All Saints Church
Through the heart of Edmonton the North Circular Road carves a long tear east to west, now thankfully placed in a cutting allowing Edmonton to grow together again. Edmonton lies on the long Cambridge Road, a section of the Roman route Ermine Street, running north to south. Fore Street (part of that road) run in a continuous theme to Tottenham High Road to the south. Fore Street is the heart of the town.
- 1 History
- 2 The Diverting History of John Gilpin
- 3 Industry
- 4 Railway and transport
- 5 Edmonton today
- 6 Sites or buildings of historic interest
- 7 Places of worship
- 8 Shopping
- 9 Leisure and recreation
- 10 Theatre and the arts
- 11 Popular culture
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 Outside links
The old highway Ermine Street passed through what is today Edmonton. Ermine Street was the main Roman Road from London through Lincoln and on to York. Edmonton appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is recorded as Adelmetone- 'a farmstead or estate of a man called Ēadhelm' from an Old English personal name and tūn.
The town gives its name to the Edmonton Hundred, an area of some 31,000 acres stretching up the west bank of the Lea from Tottenham to the county boundary south of Waltham Cross, and west as far as South Mimms.
Pymmes Park with its historic walled garden is Upper Edmonton's park. It originated as a private estate. In the late 16th century it was owned by the powerful Cecil family. In 1589 Robert Cecil, later 1st Earl of Salisbury, spent his honeymoon at Pymmes. Cecil was a protege of Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I's chief spymaster and he succeeded him as Secretary of State in 1590. The estate was eventually acquired by Edmonton Council and opened as a public park in 1906. Pymmes House was destroyed by fire during World War II and the remains were demolished.
In the 17th century the then rural Edmonton had a reputation for supernatural activities. In approximately 1600, a play entitled The Merry Devil of Edmonton was performed in London about a wizard who lived there. In 1621 the villagers accused an old woman, Elizabeth Sawyer, of witchcraft and she was subsequently executed at Tyburn; her story was told in a pamphlet by Henry Goodcole, and in a 1621 play entitled The Witch of Edmonton.
The historic All Saints' Church is situated in Church Street as is Lamb's Cottage, which was home to writers Charles and Mary Lamb.
John Keats, the poet, was apprenticed to surgeon Dr Hammond in Church Street between 1810-1816. The house was demolished in 1931 to be replaced by Keats Parade. An extant shop carries a blue plaque in commemoration.
Edmonton was the home town of Sir James Winter Lake, director of the Hudson's Bay Company. The company's trading outpost named after Edmonton is now the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta.
The Diverting History of John Gilpin
In his 1782 poem, The Diverting History of John Gilpin, William Cowper relates the comic tale of John Gilpin a linen draper of Cheapside, London, who was probably based on a Mr Beyer, a linen draper of the Cheapside corner of Paternoster Row.
Gilpin's spouse decides she and her husband should spend their twentieth wedding anniversary at The Bell Inn, Fore Street, Edmonton. The journey is beset with misfortune from start to finish. Gilpin loses control of his horse which carries him on to the town of Ware ten miles distant. On the return journey, Gilpin is still unable to handle his steed, as he once again he fails to stop at The Bell. The horse gallops back to Cheapside much to the dismay of his concerned spouse.
Gilpin is remembered in Edmonton by the statue at Fore Street, the Wetherspoons outlet the Gilpin's Bell public house opposite the site of the original inn and the 1950s council housing Gilpin House in Upper Fore Street.
Edmonton was home to many industries which included manufacturing of gas appliances, electrical components and furniture. Most of this was lost in the latter part of the twentieth century. Household names that produced goods here included MK electric, Ever Ready batteries, British Oxygen, Glover and Main gas appliances.
Eley Industrial Estate was named after Eley Brothers the firearms cartridge manufacturer. Its shot tower was a distinctive landmark on the skyline until being demolished the late twentieth century. Due to its close proximity to the River Lee Navigation, timber was transported by barge from the London Docks and stored in riverside wharves. As a result, many furniture makers including Nathans, Beautility and Homeworthy established factories. Today, Parker-Knoll products are manufactured at the former B&I Nathan factory on the Eley Industrial Estate. As of 2013, the area is dominated by the 330-ft Edmonton Incinerator chimney which was built in 1971. Other major employers include Coca-Cola.
Railway and transport
The railway arrived in 1840 with the opening of the first section of the Lea Valley Line from Stratford to Broxbourne. A station was provided in Water Lane (Angel Road). As the station was badly sited and the trains were slow and expensive, few people used the railway in the early days, preferring the horse buses. In 1845 there were buses every 15 minutes along Fore Street, travelling alternately to Bishopsgate and Holborn.
The single-track line from a junction just north of Angel Road to Enfield Town opened on 1 March 1849, with an intermediate single-platform station at Lower Edmonton, located at the edge of the village green. The service was infrequent and often required a change of train at the junction. This, coupled with the train taking the long way round through Stratford to get to the terminus at Bishopsgate, meant that the railway offered little competition to the existing horse coaches and buses.
The direct line from London to Enfield Town was opened in four stages, from Bethnal Green to Stoke Newington on 27 May 1872; from Stoke Newington through to Lower Edmonton High Level on 22 July 1872, with stations in Edmonton at Silver Street and a new High Level station at Lower Edmonton, which was renamed Edmonton Green in 1992; the short section from Lower Edmonton High Level to Edmonton Junction (where the new line met the original Eastern Counties Railway route from Angel Road to Enfield Town via Lower Edmonton Low Level) on 1 August 1872; and the suburban platforms on the west side of Liverpool Street station on 2 February 1874.
The stations were well sited and offered exceptionally cheap workmen's fares of just 2d on trains arriving at Liverpool Street prior to 07:00, 3d on those arriving between 07:00 and 07:30, and half-price returns on those arriving between 07:30 and 08:00. A horse tramway along Fore Street opened in 1881. The tramway was re-constructed and electrified during 1905, lasting until 1938 when trolley buses took over.
Since the 1960s, Edmonton has been transformed from a predominantly white, working-class industrial suburb into a multicultural area by commonwealth immigration, asylum seekers and with the expansion of the European Union in May 2004.
Sites or buildings of historic interest
All Saints' Church The mostly fifteenth-century church is located in Church Street. It is the oldest building in Edmonton.
Angel Place A circa 1730 terrace of linked Grade-II* Listed Buildings which were altered in the middle of the nineteenth century. 185, 187 and 189 were extensively restored in the 1980s to include the formation of an arch at 187 Angel Place with prize-winning  gardens behind. Set back from Fore Street, the A1010 road, and standing close to the junction with the A406 road, the buildings were adjacent to The Angel public house demolished to widen the North Circular Road.
Charles Lamb Institute The Grade II listed building is located in Church Street. Designed by J S Alder and opened in 1908. The building today is used as a church.
Edmonton Central Library The former public library (closed 1991) opened in 1897 at Fore Street. Designed by Maurice B Adams with bequests provided by the John Passmore Edwards foundation. Today the Grade II listed building is used as a religious and community centre. (Inside the library by the main entrance were two portrait plaques of Charles Lamb and John Keats by George Frampton, 1908. The plaques can be viewed at Community House, 313 Fore Street, Edmonton).
Edmonton Federation Cemetery The roughly triangular shaped Jewish cemetery was founded in 1889 with land given by Samuel Montagu. The walled cemetery is bordered by Salmons Brook which forms part of the Pymmes Brook Trail and a footpath which follows the course of the disused Lower Edmonton low level railway. Rabbi Eliezer Gordon is buried here. The cemetery contains the war graves of 7 Commonwealth service personnel of World War I and 23 of World War II. The entrance is in Montagu Road. The site also incorporates the Western Synagogue Cemetery founded in 1884 (containing 3 Commonwealth service war graves of World War II) and adjoins the Tottenham Park Cemetery.
Edmonton Girls' Charity School The simple yellow brick structure with red brick dressings is located on the south side of Church Street. Initially the school, founded in 1784, had been on a different site. However the benefactor, Obadiah Legrew, grew tired of the children close to his home. He had the original school demolished, drew £170 from the trust, and purchased another plot of land. In 1793 the new school was built afresh, away from his delicate ears. Pupils aged between 7 and 14 were clothed and educated, although the main purpose was to fit them for domestic service. The facade carries a figure of a charity girl and the words A structure of Hope founded in Faith on the basis of Charity. The school closed in 1904.
Lamb's Cottage Formerly known as Bay Cottage. The cottage is believed to have been built in the 1680s and is located in the Church Street conservation area. Writers Charles and Mary Lamb occupied the house between 1833–34, and is where Charles Lamb died. The cottage was sold to its new owners in June 2008.
Millfield House The late eighteenth-century house has been used as a workhouse school, hospital and a refugee centre before closing in 1971. The house re-opened as an arts centre in 1979 in a complex which encompasses the Millfield Theatre, Millfield Arts Centre and the former Weir Hall Library (closed 2008).
North Middlesex Hospital The hospital is located in Sterling Way, Upper Edmonton. Built in 1842 by the Edmonton Board of Guardians as the Edmonton Union Workhouse. A separate infirmary block was opened in 1910. Much of the building was taken over for use as a military hospital in 1915, during World War I, was returned to civilian use in 1920 and renamed The North Middlesex Hospital.
Salisbury House The house dates to the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century, and is the oldest building in Edmonton apart from All Saints' Church. The house which is located in Bury Street West, Lower Edmonton has been a private residence and a school before it was bought by Edmonton council in 1936. The building was established as an arts centre in 1957 (the first to be provided by a local authority in London). In 1992 it underwent a major restoration. The house is Grade II listed along with some of the surrounding walls.
The Crescent A terrace of twenty-five Georgian houses located in the Hertford Road. Built between 1826 and 1851 by a London solicitor. By the late nineteenth century the Crescent had been largely split into flats.
Places of worship
- Edmonton Methodist Church. Located at 300 Fore Street, on the corner of Brettenham Road. There has been a Methodist church in Edmonton since the nineteenth century. The main part of the current building was erected in 1927.
- Edmonton Baptist Church. Located close to Edmonton Green, a short walk from Edmonton railway station. Built in 1976.
- All Saints' Church. A mainly 15th-century church located in Church Street.
- St Aldhelm's church. Is located in Silver Street, Upper Edmonton. Built in 1903 and designed by William Douglas Caroe.
- St Alphege's church. Was erected in 1958 and designed by Sir Edward Maufe. The church can be found at the junction of the Hertford Road and Galliard Road.
- St Edmund's RC church. Built between 1905-1907 . The church is on the junction of the Hertford Road and Bounces Road.
- St Mary with St John's Church. Located on Dysons Road, close to the North Circular Road (A406), the church was built in 1906 together with a church hall and vicarage.
- Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. Located on the junction of Town Road and Logan Road. Greek Orthodox since 1977, formerly the Anglican Church of St. Martin. The Church was built in 1909 and consecrated in 1911.
- Mevlana Rumi Mosque. Located in Fore Street and opened in 2008 by the followers of Fethullah Gulen.
- Silver Street Community Church. Located in Statham Grove, N18. Started in 2015 in partnership with Enfield Evangelical Free Church 
The main shopping centre in Edmonton is at Edmonton Green which has a market, the second largest is at the Angel, Edmonton which is a high street containing a wide range of retail outlets.
Leisure and recreation
- Edmonton Cricket Club . The cricket club was founded in 1872 and is located in Church Street. The ground is also home to the Norsemen football club.
- Edmonton Leisure Centre located at Edmonton Green opened in August 2007. Facilities include a swimming pool and sports hall.
- Lee Valley Leisure Complex located at Picketts Lock and is part of the Lee Valley Park
- Pymmes Brook Trail crosses Edmonton to join the Lea Valley Walk at Pickett's Lock on the River Lee Navigation.
- Angling is allowed upstream and downstream of Picketts Lock. Information from the River Lea Anglers Club.
- The River Lee Navigation's towpath forms part of National Cycle Route 1 and the Lea Valley Walk.
Parks, gardens and open spaces
- Bury Lodge gardens. The gardens are located in Bury Street West. Built on land belonging to Bury Lodge house (demolished 1935) and the nearby Salisbury House. The ornamental garden includes brick pillared pergolas, rose gardens and a pond. Other facilities are a playing field. The southern boundary of the park is bordered by Salmons Brook.
- Churchfields Recreation Ground. The recreation ground is located close to the A10 in Lower Edmonton. The grounds facilities include playing fields and children's play area. The site is the home to London's only complete World War II Civil Defence Centre.
- Craig Park. The park is located in Upper Edmonton and lies close to Angel Road. Facilities include sports pitches, children's play area. and hardcourt.
- Jubilee Park. Covering 37.0 acres (149,733.7 m²) of land previously used for brick-making. The park opened on 24 June 1939 to commemorate King George V's Silver Jubilee in 1935. Facilities include, the Henry Barrass stadium, formal gardens, pitch and putt, sports pitches, tennis courts and wildlife area.
- Montagu Road Recreation Ground. The recreation ground is located in Montagu Road. The facilities include playing fields, children's play area and hard courts.
- Plevna Road Open Space.Open space close to Edmonton Green
- Pymmes Park. This historic park is located in Upper Edmonton and borders the North Circular Road
- Tatem Park and Hollywood Gardens. The park and the gardens opened in 1938 and were built on a former gravel pit which belonged to the Tatem sisters, who donated the site to Edmonton Borough Council in the 1930s, for use as a public park. The gardens are named after Alderman Hollywood, former Mayor of Edmonton. The ornamental gardens occupy a triangle between two main roads A10 and the A111. In 1983 a nature area was created with the accent on wildlife conservation.
Theatre and the arts
Edmonton is the home of the Millfield Arts Centre and Face Front Inclusive Theatre Company.
- In an episode of BBC television comedy Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Frank Spencer roller skates down the now-demolished bridge at Edmonton Green, and in the same episode he skates at the indoor rink at the now-demolished Picketts Lock Centre.
- The Empire Music Hall was the venue for Marie Lloyd's last stage performance in 1922. She was taken ill on stage and died several days later.
- Side two of A Step Further by Savoy Brown was recorded live at the Cook's Ferry Inn on 12 May 1969 in Edmonton.
- The video for the Lostprophets song Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja was filmed in a car park at Edmonton Green.
- Local musical duo Chas & Dave recorded a song titled Edmonton Green lamenting the changes that have occurred there.
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