Art and Culture Community Enfield History Palmers Green Planning and open spaces

A thing of beauty may not always be a joy forever

The interior after refurb 2014
The interior during the refurb 2013/4

A couple of years ago Tony Ourris of Anthony Webb took over premises on the corner of Alderman’s Hill and Lakeside Road which had previously been occupied for many years by Paterson’s.

Tony loves old things, and he and his contractors stripped away the old paint and fittings to reveal the original tiled floor and rich dark Edwardian paneling, both of which were restored to things of absolute beauty.

A year or two later, and Anthony Webb has moved out now to concentrate operations in the main Green Lanes office and the shop is to become a new art focused café.  This afternoon, the original carved panels and glass inside had all been taken down. There are all manner of bags and planks of wood and I can’t help wondering if the floor is to be taken up or covered over too.

You can have a café anywhere (in fact, there is one right next door) but a beautiful interior like that was a rarity. Art, which is what this new café promises to be about, implies an appreciation of beauty. I hope that the new occupants will appreciate what is there as much as Tony did.

I just wish I had taken more photos.

The new offices host a Creative Exchange event
The new offices host a Creative Exchange event
Art and Culture Community Enfield Green Palmers Green History Palmers Green Planning and open spaces Southgate

What next for Broomfield House ? – new consultation seeks your views

rp_IMG_2863-300x225.jpgMissed, treasured, ruined, beyond hope, still rescuable…opinions on Broomfield House have long been mixed but wistful. A successful of fires brought it to its present state and since then there have been several attempts to revive its fortunes, lead by the hardworking Broomfield House Trust.

Following work by Enfield Council, the Trust, the Friends of Broomfield Park, Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, a consultation is beginning this month to look at future options for house and stable block based on an initial a report produced by independent architects Donald Insall.

The report identifies options for a part restoration, part new build for those parts that are beyond repair, and potential for the enhancement of the landscape setting, possibly funded by a more commercial approach to the stable block.

Enfield Council will have a stall at this weekend’s Palmers Green festival where you’ll be able to pick up hard copies of the questionnaire and essential background material  plus information on potential next steps. The Broomfield House Trust will also be at the festival to give their views on the best way forward and are urging as many people as possible to participate in the consultation so that local views can be taken into account.

If you cant get along to the festival, there’s further information here



Art and Culture Community Enfield Green Palmers Green History Palmers Green Planning and open spaces

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.

Art and Culture Community Enfield History Palmers Green Planning and open spaces Spooky stories

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.
Art and Culture Community Enfield Green Palmers Green History Palmers Green Planning and open spaces Spooky stories

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.

Art and Culture Community Green Palmers Green History Palmers Green Planning and open spaces Shops Uncategorized

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