Original Haringey bootboys

Gentrification, yuppification, social cleansing: while the useless idiots of the Football Association have decided that Spurs fans’ proud self-identification as yids is, in fact, ‘anti-Semitic’, David Lammy’s local autocracy sells off Haringey borough – including its Tottenham heartland – to property developers, tears down council estates, and prices out the poor. Yuppies and affluent hipsters pour in and take their place.

It is a pity, for Haringey has a long and proud cultural history – not least as a stomping ground for all manner of youth cults. Enjoy this little tribute to the borough and behold the pictures of original Haringey skins and assorted bootboys.

1970 tottenham hotspurs skinheads
“Your droogie is your brother, someone you can trust” – Hotspurs skins, date unknown. The nondescript commando boots worn by the kid on the right, his wider than regulation turn-ups, and crop with shaved parting point to 1969 or early 1970. Later in 1970, steelies would be banned from the terraces, and Dr Martens became the standard skinhead footwear.

Edit: Says the good man who runs Stand Up And Spit, ‘The lads in THFC scarves are from ILEA poetry book ‘City Lines’ 1982’.

1969 tottenham bovver boys
Tottenham bovver boys on their way to FA cup match away. Probably 1969, exact date unknown.

1969 tottenham whl match off due to snow
White Hart Lane match off due to snow. Sheepskin, fly-fronted mac, 1+ inch turnups – probably early 1970.

Edit: Says Tottenham Sean at The Fighting Cock, ‘The photo outside the west stand was a postponed V Everton and was November 69’. Cheers, Sean.

1969 tottenham
Warwick Gardens (Harringay) skinhead Stephen confronted with buttocks. Photo taken in Tottenham on 19 July 1969. Thanks to Stephen and the good folks at Harringay Online for the info.

1969 sunday times
Tottenham’s Park Lane skins featured in the Sunday Times. 1969 or 70.

tottenham royal
Already a teddy boy/girl haunt in the 1950s, the Tottenham Royal (formerly known as the Mecca) became north London’s prime dancehall for reggae and soul music in the 1960s and, consequently, the place to be for local skinheads. And not just the local ones – friendly and hostile mobs from all over London and Essex gathered at the Royal. In 1969, hundreds of skins would pack the venue – and you would see hundreds of skinhead girls dancing in rows to Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit In The Sky’ (for some reason, a big hit with the kids in that year). You would not get in wearing jeans or boots, and the bouncers would tell you not to wear your braces openly. It was a very suit & brogues kind of place where everybody would try to outflash everybody else.

There was quite a bit of amphetamine use, too:

“I know of other Skinheads from different parts of London that didn’t take drugs but in Hackney there were plenty that did. The Chesham Arms on a Friday night – straight from work, twenty blues, four a pound. Then home, dinner, bath, get changed, five blues on the bus so by the time I got to the Tottenham Royal I was buzzing, along with many of the other Skins there. We never had any bother chatting the girls up as we all could have talked for England and if you had shares in Wrigley’s chewing gum you would have been laughing all the way to the bank” – from ‘The Soul Stylists’ by Jim Cox.

Legend has it that the Kray twins were regular visitors. The Tottenham Royal was located in 415-419 Tottenham High Road – just a few steps up the road from where T Chances is today.

1970 tottenham hotspurs skins and suedes
“Dr Martens and crombies, all tooled up as well” – Hotspurs skins and suedes, 1970.

1970 tottenham skins bus
Spurs skins circa 1970

spurs bootboy
“Next time you see me running on the pitch, don’t forget I’m just the same as you”. Spurs bootboys – date unknown, but 1972 or later is likely.

1974 jookNot Tottenham, but close enough: Edmonton’s finest, Jook. According to this writeup, they “had skinheads following them around London”.  I strongly doubt this was the case, though, as the skinhead style had already evolved into ‘suedehead’ and then ‘smoothie’ by the time Jook started playing. Here they are in their 1974 bootboy prime.

Fast-forward four years:

Stevenage Skins 1977 - Louie @ The Park Lane Spurs
Stevenage Spurs Skin Louie shivering in the Park Lane

Stevenage Spurs Skinheads still waiting for a big Green BusStevenage Spurs Skinheads waiting for a big Green Bus outside the Tottenham Royal, 19th Aug 1978

Still waiting for a big Green Bus outside The MeccaStill waiting for a big Green Bus

Stevenage Skins 1977 - Skins En Route to Notts Forest 3Still outside the Tottenham Royal

Stevenage Skins 1977 - Skins En Route to Notts Forest 1Stevenage Spurs Skins en route

Police chase skinhead during rioting in Wood Green, July 1981.Police chase skinhead during rioting in Wood Green (corner Alfoxton Avenue and West Green Road), July 1981.

Any additions? Get in touch and I’ll add them. sharpcreases69 [at] gmail.com



9 thoughts on “Original Haringey bootboys

  1. My time was Teddy Boy age but this is very evocative of then as well – I once quit the Royal by crawling under the tables during a huge fight – we got to the crash door, opened them to find a horde of coppers waiting to come in! We fled unscathed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loving the blog so far. Dean Street Press (where I am the publisher) have recently reissued Skinhead and Suedehead by the late great Richard Allen. Happy to send you some review copies on request.


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  5. Fantastic finds and mighty informative! Just note that the b&w pic “spurs skins circa 1970” is actually the same gang as seen below in colour apparently in 1978.

    Will keep on reading, i started from your first posts in 2015….plenty to go through to catch up


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