Crews Hill, Enfield
Garden centres galore, two miles north-west of Enfield
Crews Hill was part of the woodland hunting ground of Enfield Chase and very little human activity took place here until after the enclosure and division of the chase in the late 1770s.
The locality’s present name derives from a family that lived here in the mid-18th century. By the early 19th century Trinity College, Cambridge, owned most of the land here.
The station opened in 1910 when the Great Northern Railway Company extended the line as far as Cuffley in Hertfordshire.
Crews Hill golf course was laid out on land bought from Trinity College in 1915.
Theobalds Park Farm, which covered 140 acres, produced vegetables for the London markets – and new nurseries were still being established in Crews Hill at a time when the wider trend elsewhere was for their closure and replacement by housing.
A small estate of 102 bungalows was built in the early 1930s but soon afterwards Crews Hill was included in a ‘green girdle’ plan to restrict development in north Middlesex, which evolved into green-belt protection after the Second World War.
The nurseries progressively switched from production for London’s wholesale fruit and vegetable markets to retail horticulture. Crews Hill is now utterly overgrown with garden centres and these are not loosely scattered but crammed together along a ‘golden mile’ south-east of the station.
As well as all the nurseries, Crews Hill has an architectural reclaim merchant, on a site covering three-and-a-half acres, and an equestrian zone to the north with stables, paddocks and a stud farm.
On Cattlegate Road – and shown in the photo at the top of the article* – the Plough is a well-regarded (if relatively modern) example of the traditional English country pub and has a landscaped beer garden.
Bred by Lord Matthews of Southgate, the racehorse Crews Hill was a winner of eleven events, including the Stewards’ Cup in 1981.
Postcode area: Enfield, EN2
Station: Great Northern (zone 6)