Southgate Photographic Society’s Blockbuster

This week sees Southgate Photographic Society’s 73rd annual exhibition – and this year it’s a blockbuster, or certainly at the old Blockbuster’s in Southgate Circus. TfL has kindly lent the space until 17 June.

Why not go along and look – or join the Society for its new season of activities in September. For more information visit

Blochbusters SPS


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Market N13, the place for Father’s Day fun!

20150517_123013Market N13, Palmers Green’s relaunched Sunday market is celebrating 3 months trading, by providing a fun venue for kids and Dads (and everyone else!) to enjoy Father’s Day together.  Come along for your regular Sunday shopping and join in with the festivities.

The aim is to share local talent, to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all those who have supported the market up to now, to invite others to get involved, but above all to have family focused activities, laughter and maybe a little bit of silliness on this special day for Fathers.

  • ‘open mic’ competition – bring your favourite Dad jokes
  • learn to juggle
  • make a father’s day gift with Carla from Hang out the Bunting
  • listen to the Storyteller and bring a favourite story to share
  • wear your favourite silly hat
  • have your face painted by ZaraZoo

20150607_123059All this plus live music  AND all the market’s regular traders selling good fresh foods and handmade crafts.

Check the facebook events page for updated information and the day’s programme.


HELP!   – Market N13 is  always looking for volunteer helpers. Do get in touch at  or speak with  Annita at the kiosk café on Platform 1, any weekday morning.

JARS! – empty glass jars with screw top lids wanted for jam and chutney based activity later in the year.

Date: Sunday 21st June 2015.    Venue: Palmers Green station car park.    Time: 10am – 3pm

brockmans veg cropped

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Farewell, Ron Moody

Ron Moody Opening the Southgate May Day Fayre in 2014, photo by kind permission of Christine Matthews ( Creative Commons LIcense)

Ron Moody Opening the Southgate May Day Fayre in 2014, photo by kind permission of Christine Matthews ( Creative Commons License)

Our thoughts this week are firmly with the family and friends of Ron Moody who sadly passed away on 11 June aged 91. Living for many years near the Cherry Tree, he was often seen around Palmers Green.

Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist was already loved by many, but it was Lionel Bart’s film production of ‘Oliver!’ that made it forever part of so many people’s lives – not for Mark Lester’s saccharine Oliver but for Moody’s amazing Fagin.
Moody had been horrified by the anti Semitism in Alec Guinness’ 1948 film and he and Lionel Bart set out to “get Fagin away from a viciously racial stereotype, and instead make him what he really is – a crazy old Father Christmas gone wrong.”

Though Moody, to his frustration, became primarily associated with that role and complained at times of typecasting, he was multi-talented, with a degree in sociology, philosophy and psychology. He was a writer as well as a performer, producing the words and music for a play about Joseph Grimaldi in the 1960s. And he came close to becoming the third Dr Who instead of John Pertwee.

His last reprise of the voice of Fagin was three years ago, in this wonderful short film Fits and Starts of Restlessness: a night walk tracing the path of the lost Fleet River, through the shadowy streets of Saffron Hill where Dickens located Fagin’s den in Oliver Twist. The film includes extracts from  interviews with juvenile offenders undertaken on board the Euryalus prison hulk, Chatham, and from the passages in Oliver Twist in which Oliver enters  London. It’s just over 5 minutes and well worth your time. (Go straight to if you are  unable to view)


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Truro House is for sale – but is this what it looks like inside?

IMAG0902Truro House was posted up on Rightmove on Friday, for a cool £2.9 million.

But let’s hope the pictures are from one of the other units to be built…

The building, which is Grade 2 listed,  is described as ‘refined glamour, with a French twist’:

Step through the iron gates of this secluded, private gated development and discover an enticing mix of old and new, where a wealth of original features meets the latest in security technology, and where over two acres of mature gardens and lawns meet a coveted parking space. Thoughtfully restored, today’s Truro Place is a thoroughly modern address that exists in perfect harmony with its heritage and surrounds, and the grand buildings that have stood here for 150 years. After decades in the wilderness, this unique property is once again a joy to discover.

But the pictures appear to show an ultra modern, squeaky clean, marble floored, modern generically furnished space pad with no pictures of original features at all apart from outside. You can see them here.

But you will be relieved to find that we Palmers Greeners have at least finally discovered our inner hipster:

The joy of space meets the thrill of the city. Leafy Palmers green enjoys the very best of laid-back North London living

Enfield Council gave permission for works to go ahead last year, with a number of conditions to retain the building’s historic character.  Last month, the stable block, which was originally to be retained, was demolished with agreement from Enfield Council, due to its poor condition.

Poor old soul - Truro House in a state of dilapidation May 2012

Poor old soul – Truro House in a state of dilapidation May 2012

In 2002 a team from English Heritage investigated the history of the house and gardens. Inside was: a sitting hall; a panelled drawing room with hidden drawers and cupboards; stained glass with chivalric motifs and mottos; a rare early use of concrete mouldings; a ‘near-unaltered scheme of interior decoration of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’ including a Toile de Jouy wall in the north west bedroom; and outside, gardens which had changed little since the house was built.

The most exciting discovery was that “elements of timber framing and brick noggin, more commonly associated with eighteenth century form of construction’, had been exposed in the upper floor landing and in the cellar” which may have been part of the old Kings Arms structure from its last rebuilding in 1775. So parts of Truro House were nearly 250 years old.

The overall conclusion: Truro House is a building from the 1830s, built in an uncluttered ‘old French’ style, enlarged and remodelled in the 1890s, and modernised in the early part of the twentieth century, since when it has been largely untouched. The interior, say English Heritage, is “a rare and important survival, worthy of further study.”

I hope it still is.

By the way, if you want it, mortgage repayments will be between £12,000 and £17,000 a month.

Posted in Art and Culture, Community, Enfield, Green Palmers Green, History, Palmers Green, Planning and open spaces | 4 Comments

The Fox becomes Enfield’s first ‘Asset of Community Value’

The Fox - at the heart of PG

The Fox – at the heart of PG

Palmers Green’s The Fox has become the first Asset of Community Value to be created in Enfield following a decision of Enfield Council’s Evaluations Committee last week.

Under the Localism Act, Councils must maintain a list of ‘community assets’, nominated by community groups. The successful nomination, made by Southgate Civic District Trust, does not give total protection to The Fox, but it does mean if the owners want to sell the pub or change its use, SCDT must be informed. The status means that the community can also then potentially make a bid for ownership.

Becoming pub owners may not be on the cards, but the application places a marker on the importance of the pub for Palmers Green. As the application said, ‘If Palmers Green were ever to lose its landmark pub, and this landmark building, it would lose part of itself’.

In accordance with the criteria, the application placed a particular emphasis on the community use of the building and its importance to the area. You can read an extract below.

If you have ideas for other potential Assets of Community Value and would like to get involved in putting together an application, please contact SCDT.  For more about Assets of Community Value and the criteria for making an application, visit

The Fox stands in a prominent position on the corner of Green Lanes and its namesake, Fox Lane. Tall and imposing, for those coming to Palmers Green from the north, it acts as a gateway into Palmers Green’s main shopping area.

The Fox has a number of accolades. It is the oldest remaining pub in Palmers Green to have continuously stood on the same site – there has been a Fox on the site for over 300 years. It is also the only purpose built public house still remaining open on the main route between Wood Green and some way north of Winchmore Hill, the others being shop conversions with little architectural or historical merit.

The current building, of 1904, was built as part and parcel of the Edwardian development of Palmers Green. The size and grandeur of the building is a reminder that Palmers Green was once a place of enough significance to require a hotel and associated dining for travellers. Before the coming of the car, the Fox was the terminus of the horse drawn bus service into London, run by the Davey family of publicans who had stables at the back. Once the trams came, it was a major landmark on the journey from London. All taxi drivers still know the Fox.

The Fox, then, holds a position of huge cultural significance in an area, which tends to think of itself as having a short past. It is a well loved landmark and social hub. If Palmers Green were ever to lose its landmark pub, and this landmark building, it would lose part of itself.

As a former bus and train terminus, and a hotel, the Fox has always been at the centre of Palmers Green’s social and community life. June Brown, Dot Cotton from Eastenders, ran her theatre company from it, bands, including big names like Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, have played in it, famous comedians perform in it to this day, and the famous have drunk in it – locals like Rod Stewart and Ted Ray and visitors including the famous names who trod the boards at the Intimate Theatre.

Today, as the only remaining live performance venue in central Palmers Green, the Fox host a monthly comedy night attracting top Perrier nominated comedians. It hosts a community cinema, Talkies, desperately needed now that there are no cinemas for several miles. It hosts exercise and dance classes, and until recently bands and Irish music. As the only town centre room-for-hire, it has hosted wedding receptions, christenings, parties and bar mitzvahs, giving it a special place in many local people’s personal histories.

The loss of the Fox, in its current form as a public house, would leave the community impoverished; the loss of the building itself would take something beloved and iconic for local people.

For this reason, we wish to make an application for the Fox to be recognised as an Asset of Community Value, so that, should it ever be threatened, it will be clear that this is a both building and social hub valued in the local area, and that local people might have some kind of option to intervene.


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More about the Broomfield House find

Ralph Hutchings has now made a short video about the Broomfield House witch bottle finds. Though it happened over 30 years ago, other recent discoveries in the Town Hall have led Ralph to come forward to talk about the day he visited Broomfield House after the fire to help in the conservation work to save the Lanscroon murals

YouTube Preview Image

For more information visit

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Broomfield bottle find raises further questions about our past

Ralph Hutchings

Ralph Hutchings

Following the discovery of a manuscript in the Town Hall,  we understand that local furniture expert Ralph Hutchings has now also come forward with a story of an earlier find in Broomfield House thirty years ago during post fire work to recover the Lanscroon murals.

The conservation team uncovered a small box in the remains of Broomfield House’s great staircase, containing a number of objects, including what look like three 17th century witch bottles.
This find isn’t the first witch bottle cache to be unearthed in recent times. Another was found in Newark on Trent  last year during to the Old Magnus Buildings and Tudor Hall. Witch bottles are typically filled with hair, fingernails and even urine to stop spells and curses entering homes.
Posted in Art and Culture, Community, Enfield, History, Palmers Green, Planning and open spaces, Spooky stories | 1 Comment

Enfield loses its nerve over hauntings?

Broomfield's bandstand

Broomfield’s bandstand

The last few days have seen local groups in uproar following the news that Enfield won’t be taking part in London Open House this year. Apparently, Enfield has pulled out because it was unwilling to pay the £4,000 contribution required for its participating venues to appear in the Open House guidebook.

However other sources are suggesting that the real reason is that the Council is concerned about the number of hauntings and strange occurrences in the borough, not least the appearance recently, after a long absence, of ‘Bandstand Bob’ in Broomfield Park, glimpsed by a lady walking her dog just before the park closed. Bandstand Bob was associated with Broomfield House and the area by the lake, but hadn’t been seen since the fire which reduced the structure to its present state in the 1990s.

A few weeks ago there was also the discovery of a manuscript during the Town Hall renovations which indicated that Palmers Green was one of the three haunted hamlets of Middlesex, and that local people participated in rituals to keep witches at bay – a kind of Palmers Scream. The document is currently being examined by Dr Susan Devereux, lecturer in Early Modern History.

A source close to the Council has indicated that the borough is concerned that recent developments, combined with the current showing of the Enfield Haunting on Sky Living, is ‘creating a backward image’ for the borough.

Posted in Art and Culture, Community, Enfield, Green Palmers Green, History, Palmers Green, Planning and open spaces, Spooky stories | 4 Comments

Is it all over for the Green Dragon?

News is coming through this morning that Enfield Council has turned down an application for the Green Dragon pub in Winchmore Hill to be registered as an Asset of Community Value.

The pub closed a few months ago and the lease was put up for sale. Since then, a bargain shop has opened in part of the building.

There has been a Green Dragon on or near the site for nearly 300 years, and following the closure an online petition was set up on the website 38 degrees, attracting nearly 5000 signatures from local people.  Apparently the owner of the site has told the Council that they will be putting forward a full retail and residential application in due course. It’s a frustrating outcome – is it the end for the Green Dragon, and are any of our landmarks safe from developers?

An application for The Fox to be registered as an Asset of Community was submitted to Enfield Council a few weeks ago. Will it fare any better? To read more about the application click here 

Posted in Art and Culture, Community, Green Palmers Green, History, Palmers Green, Planning and open spaces, Shops, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Local gem celebrates its 400th birthday

The Weld Chapel, demolished to make way for Christ Church Southgate. Image (c) Enfield Local Studies Archive

The Weld Chapel, demolished to make way for Christ Church Southgate. Image (c) Enfield Local Studies Archive

Christ Church Southgate celebrates its 400th birthday this year.

The Weld Chapel was founded in May 1615 and was the first church in this area. Before that, churchgoers had to cross woods and fields to make their way to Edmonton.

Christ Church has set up a wonderful 400th year section on their website and Facebook pages in which they are exploring the history of Southgate, Bowes Park and Palmers Green as seen from the memorials and art in the church. If you haven’t set foot in the church, its a treasure trove of art and history.

Chapel at SouthgateThis week saw the church celebrating the feast day of the poet Christina Rossetti, perhaps best known for writing the carol In The Bleak Midwinter. Her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti designed the beautiful windows of St James and St Jude, in Christ Church’s Remembrance Chapel. Installed when the church was consecrated, the windows are dedicated to Captain Timothy Smith and his wife Sarah.

Captain Smith was commander of HCS London, an East India Company vessel. He lived with his wife in a large house in Southgate called “The Wilderness”, which was later demolished and became the site of Southgate College. Captain Smith sailed to Madras (now Chennai) and China. We know from archive reports in The Spectator of 1833 that HCS London ran into difficulties returning from China, encountering a sudden gale near the Azores, on 31st March, cutting away her topgallant-masts, arriving in the Port of London on 9th April. Captain Smith resigned as Commander of HCS London in 1834 and the team at the church are hoping to find a portrait of Captain Smith or HCS London – if you know of one please let them know! Captain Smith and his wife Sarah are buried in a vault in the churchyard.

The church holds its 400th anniversary service on 24 May, and on 20 May Ruby Galili of Edmonton Hundred Historical Society will be giving a lecture on the history of the Weld Chapel, admission a very reasonable £1.

The church and churchyard will be open for tours throughout the May Day Fair, on Monday 4th May 11am-4pm. Its a great event – do go along.

For more about the celebrations, and the history of the area as told through the church, visit or ‘like’ their Facebook page

With our thanks to Christ Church Southgate for the information contained in this article


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