Though opened on 1 April 1870, for many years Palmers Green station sat in open fields. Development had been opposed by John Donnithorne Taylor, and his disgruntlement continued after it was opened, to the point where he would go to considerable lengths to avoid travelling to town using the new railway, instead going to Colney Hatch (New Southgate).
Herbert Newby wrote in the 1940s of his memories of a still rural Palmers Green station:
“Palmers Green station was a very quiet one when late in the eighties I became a traveller to Town. Most of those going Londonwards, like myself, come from the “village” [Southgate], although there were a few additions from the Green Lanes side of the railway.
We were all known to each other. I remember best the smart gigs in which the owner would drive himself to and from the station night and morning with his coachman sitting with folded arms on the back seat.
They always had good horses and were very smartly turned out. Coachmen took great pride in their smartness.
I wont say that the gentry actually raced each other up Aldermans Hill and Cannon Hill, but they often gave what was a good imitation of a race”
from Old Southgate Herbert W Newby