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Lordship Recreation Ground, or the ‘Rec’ as most people fondly call it, was first opened to the public in 1936. The facilities available at the ‘Rec’ included the Shell Theatre, paddleboat pond and tennis courts. However, for many past and present residents of Summerhill Road, I suspect their fondest memories were of the ‘Model Traffic Area’ where many happy hours were spent during school and summer holidays. This was a unique facility for the children of Tottenham which first opened in 1938. Please refer to the following link to an article that was published in ‘Weekly Illustrated’ in August 1938: You could hire a model car or bicycle to ride around the mini-road system. Alternatively, on payment of a small fee, you could use your own cycle. There were also various pieces of play equipment sited within the landscaped areas of the road system, so that children were forced to cross the roads and thus encouraging road safety training There were miniature traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, roundabouts and even a miniature police call box. The Model Traffic Area has been described as a unique example of a pioneering education facility and much loved by those who had the privilege to use it as children.

Opening Ceremony ‘Model Traffic Area’ – Photograph Copyright

‘Model Traffic Area’ – Photograph Copyright Bruce Castle Museum
Bruce Castle Museum

The following photograph is a wonderful panoramic view of the Model Traffic Area dating back to the early 1950’s, and we are indebted once again to Bruce Castle Museum for allowing us to reproduce this picture on our website.

Panoramic view of Model Traffic Area – dating from the Early 1950’s

Note: The playground equipment sited in the grounds and also the old ‘Water Tower’ in the background which was sited in Higham Road. (Copyright; Bruce Castle Museum)

Lordship Recreation Ground

‘Model Traffic Area -BBC Television 1949’ – Photograph Copyright Bruce

‘Model Traffic Area 1947’ – Photograph Copyright Bruce Castle Museum
Castle Museum’

Model Traffic Area – Road safety campaign 1951 Model Traffic Area – – Road safety campaign 1951

Model Traffic Area – Pedal cars in 1938 Model Traffic Area

Re-Opening poster 1947
The following two photographs date back to 1968 and were kindly sent to us by one of our regular contacts, Keith Fowler, and we acknowledge his permission for us to use these images on this feature.

Lordship Recreation Ground

They say you should always remember things as they were or face disappointment and I am afraid this is very true of the Model Traffic Area. On a nostalgic trip back to Lordship Rec in 2003 I was surprised to discover that, after several decades of under investment and neglect by the local council, the whole area is now in a sad state of disrepair. The following photographs that I took during the visit help illustrate this point.

Following the 70th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony in September 2010, I took the opportunity to look at the Model Traffic Area and the surrounding park again to see what state of repair the area was now in and I was pleased to see that, thanks to the efforts of the ‘Friends of Lordship Rec’, the area looked in much better condition and there had been no significant further dereliction of the facility.

Lordship Recreation Ground

We have recently received from ‘The Friends of Lordship Recreation Ground’ two wonderful aerial photographs that show the Mod area in both 1945 and 1999. We acknowledge the permission given by them for us to reproduce the photographs below.


Many people will also remember that, in addition to the Model Traffic Area, there was also the Boating Lake and Paddling Pool Ar This was very popular in the 1950’s and 60’s particularly on those hot Summer days which are of course the only ones we remember our School Holidays. We must have had wet days but somehow we never remember them. The following photographs should bring fond memories of those carefree days.

The Boating Lake at ‘Lordship Rec’ – Postcard Photograph C.1960 The Paddling Pool at ‘Lordship Rec’ – Postcard Photograph C.19

Lordship Recreation Ground

Many will recall that the Paddling Pool was at the bottom of a series of mini-pools that cascaded down the slope from the Higham Rd entrance of Lordship Rec. Behind the trees in the background was the Moselle Brook that also run through the Recreation Ground

‘Lordship Rec -Paddling Pool Cascade’ – Photograph Copyright Bruce Castle
‘Lordship Rec -Entrance’ – Photograph Copyright Bruce Castle Muse

We have been contacted by a past resident of Tottenham who has fond memories of the Shell bandstand having once won a Fancy Dress competition there in the 1950’s, and she has kindly sent us the following photograph of her dressed as a Piano. Apparently the small boy in the foreground was dressed as ‘Three peas in a pod’

Rita Mart – Fancy Dress Winner – Shell Bandstand ‘Lordship Rec – Shell Bandstand’ – Photograph Copyright Bruce Castle Museum (original photographer – R. Lawrence 36 Foyle Road)

The following two photographs have been provided by Valerie Elbourn, who is a cousin of Rita Mart’s, and they show her performing at a local talent show at the Shell Theatre in approx 1957. Valerie and her friend Daryl Ashford were 2 dancers from the ‘Queenie Oakes School of Dance’

Lordship Recreation Ground

Performers at local talent show – Shell Theatre 1957 (Original photograph provided by Daryl Ashford who appears in photographs with Valerie Elbourn – Valerie far left wearing short skirt standing alongside Daryl) Valerie & Daryl were members of the ‘Queenie Oakes school of Dance’

Photographs Shell Theatre -Lordship Recreation Ground – Courtesy of Bruce Castle Museum

Lordship Recreation Ground

Extract from Tottenham Herald -July 1932 to mark official handover of land to construct Lordship Recreation Ground

Lordship Recreation Ground

Lordship Recreation Ground

Lordship Recreation Ground
We acknowledge the help of Chris Hall who has sent to us a selection of old photographs of the ‘HARRINGAY FAIR’ that apparently 1969 . These had been inherited from his father in the form of some old negative films that have since been converted to digital image ‘Broadwater Farm’ in the background.

Chris has also provided some lovely old photographs showing the junction of Lordship Lane with Downhills Way. See old Tottenham these images.