Potters Bar

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Potters Bar
Double Rainbow over Potters Bar - geograph.org.uk - 82335.jpg
Grid reference: TL255015
Location: 51°41’53"N, 0°10’59"W
Population: 21,618  (2001)
Post town: Potters Bar
Postcode: EN6
Dialling code: 01707
Local Government
Council: Hertsmere BC

Potters Bar is a town in the ancient parish of South Mimms in northern Middlesex. It is considered to be part of the London commuter belt.[1]

The town started life in the early 13th century and remained a small settlement until the arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1850.[2]


The origin of the "Potters" component of the town's name is uncertain but is generally thought to have been derived from the Pottere family who lived in the parish of South Mimms[3] or from evidence of a Roman pottery thought to have been sited locally. The "Bar" component is thought to refer to the gates leading from the South Mimms parish and into the Enfield Chase parish, or possibly from some a toll bar on the Great North Road.[3] The original "Bar" is said to have been at what is now the Green Man pub, or at the current entrance to Morven House.

East Coast Main Line at Potters Bar


Potters Bar was located on the Great North Road, one of two road routes from the City of London to the north of England.[4] The road was originally numbered as the A1, and later the A1000.


The A1 was built as a major 'arterial' road and a crossroads at Bignells Corner linked it to the Barnet to St Albans road. Potters Bar is now also served by junctions 23 and 24 of the M25 motorway.

Potters Bar railway station is the highest on the line between London's King's Cross Station and York. The First Capital Connect route serving Potters Bar links the town to various Middlesex suburbs in the southbound direction before terminating at either King's Cross or Moorgate Station. Northbound, the railway connects Potters Bar to Peterborough, Cambridge and Letchworth Garden City as well as towns en route to these destinations such as Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage.[5]

Potters Bar has a bus depot for local bus routes and longer routes to, for example, New Barnet, Arnos Grove, Enfield and Chingford in Middlesex and to St Albans, Waltham Cross, and Borehamwood in Hertfordshire.

Route Number Route Days Operator
84 TfL (partly) St Albans St Peters Street to New Barnet Station via Barnet
Route 84 is a TfL service between Potters Bar Cranbourne Road and High Barnet only
Daily Metroline
242 Potters Bar Station to Waltham Cross Bus Station via Cuffley, Cheshunt Mon-Sat Metroline,
Sullivan Buses,
298 TfL Potters Bar Cranbourne Road to Arnos Grove Station via Cockfosters Daily Arriva London
302 Potters Bar Station to Welwyn Garden City Bus Station via Hatfield Sundays Centrebus
312 Circular Hatfield Birchwood Tesco to Potters Bar Station via Cuffley Mon-Sat


313 TfL Potters Bar Station to Chingford Station via Enfield Daily Arriva London
398 Potters Bar Station to Borehamwood via South Mimms Mon-Sat Sullivan Buses
610 Enfield Town to Hatfield Business Park via Welham Green Mon-Sat Uno
PB1 Circular Circular via Mimms Hall Road, The Lion, Potters Bar Station Mon-Sat Uno


Potters Bar falls within the Diocese of London. There are several churches in Potters Bar, which include:

  • Church of England:
    • All Saints Church (at the top of the Walk, the first Anglican parish in the town created from the parish of South Mimms in the 1800).[6]
    • Christ Church
    • King Charles the Martyr
    • St Mary the Virgin
  • Others churches:
    • Potters Bar Baptist Church
    • St John's Methodist Church
    • The Redeemed Christian Church
    • Our Lady and St Vincent (Roman Catholic)


There are six primary and infant state schools in Potters Bar and the surrounding area; they are Cranborne School, Ladbrooke JMI, Little Heath Primary, Oakmere Primary, Pope Paul R C Primary and Wroxham School.

There are four secondary schools in Potters Bar and the surrounding area; they are Chancellor's, Dame Alice Owen's, Goffs Oak and Mount Grace.

Mount Grace School is a mixed grant maintained School in Potters Bar opened in 1954.[7] The school used to be a Manor House which was turned into a school long ago.

Lochinver house school is an all boys preparatory school in Potters Bar, which opened in 1947.[8]

Dame Alice Owen's School is a mixed grant-maintained school in Potters Bar.[9] Originally founded in 1613 and based in Islington until the 1960s, Dame Alice Owen's School is unusual in its 'Visitation' and 'Beer Money' traditions.[10] The trustees of the Dame Alice Owen Foundation are the Worshipful Company of Brewers. It is a partly selective school (25% of its intake is on the basis of pupils doing well on its entry test). It also reserves some places for children from Islington. It specialises in languages, and offers GCSEs in a wide range of languages. It has recently become a music and science college on top of being a language college. Dame Alice Owen's is generally considered to be the best of the three secondary schools in Potters Bar, consistently performing better than Chancellors and Mount Grace in every way.

Sports, entertainment and recreation

Potters Bar has a King George V Playing Field in memorial to King George V, which is situated behind the Furzefield Centre, a swimming pool and leisure centre run by Hertsmere District Council.[11] Also in the town is Potters Bar Town FC, Potters Bar Swimming Club (PBSC),[12] a tennis club, a cricket club, a golf course and the Wyllyotts Centre; a theatre, cinema and events venue. It is also the location of the town's museum.[13] Potters Bar is also home to the Hertfordshire Showband (formally known as the Marching Blues).[14]

In 1983, the area around Potters Bar was used for the on-location filming of the comic-horror film, Bloodbath at the House of Death. Also, in 2005, David Walliams and Matt Lucas shot two scenes for the third season of the comedy, Little Britain, one scene at Mount Grace School gym, the other at a wedding shop on the High Street.[15]

Famous residents

  • James Carter - celebrated jazz musician and former actor
  • Acker Bilk - Famous clarinetist divides his time between Pensford, Somerset and Potters Bar[16]
  • Former Eastenders Actress Letitia Dean was born in Potters Bar.
  • Terry Lightfoot - jazz musician was born in Potters Bar spent his early years there[17]
  • Potters Bar Golf Club was the home golf club of Tony Jacklin, winner of the The Open Championship and US Open, and former Captain of the Ryder Cup team.[18]
  • Potters Bar was the birthplace and former residence of graphic designer Storm Thorgerson.
  • John Bennett, trombone player with Kenny Ball's Band since its inception.
  • Myleene Klass, model, TV presenter, face of Marks and Spencer, and a classical pianist lives near Potters Bar.
  • John Griffin, founder of Addison Lee, lives in Potters Bar.

Local government


In 1889 Middlesex County Council was created, assuming the administrative functions of the county justices of the peace. At this time Potters Bar formed part of the parish of South Mimms and there was no unit of local government between the county council and the parishes. In 1894 however, South Mimms Rural District Council was created, within whose area Potters Bar fell.[19]

In 1934 Potters Bar Urban District was created.[20] The urban district covered an area of 6,129 acres.[20] In 1939 it had a population of 13,681 and in 1971 this was 24,613.[21] In 1965 on the abolition of Middlesex County Council, the urban district council's area was placed under the administrative county of Hertfordshire.[22]

In 1974 the urban district council was abolished and the area became part of the Borough of Hertsmere. The town remained within the Metropolitan Police district until 2000, since when it has fallen under the Hertfordshire Constabulary.[23]

Current position

Potters Bar is within the areas of Hertsmere Borough Council and of Hertfordshire County Council. Potters Bar has no parish council, a recent suggestion to establish one having been rejected by voters[24].

Twin towns

  • Viernheim, Germany
  • Franconville, Val-d'Oise, France (since 1973)


  1. A Housing Strategy for the London Commuter Belt Sub-region 2005 - 2008 (PDF)
  2. PBHistory - The history
  3. 3.0 3.1 PBHistory - Whats in a name?
  4. PB History - The Great North Road
  5. First Capital Connect - Network and Stations
  6. [1]
  7. Mount Grace School
  8. [2]
  9. UniServity School Portal - Dame Alice Owen's School
  10. UniServity School Portal - Dame Alice Owen's School history
  11. Furzefield Centre
  12. Potters Bar Swimming Club
  13. Wyllyotts Centre
  14. Hertfordshire Showband
  15. Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984)
  16. [3] -Scrumpy & Western, Acker Bilk biography
  17. [4] IMDB Terry Lightfoot's page
  18. Potters Bar Golf Club
  19. Vision of Britain - South Mimms RD (historic map)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Vision of Britain - Potters Bar UD (historic map)
  21. Vision of Britain - Potters Bar UD historic population
  22. Vision of Britain - Middlesex unit history
  23. HMSO, Greater London Authority Act 1999. 1999 c. 29
  24. Hertsmere Borough Council report

Outside links