Edmonton Green, Enfield
The focal point of Lower Edmonton, situated at the junction of Church Street, Hertford Road and Fore Street (earlier called Duck Lane here)
Houses appeared around Edmonton Green from the late 17th century and wholly encircled it in the following century. Fairs were held on the green and menageries were exhibited here.
A station opened in 1849 and the surrounding area was built up in the 1880s and 1890s. By the 1930s Edmonton Green had become a major shopping destination, drawing visitors from a wide catchment area.
In the mid-1960s the newly formed Enfield council took over a project planned by its Edmonton predecessor, sweeping away ‘substandard’ Victorian housing and building a shopping centre, municipal housing and various amenities. The plan originally included a new civic centre but this element was subsequently abandoned. Shown in the long-distance photograph above,* the three 25-storey blocks of the Edmonton Green estate – Grampian House, Mendip House and Pennine House – were completed in 1972.
Edmonton Green was the largest municipally owned shopping centre in London but by the end of the 20th century found itself losing out to competition at Wood Green, Walthamstow and further afield, while Enfield Town and Southgate became more appealing to commercial investors within the borough. The close proximity of high-rise flats to multi-storey car parks proved an encouragement to crime.
Over the first decade of the 21st century, in one of the largest mixed-use schemes of its kind, Enfield council worked with a property developer and a housing association to wholly redevelop the main facilities at Edmonton Green and the neighbouring housing.
The £120 million project involved the replacement of the existing leisure centre, and the construction of new shopping mall, Asda supermarket, primary care centre and bus station. The Green Horizons housing association provided 750 new and 650 refurbished homes.
Edmonton Green is the most deprived ward in Enfield by most measures. It has the highest proportion of council housing of any ward, an ethnically diverse population and high levels of unemployment and crime.
A footbridge that led to nowhere in the old shopping centre was made famous by Michael Crawford as a roller-skating Frank Spencer in an episode of the 1970s television sitcom Some Mothers do ’Ave ’Em.