How many of us, when shopping on Muswell Hill Broadway, realise that we are passing the former home of one of the world's finest crystallographers? This pioneering scientist was William Barlow and his former home is now Sweaty Betty, the women's activewear shop at the top of Hillfield Park. Back in 1875 Mr Barlow was freed to dabble in science after inheriting great wealth from his father's building company, so focused his Victorian intellect on the geometrical enumeration of crystal structures. At the time it was widely believed there were only 65 spatially distinct crystal packing structures, but Barlow visualised three further enantiomorphous duplications increasing the total to 230 distinct space-groups. Two other European scientists published very similar results around the same time, and to be frank their proofs were more rigorous, but this did not stop Barlow being elected President of the Mineralogical Society in 1915.
It's hard to believe that Barlow first postulated the body-centred cubic arrangement of calcium chloride from the top of this street, even if he was applying it to sodium chloride at the time. We have the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association to thank for bringing his eminent life to our attention by means of a plaque, this being the very first unveiled by the chairman of the association back in 2007. Today we can only wonder whether William's spatial insight was partly inspired by his view across Stoke Newington and the Lea Valley, even if the towers of post-Olympic Stratford weren't part of his vista at the time. So next time you're charging your electric vehicle outside a windowful of snoods and dappled leggings, consider the local hero who helped unravel crystal physics with his insights into pseudosymmetry right here in the heart of N10.
Have you tried the Russian soul food at the Queen's Wood Cafe yet? Every Tuesday the organic and veggie dishes at the dog-friendly chalet are supplemented by the Rosehip & Ryepop-up, bring 'New East' cuisine to a shady corner of the upper woodland. Karina and Katrina are from Moscow and Estonia respectively and one of them used to review restaurants for Time Out so they very much know what they're doing. Yesterday it was dumplings, and this Saturday there's a special Nutcracker Immersive Supper Club, but mostly it's just Tuesdays. Admittedly I only walked past and read the chalkboard so my review is very much substandard to one of Katrina's, but I reckon you'll already know if you're vaguely interested or not.
One of the biggest problems in Haringey West has always been how to walk from one half of the Parkland Walk to the other. The northern and southern halves are separated by approximately one mile, as befits separate sections of a disused railway, so it can by somewhat dispiriting making the trek inbetween. Thankfully the Friends of the Parkland Walk have come to our aid with a laminated map showing not one but three possible connections so we can now make the selection for ourselves. The most direct route almost follows Muswell Hill Road but takes a parallel track through Highgate Wood instead. A more scenic route follows the Capital Ring through Queen's Wood, thereby avoiding most of the dull road-walking past Highgate station. The third option loops lengthily round the far side of Highgate Wood following the line of the original railway, near enough, but only go this way if you have plenty of time and don't want dumplings. Take your pick.
Highgate Wood In Autumn by dg, aged 11 and 183 quarters
The sky is blue
The leaves are brown
Long shadows cross the scrunchy oaken carpet
It does not look like this in summer
But at least it is not muddy yet
Here come the dogs!
The Muswell Hill Christmas tree is up! It appeared last weekend and is now brightening the corner between St James's and the Everyman Cinema with its lights and silver baubles. In 2018 there was considerable local embarrassment when local traders erected an eight foot specimen, their puny spruce downsized after insurance costs swallowed up much of the available cash. But this season's fundraiser smashed its £4000 goal and the Mayor of Haringey duly turned up to switch it on this Saturday, ably backed by a group of Victorian carol singers in ribboned bonnets. Perhaps even better, respected news service My London has described 2021's tree as 'giant', so that's Muswell Hill's festive reputation rightly restored.
Plans are afoot to change the bus service in Haringey West. TfL are now consulting on a proposal to completely withdraw route 271 and sort-of replace it with routes 21, 143 and 263. These days they hide maps inside separate pdfs rather than posting a coherent explanation on a single page, which is less than optimal, and they only do before and after maps so the mess above is my attempt at a joint summary. The plan is for the dead 271 to be replaced by a redirected 21 between Hoxton and Holloway Road, by the 263 between Highbury & Islington and Archway and by swapping over the 143 and 263 in Highgate. The 43 runs most of this road too, but mentioning this is beyond the remit of TfL's cartographers. The good news for local folk is that the 271's ugly bus stand at Pond Square will no longer be needed, and the good news for TfL is that they can take 13 vehicles off the streets.
Readers in Islington can discover more about changes to route 21 in their bespoke local edition, while readers in Southwark and Camden can learn of a completely separate proposed merger of routes 1 and 168 in theirs. Please reset your location to view this alternative content.