For the association football team, see Tottenham Hotspur F.C. For other uses, see Tottenham (disambiguation).

Grade I listed tower near Bruce Castle
 Tottenham shown within Greater London
Population 129,237 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ344914
    Charing Cross 8.2 mi (13.2 km)  SSW
London borough Haringey
Ceremonial county Greater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district N15, N17
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK ParliamentTottenham
London Assembly Enfield and Haringey
List of places

Coordinates: 51°36′18″N 0°03′29″W / 51.605°N 0.058°W / 51.605; -0.058

Tottenham (/ˈtɒtnəm/;[2] local /ˈtɒʔnəm/[3]) is an area in the London Borough of Haringey, in north London, England. It is situated 8.2 miles (13.2 km) north-north-east of Charing Cross.



Tottenham is believed to have been named after Tota, a farmer, whose hamlet was mentioned in the Domesday Book; hence Tota's hamlet became Tottenham. It was recorded in the Domesday Book as Toteham.[4]

Early history

Dorset Map of Tottenham in 1619 (South shown at the top of the map)

There has been a settlement at Tottenham for over a thousand years. It grew up along the old Roman road, Ermine Street (some of which is part of the present A10 road), and between High Cross and Tottenham Hale, the present Monument Way.

When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, about 70 families lived within the area of the manor, mostly labourers working for the Lord of the Manor. A humorous poem entitled the Tournament of Tottenham, written around 1400, describes a mock-battle between peasants vying for the reeve's daughter.

In 1894, Tottenham was made an urban district and on 27 September 1934 it became a municipal borough. As from 1 April 1965, the municipal borough formed part of the London Borough of Haringey.

The River Lea (or Lee) was the eastern boundary between the Municipal Boroughs of Tottenham and Walthamstow. It is the ancient boundary between Middlesex and Essex and also formed the western boundary of the Viking controlled Danelaw. Today it is the boundary between the London Boroughs of Haringey and Waltham Forest. A major tributary of the Lea, the River Moselle, also crosses the borough from west to east, and often caused serious flooding until it was mostly covered in the 19th century.

From the Tudor period onwards, Tottenham became a popular recreation and leisure destination for wealthy Londoners. Henry VIII is known to have visited Bruce Castle and also hunted in Tottenham Wood. A rural Tottenham also featured in Izaak Walton's book The Compleat Angler, published in 1653.[5] The area became noted for its large Quaker population[6] and its schools (including Rowland Hill's at Bruce Castle.[7]) Tottenham remained a semi-rural and upper middle class area until the 1870s.

Modern era

In late 1870, the Great Eastern Railway introduced special workman's trains and fares on its newly opened Enfield and Walthamstow branch lines. Tottenham's low-lying fields and market gardens were then rapidly transformed into cheap housing for the lower middle and working classes, who were able to commute cheaply to inner London. The workman's fare policy stimulated the relatively early development of the area into a London suburb.

An incident occurred on 23 January 1909, which was at the time known as the Tottenham Outrage.[8] Two armed robbers of Russian extraction held up the wages clerk of a rubber works in Chesnut Road. They made their getaway via Tottenham Marshes and fled across the Lea. On the opposite bank of the river they hijacked a Walthamstow Corporation tramcar, hotly pursued by the police on another tram. The hijacked tram was stopped but the robbers continued their flight on foot. After firing their weapons and killing two people, Ralph Joscelyne, aged 10, and PC William Tyler, they were eventually cornered by the police and shot themselves rather than be captured. Fourteen other people were wounded during the chase. The incident later became the subject of a silent film.[9]

During the Second World War Tottenham also became a target of the German air offensive against Britain. Bombs fell within the borough (Elmar Road) during the first air raid on London on 24 August 1940. The borough also received V-1 (four incidents) and V-2 hits, the last of which occurred on 15 March 1945. Wartime shortages led to the creation of Tottenham Pudding, a mixture of household waste food which was converted into feeding stuffs for pigs and poultry. The "pudding" was named by Queen Mary on a visit to Tottenham Refuse Works. Production continued into the post-war period, its demise coinciding with the merging of the borough into the new London Borough of Haringey.

Broadwater Farm, the scene of rioting in 1985

In 1985, the Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham was the scene of rioting between the police and local youths following the death of Cynthia Jarrett, a resident of Tottenham but who lived about a mile from the estate who died of heart failure after four policemen burst into her home. The response of the members of the black community in Tottenham and surrounding areas culminated in a riot beginning on Tottenham High Road and ending in the local Broadwater Farm Estate. One police officer, Keith Blakelock, was murdered; 58 policemen and 24 other people were injured in the fighting. Two of the policemen were injured by gunshots during the riot, the first time that firearms had been used in that type of confrontation.

Tottenham witnessed a high crime rate mostly related to drug dealers and gangs. In 1999, Tottenham was identified as one of the yardies' strongholds in London, along with Stoke Newington, Harlesden, Lambeth and Brixton.[10]

The Mecca Dance Hall was demolished in 2004 to make way for local housing.

The 2011 England riots were precipitated by the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man in Tottenham, Mark Duggan, by officers of the Metropolitan Police Service on 4 August 2011.[11][12][13][14]




Tottenham is covered by the parliamentary constituency of Tottenham. The constituency was created in 1885 when the first MP was Joseph Howard of the Conservative Party, but was replaced by two constituencies: Tottenham North and Tottenham South in 1918. Since being reinstated in 1950 it has been predominantly represented by Labour Party candidates, with the exception of Alan Brown who defected to the Conservatives. The current MP is David Lammy who won a by-election in 2000 following the death of Bernie Grant.

Local Government

Tottenham developed from a parish in Middlesex into an Urban sanitary district in 1875, after a local board of health had been established in 1850, then divided in 1888 so that Wood Green became a separate authority.[15] In 1894 Tottenham was reconstituted first as an urban district then as a municipal borough in 1934, before being subsumed into the larger London Borough of Haringey under the Local Government Act 1963.

Today, Tottenham is represented by nine local council wards: Seven Sisters, Harringay, St Ann's, Tottenham Hale, Tottenham Green, White Hart Lane, West Green, Northumberland Park and Bruce Grove. Councillors in 8 of these wards represent the Labour Party, the ninth (Harringay) being represented by the Liberal Democrats.



Tottenham is a large area incorporating the N15 and N17 postcode areas.

North Tottenham

This area stretches along Tottenham High Road from the Edmonton border in the north to Lordship Lane in the south: districts include Little Russia and Northumberland Park. Landmarks include White Hart Lane, home of Tottenham Hotspur, White Hart Lane station and Northumberland Park station.

Central Tottenham

Continuing along the high road, Central Tottenham includes Bruce Grove, Tottenham Green and Tottenham Hale wards, as well as Tottenham Hale station and retail park, Tottenham Marshes (part of the Lee Valley Regional Park) and Bruce Castle.

South Tottenham

Further along the A10 road until St Ann's Road, this area includes South Tottenham, St Ann's neighbourhood, West Green and Seven Sisters. Transport links include Seven Sisters station and South Tottenham station. Landmarks include the Markfield Beam Engine and Downhills Park.

West Tottenham

To the west of the area are Broadwater Farm, the Tower Gardens Estate and Lordship Recreation Ground.

Neighbouring areas


The northern limit of Tottenham is north of Brantwood Road where Upper Edmonton begins. This is also the border between the London Borough of Haringey and the London Borough of Enfield. To the northwest is Palmers Green.


The eastern limit of Tottenham is the River Lea, and across the river the neighbouring district is Walthamstow in the London Borough of Waltham Forest


The southern limit of Tottenham is the junction of St. Ann's Road with Tottenham High Road, which after becomes Stamford Hill. The district of Stamford Hill borders Tottenham, marking also the border of the London Borough of Hackney. To the southwest, Tottenham borders Manor House and Harringay, briefly meeting the London Borough of Islington.


Although the N15 postcode area extends to Green Lanes, the western border of Tottenham is better defined as Black Boy Lane, West Green Road and Downhills Way. The neighbouring districts are Harringay, Hornsey, Wood Green and Noel Park.

Demography and crime

Ethnic composition

Tottenham has a multicultural population, with many ethnic groups inhabiting the area. It contains one of the largest and most significant populations of African-Caribbean people. These were among the earliest immigrant groups to settle in the area, starting the UK's Windrush era. Soon afterwards West African communities – notably the many Ghanaians – began to migrate into the area. Between 1980 and the present day there has been a slow immigration of Colombians, Congolese, Albanian, Kurdish, Turkish-Cypriot, Turkish, Somali, Irish, Portuguese, Polish and Zimbabweans populations. South Tottenham is reported to be the most ethnically-diverse area in Europe, with up to 300 languages being spoken by its residents.[16]

According to David Lammy MP, Tottenham has the highest unemployment rate in London and the 8th highest in the United Kingdom, and it has some of the highest poverty rates within the country.[17] There have also been major tensions between the African-Caribbean community and the police since (and before) the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot.

The 2011 ethnic groups in Tottenham are as follows:


Organised crime

Tottenham has been one of the main hotspots for gangs and gun crime in the United Kingdom during the past three decades. This followed the rise of gangs and drug wars throughout the area, notably those involving the Tottenham Mandem gang and various gangs from Hackney and all of the areas surrounding Tottenham, and the emergence of an organised crime ring known as the Turkish mafia was said to have controlled more than 90% of the UK's heroin market.[19][20]


The former Bruce Grove Post Office was destroyed during the 2011 Tottenham riots


Bruce Castle, the old Tottenham manor house, now a museum. (November 2005)
The towers of the Broadwater Farm Estate dominate the western part of Tottenham


Two London Underground lines serve the Tottenham area.[26] The Piccadilly line, which opened in 1932, has one station Turnpike Lane, which was the first Underground station within the then Tottenham Borough boundaries.[26] The Victoria line, which opened in 1968, has its operating depot in Tottenham at Northumberland Park, as well as two stations, Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale, in the area.[26] Stations Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale, Bruce Grove, White Hart Lane and Northumberland Park also serve the area with train services provided by London Overground, apart from Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park which is only a National Rail stations, however if Crossrail 2 gets planning permission to be made then both those stations will also be served by Crossrail services between Hertford East and several destinations in Surrey. Those two stations are on the main Lea Valley Line; the West Anglian Main Line, with services provided by Abellio Greater Anglia, while Seven Sisters, Bruce Grove and White Hart Lane are all on the Lea Valley; Cheshunt/Enfield Town Line which services are provided by London Overground. London Overground trains also serve South Tottenham station on the Gospal Oak-Barking Line.[26][27]


Tottenham is the home of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham have won the Football League twice, the FA Cup eight times, the UEFA Cup twice, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup once and the Football League Cup, four times. In 2010, they qualified for the UEFA Champions League, Europe's elite competition for the first time.[28] The club's home ground is White Hart Lane, located on Park Lane, rather than the road of the same name. The ground is named after the White Hart Inn that it was built behind, and the nearest station to the ground.

Tottenham also has two non-League football clubs, Haringey Borough F.C. and Haringey & Waltham Development F.C., which both play at Coles Park.


Tottenham cake

Tottenham cake is a sponge cake baked in large metal trays, covered either in pink icing or jam (and occasionally decorated with shredded desiccated coconut). Tottenham Cake "was originally sold by the baker Henry Chalkley, who was a Friend (or Quaker), at the price of one old penny, with smaller mis-shaped pieces sold for half an old penny." The pink colouring was derived from mulberries found growing at the Tottenham Friends burial ground.[29] Originally "a peculiar local invention"[30] of north London, the cake is now mass-produced by the Greggs chain of bakers.

Mentioned in films

Notable people


  2. "Tottenham". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. How to pronounce place names with "ham" in them
  4. "DocumentsOnline | Image Details". The National Archives. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  5. "The Complete Angler by Isaak Walton – Free eBook". Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  6. "Tottenham Quaker Meeting (Religious Society of Friends)". Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  7. "E.Howard, ''Eliot Papers'', 1895". Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  8. The Tottenham Outrage. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
  9. Tottenham outrage- silent film. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
  11. Lewis, Paul (7 August 2011). "Tottenham riots: a peaceful protest, then suddenly all hell broke loose". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  12. "Tottenham in flames as protesters riot". The Guardian. London. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  13. "Tension builds in Enfield Town as small groups arrive in area". Enfield Independent. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  14. Bracchi, Paul (8 August 2011). "Violence, drugs, a fatal stabbing and a most unlikely martyr". Daily Mail. London: Associated Newspapers. Archived from the original on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  15. Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Tottenham parish (historic map). Retrieved on 10 February 2008.
  16. JUMANA FAROUKY (15 February 2007). "Unity Begins at Home – TIME". TIME<!. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  17. David Lammie. "Response to the Comprehensive Spending Review". Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  19. TONY THOMPSON (17 November 2002). "Heroin 'emperor' brings terror to UK streets". The Guardian. London.
  20. BBC (17 May 2002). "Yardies convicted in torture case". BBC News.
  21. Newman, K. [ Police-Public Relations: The Pace of Change: Police Foundation Lecture 1986, The Police Foundation, 1986
  22. News report Retrieved 22 August 2011
  23. Archived 8 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. "Brook Street Chapel". Brook Street Chapel. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  25. "Bruce Castle Museum". Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  26. 1 2 3 4 Transport for London (January 2016). Standard Tube Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 January 2015.
  27. Transport for London (October 2015). London Overground Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 January 2016.
  28. Tottenham Hotspur at the Football Club History Database
  29. Ferris, Ken; Lane, Wyart. "Frequently Asked Questions about the Spurs" (HTTP). The 'My Eyes Have Seen the Glory' website. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  30. "Dressed in Simplicity: 300 years of Quakers in Tottenham". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
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