A bigger problem was his entrance to the estate from Muswell Hill Road where Highfield, by then a school run by Frederick Newcombe MA, blocked his way. Collins could start roads anywhere he liked from Fortis Green, but access from Muswell Hill Road was very restricted. On one side was Highfield School and on the other was a crescent of houses built in the 1860s. By the 1890s these were still new, with a long life before them, so he could not buy and demolish. However he may have had some hopes of demolishing Highfield, on the opposite side of his narrow entrance.

There is a small plan dated 23rd Dec. 1901, in the RIBA collection (see below). It shows the Highfield site at the top of Muswell Rise, where new houses and the Telephone Exchange now stand. The old house is marked for demolition and the building line agrees with the one used on the opposite side of Grand Avenue. By 1901 Collins was building in Collingwood Avenue and actively planning Grand Avenue. It would have made his life easier if he could have bought the Highfield site to create a wide entrance from Muswell Hill Road, so the plan may easily be his.

The school must have been too flourishing a concern to have considered selling: perhaps the Head thought that Collins's houses would be a good recruiting area for his school and looked forward to more pupils. In any case, the school was not sold and Collins had to slip his entrance in beside the Highfield grounds, with room for a road and only one row of houses. Further along Grand Avenue, beyond Highfield, the site widened out, allowing Collins to start building on both sides of the road. Thus the entrance to Grand Avenue had houses on one side only and even this was possible only by giving the first three houses very short back gardens. As a result, the numbering pattern runs with odds and evens from 1 to 9 on the north side of Grand Avenue. Number 9 is a couple of houses past Firs Avenue. Only then do No 10 and the rest of the even numbers move to the south side, with the odd numbers continuing on the north.

Sketch made from the 1901 plan of the Highfield School site?

Attributed by me to Collins but it could be by R Meth & Mell Esq
who built the Muswell Rise houses on the site of The Hall.


HHB Hornsey Historical Bulletin

Page 119
<- Swipe Left or Right in this box to Navigate ->