HAELAN CENTRE STORY
Mr. Frank W. H. Critten opened what was to become the Haelan Centre in 1954 in Middle Lane, Crouch End. Mr Critten practiced as a herbalist, osteopath and spiritualist and he was also a committed vegetarian and animal liberationist. In 1956, he moved to 39 Park Road and opened as the Herbal Healing Clinic, later also becoming a health food shop, which embodied Mr. Critten's ethical principles. The shop prospered modestly and Mr. Critten gained much respect for his healing abilities.
By the end of the 1960's Mr. Critten was beginning to think of concentrating more on his healing work, yet he wanted to find a buyer who would continue the work of the shop and adhere to the same principles. At the same time Nino was contemplating his career direction… top of the list was probation officer, second social worker. Yet a sign in Mr. Critten's shop caught his attention and after much discussion with the bank, and with Mr. Critten generously agreeing to be Guarantor, The Haelan Centre was born. In 1971, the shop was officially acquired by the partnership of Nino Booth and Peter Woodhead. Haelan is Old Middle English for Healing.
The partners set out to establish a wholefood shop based on the criteria outlined in the Haelan Centre Policy Statements. The early days were difficult and challenging, especially so, as few people understood what was meant by wholefoods. Throughout the 1970's the business grew steadily and the first major growth in the market began, as other stores began to open around London. In 1981, Nino Booth acquired the sole rights in the business and by 1983 the shop had expanded into the premises next door at 37 Park Road.
From the beginning, Nino saw the potential of the wholefood movement, and was convinced that one day, such ideas would be accepted widely enough so that the shop would be successful as a High Street store. In 1986 he was able to realise this conviction by the move to our present location in the very heart of Crouch End. In 1986, the first floor was re-developed to provide a more suitable environment for the sale of alternative and complementary medicines, and enlarged and improved herb department as well as a larger range of ancillary products. In 1989, Nino was able to fully restore the original services of the business, by opening The Haelan Clinic, thereby offering to the local community easier access to professional alternative and complementary health treatments.
The Haelan Centre has undergone a bit of a transformation, with the new refitting work - both inside and out - being undertaken at the beginning of 2002. All the recent work done to the Centre was planned and commissioned by Nino, before his death. It is a great shame that we missed his delight in the final outcome. We intend to carry on Nino's good work and continue to make improvements so that we may offer a pleasant and comfortable environment for all who come to the Haelan Centre.