Green Lanes may have been in use from the second century during Roman times – its name derives from its connecting a series of greens en route, many of which no longer exist as greens.
In the mid 19th century the southernmost part was renamed Southgate Road – until that occurred, the Green Lanes name referred to a much longer thoroughfare. It possibly originated as a drovers’ road along which cattle were walked from Hertfordshire to London.
Green Lanes ultimately runs north from Newington Green, forming the boundary between Hackney and Islington, until it reaches Manor House. As it crosses the New River over Green Lanes Bridge, it enters the London Borough of Haringey. From the junction with Turnpike Lane the road temporarily changes its name and runs through Wood Green as ’High Road’, resuming its Green Lanes identity again after the junction with Lascott’s Road. It then continues north through Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill in the London Borough of Enfield, until it reaches the junction with Ridge Avenue and Green Dragon Lane at Mason’s Corner.
The northernmost, Winchmore Hill section, contains a series of sharp bends. After the beginning of the twentieth century brought shops to Green Lanes, the road was much widened at this spot.
Further south along the road, Turkish immigrants arrived from Cyprus from the late 1950s onwards. With the Mediterranean feel of shops and cafés and with the island itself in inter-communal turmoil, Greek Cypriots also arrived. The two communities largely lived in harmony in Green Lanes.
The Greek community has largely moved away and the area is now much more Turkish in character although Green Lanes has also begun to gentrify in the northern sections.