Hornsey is a district of north London in the London Borough of Haringey. Hornsey has been a much larger ancient parish than the electoral ward of the same name, in turn a smaller entity than the Municipal Borough of Hornsey that co-governed its area with Middlesex County Council from 1889 to 1965, since which time, the name usually refers only to the London neighbourhood at the heart of these former areas to the west of Hornsey railway station. It is an inner-suburban, for the most part residential, area centred 6.2 miles (10 km) north of Charing Cross.
North of Hornsey High Street, and immediately to its south, some of the area is public sector housing, surrounded by the late Victorian terraces developed by builders such as John Farrer. Between the western end of the High Street and the bottom of Muswell Hill, the character of the area changes dramatically. Much of this part is the Warner Estate built up with large well-appointed late Victorian houses. To the south west of the High Street is Priory Park, a pleasant urban green space.
The name Hornsey originated from a Saxon chieftain named Haering; ‘Haering’s Hege was Haering’s enclosure. It shares this derivation with Harringay neighbourhood and Haringey borough. The ‘Haringey’ variant is the oldest recorded form.
Hornsey Village, which was first recorded in 1202 according to the Place Names of Middlesex, was the focus of parish with its church first mentioned in 1291. The village developed along what is now Hornsey High Street, and in the seventeenth century it was bisected by the New River that crossed the village in three places: first at the end of Nightingale Lane, secondly from behind the Three Compasses and lastly, as it does now, at the bottom of Tottenham Lane. The village grew dramatically after about 1860 and eventually merged with the separate settlement at Crouch End (first mentioned in 1465) to form an urban area in the middle of the parish.
Much of Hornsey was built up in Edwardian times, but the tower of the original parish church still stands in its ancient graveyard in Hornsey High Street, at the centre of the old village. Other notable places are the Doragh Gasworks, the former Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End, and Highpoint and Cromwell House in Highgate.
In 1954 the first Lotus Cars factory was established behind the Railway Hotel on Tottenham Lane. Adjacent to it was their first showroom where there is now a memorial plaque to Colin Chapman.
Since 2000 Hornsey’s residential developments have been architecturally diverse and overall accommodative of a diverse range of the local community. This has included estates of more than 50 homes with a proportion available under social housing and affordable housing schemes.