Art and Culture Comedy Community Food History Music Planning and open spaces Southgate Uncategorized Winchmore Hill

Celebrate 100 years of Grovelands Park this weekend

At 2pm on 12 April 1913 the gates of Grovelands Park were opened to admit the public for the first time. Before long the park was full of people, with a liberal smattering of police, there to prevent possible attempts at disruption from the suffragettes – Mrs Pankhurst had been released from prison that very morning. What if they got up to their ‘old tricks’?

43-grovelands_park_N21_winchmore_hill_london-autumn-viewThe weather wasn’t entirely kind. Though the sun broke through the clouds from time to time, the opening ceremony was greeted with a brief sleet shower. The Lord Mayor, Sir David Burnett, and the vast entourage of guests invited by the Parks Committee (and those who had paid two shillings for the honour of joining them) were unaffected however – they were in the marquee in front of the mansion, which was decorated for the occasion with flags and artificial flowers.

The Lord Mayor’s progress to the ceremony was accompanied a guard of honour of boy scouts, playing, according to The Recorder, an ‘alarming rattle of drum and bugle’. Gratitude should be expressed to the Chairman of the Committee and Council for acquiring the land, said the Lord Mayor, who remembered Southgate and Winchmore Hill from when he was a boy. The park would prove ‘a boon to present as well as to future generations who would praise [their] wisdom in acquiring it for all time’.

At least, that is the rather dignified account given in The Recorder. An account from a local resident in the same issue tells a rather different story, reading more like the script of a Carry On film.

42-inverforth_gate_grovelands_park_N21_winchmore_hill_londonVirtually no one had paid for the tickets, which were locally thought to be very overpriced. There were a number of false alarms when the Lord Mayor’s footmen, and then the city sword bearer, appeared to check that everything was in order for his entrance, and were mistaken for the man himself. Later, as the marquee was on private property, the Lord Mayor had to process through a gap in the iron railings mid ceremony and into the park. Instead of returning for a vote of thanks, he then disappeared into the house for tea and cake. He had to be retrieved by embarrassed local dignitaries to complete the ceremony, all the time the crowd dashing in and out of the marquee as they second guessed what was actually supposed to be happening.

But the purchase of the park, for the local people, for all time, had been a great triumph for the area.

Originally heavily wooded, the lands which came to be called Grovelands had once been part of the great Middlesex Forest. Later, under the name Lords Grove, it is believed to have been owned by Lord Burghley, and then by James Brydges, the 3rd Duke of Chandos.

J D Taylor, image reproduced by kind permission of Enfield Local Studies Archive
J D Taylor, image reproduced by kind permission of Enfield Local Studies Archive

In 1796, the estate was sold to brewing magnate Walker Gray who commissioned the famous architect John Nash to design the house, and Humphrey Repton, to advise on the surrounding landscape. Repton believed that house and landscape should be a unity, and is thought to have been responsible for the lake and the ha-ha, though sadly Repton’s Red Book for Grovelands, which he set out his designs for the park, appears to have been lost.

Between 1835 and 1885, the estate became the property of John Donnithorne Taylor, before passing on his death to his son and then his grandson, Captain Taylor of the Welsh Guards. In 1902, the whole of the Taylor estate was put on the market.

Alan Dumayne in Southgate, a glimpse into the past tells us that a consortium planned to transform Grovelands estate into an ambitious garden city, with wide boulevards and substantial houses dotted among the trees, but somehow these plans never materialised, and in 1911, Southgate District Council went ahead with a purchase of 64 acres of the estate, later extending it to 91 acres. The refashioning of the park for the public was conducted to the design of landscape architect Thomas Mawson, also responsible for Tatum Park, and the very first president of the Landscape Institute.

As with Broomfield Park, the purchase wasn’t supported by everyone in the area. Was a second park in the area needed? Broomfield Park had opened only 10 years before. Some feared that the purchase would bring an unwelcome rise in the rates. But nevertheless, go ahead it did, and we have Southgate District Council to thank for Palmers Green, Southgate and Winchmore Hill being among the greenest areas in London.

The foresight of those counsellors 100 years ago, and the important part Grovelands plays in all our lives will be celebrated this weekend in an event packed two day festival in the park.    

31-the-friends-of-grovelands-centenary-logo-dates-and-timesOrganised by the Friends of Grovelands Park, The festival includes music on two stages, boats on the lake for the first time in over 30 years, a dog show, dance, film, poetry, photography, and a fair with a variety of stalls.

Celebrations kicks off on Saturday with an Edwardian themed historical pageant involving local schools and community groups. Civic dignitaries will officially open the proceedings to replicate the original 1913 opening by the Lord Mayor of London – though hopefully without the sleet and the mishaps of 1913. For full details click here

It looks set to be a great weekend. Go!


All images by kind permission of the Friends of Grovelands Park except where otherwise stated.

Art and Culture Comedy Community Planning and open spaces Uncategorized Winchmore Hill

Anarchist cell discovered in Grange Park

First Cliff Richard in N21, and now this. I blame


Art and Culture Comedy History Planning and open spaces Southgate Uncategorized Winchmore Hill

That was February in Palmers Green – a round up of news and events this month

The posts on PGJITN were a bit thin on the ground this month but it was all happening in other parts of PG and environs.

Wood Green’s Banksy was chipped and shipped to a US auction house, then withdrawn from sale at the 11th hour after a vociferous campaign. New artwork appeared, and in proof that you couldn’t make it up, we heard Poundland declare that they were fans of Banksy’s. Who knew?

In Westminster, our MP David Burrowes was all over the press for his opposition to gay marriage, and in the local corridors of power (also known as Enfield Council), Bush Hill Tory Councillor Chris Joannides hit the national press after being suspended from the party for making inappropriate remarks on Facebook. Read more here

There was news that PG could become better connected (though there could be disruption ahead for our neighbours in the south) – this month London First published its report on Cross Rail 2, this time linking North to South,  and with a terminus at Ally Pally. Strictly, this is not new, and there have been proposals for a north-south route since 1901. But the latest proposal echoes TfL’s 2011 recommendations and has the support of Network Rail. You can read the full report here

ross ashmoreStill on transport, the latest exhibition at Space Art Gallery features 100 paintings of London Underground stations by Ross Ashmore. Ross is on a quest to paint them all before LU’s 150th birthday celebrations begin. The paintings look fantastic, so please take a look  – you have until the Easter weekend.
There were three great film nights in February, all in the space of a week or so. The N21 Festival Crew, led by John Stewart brought us Some Like it Hot, then T W Murnau’s weird and fascinating Sunrise, A story of two humans in which a young wife forgives her husband for trying to kill her in a rowing boat, after which they hit the town in a surreal dream city. Fantastic stuff.

Meanwhile Talkies offered the Blue Brothers and in an amazing coup will be linking up with the  Future Shorts Festival on 22 March for a special event at Baskervilles, who will be offering a special film night menu. More on Talkies shortly.

Grovelands centenary postcardLooking ahead, depending on when you are reading this, there are just 175 sleeps to the Palmers Green festival on 1 September.  Meanwhile, April belongs to the Grovelands Park 100th anniversary celebrations and there is still time to enter the Broomfield and Grovelands  photographic competitions.

Dont forget also the next  Poetry in Palmers Green event on 27 April. Poets taking part will include Nancy Mattson, Martha Kapos, Grevel Lindop, Graham High and Linda How. Entry is £5 (£3 for concessions) and the venue is the Parish Centre attached to St John’s Church.

Sadly, PG came nowhere at all in the list of London’s funniest locations . The nearest* was Muswell Hill, which in 1978 formed the backdrop to the not quite as good Porridge follow up Going Straight in which ex con Normal Stanley Fletcher (Ronnie Barker) tried life on the straight and narrow in Muswell Hill. If you cant be law abiding in Muswell Hill, where can you?

Not certainly in PG where we joined the seeming legion of houses which have heard the pitter patter of burglars’ feet. I don’t wish to cause alarm but Palmers Green Jewel in the North was nearly stolen. Surely vigilante groups would spontaneously have formed.

May spring arrive in your green patch soon.

Sue from PG

*post script. I have recently learned that On the buses was filmed in Wood Green. Funniness creeps closer.

Looking ahead

5-9 March Anything Goes at the Intimate Theatre, presented by Finchley and Friern Barnet Operatic Society

12 March History and Mystery of Oaklands Road: Geoff Jacobs talks about his voyage of discovery researching this history of his road at the Friends Meeting House Winchmore Hill (Southgate District Civic Trust History Group)

27 April Poetry in Palmers Green at St John’s Parish Centre

2 May A Serious Man. The Coen brothers film is the first of Talkies new First Thursdays cinema events at the Dugdale Centre

18-19 May Grovelands Park Centenary Celebrations

6 June The Wave (Die Welle) : Talkies First Thursdays cinema event at the Dugdale Centre

8-9 June Open Studios and Art Trail weekend, Southgate and Palmers Green

4 July Zero Dark Thirty Talkies First Thursdays cinema event at the Dugdale Centre

1 August Chungking Express Talkies First Thursdays cinema event at the Dugdale Centre

31 August Singalong to the Wizard of Oz Palmers Green United Reformed Church Talkies cinema event with fancy dress – part of the Palmers Green Festival event programme

1 September Palmers Green Festival, Broomfield Park


Art and Culture Comedy History Uncategorized Winchmore Hill

If you go down to the woods…..

There’s nothing like a spooky tale or two at Christmas, and Joe Studman will have a few to tell on his Darker Side of Winchmore Hill walk on Saturday 22 December, including stories of old railway workers, black dogs and sinister doings in the woods.

The walk starts from Winchmore Hill Station at 7.30. Tickets are £5 a head from Hunter’s newsagents on Winchmore Hill Green, or direct from Joe on the night.

But two lucky winners can go along free by answering this simple question:

By what name is Elizabeth Sawyer, who was born in Winchmore Hill in the seventeenth century, better known?

As ever, the answer could be on this website. Entries by 5 pm on Wednesday 19 December to


Art and Culture Comedy Community Food History Music Palmers Green Uncategorized

That was November in Palmers Green – a round up of events in the last month

Well, November seemed to go by in a whoosh. We confess to have been a little remiss on the posting front, so here’s an opportunity to catch up on all the news in PG…..

The Woodman reopened on 1 December following much local campaigning and bothering of Marstons. Its had a lick of paint but otherwise is just the same. Welcome back, and just in time for Christmas too…..

The Christmas lights were switched on at the Triangle to the ‘woos’ and ‘ahhs’ of Hazelwood School’s children, teachers and parents, and gave a public outing to MP David Burrowes impressive Movember face furniture. PGJITN was inexplicably humming YMCA for the rest of the day. Apparently the new look Burrowes rendered David Cameron speechless in the Commons, to the point where the PM forgot Mr Burrowes’ question.  The ‘mo’ has not met with approval in the Burrowes household however so you may already be too late to witness the whiskers first hand. Its all for charity, in aid of men’s health and in particular the fight against prostate cancer, so please donate.

The Talkies Community Cinema presented the latest of its pop up cinema nights at Baskervilles couple of Fridays ago, with the film of Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Everything is Illuminated playing to a packed audience. The next showing  is Baz Luhrman’s Strictly Ballroom at the Fox on 30 January – book now if you want tickets, its selling fast. Talkies are looking for some new venues so if you’ve any suggestions, please get in touch with David Williamson via their facebook page or the Talkies website Its a really brilliant initiative, so please support it if you can.

Our neighbours in Winchmore Hill published a new hardback book of images of the area, past and present, following on from the fantastic exhibition at this summer’s Fancy Fair. If you would like to get your hands on one, the official launch is next week at the Queens Head from 7 and all are welcome…..

Winter is  time for the shivers, and sure enough there were spooky goings on in Enfield. First of all Lazy Hound Productions staked out the Hop Poles. Then North London Paranormal Investigations spent some nervous hours in Enfield Fire Station. A NPLI film is in development. And closer to home, Joe Studman repeats his Darker Side of Winchmore Hill walk as part of the St Nicholas Fair events. Not to be missed but also not for the faint hearted. Wrap up warm and have some sturdy footwear.

Also this month we also learned that….

Joe Strummer was once a Palmers Green resident with his mate Tymonn Dogg, living in a house in Ash Grove they renamed ‘Vomit Heights’…. Ally Pally was subject of a £16 million bid to the Heritage Lottery fund, which, if successful, will restore the old TV studios, the Victorian Theatre, and the East entrance.  And Alexandra Palace Park won a Green Flag Award and was voted one of the best in the UK (and second best in London)…..Fionn Wilson and Gosia Stasiewicz’ Space Art Gallery on Southgate High Street have fixed up a programme of exhibitions which spans well into 2014. The roster is truly amazing, so it should be a wonderful addition to local life, and attract visitors from much further afield. The gallery opens in December, with an exhibition of Fionn’s own work.

Finally, a last reminder that if you were planning a Sunday trip up town to see the Christmas lights and do some shopping you will need to do some serious planning – pretty much no direct trains to Kings Cross until Christmas on a Sunday, unless you get up early. If this is news to you, its probably because there has been virtually no information from First Capital Connect, including nothing at all in PG station – bravo chaps! – and just at the point where we are renewing our season tickets and feeling particularly begrudging.

But why not stay closer to home anyway, and attend one of the local fairs, events and bazaars happening in December. Winchmore Hill’s St Nicholas Fair on the Green from 2 til 7pm looks set to be fantastic. Snow, carriage rides, stalls and mulled wine and  encounters with St Nicholas are all promised. And if you havent bought your Christmas Cards yet, there are some excellent options locally. Palmers Green’s Art Cove cards, available online or from Annita at the station kiosk, feature local artists. Local photographer, architect and urban designer Richard Crutchleys London Letters cards are also on sale at various local events, online and through Baskervilles. There is also still plenty of time to buy your charity cards at the United Reformed Church.

On into December then. May your tinsel sparkle and the needles stay on your tree.

Merry Christmas!

Sue, Palmers Green Jewel in the North

  • If there is a topic you would like to write about, why not get in touch, especially if its about history and people? We would love to hear from you. There is a huge knowledge about Palmers Green out there … lets try and put it all together.

Coming soon

Friday 7 December  Ricky Grover at the Electric Mouse Comedy Club at the Fox.

Saturday 8 December St Nicholas Fair Winchmore Hill Green. Following on from the summer’s fantastic Winchmore Hill Festival: this!

Saturday 8 December North London Symphony Orchestra perform at the United Reformed Church 7.45 pm  – Wagner, Mahler and Franck

Sunday 23 December Candle lit carol service at St John’s – 9 lessons and carols 6.30

Sunday 30 December Floating Lanterns on the Boating Pond, Broomfield Park

3-6 January 2013 The LIttle Mermaid panto at the Intimate Theatre, Acorn Theatre Company

5-9 March 2013 Anything goes at the Intimate Theatre, presented by Finchley and Friern Barnet Operatic Society

8-9 June 2013 – Open Studios and Art Trail weekend, Southgate and Palmers Green

We got our tree by Gordon Barker – one of the great cards available from Art Cove
Bowes Park Comedy Community Food Health History Palmers Green Planning and open spaces Shops Uncategorized Winchmore Hill

That was October in Palmers Green – A round-up of Palmers Green in the last month

Its been a busy October for us Palmers Greeners. A few of the things we learned this month …

Enfield Council, together with the Broomfield House Trust and Friends of Broomfield Park put in a £4 million bid to the Heritage lottery fund to restore Broomfield House. There is a new website to accompany the bid.  We should find out whether it has been successful in February 2013  …  David Burrowes MP could be getting his edges tweaked in the new constituency boundary changes prop0sed by the Boundary Commission. The changes are currently subject to consultation  …  Theresa May announced that Palmers Green hacker Gary McKinnon will not stand trial in the US after a long national campaign. David Burrowes threatened to resign as PPS if McKinnon was extradited … Well over one thousand people in people in Enfield had already signed up to the petition about local control of GP services as part of the campaign being run by 38 Degrees – sign and view the latest total visit  A meeting was held at the Harvester in Arnos Grove to discuss how to ensure the Clinical Commissioning Group being established for Enfield takes into account the wishes of local people …

Worried about neighbours building a sky scraper in their back garden and overshadowing your dahlias? Enfield Council said no how, no way, were they going to implement the government’s changes to the planning system, while in another part of the forest, delegates at the recent conference of Civic Voice also called on the government to scrap the proposals … The North West London Waste Authority began a charm offensive, with a stall in Morrisons and local leafleting.  There, a massive incinerator on your doorstep at Pinkham Way doesn’t seem nearly as bad now, does it? …..

If you are planning a Sunday trip up town, First Capital Connect provide some advice on how you can get there in only an hour and a half – pretty much no direct trains to Kings Cross until Christmas on a Sunday, unless you get up early. ……. heading the other way up the railway line, a new farmers market opened at Crews Hill. Good reports so far and we wish them well but it is a little bit naughty to say on their website that they are the first and only farmers market in the borough of Enfield. It would be lovely if a few more people could visit our long established farmers market in Palmers Green – Sundays, station car park. There have been a few new stalls recently, and with more footfall it could expand further.

This month we also learned that …

Image reproduced by kind permission of James Birtwistle

in the old days, you could crash your plane into a roof in Palmers Green, and calmly smoke a cigarette before even bothering to climb down …. Myddleton Road was once paved with wood …. Southgate Town Hall is featured in the new Morse prequel Endeavour … The Duke of Chandos may once have lived at Broomfield House, and the Lanscroon murals currently reputed to be languishing in the basement of the Town Hall could have been created to impress a monarch. We also heard about the charms of the long gone Broomfield House Museum… but could it live again?

And finally

David Waumsley of the wonderful Palmers Green based Art Cove cards (sold by Anita at PG station cafe) challenged us to a Smiths lyrics stand off a la Chris Packham, and got bored before we did. I am sure that a common experience among PGJITN’s readers. Without the Smiths bit.

Anyway, enough wittering. If there is a topic you would like to write about, why not get in touch, especially if its about history and people? We would love to hear from you. There is a huge knowledge about Palmers Green out there … lets try and put it all together.

May November bring you great good fortune.

Sue, Palmers Green Jewel in the North

Coming soon

Friday 2 November  Bob Mills at the Electric Mouse Comedy Club at the Fox. Ricky Grover will also be performing in December.

Sunday 4 November Preparing the Garden of Remembrance in Broomfield Park for Remembrance Sunday. If you have some time to come and help park staff, please come to the Garden between 10 and 12

Friday 9 November Big Green Bookshop Bookswap featuring special guest the Rev Richard Coles Great Northern Hotel Hornsey (new bigger venue for this regular event from the fantastic independent Wood Green bookshop)

Sunday 18 November Herbs and their uses at the conservatory Broomfield Park

Saturday 24 November Christmas Bazaar at the Ruth Winston Centre

Saturday 8 December St Nicholas Fair Winchmore Hill Green. Following on from the summer’s fantastic Winchmore Hill Festival: this!

Saturday 8 December North London Symphony Orchestra perform at the United Reformed Church 7.45 pm  – Wagner, Mahler and Franck

Sunday 30 December Floating Lanterns on the Boating Pond, Broomfield Park