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Cranley Gardens

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A hillside residential locality in southern Muswell Hill, centred on the dog-legged avenue of the same name and overlooked by Queen’s Wood. In 1928 a pot containing over 650 Roman coins was discovered in the vicinity. The Imperial Property Investment Co. bought farmland here from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and built the first houses in Cranley Gardens and Onslow Gardens in the 1890s. Lack of interest from potential homebuyers prompted the company to sell plots to other builders, who soon began work on Woodland Rise and Woodland Gardens. In around 1900 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners gave land at the corner of Park Road as the site for St George’s Church but this was instead built on Priory Road. The locality was mostly built up before World War I and completely filled by the outbreak of World War II. Many of the early properties are well-proportioned but the quality of building seems inversely proportional to its altitude. During the first half of the 20th century Cranley Gardens had a station on the Alexandra Palace branch of the Great Northern Railway. After the Priory Road Church was destroyed by wartime bombing, a new St George’s was built on the originally proposed site at the eastern end of Cranley Gardens. Following the demolition of Hornsey’s structurally unsound St Mary’s Church in 1969, its parish was joined with St George’s.

Dennis Nilsen, London’s most notorious mass murderer of modern times, lived and killed at 23 Cranley Gardens. Nilsen was caught in February 1983 after body parts that he had flushed down the lavatory blocked the drains, prompting the neighbours to call in Dyno-Rod.

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23 Cranley Gardens, the former home of serial killer Dennis Nilsen

Postal district: N10
Further reading: Brian Masters, Killing for Company: Case of Dennis Nilsen, Arrow, 1995

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

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