Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Looking less like Detroit every day

I found this architect's proposal the other day:  ' Hornsey Road: A mixed-use development for the owners of a light industrial building in North London, this proposal retains the existing commercial uses to provide a platform for eighteen new apartments, arranged around an open rooftop courtyard.'

It came with pictures. They weren't informative. Look! There's a person about to climb some stairs. Plus, shrubs. Shrubs are important.*

aubert park

I think the building it'll replace is this:

'Steam Joinery Works'

Maps from 1873 to at least the 1950s show a 'Steam Joinery Works' there. What, exactly, is a steam joinery?

Yeah, it's been abandoned for a while.

I wonder how playing in the shadow of that will shape the local kids.  Will they find post-apocalyse sci fi comforting, or wrap themselves in florals and worry about slugs, or dream about Detroit?

I like derelict buildings, hell I like Detroit, but I guess that's a privileged perspective. If I'd grown up around them maybe they'd seem depressing rather than romantic.

New in foreground, old in background

Anyway, if you go for a walk north of Fairbridge Road you can witness an area changing fast from post-industrial ramshackle to shiny and new. 

Many thanks to Ali at for showing me the maps, and to @Mizhenka for suggesting Fairbridge Road.

*See the stymied plan to turn the Shaftesbury into flats.


  1. I suspect steam joinery may be this, i.e. using steam to bend wood into shape for making furniture, shopfittings and so on.

    1. Like Thonet chairs? That would make sense. (I like Thonet chairs partly because they're pretty and partly because of a line Nora Ephron had in Heartburn about being annoyed with herself that even when full of righteous indignation she couldn't bring herself to smash one).

  2. It's a shame they're obviously going to knock it down. When we went to have a nosy at the new flats, I didn't realise that building was derelict from a distance and said to my boyfriend that I'd bet if they converted it into apartments, it would be amazing. I like warehouse conversions!

    1. A lot of this post is guesswork - I can't find a proper planning application - so I suppose it could be that they're planning on keeping the building. I hope so - and I'm amazed that it's been derelict for so long. It's a perfect example of the kind of thing that becomes a pricey warehouse conversion. Smh.

  3. From the looks of the architects plans the actual location is here,,+London/@51.568098,-0.122948,3a,75y,28.47h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s9zQVG6J3f-B3MtWM2Lq05Q!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x48761b9f5a36bef5:0xb86611796deb2468

    Not sure where the steamworks are.