The History of Woodside House
Woodside House was built as a private residence in the ‘Italianate’ style around 1865, when nearby White Hart Lane was a country lane winding towards the village of Tottenham. The house has been known by other names, including Westbury House and Earlham Grove House.
Former occupants included philanthropist Catherine Smithies (1785-1877), who founded the Band of Mercy animal welfare group which later merged with the RSPCA. Uniformed RSPCA officers formed a guard of honour at her funeral, and she is commemorated by an obelisk and drinking fountain on Bounds Green Road.
Her son Thomas Bywaters Smithies (1817-1883), a publisher and campaigner for Temperance and the welfare of the ‘Working Man’, also edited “The British Workman”. The Tottenham Herald reported that:
when Thomas Smithies died… the working men of England lost one of their best friends.
In 1893 the house was bought by the Wood Green Local Board of Health. In 1892 it housed the area’s first public library, and in 1913 a single storey extension was added to house a new council chamber for Wood Green Urban District Council.
The building also housed the local police courts. The cells are now a kitchen.
Woodside House remained as the town hall for Wood Green until 1958. Since that time it has been used mainly for Adult Services.
- Top: The Town Hall, Wood Green, 1911
- Bottom: Woodside House in 1962
Images on this page are used courtesy of Bruce Castle Museum, Haringey Culture, Libraries and Learning.
Woodside House, 294 High Road, N22 8YX
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