Turkey Street

Turkey Street, Enfield

The road from Bulls Cross to Enfield Wash, which has given its name to a station, an electoral ward and a small conservation area

Turkey Street Station and Teal Close - geograph-4193179-by-Des-Blenkinsopp

It seems like­ly that the street took its name from a res­i­dent named some­thing like Tokey or Tuck­ey, and that the 19th-cen­tu­ry cor­rup­tion to ‘Turkey’ was the result of what lin­guists call ‘folk ety­mol­o­gy’ – which basi­cal­ly means chang­ing an unfa­mil­iar word to a sim­i­lar-sound­ing famil­iar one. The street’s exis­tence was first record­ed in the first half of the 15th cen­tu­ry and it was the loca­tion of a ham­let of ten hous­es in 1572.

The water­course that inter­twines with the east­ern sec­tion of the street was ear­li­er called the Maiden’s Brook but is now usu­al­ly called Turkey Brook. By the mid-18th cen­tu­ry the first incar­na­tion of the Plough Inn was in exis­tence, as was a bridge across the brook, which used to be nav­i­ga­ble to this point. Fur­ther west, anoth­er bridge car­ried the street across the New Riv­er.

Enfield’s first almshous­es were built in Turkey Street by Ann Crowe. In her will of 1763 she left mon­ey to repair them and to buy coal for the res­i­dents. The orig­i­nal almshous­es were replaced by the present group in the ear­ly 1890s.

A sta­tion (orig­i­nal­ly called Forty­hill) opened in 1891 but dis­ap­point­ing res­i­den­tial growth and a poor ser­vice that involved chang­ing trains at White Hart Lane made the line unprof­itable. Pas­sen­ger ser­vices were with­drawn after elec­tric trams began to run along Hert­ford Road in 1909. With the intro­duc­tion of an elec­tri­fied ser­vice to Liv­er­pool Street in 1960, the sta­tion was reopened.

After the Sec­ond World War the coun­cil built large estates to the north, fol­lowed lat­er by a small scheme on Auck­land and Den­dridge Clos­es (as shown in the pho­to below), but a few ear­ly-19th-cen­tu­ry hous­es and cot­tages have sur­vived on Turkey Street itself.

Hidden London: flats and houses, Auckland Close, by Des Blenkinsopp

In the Turkey Street con­ser­va­tion area, south-east of the sta­tion, only a hand­ful of hous­es are of any archi­tec­tur­al or his­toric inter­est and most of these under­went “major and unflat­ter­ing cos­met­ic surgery in the late 20th cen­tu­ry,” as the coun­cil-com­mis­sioned char­ac­ter appraisal puts it. Nev­er­the­less, “the area has a well-defined char­ac­ter estab­lished by its focus on a stretch of Turkey Brook between the two foot­bridges.”

The area’s most sig­nif­i­cant house­build­ing in recent years has tak­en place along­side the rail­way line on Teal Close (vis­i­ble in the pho­to­graph at the top of the page), a cul-de-sac that in 2008 was said to be the cheap­est street in north Lon­don.

The Turkey Street ward occu­pies a long strip between the Great Cam­bridge Road and Hert­ford Road. A rel­a­tive­ly high pro­por­tion of homes here are rent­ed from the coun­cil. At the 2011 cen­sus, 44 per cent of res­i­dents were white British, 12 per cent were of black African her­itage and 9 per cent came from … Turkey.

Postcode areas: Enfield EN1 and EN3
Population: 14,377 (2011 census)
Station: London Overground (zone 6)
* The pictures of Turkey Street station and flats and houses on Auckland Close on this page are both adapted from original photographs, copyright Des Blenkinsopp, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.