I first noticed Holly House in 1968, as it had a stationer’s shop in its front garden. I was studying to become a teacher at the time at the College of All Saints, White Hart Lane, and it was a convenient place to purchase my materials.
By the time I became a Councillor for Northumberland Park ward in 1994, Holly House was in a dilapidated condition. I set about to find out its history and to see if we could raise the money to restore it.
I discovered that Holly House and its partner were built c. 1715-1720 and are considered outstanding examples of symmetrical houses flanked by coach house wings. As Grade II* listed buildings they rank amongst the 6% most important buildings listed nationally.
The two houses mirror each other. Windows suggest that the pair were meant to appear as one large town house. Narrow windows are placed at each end, while blind windows are placed in the centrally shared wall.
Certainly, this building was important, but what could be done to save it from ruin?
I learned that there had been an old council committee called the Haringey Buildings Preservation Trust that was no longer active, so I decided to reinstate it (to do this I had to collect the signature of Jeremy Corbyn, one time Haringey Councillor and then an MP). Once the committee was up and running again, we approached English Heritage and received £500,000 for the necessary works to be carried out on the outside.
Sadly the interior of the house had been vandalised and the wonderful fireplaces had all been removed, as well as panelled doors and panelling in some of the rooms. They were most likely sold and can perhaps be found in someone’s country house!
The Haringey Building Preservation Trust, which I chaired, had this house as its number one restoration priority and with the help of the award from English Heritage we were able to remove the stationer’s shop from the front garden and restore the outside to its former beauty.
The house and its twin have now been purchased by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Trust.
I am so proud to have been able to restore this important asset to the Borough.
Councillor Sheila Peacock