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The Alfred Herring

Alfred Herring was awarded the Victorian Cross after his success in the First World War.

316–322 Green Lanes, Palmers Green, London, N13 5TT

This Wetherspoon pub is named after Alfred Herring VC. Second Lieutenant Herring was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroic actions in France on 20 March 1918. When he was called up by the army, in 1916, Herring was living at the family home: 143 Fox Lane, Palmers Green.

Photographs, prints and text about Alfred Herring. 

The text reads: Alfred Cecil Herring was born in Tottenham in 1888, and educated at Tottenham Country School, where he excelled at both study and sport.

His family had moved to 143 Fox Lane, Palmer’s Green, and he was practising as an accountant with a City firm, when he was called up in 1916. In 1917, after serving as a head Supply Officer in France, he joined the fighting forces and was appointed to the Northampton Regiment. When the ‘Kaisers Battle’ began in France on March, 20, 1918, he was in the thick of it.

On the 22, on the bank of the Crozat Canal, south of Jussy, his battalion was brought forward at 5.30p.m. after the enemy had taken the bridge. Cut off and surrounded, “2nd Lieutenant Herring immediately counter-attacked, and recaptured the position together with 20 prisoners and 6 machine guns. During the night the post was continually attacked, but all attacks were beaten off. This was largely due to the splendid heroism displayed by 2nd Lt. Herring, who continually visited his men and cheered them up. It was entirely due to the bravery and initiative of this officer that the enemy advance was held up for 11 hours at an exceedingly critical period”.

He was reported missing next day, and it was five weeks before his capture was confirmed. He was initially kept at Rastatt before being imprisoned at Graudenz, where he arrived on 3 June, 1918.

He was informed by a German interpreter that he had won the VC on the 2 July, and “was chaired around the parade ground”.

In a letter of the 24 May 1918, he recalled “the day after I was captured I spoke to the Kaiser. He was jolly nice and very complimentary. I also saw General Hindenburg”.

Of his imprisonment he wrote: “Our hopes centre on the two ‘P’s, viz:- peace and parcels”. He also wrote “Letters are treasures to me”.

He was repatriated on the 7 December 1918. On his return he was officially decorated by the King in February 1919, and presented with an illuminated address and a grandfather clock by Southgate Council.

Alfred Herring, VC, went on to have a successful career as a stockbroker. He retired in 1961 and died on the 10 August 1966, aged 78.

A photograph, illustration and text about the Lodge estate. 

The text reads: The Lodge estate lay in the angle between Green Lanes and Hazelwood Lane. The Lodge itself was built in the 1790s by Thomas Lewis of the Bank of England. Lewis also built Ye Olde Thatched Cottage as a gatehouse to The Lodge.

The Lodge stood immediately behind the site of this pub was demolished in 1911. Lodge Parade was built along Green Lanes and includes the building that you are now in, which was a furniture store for some forty years.

A print, illustration and text about the Lodge estate and Sir Hugh Myddleton.

The text reads: The Lodge estate stretched south to the New River. Devised by Sir Hugh Myddleton, the New River was completed in 1613. The engineering marvel of its day, the man-made river brought fresh water from Hertfordshire, through Palmers Green, to London.

A print of the thatched cottage, 1880.

The text reads: The view from the Triangle looking north along Green Lanes. The Cottage was demolished in 1938. 

Photographs and text about important people from Palmers Green.

The text reads: Southgate, Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill were a strong centre of suffragette activity. The leading local lights were Herbert and Laura Goulden. He was the younger brother of Mrs Pankhurst, and Laura was the first headmistress of Hazlewood Lane School.

The poet and novelist Stevie Smith lived in Palmers Green almost all of her life. She moved to 1 Avondale Road in 1906, at the age of four and lived there until her death in 1971.

The novelist Paul Smith spent his first twenty years in Palmers Green. He is best remembered for the novel The Jewel in the Crown (1966).

Right: top, Stevie Smith in 1938, below, Stevie in Grovelands Park in the 1960s
Above: Paul Scott as a young man in Palmers Green.

Prints and text about Lord’s Grove.

The text reads: Grovelands was an extensive estate once known as Lord’s Grove. Its aristocratic owners included Sir William Cecil (Lord Burghley) and his son, Sir Robert Cecil. Both were prominent statesmen to Queen Elizabeth I and her successor, King James I.

Prints and text about Grovelands.

The text reads: In the late 18th century the estate was purchased by Walker Gray, a wealthy brandy merchant from Tottenham. He commissioned John Nash to build a fine Regency Mansion and Humphry Repton to landscape the park that is now open to the public.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk