Hill was a scattered village consisting mainly of detached villas in large gardens. In 1787 one commentator wrote that nowhere within 100 miles of London was there a village so pleasant or with such varied views. Little had changed by the middle of the 19th century. One of the houses of the time was The Limes. This house occupied the angle of Muswell Hill Road with Colney Hatch Lane and was a three-storeyed house with portico and two-storeyed wing approached by a double carriage drive through impressive gateways. The large grounds of the house extended to Tetherdown and included a lake. Opposite The Limes was Muswell Hill pond and beyond that the Green Man inn, built of stone. Further down the hill past the Green Man was the Elms a squat three-storeyed house later improved by Thomas Cubitt standing in 11 acres, part of the grounds of which were laid out by Joseph Paxton. A short distance down the north side of Muswell Hill was the Grove, which was three storeys high and had nine bays with pedimented projections at each end. It stood in 8 acres of grounds which contained a 200 yard avenue of oaks. In 1774 the house was occupied by Topham Beauclerk. A little farther down the hill stood Grove Lodge, also in wooded grounds. Altogether there were eight properties in Muswell Hill worthy of note in 1817. This site is about the people in and from Muswell Hill in 1940 to 2010

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