tottenhamnow-15It’s now five years to the week since the front pages were ablaze with the image of the inferno that was Carpetright, from the first night of the Tottenham riots.

That image was to become one of the most iconic snapshots of what was a tumultuous moment in both Tottenham and the UK’s political history.

The devastation on the High Road the following day was clear for all to see even from behind the police cordons.

The air hung heavy with ash-grey embers and the acrid smell of smoke, which served only to exacerbate the feeling of hopelessness local people felt.

We’d lost the Post Office, the local gym – both so vital in an area which had so little – and a number of shops were so damaged they were also forced to close.

At that moment, it was almost impossible to imagine where Tottenham and its community would go from there.

Many fundamental issues relating to the riots remain unresolved and very few recommendations from the post-riot reports have been implemented, but there have undoubtedly been some positive changes to the local landscape in the last five years.

Below we compare and contrast some stark images from that fateful night with how the High Road looks today – abuzz with friendly faces and exciting new businesses.

The future is now.


Words: Jessica Brown

Images: Joe Culleton & André Ainsworth