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 http://www.enfield.gov.uk/info/1000000236/property/2756/assets_of_community_value
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.