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Local History

Signpost at Palmers Green Triangle - photo by Stephen McKay

© Copyright Stephen McKay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

If you're interested in the local history of Palmers Green, Southgate, Winchmore Hill, Edmonton and Enfield, there are a number of societies which put on regular lectures and talks and provide research facilitiies.  We list some of these in our Community Directory in the History category, but you should also investigate the Conservation Groups, Residents' Associations and North London the Web categories.

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intimate theatre palmers greenA campaign to register the Intimate Theatre as an Asset of Community Value has been successful.  Enfield Council accepted the arguments set out in the application by the Save the Intimate Theatre Group, comprising St Monica's Players and a further five local amateur dramatic groups who put on productions at the Intimate.  The building's owners, St Monica's parish, submitted an objection to the application - they want to demolish the theatre and replace it with a new parish centre and block of flats.

The panel which considered the application found that:

"This asset is an integral part of the wider parish & community. Historically it is also renowned Borough wide. It provides a platform for various community groups to convene and engage whether it be through the medium of arts and culture. The nominator has clearly demonstrated a programme of upcoming events which signals inclusivity and regular use."

"The nominator highlighted the current users desire to see continuity of this facility, indeed they also highlighted the fact that former clubs/societies made a commitment to return if said asset had major investment. It is also apparent via a recent online petition that there is demonstrable support for this nomination"

The panel also felt that "the asset be made fit for purpose practically and within reasonable resource requirements and within timescales".

The online petition referred to above has now been signed by more than 3800 people.

What are Assets of Community Value?

Assets of Community Value were introduced by the Localism Act 2011.  They are intended to afford a degree of protection to amenities that play a useful community role, making it necessary for owners to follow certain procedures before they are allowed to demolish or change the use of the amenity.  To quote from the My Community website:

"In neighbourhoods across the country there are buildings and amenities that are integral to the communities that use them. This could be a village shop, a pub, a community centre or a library for example. Many provide a base from which to deliver public services to the local community. The closure or sale of such buildings and amenities can create lasting damage in communities and threaten the provision of services.

"Assets of Community Value and the Community Right to Bid offers greater opportunity for communities to keep such buildings in public use and ensure they remain a social hub for the community."

The Fox pub in Palmers Green was registered as an Asset of Community Value in 2015, largely on the basis that its function room played an important community role.  Consequently, when the Fox reopens after refurbishment in somewhat smaller form it will incorporate a function room - something that is unlikely to have been the case without the ACV status.

In addition to the Fox and the Intimate, there are three more ACVs in the borough:  the Wonder pub in Enfield, Vicars Moor Tennis Club in Winchmore Hill and Tottenham Park Cemetery in Edmonton.


Previous reporting and comments about the campaign to save the Intimate Theatre

Reporting about the campaign on the St Monica's Players website

Alternative proposals put forward by St Monica's Players

"Save the Intimate Theatre" online petition

Interview with Warren McWilliams of St Monica's Players on BBC London

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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4286 12 Dec 2018 09:12
NIMBYs up to their childish games again. Pathetic that the owners of property have less rights than minority interest groups.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #4287 12 Dec 2018 13:30

David Eden wrote: NIMBYs up to their childish games again. Pathetic that the owners of property have less rights than minority interest groups.

Three comments:

1. It is by no means clear that ACV status would prevent the church from demolishing the Intimate. So your point about "less rights" is almost certainly an exaggeration, if not simply incorrect.

2. Ownership is an important consideration, of course, but is not paramount. It's a mark of a civilised society that wider interests than money and ownership are taken into account.

3. Please do not insult people who you disagree with by using terms like "pathetic" and "childish". This is a civilised forum, not Facebook or Twitter. It's fine to criticise people's views and arguments, but not their character - and those terms imply criticism of the character of people who are campaigning against demolition.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #4288 12 Dec 2018 13:32
Excellent news, and if Palmers Green is to be a “cultural hub” within the borough (and beyond) leveraging all the Town Centre trends now falling from the draft London Plan into the Draft Local Plan, what a great established asset to have book-ending the northern end with all the opportunities it brings.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4290 12 Dec 2018 15:46
There's nothing civilised about a small handful of people obstructing the needs of both the private owners of property and the broader community as a whole. Otherwise we're no better than the French yellow jackets - what's the point of private property rights if they can be ridden rough-shod over?!

What ACV will do, as we have seen from the Fox, is simply add a few years and 10s, maybe 100s, of thousands of pounds to the cost of delivering the development regardless.

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shaftesbury hall after rebuild view of entrance


The transformation of a semi-derelict "tin tabernacle" in Bowes Park into a modern facility for use by the Samaritans in their life-saving work is now complete.

North London Samaritans moved into new offices in the rebuilt Shaftesbury Hall in Herbert Road, immediately adjacent to Bowes Park station, in October. And this month fitting out of the main part of the building was completed, providing a handsome new community hall which local community groups and individuals can hire at reasonable prices for a wide variety of purposes.

The project cost around £650,000, with the largest contribution, of £545,000, provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Other contributors included the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Foyle Foundation, the Laing Family Trust and the Clothworkers’ Trust, and on top of this there was a Just Giving campaign and a series of local fundraising events, making good use of the excellent community spirit in and around Myddleton Road.

A rare survivor

The "Tin Tabernacle" was so-called because it began life as a chapel provided for railway employees. Built in the 1880s, it's a rare survivor of a type of metal self-assembly church that was common in the Victorian era.

shaftesbury hall in derelict condition wikimedia commons Stephen2810The final days of the "Tin Tabernacle" (Source: Wikimedia Commons Author Stephen2810

The former chapel has belonged to North London Samaritans since the 1970s, but some years ago its condition had deteriorated to the point where it was unsafe to use. In 2008 and 2011 the Samaritans applied for planning permission to replace the chapel by a purpose-built facility plus four two-bedroom flats to pay for the work. Following local opposition, they eventually changed tack - deciding to retain the chapel building, but bring it up to modern standards.

shaftesbury hall after rebuild interior of hallThe smart interior of the rebuilt hall with its characteristic windows

This idea too had to be abandoned. The former chapel was in such bad condition that it was decided to rebuild it - creating a building that looked to same but used modern construction materials and methods. The result is stunning: a unique and very smart chapel-like building, retaining the "corrugated" exterior and with a brick-faced extension at the rear providing additional office space.

shaftesbury hall after rebuild interior of extensionModern offices in the extension at the rear of the hall

samaritans logo

Every six seconds someone in need contacts the Samaritans, and volunteers respond to more than five million requests for such help each year. From 2016 to 2017 the number of telephone calls where support was sought and provided rose by three per cent. The Samaritans also responded to over five per cent more emails in 2017 and 42 per cent more SMS messages.

North London Samaritans provide emotional support 24 hours a day to people experiencing anxiety, distress,or suicidal feelings across the boroughs of Enfield, Haringey and Barnet. As a branch it is entirely self-funding, receiving no money from the central organisation.

Until last month North London Samaritans operated from shared premises on the North Circular Road. At Shaftesbury Hall they not only have much more modern and comfortable offices to communicate with people in distress or despair by phone and email, but are now able to talk to people face-to-face.

The new Shaftesbury Hall will also operate as a local hub, anchoring North London Samaritans in the community.


North London Samaritans website

Shaftesbury Hall booking enquiries

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 Christ Church Southgate in Waterfall Road will be hosting “Southgate Remembers” from Sunday 4th November to Sunday 11th November 2018. 

This is a week of reflection and remembrance, with displays and exhibits, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.

Including an installation of 10 silhouette soldiers, awarded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, that are “There But Not There”

southgate remembers nov 2018

Church open to visitors from 9 am to 7.30 pm Monday 5th November - Sunday 11th November. Admission free

Featured Services and Events

Sunday 4th November at 6.30 pm
All Souls Sung Requiem Mass featuring the music of Faure

Wednesday 7th November at 12 noon
Illustrated talk on WW1 posters

Thursday 8th November at 7.30 pm
Evening of WW1 music and readings, including the words of local men and women

Saturday 10th November at 7.30 pm
Vigil Service of prayer and reading for the Eve of the Armistice

Sunday 11th November at 10.30 am
Service of Remembrance, including two minutes silence and laying of wreaths, followed by Bring and Share lunch in Church House

Sunday 11th November at 6.30 pm
Sung Eucharist for Remembrance

Things to see and do

  • Explore the stories behind some of the names on our war memorial, and see where they lived
  • The soldiers that are “There But Not There”
  • Floral and other craft displays by the local community, including children
  • Exhibiton of original WW1 posters
  • Display of local artefacts and memorabilia
  • Book of Remembrance to sign with an opportunity to light a candle

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intimate theatre palmers green sept 2018

St Monica's Large Hall aka the Intimate Theatre

There may soon be one fewer historic building in Palmers Green following news this week of plans to demolish the Intimate Theatre and replace it with a new parish centre and flats.

There have long been rumours that the Intimate’s days were numbered. St Monica’s, who own the site, first made a successful planning application to replace the theatre (also known as the Large Hall) with a single storey parish centre in 1992.

This week’s parish newsletter announces plans to demolish it and to also sell the current parish centre on Cannon Hill – which is a Grade 2 listed Regency villa.

As you may be aware, the Large Hall and Parish Centre at Cannon House require major investment. Even after such investment they remain, in design, a theatre and private residence. Existing expenditure on maintaining these building is costly and will continue to be in the future. The buildings are not energy-efficient and some areas cannot be accessed by those with impaired mobility. To meet the present and envisaged future needs of the parish, it is proposed to build a new Parish Centre, one that will be a legacy for future generations.

david bowie at the intimate theatre palmers green

David Bowie appeared in Pierrot in Turquoise for four nights in the late 1960s

Of course, the Intimate already has a legacy, and was successfully nominated for Enfield Council’s Local Heritage List two years ago. The site of Sir John Clements’ famous theatre company, the first play ever to have been broadcast live on television was beamed from the Intimate and it is one of the last surviving local theatres in London. Those who have trodden the boards include Richard Attenborough (making his stage debut), Irene Handl, Anna Wing, Nicholas Parsons, Roger Moore, Arthur Lowe, Bill Owen, John Inman, Dad’s Army writer Jimmy Perry and his wife Gilda, Tony Blackburn, Stephen Berkoff, Davy Graham, David Bowie, The Wurzels, Joe Brown, George Melly, Tommy Trinder, Hinge and Bracket, and, in panto, Bill Pertwee, Ruth Madoc, and John Noakes.  Many of those have of course passed now. And it seems that so too will our old Intimate.

St Monica’s are holding a parish meeting about the plans on 18 September at 7.30. At the Intimate Theatre.

This article was originally published on Palmers Green - Jewel in the North and in republished with permission.

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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4050 13 Sep 2018 09:11
When was the last time this was used as a proper actual theatre? Understand not for years. Redundant as a theatre and not fit for purpose as a community space/parish hall.

Therefore best of recycled for better use, helping satisfying much needed housing demand for young people, with the funds extracted to build a brand new fit for purpose time-resilient space. Win-win.
Sue Beard's Avatar
Sue Beard posted a reply #4051 13 Sep 2018 09:54
I do have some sympathy with that view David and with St Monica ‘s .

but there is a bit of me that also thinks we are in danger od’developing’ away everything that has any historical interest or culture and leaving pg just another identikit suburb.

I don’t think every oldish building is precious by any means but It would be good to try to protect what is unusual and distinct and has meaning for us through it’s story. I know that the new building will take on meaning for the congregation but there will be another bit of the past gone probably to be replaced by something more functional than attractive . Some sadness at least about that is in order ...

And,come on, Sid James...! Stewpot...! Clive Dunn...!
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #4052 13 Sep 2018 17:24
I guess if you close it as a theatre, rename it as a “hall”, and then rip out the seats its chances of continuing as a theatre are reduced. Then make it a real uphill challenge to book it for performing arts events and its little wonder it sat underutilised.
For current demand, The Park Theatre shows what can be done, as surely will the revamped Alexander Place Theatre, while as Basil says, the small theatre in Friern Barnet ticks along nicely. The Intimate could have been a performing art centre / base of real excellence for PG, indeed for a big swathe of Enfield. Imagine, cinema, theatre, music, eats, dance and more. I thinks it’s a colossal lost opportunity, but doubtless very financially positive for some.
This absolutely huge, world leading, part of the UK economy is being attacked (hard) at school curriculum level and with moves like this, further up the line too.
I don’t think we’re getting the mix of “other” to balance the necessary focus on housing. All those people in houses need things to do outside of their front doors, while our leading creative sector needs the space to breathe. Amen
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #4056 19 Sep 2018 17:31

PGC member Garry Humphreys has started an online petition to save the Intimate. To read and sign visit .

In the Why is this Important? section of the petition Garry writes:

The Enfield Local Heritage List describes the building as having landmark status, rarity value, historical association and social value in the local community.

The Theatre was the home of the John Clements Theatre company, and the site of the first play ever to have been broadcast live on television. By the end of the 1960s it had become the last repertory theatre surviving in London. The theatre still plays host to a range of dramatic and operatic societies, and local events.

Many famous people appeared on stage here, including Richard Attenborough (in his stage debut), Irene Handl, Anna Wing, Nicholas Parsons, Roger Moore, Arthur Lowe, Bill Owen, John Inman, Dad’s Army writer Jimmy Perry and his wife Gilda, Tony Blackburn, Stephen Berkoff, Davy Graham, David Bowie, The Wurzels, Joe Brown, George Melly, Tommy Trinder, Hinge and Bracket, and, in panto, Bill Pertwee, Ruth Madoc and John Noakes. Local resident Stevie Smith attended regularly. John Clements was knighted for his contribution to film and stage - Bristol University holds an archive in his memory. This is one of the last local theatres left in London.

The two-storey frontage is in red brick with stone quoins and window surrounds and seating for an audience of up to 406 people.

While the parish clearly has plans to redevelop, if they see the local and national opposition this will create they may look to revise plans to include some theatre usage.

To make this happen, please sign this petition now! Thank you!

PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #4057 19 Sep 2018 17:38
Dave Thomas, one of the main organisers of St Harmonica's Blues Club, attended yesterday's meeting at the Intimate and has provided the following account.

I arrived later than intended at around 7.50 when Father Mehail Lowry was presenting the case and the plans. The meeting consisted of Parish Members, St Monica’s Players and ‘others’.

There is a pretty large body of support amongst the parish members for the plans to develop a new Parish Centre on the site of the Intimate Theatre using proceeds from the sale of the current Parish Centre at Cannon House, 6 Canon Hill N14. The new centre would prioritise the needs of the parish and have increased office space and meeting rooms next door to the church as well as flats which can provide some revenue stream and which could be used to house refugee families and retired priests amongst others. In the process the aim is not to have time without either building. What is not clear is the time scale involved with obtaining the necessary planning permission or the sale of Cannon House. The suggestion was that planning could take around 12 months and that selling Cannon House would be undertaken ‘fairly soon’. We heard from the headteacher that a local authority application to extend St Monica’s Primary School into 3 forms of entry by building upon the car park adjacent to the school and Cannon House was rejected because of a tree preservation order on the trees on the site. The expansion of the school is no longer required but the tree preservation order, along with Cannon House being a grade 2 listed building which sits in a conservation area, does question its appeal to potential developers. In the meantime teachers, staff & visitors can still park their cars.

As this project takes shape users of the Parish Centre, such as Centre Stage School of Performing Arts and St Harmonica’s Blues Club, cannot plan to use the centre beyond Christmas when it may be that bookings for a 3 month block may be taken; the users will be informed as and when the situation becomes clearer.

Meanwhile there will be another consultative meeting at the Intimate Theatre on Tuesday 2nd October, when St Monica’s Players have asked to make a presentation about the value and heritage of the Intimate as a local theatre.
Neil Littman's Avatar
Neil Littman posted a reply #4063 20 Sep 2018 13:57
My view for what it is worth, is that the present building is really ugly and completely out of date inside as a theatre. I have been to events there when it was used for community meetings (perfectly OK for that) and for a dance event (felt like going back to a much earlier era). I thought the acoustics were dreadful. I also have a friend who acted on stage there several times and didn't think it was as good as most theatres. My solution would be to demolish it and replace with a modern arts centre, incorporating a main venue, a 'studio' one and a concert venue for the blues club and contain all under one roof. There are many venues like this in the UK. Several of which I have played at in various bands. They normally include a cafe and have a range of events for all ages from children to adults. The Jacksons Lane community centre is a good example of this kind of place though they don't promote music and the one at the Willesden Library complex which does have live music. It would also give the area of Southgate, Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill a much more central focus and could be a great success and put us on the map so to speak. It is all very fragmented at the moment. I do understand it is down to costs but there must be a way to develop this site while selling off the other and it would cost less than the cycle lanes and be a lot more popular!
Maire Harris's Avatar
Maire Harris posted a reply #4065 21 Sep 2018 11:41
I understand the Church owns the site which makes this development very different to a Council-owned property where the needs of the whole community could be considered. St Monica's is addressing its needs for a functional parish centre so I don't think talk of a modern arts centre(nice as that would be) will come into the equation.
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #4067 26 Sep 2018 00:24
A report in the trade paper The Stage quotes Steven Berkoff as saying

To lose the Intimate, Palmers Green, where I have also played as a young man, would be more than just a shame


Nicholas Parsons :

It would be so sad to see the Intimate Theatre disappear as many artists learned their trade there, perfecting their craft, not only in acting but also how ‘to walk a stage’, as they say.

The full report is at

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new river ice lecture screenshot

For the Institution of Civil Engineers' annual Smeaton Lecture in 2014, Andrew C Smith described how the extraordinarily ambitious New River project was conceived and executed, with particular focus on the role of the engineer Edmund Colthurst.

At the start of his lecture, Andrew Smith remarks that there are not many items of infrastructure that are more than 400 years old yet are still successfully fulfilling their original purpose.

The webcast of the lecture was recorded and can be watched online at

The recording of the lecture was discovered by John Polley of the New River Action Group.  Among the Group's activities are various guided walks along the New River.  There's one on Saturday 28th July from Hertford to Rye House, including a tour of the New River Brewery, and another on 7th October along the Whitewebbs Loop.  For details see

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The ever interesting website Palmers Green Tales has released four short films about the life of Professor Kurt Barling.  In the first film, when he was a young boy living in Grovelands Road in the 1960s, Kurt recalls playing football in the street, on the corner of Grovelands Road and Fox Lane.  Whenever an occasional car came along, the driver would wait for someone to score a goal before proceeding.  How times have changed!

Professor Kurt Barling

We interviewed Professor Kurt Barling recently and it was wonderful to hear about him growing up in Palmers Green, his education, his interests and his career. Being a mixed race child at school during the sixties was not especially easy in Palmers Green, which at the time was not the multi cultural area it is today and Kurt talks about that.  He talks about being into sports and becoming part of the National Youth Jazz orchestra, going to university and becoming the first Black English lecturer at the LSE. Then he became a journalist and broadcaster, becoming involved with campaigns and stories, including modern slavery, Abu Hamza and Finsbury Park Mosque and the Lakanal House Fire and he is now Professor of Journalism at Middlesex University and an author.

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The publisher of a successful website celebrating various styles of modernist architecture in the London suburbs has launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising sufficient funds to publish the information on his website in pocket guide book form.  Among the buildings that the book will cover are the remarkable Piccadilly Line stations in our area, such as Southgate and Arnos Grove.

Help fund publication of the guide and receive "rewards"

modernism in metroland book

Joshua Abbot's Guide to Modernism in Metro-Land will be published by the crowdfunding publisher Unbound.  Before it can be printed and distributed, it requires funding pledges from supporters.  Pledge £15 and you'll receive the book with your name printed in it, pledge more and there are a variety of other "rewards".  But the best reward of all will be knowing that you've helped get this new guidebook into the hands of people curious about the London suburbs.

A Guide to Modernism in Metro-Land will be a pocket guide to the modernist buildings of the suburbs. Covering nine London boroughs and two counties, the book will help you explore the modernist heritage of Metro-Land, with over 100 colour photographs. There will be a short description of each building as well as a map for each area to help you find the buildings you want to see.

Find out how to pledge

The Modernism in Metro-Land website and book are the work of Joshua Abbott. Inspired by John Betjeman's 1973 TV programme Metro-Land and by the architectural books written by Ian Nairn, Joshua set up the website in 2011.  It explores the growth of the suburbs since the 1920s through modernist architectural designs and traces their development throughout the remainder of the century.

Although our part of north London doesn't fall within "Metro-Land" as strictly defined (that's located further west), we certainly have some good examples of modernist architecture. 

Everyone will be familiar with the Charles Holden tube stations built in the 1930s, when the Piccadilly Line was extended from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters.  But the website also lists many other buildings in the present-day boroughs of Enfield and Haringey, including civic buildings (Hornsey Town Hall), churches (Christ the King at Oakwood, the Church in the Orchard and more), cinemas (the former Ritz in Bowes Road) factories (Barretts Chocolate Factory), civic infrastructure (Trent Park water tower) and domestic buildings (art moderne houses in Abbotshall Avenue, Southgate).

houses in abbotshall avenue southgate modernism in metro land websiteModerne-style houses in Abbotshall Avenue N14 (source:

As well as running the website and working on the printed guide, Joshua leads guided tours.  His next tour, on 12 May, is very convenient for PGC readers, as it covers the Piccadilly Line stations between Turnpike Lane and Cockfosters,  he tour on 21st July will take a look at the eastern extension of the Central Line, from Wanstead to Barkingside, will look not just at more celebrated Charles Holden tube stations, but also at a splendid bus station and at Fulwell Cross Library and Leisure Centre in Barkingside.  Unfortunately, both tours are sold out, but you can join the waiting lists and no doubt the tours will be repeated.

st thomas oakwood modernism in metro land websiteSt Thomas' Church, Oakwood - a 1939 church with a 60s spire (source:

To keep up to date with the website and tours, you can subscribe to updates.



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lamb festival poetry competitionThe Lamb Festival 2018: Saturday 16th to Friday 22nd June.

An arts Festival at All Saints, Edmonton, to celebrate the lives and legacies of Charles and Mary Lamb.

You can find the wonderful 2017 Festival Diary here - save the dates and come and join us! (And don't forget - for the fourth year running, there's free admission to ALL Festival events, so why not come and try something new?) 2017 LAMB FESTIVAL DIARY

As before, there will be poetry and photography competitions - three prizes in each of the categories, for primary schools, secondary schools and an "open competition" for anyone who is a resident or who works at a school in the London Borough of Enfield.

2018 POETRY Competition Themes - 'A Birthday Thought' or 'The Triumph of the Whale' - Rules and Application Forms: 2018 POETRY COMPETITION APPLICATION FORM AND RULES

lamb festival photography competition 2018a2017 PHOTOGRAPHY Competition Themes - 'A Comedy of Errors' and/or 'Nature's Changing Course' - Rules and Application Forms: 2018 PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION APPLICATION FORM AND RULES

You can read the 2017 Poetry Competition Winners here: 2017 POETRY COMPETITION WINNERS

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accredited archive service logoEnfield's newly accredited Museum and Archive Service this month launches a programme of events in which visitors are invited in to learn about some of the objects in its collection.

The Service's accreditation status was announced at the end of March by the UK Archive Service Accreditation Partnership.  The panel awarding accreditation looks at "an organisation’s ability to develop, care for, and provide access to its collections, and those areas such as resources and planning which underpin those activities".  It is regarded as a "badge of external recognition which demonstrates quality services".

Perhaps by coincidence, or then again perhaps not, the Service has recently announced a programme of events between now and September in which Archivist John Clark will invite visitors into the archive for guided tours.  There will also be lunchtime Taster Lectures given by local historian Joe Studman and Egyptologist Stacey Anne Bagdi.  Subjects range from an ancient mammoth bone to an Edmonton Town Hall Distinguished Visitors Book with a special Tottenham connection (clue: think May 1962).

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The search is on for Enfield residents who have previously worked at Forty Hall Farm, or anyone who has memories of the Farm and its history.

Land girls in Southgate Park, during WWII. Source: Enfield Local Studies Centre.Land girls in Southgate Park, during WWII. Source: Enfield Local Studies Centre.

Thanks to funding from the Enfield Society, Forty Hall Farm in north Enfield has been awarded a project grant to produce a series of information boards for visitors, to tell the history of the Farm and farming in Enfield.

Farm manager Kate McGeevor explains: “The Farm has been open to the public for several years, but we have not been very good at telling our visitors about the development and history of the Farm. Our generous grant from the Enfield Society will change that, allowing us to produce and install a series of information boards to tell the Farm’s history. We already have some information about how the Farm has developed over the years and have also gathered lots of useful information from the Local Archives at the Dugdale Centre. But what we really want to hear and collect are people’s memories of the Farm, especially from those who might have worked here over the years.”

Forty Hall Farm is run by Capel Manor College, the only further education college in London specialising in learning about the environment, who use the Farm as an educational centre for student practical sessions.

The Farm is part of the Forty Hall Estate and would have originally been a home farm, producing food for the people who lived and worked on the Estate. Since the 1950s, the Farm has been run as a separate agricultural business, with several tenant farmers leasing it over the years.

Share your memories

If you used to work at the Farm or know someone that did, or if you have any memories of the Farm that you’d like to share for the history project, please contact Kate McGeevor on ‪07713 488501 or by email .

Those with memories to share are also invited to the spring reopening of the Farm next month. You can go along to its popular Lambing Weekend on Saturday, 24 and Sunday, 25 March from 11am to 4pm, where staff will be running a stall about the history project.

Visit the Farm website for more information.

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2018 is the centenary year of the extension of the right to vote to (some) women.  In recognition of the fact that many leading campaigners for women's suffrage lived in and around Palmers Green, Southgate and Winchmore Hill and that local halls, churches and schools hosted campaign meetings, Enfield Council will next month be unveiling a plaque at Palmers Green Triangle.

The unveiling will take place at 10.30am on 8th March - International Women's Day.  Palmers Green Triangle has been chosen because it was the site of open air suffrage campaign meetings, including one held in June 1914 which was described as a "riot in all but name".

The story of the incident at the Triangle and subsequent tram chase up Greem Lanes has been told before in local history publications and on local websites, so what you see below is just a brief recap.

The June 1914 incident at the Triangle

wspu badgeIt began when members of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) attempted to hold an open air meeting at the Triangle.  The WSPU was the most militant of the campaigning groups and in the preceding days and weeks had been running what can only be described as a terrorist campaign - planting bombs in various places, including Westminster Abbey. (According to one account, the Abbey bomb was the reason why when Scottish nationalists "kidnapped" the Stone of Scone from beneath the Speaker's chair, they discovere that it had broken in two.)

The WSPU was headed by three of the best known Suffragettes - Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia. The organiser of the Palmers Green meeting was Emmeline Pankhurst's brother Herbert Goulden, whose wife Laura was thde first headmistress of Hazenwood School.

Meeting attendees were greeted at the Triangle by a crowd of protesters who were, in the words of the Recorder for Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill and Southgate, "bent on mischief". Mr Goulden was rescued by a policeman, who walked with him as far as the Fox, where he boarded a northbound tram, but some of the crowd got on the same tram, while others followed by bicycle (a mode of transport for which Green Lanes was at the time well adapted, given the small number of cars then on the road).  The Recorder reported that "the ladies of the suffragette party, guarded by police, took refuge in tram cars, the crowd being so great as to cause a temporary suspension of traffic."

The protest then resumed in Winchmore Hill.  Mr Goulden, "who bore marks of the fray in the shape of flour", took refuge in the house of a councillor in Station Road, while the mob moved on to Mr Goulden's house in Radcliffe Road, where they threw eggs through an open window until the police arrived.

For a much more detailed account, see the Ruby Galili article referenced below.

But while the June 1914 incident stands out as  "something rather more lively than the scenes to which staid and respectable Palmers Green is accustomed", it was only one among many Suffragist and Suffragette connections with our area.  The Recorder was evidently sympathetic to the cause and carried several interesting accounts of local activities, with mentions of street names and churches that are still familiar to us today.  In 2012 the late Ruby Galili used these articles to build up a picture of local activities and personalities, which she published online as Suffragettes of Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill & Southgate 1909-1916. There's also a shorter account by Sue Beard of Palmers Green Jewel in the North - Women, know your place!

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PGC Webmaster posted a reply #3697 07 Mar 2018 22:45
Local women's suffrage campaigning was by no means restricted to middle class suburbs like Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill, as local historian Joe Studman points out in an article entitled Deeds Not Words: The Women's Movement in Edmonton before the First World War.

Joe's article is in the March issue of Edmonton Green Magazine, which you can read online at
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PGC Webmaster posted a reply #3699 09 Mar 2018 01:00
Some photographs of Thursday's commemoration of the Women's Suffrage's connections with Palmers Green Triangle. There was an attempt to disrupt the affair by some local ruffians, but the women stood their ground - in any case, the tram that was supposed to take them up to Winchmore Hill never turned up. So they instead moved to Palmers Green Library and took tea

Photographers: Colin Younger, Sue Beard, Francis Sealey
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PGC Webmaster posted a reply #3708 15 Mar 2018 00:25
The story of the Suffragettes and Suffragists of Palmers Green has now been retold by Philip Dawson from Christ Church Southgate Green on his blog Quam Dilecta. At the end of his version of the story he refers to what I assume should be referred to as an Episcopal Blog (which reminds me, what is the Latin for "blog"?). The blog in question is called Contemplation in the Shadow of a Carpark and is written by the Bishop of London and in her item for 6th February she writes about the centenary of women's suffrage.

Philip Dawson can be read at onebodyonebread...hgate.html , the Bishop at sarahmullally.w...agette100/

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This year's Haringey Local History Fair at Bruce Castle Museum promises a fascinating and very varied series of talks.  Highlights include a talk about Holocaust survivor and local artist Moshe Galili and the story of the Gestetner factory (fascinating for me, because I use to use a Gestetner in the early 1960s to produce flyers for my mother's concerts).

Saturday 17 February 11.00am - 4.30pm

Haringey Local History Fair at Bruce Castle

Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, N17 8NU 

bruce caste

Discover more about Haringey’s history and community heritage at our annual Haringey Local History Fair at Bruce Castle Museum and Haringey Archive.

You can visit the Archive Search Room and talk to Archive Staff, enjoy our all-day talks programme or browse stalls from local organisations showcasing our area's heritage and culture -  a chance to network and get involved. All welcome.

The Old Kitchen will also have a café for teas, coffee and cake all day.

Talks programme

11.15am "Bringing Back the Kiln" by Harvey Sheldon (Archaeologist - Birkbeck University). Find out more about newly-formed FoHRK (Friends of the Highgate Roman Kiln) and the journeys, histories and future of one of the Roman Kilns discovered in Highgate Wood in 1968.

11.50am "The Bashful Man: The Story of Henry Hunnings - Clergyman and Inventor from Tottenham" by Alan Swain (local history author), who reveals how a printer and photographer in Tottenham became a pioneer working on voice transmitters in telephones.

12.15pm "Places in Tottenham" - Adjoa Wiredu (Photo-journalist and local resident), shares her inspiration for her current photographic-journal exhibition at Bruce Castle showing everyday life and views of Tottenham. 

Break: 1-2pm

A slideshow and film will be running during the break:

"Moshe Galili (1930-2017): A Tribute in Pictures" - a special slideshow to reflect on the art, work and life of Moshe 'Bandi' Galili - artist and Holocaust survivor, and past resident of Haringey.

2pm "Saving the Gestetner Duplicating Arts: a Revolution Made in Tottenham”, artist Oscar Mac-Fall (from Alt Går Bra) discusses creating an exhibition about Tottenham's Gestetner factory, its world-famous stencil duplicator and its printing legacy. Do come and exchange your stories and memories with Oscar on using these machines.

2.35pm “Restoring the Metcalfe Fountain at Priory Park” by Angela Elliott (Friends of Priory Park). The Friends share their work, passion and vision for getting the magnificent Grade II fountain – originally from St Paul’s – back into working order.

3.10-3.30pm tea break

3.35pm – “Hands-on History along the High Road– a round-up of a year working and volunteering in heritage, by the North Tottenham Heritage project

4.05pm – “A Voice for Women: 1918 and Getting the Vote for (some) Women Deborah Hedgecock (Curator, Bruce Castle Museum) draws on the stories so far uncovered by different researchers in Haringey of women’s suffrage and campaigning for votes for women from around the area.

Please note: talks are sometimes subject to change

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smithies memorial bounds green roadIf you've ever wondered about the "obelisk" in Bounds Green Road, its history and the story of the person is commemorates are recounted by Harringay Online.

The obelisk, actually a drinking fountain, was erected in 1879, originally in the middle of the road, but is now located on the grass, opposite Nightingale Gardens.  It commemorates Mrs Catherine Smithies of Earlham Grove, Wood Green, founder of the Band of Mercy Movement.  The Band of Mercy was a predecessor of the RSPCA.  Mrs Smithies was also a notable anti-slavery campaigner.

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in memory of fritz lustigThe Trent Park Museum Trust has announced the death of Fritz Lustig, the last of the "secret listeners", who collected invaluable intelligence by listening in to bugged conversations between German prisoners of war during World War 2.

This once top secret intelligence gathering was carried out at three large country houses that had been requisitioned, one being Trent Park.  Fritz Lustig, a refugee from Nazi Germany, did not himself work at Trent Park, but as one of only two surviving secret listeners played an important role in the successful campaign to persuade the new owners of Trent Park to set aside part of the mansion to be used as a museum.

In the first of the video clips below, Fritz tells part of his story at a campaigning event held by the Trent Park Museum Trust in June 2016, his energy and demeanour belying the fact that he was then aged 97.  The second is an interview by David Jason taken from a TV programme broadcast earlier this week.

As a final tribute to Fritz Lustig, an excerpt from an interview that he gave to the Guardian in 2013.  Bearing in mind that his speech at the Trent Park event was given as the country was absorbing the shocking news of the murder of Jo Cox MP, his warning from three years earlier is something that we shouldn't dismiss lightly - newspaper headlines about "enemies of the people" and "saboteurs" are only too reminiscent of totalitarian tactics in the 1930s.

I no longer believe that totalitarian tendencies are a uniquely German problem, as people did at the time: genocides have happened since, and all over the world. The events of 30th January 1933 to me still serve as a warning of how quickly a conservative government can lose control of the situation when it starts to engage with political party further to their right – and there's a lesson in that for British politicians too. Eighty years are a long time, but the events of that day are still relevant now: if we forget what happened, it may happen again.

The programme from which this clip is taken, the last episode of David Jason's Secret Service, will be repeated on More4 at 5.55pm on Saturday 23rd December.


Trent Park Museum Trust

Hitler came to power 80 years ago. I remember it like yesterday (Article by Fritz Lustig in The Guardian)

First Person: Fritz Lustig (Financial Times, 14 September 2012

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A World War 1 officer who was awarded the Victoria Cross is to be commemorated at a ceremony taking place in the street in New Southgate where he was born.

At 11am on 1st December a specially made paving stone will be unveiled at a short commemorative event in honour of Captain Alastair McReady-Diarmid. Attendees will include the Mayor of Enfield, Councillor Christine Hamilton, Bambos Charalambous MP, Councillors and members of the Middlesex Regiment, as well as relatives of Captain McReady-Diarmid.

Everyone is welcome to attend

Note: Parking is severely restricted, so if possible please use public transport.

mcready diarmid amc vcCaptain Alastair McReady-Diarmid, citation for the Victoria Cross

Alastair McReady-Diarmid was born in Grove Road, New Southgate in March 1888 and won the highest award for bravery, the Victoria Cross, while serving as a soldier in World War I. On the 30th November/1st December of 1917 in France, Captain McReady-Diarmid led his company through a heavy barrage to engage the enemy and drive them back at least 300 yards, causing numerous casualties and taking 27 prisoners. The following day saw another attack from the enemy, to which Captain McReady-Diarmid reacted by calling for volunteers to counter attack. Captain McReady-Diarmid led the counter attack until eventually being killed by a bomb. His brave actions were recognised when posthumously receiving a Victoria Cross.

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PGC Webmaster posted a reply #3391 03 Dec 2017 20:37

The ceremony to mark the centenary of Captain Alastair McReady-Diarmid's death was attended by the only living holder of the Victoria Cross, Lance-Sergeant Johnson Beharry.

See this report on the Enfield Council website: