The college’s history in Tottenham goes as far back as 1818, when the 18th Century Grove House was bought by the Society of Friends (Quakers) and opened the ‘Grove House School’ in 1829. The school was noted for its advanced curriculum and refusal to use corporal punishment, producing a number of well-known alumni, including 11 future UK MPs.
In 1870, CONEL alum, WE Forster, a member of the local Tottenham Quaker family, took the 1870 Education Act to Parliament, which ensured every child was entitled to an elementary education, at minimum. Other well-known alumni includes mental health physician, Dr. Daniel Tuke and Joseph Lister, who helped pioneer antiseptic surgery.
Grove House School closed in 1878 and was left empty until 1892, when the building began being utilised to teach classes in art, science and technical subjects. Middlesex County Council purchased the building in 1897, renaming it Tottenham Polytechnic. By 1909, the Polytechnic was delivering courses in art, physiology and hygiene, science, technology, building construction, plumbing and carpentry, as well as land surveying, bus routine and gas manufacture. The estate was expanded in 1910, with new buildings at the rear, including an assembly hall, 11 classrooms, laboratories, photographic dark rooms, alongside cookery and art rooms. The Polytechnic also expanded its provision to include dressmaking and millinery.
Further north in Enfield in 1901, Sir Joseph Swan (the co-inventor of the electric light bulb with Thomas Edison) opened the Ediswan Institute on the Ponders End High Street, delivering evening classes and social activities. In 1905, this too was purchased by Middlesex County Council, being renamed the Ponders End Technical Institute, and expanding in 1911 to deliver new courses, alongside Enfield Junior Technical School, a day school for boys aged 13-16.
In 1913, the Tottenham Polytechnic moved to a new building on Tottenham Green, and expanded, also opening a day school for boys, and a second day school for both boys and girls, aged 13-16. Grove House was demolished and rebuilt, opening in 1939, and renaming to Tottenham Technical College.
Continuing to provide education through the war, Ponders End Technical Institute was renamed Enfield Technical College in 1928, alongside the Ponders End Junior Technical School, with the college providing essential services to train technicians during World War II. In 1962, the college was renamed Enfield College of Technology, and, in 1967, was reorganised into faculties for arts and technology. It also offered sports at a sports field and pavilion in World’s End Lane, about 3 miles away from its site. In 1973, Enfield College of Technology became part of Middlesex Polytechnic, alongside the Hornsey College of Art.
Enfield Junior Technical School moved to Queensway in 1941, and then relocated again in 1962, to Collinwood Avenue, the site of the current Enfield Centre. The school was renamed Ambrose Fleming, and was eventually reorganised as a comprehensive school for boys and girls in 1967, before closing in 1987. Enfield College of Technology moved onto the site that year.
Tottenham Technical College continued to grow throughout the early 1900s, having expanded to teach science, health, hairdressing, social studies, business studies and technology by 1964. In 1965, ownership of the college was transferred to the London Borough of Haringey, and three new blocks were opened in 1973, alongside a second-phase Tower Block. The college was renamed Tottenham College of Technology, and merged with Haringey College in April 1990, to become the College of North East London. Haringey Adult Education joined the College of North East London in January 1991, giving the college 7 sites across Haringey.
In 1997, the Tottenham Centre celebrated its centenary, and in 2000, a new entrance and ground floor extension was opened, entitled the Centenary Building.
In August 2009, The College of North East London merged with Enfield College to form The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, with two large flagship centres; the Tottenham Centre on the High Road, near to Seven Sisters tube station, and the Enfield Centre, near Collinwood Avenue, within walking distance of Southbury train station. The college joined Capital City College Group in November 2017, alongside Westminster Kingsway College and City and Islington College.