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New asset application highlights what The Fox means to Palmers Green

The Fox - at the heart of PG
The Fox – at the heart of PG

These are tough times for pubs. This week we learned that the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn was knocked down without warning and without planning permission – and apparently also without warning the incumbent landlady, who was told that it would be closed that day for an ‘inventory’.

Meanwhile, up in Winchmore Hill, the Green Dragon was boarded up early this year, only to be reopened in March as a ‘bargain shop’. Its long-term future as a pub, and as a landmark building, seems uncertain.

Not everyone is a pub goer, so why do we care so much? Perhaps it’s because whatever our personal habits, pubs are an important part of our streetscape, an old friend, something intrinsic to area’s bone structure and community. They are often the oldest buildings for miles, the ones with deep, tangible history. We’d like to be able to go in them even if we don’t (which of course is part of the problem).

Here in Palmers Green there were rumours last year that The Fox was about to close, thankfully firmly quashed by landlord Joe Murray. But what if the Fox were to be threatened in the future?

Following concerns, a group of local residents and community groups (including local councillors, this website, Palmers Green Community, Jaywalks, the Southgate District Civic Trust, and the Catanians) has been working on an application for the pub to be recognised as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act. The application was formally submitted to Enfield Council by Southgate District Civic Trust this week.

If successful, the application frankly gives scant protection for the Fox, but it does mean that if the building were ever to be sold, SCDT would need to be informed, and the community would be given time to come up with a counter bid for the premises.

Anyone fancy an historic pub with extensive grounds? Perhaps not, but it means that if The Fox were ever threatened, developers should be under no illusion that they would have an easy ride from the community.

The main text of the application is below.

  • If you think there are other important buildings which should be protected as an Asset of Community Value in Palmers Green, please contact Southgate District Civic Trust. For more about Assets in Enfield and the application process 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 Rob 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 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.

Art and Culture Comedy Film Palmers Green

Mr Spratt introduces

Downhill POSTERThe final film this year from Talkies Community Cinema is Downhill, the story of four  school friends who reunite for a walking holiday as they come to terms with the joys and disappointments of middle age.

Shot in double-quick time in documentary format, Downhill follows the four as they drag themselves 192 miles along Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. The film was put together on a micro budget, and was filmed over three weeks in various locations along the path, including in pubs where no one knew there was a film being made and acted scenes took place among the hustle and bustle of the regulars.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with co-star and Palmers Greener Jeremy Swift, currently on our screens as Mr Spratt, Maggie Smith’s snobby butler in Downton.

Downhill is being shown on 10 December at the Fox.

And if you havent booked yet, there are still a few tickets for The Muppet Christmas Carol at Christchurch Southgate on Saturday, and for World War One drama Joyeux Noel at the Dugdale Centre on 4 December.

To book, visit

Art and Culture Community Film Palmers Green Planning and open spaces Shops

All that’s fit to print

The first in an occasional round up of Palmers Green news

  • Dexter_Fletcher_06dde16Film crew are currently out in Palmers Green shooting a new feature film reputedly starring local lad Dexter Fletcher. The story is based around a Palmers Green betting shop and locations include the Tipico bookmakers and the Inn on the Green. Did anyone volunteer to be an extra? We’d love to know more.
  • The Fox - at the heart of PG
    The Fox – at the heart of PG

    Thank you to Palmers Green ward Councillors Mary Maguire, Ahmet Oykenor and Bambos Charalambous  who have agreed to look into whether anything can be done to protect the Fox. Obviously no promises and there may be little they can do, but we appreciate them taking an interest in our local heritage.

  • Wondering what has happened to all the promises of a new Sainsbury’s in Green Lanes. We hear that contractors have apparently been called in to rid the building of asbestos.




Art and Culture Community Film Palmers Green Planning and open spaces Shops

The Fox “not sold”

Despite the rumours it has just been confirmed by the current landlord that The Fox hasn’t in fact been sold as reported in FLDRA’s recent bulletin.

Stories have been circulating for several months, so where are they coming from? Is it the Fox up for sale? Should we be pressing for the pub to be registered with Enfield Council as a community asset ?

Art and Culture Comedy Community Film History Music Planning and open spaces Shops

The Fox “sold”

The Fox - at the heart of PG
The Fox – at the heart of PG

I have been hearing rumours about this for some time, but this week confirmation comes via the Fox Lane and District Residents Association’s weekly bulletin that The Fox has been sold to developers – apparently the same company that recently bought Winchmore Hill police station.

Though the current building dates from 1904, there has been a Fox on the site  for several centuries. Palmers Green’s horse drawn buses once ran into central London from the Fox Hotel, as it once was. Geno Washington once played there. There have been theatre productions, celebrity drinkers, a ghost, a comedy club, and community cinema. And of course, it gave its name to Fox Lane.

The attraction for developers is fairly obvious – a huge plot of land, centrally located. But the loss to us of a  major Palmers Green landmark and amenity is beyond  calculation.

Is this really the end for The Fox, and what does it mean for Palmers Green?

Art and Culture Comedy Community Film

Safe bet

From the Twitter stream of N21 online comes an intriguing call for extras for a film to be set in Palmers Green, apparently featuring big names.

The action is to be based in a betting shop, and so I cant think why it should be based here, with a mere 10 to chose from.

Extras are needed until 6 September. If you are interested, please email And dont forget to spill the beans to the rest of us about who’s in it and what its all about.