Oakwood, Enfield

A park and a tube station in the far north of Southgate that have given their name to the disparate private and municipal estates clustered around them

Hidden London: oak tree in Oakwood Park by Christine Matthews

This was part of the wood­land of Enfield Chase, which in the 13th and 14th cen­turies belonged to the De Bohun fam­i­ly, whose name is still vis­i­ble in these parts.

In 1870 Samuel Sug­den, a home­o­path­ic chemist, bought land here, ren­o­vat­ed a farm­house and renamed it Oak Lodge and added a walled gar­den and an orchard. He also built an igloo-shaped ice house in the grounds, which sur­vives today. Oak Lodge was demol­ished around 1920. South­gate coun­cil acquired the lodge’s 64 acres of grounds and invent­ed the name ‘Oak­wood’ for the park it opened in 1927 and which is shown in the pho­to above.*

The Lon­don Elec­tric Com­pa­ny extend­ed the Pic­cadil­ly line to Cock­fos­ters in 1933 and Charles Hold­en built the sta­tion here, which was at first called Enfield West and is now grade II* list­ed.

Hidden London: pole-mounted roundel, Oakwood station, by Julian Osley
Pole-mount­ed roundel, Oak­wood sta­tion

Oak­wood school opened in the same year as the sta­tion but it was anoth­er cou­ple of years before seri­ous house­builders ven­tured this far north. John Laing and Com­pa­ny then began to devel­op the South Lodge estate and by the out­break of the Sec­ond World War most of mod­ern Oak­wood had tak­en shape. Some of the more lux­u­ri­ous homes are in the style known as ‘stock­bro­ker Tudor’, with over­sized eaves and chim­neys.

St Thomas’s parish church was built in 1941, on Prince George Avenue. The archi­tect was the quaint­ly named Romil­ly Craze, who spe­cialised after the war in repair­ing or rebuild­ing dam­aged church­es for the Dio­cese of Lon­don.

More shops were added in the vicin­i­ty of the sta­tion in the 1950s and the coun­cil built a hous­ing estate in the area around Green Road and Reser­voir Road, to which it has recent­ly made improve­ments.

In 1967 Oak­wood school was absorbed into South­gate school, which is now based at a sin­gle site on Sus­sex Way. West Grove pri­ma­ry school opened in 1998. The school has a large num­ber of pupils of Mediter­ranean descent, includ­ing Greek, Greek and Turk­ish Cypri­ot and Ital­ian, as well as a vari­ety of non-Euro­pean eth­nic minori­ties. At De Bohun pri­ma­ry school the main home lan­guages spo­ken after Eng­lish are Turk­ish, Soma­li and French.

Oakwood Park has an avenue of scarlet oak trees, which were planted annually by the mayor from 1945 until recently. Original field boundaries can still be seen from when the area was farmland.

Postal district: N14
Station: Piccadilly line (zone 5)
The picture of the oak tree in Oakwood Park (near the Prince George Avenue entrance) at the top of this page is modified from an original photograph, copyright Christine Matthews, and the picture of the pole-mounted roundel at Oakwood station is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Julian Osley, both at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse of either image is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.