The station, named after a nearby public house, is situated at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Green Lanes and was designed by Charles Holden. Opened 19 September 1932, it lies between Finsbury Park and Turnpike Lane tube stations. Like all stations on the Cockfosters extension, Manor House station set new aesthetic standards, not previously seen on London's Underground. The station was equipped with nine street level entrances, two of which gave access to tram routes to and from Tottenham, Edmonton and Stamford Hill via tramway island exits into Seven Sisters Road. The last of these tram services were withdrawn in 1938 and replaced by trolleybuses and the exits were removed in 1951.
The sub-surface areas of the station were tiled in biscuit coloured tiles lined with blue friezes. These were refurbished in 2005. The station tunnels have, in common with those of Turnpike Lane and Wood Green, a diameter of 23 feet (7 metres) and were designed for the greater volume of traffic expected. In contrast, Bounds Green and Southgate have only 21 foot (6.4 metres) diameter platform tunnels. The construction of "suicide pits" between the rails was also innovative. These were built in connection with a system of passageways under the platforms to give access to the track.
During the planning of the Victoria Line a proposal to transfer Manor House station to the Victoria Line was put forward. New tunnels were also proposed for the Piccadilly Line between Finsbury Park and Turnpike Lane, considerably reducing the travelling time from Outer North London to Central London. The inconvenience caused during re-construction, as well as the cost, ensured that the idea was not pursued.
Next to the northern exit are the remains of a tramway track which leads into the rear of the former Metropolitan Electric Tramways Headquarters (M.E.T) building, later the Eastern Divisional Office of London Transport Buses.