Freezywater, Enfield

Also spelt as two words, Freezywater is a lacklustre residential locality stuck out on a limb in the north-east corner of Enfield, south of the M25

St George Freezywater

A farm called Freezwa­ter [sic] was first record­ed here in 1768, tak­ing its name from a local pond that was lost when sewage works were built on Ram­ney Marsh. The bleak­ly exposed pond quick­ly froze over in cold weath­er, hence its name. In 1819 it was Freezy Water. The place name is nowa­days usu­al­ly spelt as one word, although not on Google’s map below.

Freezy­wa­ter was one of the last parts of Enfield to attract the inter­est of builders or house­buy­ers. To the west of Hert­ford Road, the Unit­ed Coun­ties Land, Build­ing and Invest­ment Soci­ety acquired an estate near Freezy­wa­ter Farm in 1881 and laid out Hol­ly Road, Oakhurst Road, and Holm­wood Road. A few hous­es had appeared by 1897 but oth­er plots remained emp­ty for decades.

A characteristic pair of pebbledashed, whitewashed houses in Freezywater
A char­ac­ter­is­tic pair of hous­es in Freezy­wa­ter

The cav­ernous parish church of St George – shown in the pho­to­graph above* – and the neigh­bour­ing St George’s school were built in the ear­ly 1900s. The elec­tric tramway route along Hert­ford Road reached Freezy­wa­ter in 1907. Despite these ameni­ties, growth remained slow and the estab­lish­ment after the First World War of a new nurs­ery (for rais­ing fruit and veg­eta­bles, not chil­dren) indi­cat­ed the con­tin­u­ing absence of demand. Freezy­wa­ter even­tu­al­ly filled out with ter­raced and semi-detached hous­es in the decades fol­low­ing the Sec­ond World War.

The major­i­ty of Freezy­wa­ter’s res­i­dents are white, although a grow­ing minor­i­ty come from black Caribbean and black African back­grounds. Accord­ing to Ofst­ed in 2013, most of the pupils at Freezy­wa­ter St George’s pri­ma­ry school were from minor­i­ty eth­nic groups and the pro­por­tion who speak Eng­lish as an addi­tion­al lan­guage was slight­ly above aver­age.

The recent­ly rede­vel­oped area to the east is often con­sid­ered to be part of the Enfield Lock local­i­ty – but it was the site of the epony­mous frozen pond of Freezy­wa­ter (though Freezy­wa­ter Farm was on Hert­ford Road). It has been defined as a ‘strate­gic employ­ment loca­tion’ but the council’s pro­pos­als to improve acces­si­bil­i­ty via a new (indi­rect) link to the M25 from Mol­li­son Avenue were reject­ed at a pub­lic inquiry in 2002. Ram­ney Marsh sewage works have been replaced by the Inno­va busi­ness park, which was intend­ed to be pri­mar­i­ly an enter­prise zone for sci­ence com­pa­nies – hence street names like Kinet­ic Cres­cent and Veloc­i­ty Way.

After a stut­ter­ing start, the Inno­va plan was revised to include pro­pos­als for social hous­ing units and the Oasis acad­e­my, which opened in Sep­tem­ber 2007 in tem­po­rary accom­mo­da­tion and moved to a per­ma­nent build­ing the fol­low­ing year. The academy’s name is not a glam­or­ised ver­sion of ‘Freezy­wa­ter’ but a reflec­tion of its spon­sor­ship by the Chris­t­ian organ­i­sa­tion Oasis.

The Inno­va Busi­ness Park’s Sony dis­tri­b­u­tion cen­tre was loot­ed and destroyed by fire dur­ing the riots of August 2011. Prime min­is­ter David Cameron opened its replace­ment on the same site 13 months lat­er.

Postcode area: Enfield EN3
* The photo of St George, Hertford Road, Freezywater, at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright John Salmon, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.