|Length:||8.3 miles (13.4 km)|
|Meets:||A104, A1199, A503, A504, A1080, A109, A406, A1004, A111, A110|
|Old route now:||A1055, A1010|
|Route outline (key)|
The A105 is an urban road in north London.
Section 1: Canonbury – Manor House
The A105 starts at a crossroads in one of the more obscure parts of inner north London at a junction with the A104 and A1199. The A104 as documented elsewhere forms a TOTSO here, which makes one wonder why the A105 wasn't given the part of the A104 that forms the dogleg down Essex Road and into Islington proper. But for whatever reason, it wasn't, and so it starts here and runs north up Newington Green Road to Newington Green itself, an ugly little patch of grass where the road forms a tiny one-way system, and then the A105, evidently jealous of its big brother the A104, gets a TOTSO of its own; Green Lanes is a left turn going northbound as one leaves Newington Green, the straight-ahead option of Albion Road being the B104 (and yes, the A105 does intersect with both the A104 and B104 within half a mile... nice one).
Green Lanes (why the plural I know not) will be the name of our road on and off for the rest of our journey, which continues more or less north through not particularly pleasant areas of run-down houses on its way, with one of the more dingy housing estates in this part of town (Highbury Quadrant) to its left. Another nice quirk of numbering follows as it intersects with its own B-road, the B105 Brownswood Road/Lordship Park, though it's spoiled somewhat by not being signposted on the ground. To our left shortly afterwards is a spectacular Victorian building which marks the terminus of the New River, the spectacular though little-known artificial channel that has supplied clean Hertfordshire water to London for centuries (and which forms a very pleasant vista for the dead-end of my own street a few miles away). Presumably this was once something to do with the reservoir or water, but it's now used as an indoor climbing venue where you can haul yourself up a wall on ropes and pretend you're in the Cairngorms or Snowdonia.
The next landmark is a set of traffic lights and a warren of subways at Manor House tube station where it intersects the primary A503. Manor House is a nondescript junction nowadays but in days gone by it was festooned with tram lines and trolleybus wires to allow any movement of public transport north, south, east or west – old pictures are a somewhat startling sight. The Manor House pub still sits by the junction.
Section 2: Manor House – Wood Green
A pleasant green expanse to our left is Finsbury Park as we bumble on northwards, past another junction with a numbered road unsigned on the ground (B150 Endymion Road, a lovely classical name) and into the ethnic hotpot that is Harringay (or if you prefer, Haringey). A large ugly supermarket to the right is Sainsbury's fault; the shabby paint on the railway bridge overhead isn't. The station here is Harringay Green Lanes, formerly Harringay Stadium. The stadium site is where the supermarket now sprawls (and 'Harringay Superstore' just wouldn't cut it as a station name). Harringay station proper is over to our left; there's no easy interchange between the two different railways, and no station on the Piccadilly Line between Manor House and Turnpike Lane, a regrettable situation for the good citizens hereabouts. This part of the borough is nicknamed 'the ladder'; to see why look at an A-Z; the A105 and B138 Wightman Road form the main legs of the ladder, with each road running between the two forming a rung.
You'd need a very long ladder to climb onto the roof of the Salisbury, an enormous Victorian pub which sits at the middle of Harringey like a spider in a web. I've not been inside for years, but it used to be an impressive sight, though the clientèle could hardly be recommended. Another unsigned B road leaves to our right, the B152, which forms a useful short cut to Seven Sisters from here for traffic that can't be bothered to crawl as far as the A503 or A504 junctions; the whole road through Harringay is often jammed solid.
Speaking of the A504, here it is, leaving to our right at an acute angle, and then again at our left when we reach the crossroads by Turnpike Lane bus station, formerly a very grim 50s structure but now modernised. The patch of weeds to our left is Duckett Common, which often hosts fun fairs, though it hardly seems big enough to fit many rides on. A third road number is also to be found here, the A1080 leaving up Westbury Avenue towards Tottenham and the A10.
The A105 through the busy shopping district of Wood Green has been made pedestrian-friendly with a 20mph limit and speed bumps, all of which most car drivers cheerfully ignore whenever possible. The shopping centre, on the site of a now-obliterated railway line, looms over both sides of the road and bridges it as well. Personally I'd have preferred to keep the railway, but that's Beeching for you.
Section 3: Wood Green – Enfield
Wood Green station boasts another set of lights, where the A109 leaves to our right. The road to our left, Station Road, is unclassified, though it carries just as much traffic as any of the other roads at this crossroads, and more than the B151 which it becomes a little way along its length. Renumbering overdue, perhaps? The A109 multiplexes with us up the hill, leaving at more lights by a big church and the war memorial. Shortly thereafter another unclassified road to our right is White Hart Lane, which if followed with diligence leads us all the way to Tottenham Hotspur's ground (though this ground itself is not on White Hart Lane – really dedicated footy fans will know that the only club with its ground on WHL itself is... Harringay Borough FC, bless them.)
Some maps still show Commerce Road to our left as being the B151, though I don't believe them (and it's certainly not signed as such and doesn't even go anywhere). In any case, the A105 continues north and out of Wood Green into Palmers Green, and into a vast queue of traffic at most hours of the day due to the inadequate light-controlled junction with the A406. Even with motorists using the bus lane out of desperation it's wise to allow twenty minutes or more to get through this nightmare.
Once past the junction, the road heads uphill into Palmers Green itself, past the town hall and library, and up to a triangular junction with the A1004, which sports a very attractive fingerpost sign from (at a guess) the 1930s (it must be pre-1965 as it was put up by Southgate MB, which was abolished in that year), all road numbers being shown in red at the end of the fingers. It's escaped vandalism thus far, being on an island in the middle of busy traffic. Palmers Green is busy but nowhere near as much so as Wood Green and progress is normally steady as far as the roundabout with Fox Lane (used as a location in a Harry Potter film, for some reason) and the large Victorian brick church by the traffic lights marking the junction with the unsigned A111; in fact the only signpost at this interchange of two quite important A roads is one tiny forlorn pointer to the library northwards.
And Winchmore Hill library is indeed to the north, as is another Sainsbury's. The road doglegs through this rather remote northern suburb, takes a sharp right turn by the junction with Green Dragon Lane (Mason's Corner) and a full-blown hard right quasi-totso at the blocked-off interchange with Bush Hill (a very non-standard road sign marks this situation; I say quasi-totso because the road markings make the right turn equivalent to the main traffic stream). Genteelness slowly steals over the road as it leaves the London postal district at the B154 junction and then interchanges with the other end of Bush Hill, which I suspect may once have formed the course of the road as Bush Hill forms nearly a straight line with the remainder of the A105 where the current road loops round to the right. Having said that, the A105 has always gone the long way round.
We're now in Enfield and don't have far to go before the road chucks us off onto the one-way system in the middle of town, and hereabouts (depending on which branch of that system one follows) the A105 ends on the A110 which runs sternly east-west to cut off its progress. Originally, however, the A105 used to run further north along Silver Street, Baker Street, Forty Hill, Bull Cross and Bullsmore Lane, to end on the A10 (now A1010) in Waltham Cross. When the A10 was rerouted onto the current bypass, the A105 was extended north along the old road via a short multiplex along the new A1010 before going along Abbey Road to end on the A121. Most of this northern end is now unclassified but the eastern half of Bullsmore Lane is the A1055 and the A1010 has taken over the ex-A105 to the north.