Arts > Exposure visits the historic Percy House in Tottenham

Posted on July 24, 2017

Percy House in 1939

Angela Mascolo reports on restoration work at heritage building linked to Spurs history
Exposure recently had the opportunity to visit the construction site of Percy House, 796, Tottenham High Road. Built in the 18th century, this prominent heritage building has been owned by the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club since 2007.

The significance of this building has only recently been fully appreciated, thanks to a £1.8 million restoration grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015.

Not only will Percy House be the new home of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, it will also create an employment, skills and education hub to contribute to the regeneration of one of the most deprived communities in the country. This will help create new jobs and also bring more tourism to the area.

With the support of local historians, Percy House will also provide a Heritage Learning Zone, exhibition space and library, all of which will help deliver outreach sessions in schools and the local community.

As a history student, I was especially interested in the heritage value of Percy House, as many people who have grown up in Tottenham may not actually be aware of the area’s rich history.

A Grade II* listed building, Percy House is a ‘particularly important building of more than special interest’. Its special features include the forecourt walls and iron railings, which have been standing since the 17th century.

The iron railings of Percy House today

Percy House also has strong connections to Tottenham Hotspur. According to local historians, it was the first headquarters of the original football club, with meetings organised there by the club’s first president, Reverend John Ripsher. Without John Ripsher, Tottenham Hotspur would never have existed. Today he is known as the Father of Spurs.

In addition, Percy House was originally owned by the Duke of Northumberland, whose family name was Percy. One of their antecedents, Sir Henry Percy was very enthusiastic in battle, which earned him the nickname ‘Harry Hotspur’ and no doubt inspired the club’s Latin motto, ‘Audere est facere’ (‘To dare is to do’).

Percy House 1880-1885

It was interesting to learn about the process of repairing and returning the existing exterior and interior of the building to its 18th-century glory. Much of the house’s original features will be kept so as to maintain its status as a heritage building, such as the lime plaster mixed with horse-hair, a common way to reinforce plaster in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The original cast iron fireplaces will also be kept for decoration, along with the wooden paneling, which has been coated with fire resistant paint. Another impressive aspect of the building was its prominent role in the launch of the pirate radio movement in the 1960s, as the basement of Percy House was once used as a recording booth.

Inside Percy House – the original fireplaces will be kept

Percy House will not only help preserve the area’s history for future generations, it will also create more social cohesion. This is particularly important when considering the divisions created in the area after the Tottenham riots in 2011.

The restoration of this important building will help create a sense of pride and community identity, and – along with the newly built stadium – will bring people together from across the UK and the world.

The renovation of Percy House should be completed by this December. Overall, I was left very impressed by my visit to the construction site. It was fascinating to see the layers of history behind the building and the process involved in revitalising it. It will be exciting to see what impact Percy House will have on the future of the Tottenham community and the football club.

To find out more about the history of Tottenham and the football club, watch the trailer for Exposure’s documentary ‘Memory Lane’ below. You can access the full documentary by making a donation to Exposure:

Angela Mascolo
Angela Mascolo is currently an undergraduate student studying History and Spanish. Having worked through her Exposure Youth Communications Award, she has completed a variety of freelance and project work for Exposure, and is particularly interested in history and literature. Angela doesn’t have a specific career plan in mind, but is gaining as much experience as she can by pursuing her interests.

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One Response to Exposure visits the historic Percy House in Tottenham

  1. Shakira Dyer July 31, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    Whoop whoop! Sorry I missed the publication and the trip – but this sounds extremely interesting.

    Cool that some of the walls are still mixed in with of horse hair… and the basement was once a recording studio.Wonder if SLR was based there?

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