A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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There were probably two Roman roads through Edmonton: Ermine Street, from Bishopsgate, and a route from Cripplegate to Hatfield through Southgate and Chase Side, whose course is uncertain. (fn. 1) Ermine Street passed through Edmonton approximately along the line of Fore Street and Hertford Road or to the west of it. (fn. 2) Fore Street was parallel to the Lea and far enough west to run on gravel rather than the brickearth and alluvium of the river valley but was crossed by four streams which caused great damage to the road surface. In the 18th century the portion between the junction with Silver Street and Edmonton Green was called Duck Lane. (fn. 3) The stretch between the Tottenham border and Edmonton Green was the most important road in Edmonton, called the high street (1341), (fn. 4) Edmonton Street (1593), (fn. 5) or Fore Street (1535-6). (fn. 6) Only later was the northern portion named Hertford Road. By an Act of 1713 (fn. 7) the Stamford Hill turnpike trust was set up to administer the road between Enfield and Shoreditch, and by an Act of 1826 the trust was succeeded by the commissioners for the metropolitan turnpike roads. (fn. 8) Fore Street was widened to accommodate trams in 1906. (fn. 9)
By the late 16th century Green Lanes formed a second route to the north, entering Edmonton at Bowes and passing through Palmers and Fords greens and Bush Hill, while another route ran from Palmers Green through Winchmore Hill to the north-west. (fn. 10) Green Street, mentioned in 1330, (fn. 11) may be identifiable with Green Lanes but c. 1600 Green Street or Green Lanes consisted of a series of linking lanes, each with a different name. From south to north they were Deadman's Hill, Palmers Green, (fn. 12) Highfields Lane, and Fords Green Lane. (fn. 13) The 13th-century Rod Way or Rod Street may have been part of Green Lanes between Palmers Green and Fords Green. (fn. 14) Under an Act of 1789 (fn. 15) the portion of Green Lanes within Edmonton parish passed under the control of the turnpike trust which was already responsible for Fore Street. Thereafter extensive improvements were made to Green Lanes, which led to a great increase in traffic (fn. 16) and contributed to the growth of Southgate. In 1826 responsibility for Green Lanes passed to the commissioners for the metropolitan turnpike roads. (fn. 17) Some straightening of Green Lanes took place in 1905 and 1907 (fn. 18) but its course remained essentially the same in 1973 as it had been c. 1600.
By an Act of 1728 the Stamford Hill turnpike trust, hitherto responsible only for the north road, extended its control to the road from the watch house in Edmonton to the market-place in Enfield. (fn. 19) The road included Church Street, which, although not mentioned by name until c. 1530, (fn. 20) must have been one of the oldest streets in Edmonton. By c. 1600 it ran north-west from Edmonton Green and joined Bush Hill Road and Bush Hill. (fn. 21) Green Lanes joined it at Bush Hill. It was much altered at Bush Hill in 1805 (fn. 22) and in 1807 extensive improvements were made to Church Street. (fn. 23)
All other roads remained the responsibility of the parish. The road pattern was established by c. 1600 and changed little until the mid 19th century. (fn. 24) No through route ran from west to east until the Lea was bridged in the 19th century. Angel Road, called Watery Lane in 1557 (fn. 25) and Marsh Lane in the late 16th century, (fn. 26) followed Pymme's brook from Fore Street to Edmonton marsh. The route ran westward from Fore Street as Fords Street (1312), (fn. 27) Pymme's Green, Silver Street, (fn. 28) or Weir Hall Road. (fn. 29) At Tanners End, Hedge Lane ran north-westward to Palmers Green and c. 1600 Tailors Well Lane (fn. 30) and Belsers Lane (otherwise Tile Kiln Lane or Tottenhall Road), which was diverted in 1905, (fn. 31) twisted about the Pymme's valley to Green Lanes at Bowes. From Green Lanes Bowes Road, called Bowes Street (fn. 32) and Newmans Lane (1574) (fn. 33) and later Betstile Road, (fn. 34) c. 1600 ran westward to Betstile, the south-western corner of the parish. There was a network of roads to the east of the north road, mainly to serve isolated farms. John a Marsh (fn. 35) or Jeremy's Green and Lane (later Montagu Road) ran parallel with Fore Street from Watery Lane to Claverings. From north to south it was linked to Fore Street by Pentridge (1598) (fn. 36) or Dyer's alias Cuckoohall Lane, (fn. 37) Colly Lane (Colles Lane 1328), (fn. 38) which disappeared between 1801 and 1865, (fn. 39) Boursers (1333) (fn. 40) or Bounces Lane, and Wrights (fn. 41) or Town Lane (1765). (fn. 42) A short section of Brettenham Road, which was called Board's Lane after a local farmer in 1851, (fn. 43) existed c. 1600, as did Cow Lane (1818) (fn. 44) or Claremont Street. Dyson's Road, which joined Angel Road and Tottenham, may be identifiable with Willoughby Lane. (fn. 45)
Three important roads ran westward from Fore Street: Silver Street, Church Street and, in the north, Bury Street, which was mentioned in 1269. (fn. 46) It was linked to Church Street by several side-roads one of which was stopped up in 1903. (fn. 47)
About 1600 Green Lanes formed the backbone of a group of lanes linking hamlets at Palmers, Clappers, and Fords greens and Winchmore Hill. (fn. 48) From Palmers Green Ansteds or Hazelwood Lane, Hedge Lane, and an unnamed lane, perhaps the 13th-century Scottes Lane, (fn. 49) ran eastward to Tanners End; Hoppers Road (fn. 50) went northward to Winchmore Hill, and Sandpitt or Dog and Duck Lane (fn. 51) and Wapull Borne (fn. 52) (later Bourne Hill and the Bourne) ran westward to Southgate. From Winchmore Hill Highwood Lane or Church Hill and the later Wade's Hill (fn. 53) led to gates at the edge of Enfield Chase. Hagfield Lane (1349) (fn. 54) or Vicar's Moor Lane, (fn. 55) Middle Lane (1865) (fn. 56) or Station Road, and the later Compton Road led eastward to Fords Green. At Fords Green New Lane or Fords Grove, Holly Field Lane or Farm Road, and Highfield Row (1851) (fn. 57) or Road ran eastward to join the north-south route, Firs Lane, which may have been the medieval Garsonsway. (fn. 58) Farther south Highfield Lane or Barrowell Green joined Green Lanes and Firs Lane. From Clappers Green, Sigors Lane (c. 1530) (fn. 59) ran north to Wapull Borne and an unnamed lane, possibly Rosewell Lane (1685), (fn. 60) ran south-eastward to Green Lanes. The whole of the route was later called Fox Lane and at least part of it may be identifiable with Fox Street, mentioned in 1334. (fn. 61) Pricketts Want and Barnfield Lane, branching southward from Fox Lane to join Green Lanes farther south, disappeared between 1801 and 1865. (fn. 62) An unnamed lane ran westward to South Street.
High Street, Southgate, was called South Street (1339) (fn. 63) or the road to Southgate (1370). (fn. 64) Its continuation southward from Southgate Green (later called Cannon Hill and Powys Lane) was called Mynching Lane c. 1600. (fn. 65) Armolt Street (1322) (fn. 66) or Hawland Lane ran westward from Southgate Green to the border, which it followed as the road to Betstile (13th cent.) (fn. 67) or Betstile Lane (1567). (fn. 68) The whole of the road became Waterfall Road. In the south-west corner of the parish it joined Bowes Road and Bounds Lane and Green. Hobbes (1574) (fn. 69) or Jones's Lane (fn. 70) (later Warwick Road) joined Bounds Green to Bowes Road. Wrights Lane or Alderman's Hill and Broomhouse Lane (later Powys Lane and Broomhouse Lane) linked Mynching Lane with Green Lanes. Wolves Lane (1336) (fn. 71) ran southward to Tottenham from Tottenhall Road and Jickocks Lane (later Oakthorpe Road) joined Green Lanes to Lay Green. Lay Green and Holly Bush Lane by 1702 formed Blind Lane, (fn. 72) probably a cul-de-sac caused by difficulty in crossing Pymme's brook.
Other early roads in Edmonton cannot be identified. Colwell Street (13th cent.) (fn. 73) or Lane (1576) (fn. 74) may have been Colly Lane but the positions of Hog Lane (c. 1530), (fn. 75) Rowe Lane (1312), (fn. 76) Stony Street (13th cent.), (fn. 77) Wodenes Street (13th cent.), (fn. 78) Worde Street (13th cent.), (fn. 79) and Wyke Lane (1323) (fn. 80) are unknown.
The Edmonton maps of c. 1600 do not include Enfield Chase but routes through the Chase were marked, though not named, in 1658. (fn. 81) They included Chase Side, Chase Road, and a road from Winchmore gate, which all ran north-westward to Cockfosters, the east-west route later called Bramley Road, and a group of roads leading northward to Enfield and Theobalds. Cock Hill or Eversley Park Road, which ran north from Winchmore or Highmore gate, may be identifiable with Highgate Street (c. 1255) (fn. 82) and Highgate Lane near Green Street (1330). (fn. 83) At Old Park Corner it was joined by Green Dragon Lane, which may have been the earlier Park Street (13th cent.) (fn. 84) and Park Lane (1321). (fn. 85)
'Chase Side', mentioned in 1668, (fn. 86) was probably Winchmore Hill Road which ran along the border of Southgate and the Chase. A road west from Upper Fore Street, called Meeting House Lane, Church Road, Union Road, or Bridport Road, (fn. 87) existed in part by 1754 (fn. 88) and Bull Lane joined it to Silver Street by 1801. (fn. 89) A new major road, Great Cambridge Road, was driven through the centre of Edmonton parish in 1923-4 (fn. 90) and in 1924-7 Bowes Road, Silver Street, and Angel Road were transformed into the North Circular Road. (fn. 91) In 1974 a new section of the North Circular was being constructed south of the narrow and congested Silver Street.
The roads, bearing heavy traffic over ill drained clay, were hard to maintain. In 1365 the main road between Hackney and Edmonton was almost impassable and tolls were levied to repair it. (fn. 92) Bequests were made by Richard Askew (1551), (fn. 93) Ralph Davenant (1552), (fn. 94) William Gilbarne (1557), (fn. 95) John Sadler (1560), (fn. 96) and John Wilde (1665), (fn. 97) chiefly for repairs to Watery Lane and Church Street, and Wilde set up a charity to drain the highways into ditches during the winter. (fn. 98) In 1695 the road through Edmonton to London after a spring shower was so full of water that meeting loaded waggons was dangerous, (fn. 99) in 1713 it was estimated that 10,000 loads of gravel were needed for Duck Lane, (fn. 100) and in 1762 the Stamford Fly overturned in floods near the 7-mile stone at Edmonton. (fn. 101) A concerted effort to improve the road to London began in 1764, before bridges were built over Pymme's and Salmon's brooks. (fn. 102)
Bridges in the 13th century included the long bridge near Langhedge, (fn. 103) a stockbridge near the mill, (fn. 104) and a bridge over the Medesenge. (fn. 105) Highgatesbridge, probably over Salmon's brook or Hobb Hale, (fn. 106) Alnenebridge, east of a road to Winchmore Hill, (fn. 107) and Pipplebridge in Northmarsh (fn. 108) existed in the 14th century, and Stonebridge in north-east Edmonton (fn. 109) and Cowbridge at Edmonton marsh (1564) (fn. 110) in the 16th.
In 1605 the lord of the manor was responsible for seven bridges. (fn. 111) A timber footbridge crossed Pymme's brook in Fore Street just north of its junction with Silver Street in the early 19th century, (fn. 112) when another footbridge crossed it in Love Lane, which led to the Hyde. (fn. 113) There were three bridges over Salmon's brook. In the north a cart bridge at Bush Hill marked the boundary between Edmonton and Enfield. It was called Balstepgrove bridge in 1623, when the inhabitants of the two parishes were indicted for neglecting it, (fn. 114) and Red bridge by c. 1801. (fn. 115) There was another bridge in Church Street, near its junction with Hertford Road, where the brook formed a wash, later the pond at Edmonton Green. (fn. 116) The third bridge was presumably between those two, over a side road leading to Bury Street. (fn. 117) There were two cart bridges over Hobb Hale, one in Hertford Road at Sadlers mill (fn. 118) and another leading to the common marsh near Claverings. (fn. 119) The latter may have been removed as part of the improvements initiated by the turnpike trust in 1772. (fn. 120)
By 1826 (fn. 121) there was still no bridge over the river Lea, which was crossed at Cook's ferry. Pymme's brook was still bridged at Fore Street by Angel bridge, a three-arched brick and stone structure built in 1766 by the road trustees (fn. 122) and maintained by the county. The bridge in Love Lane had probably disappeared by 1826 but there were several other brick bridges over Pymme's brook. One of two arches had been built in 1772 at Tanners End with money raised from subscriptions and was maintained by the parish. Bowes Farm bridge, presumably Deadman's bridge in Green Lanes, a single arch, was built in 1789 by the road trustees and repaired in 1822 by the county. Another single arch, Woodlands bridge, was built, presumably in Bull Lane, c. 1792 by a Mr. Whitehead and maintained by the county. Betstile bridge, with three arches, was erected at Waterfall Road by Sir William Curtis or John Schneider, probably c. 1800. (fn. 123) There was also a ford and footbridge over Pymme's brook in Tile Kiln Lane.
In 1605 and 1826 Salmon's brook was bridged in three places. Red bridge had probably become Salmon's brook bridge, described as east of Bush Hill and on the road from Lower Edmonton to Enfield, which was the responsibility of the lords of Enfield and Edmonton manors although it had been repaired in 1821 by the county. A threearched brick bridge had been built there c. 1779 by the road trustees. Lower Edmonton bridge marked the site of the older bridge in Church Street. Only a footbridge in 1675, it had been replaced by a bridge of two arches of brick and stone by the road trustees in 1766 (fn. 124) and repaired in 1819 by the county, which maintained it. The third bridge was Bush Hill bridge, where Bush Hill and the New River crossed Salmon's brook. It had been built in brick with one arch by the New River Co. in 1682 and subsequently maintained by them. By 1826 Bury Street stream had been culverted in Bury Street and Hertford Road and the two bridges of 1605 had disappeared. There were, however, eleven bridges over the New River, all maintained by the company: one west of Bush Hill Park, one at Bush Hill, one at Butt's Farm, two at Boston Lodge, two at Huxley Farm, and four near Broomfield House. They included a bridge at Deadman's Hill which needed rebuilding in 1810 and an iron bridge of 1814 at Tile Kilns. (fn. 125)
By 1865 the Lea had been bridged. (fn. 126) Although the inhabitants asked the lord for a footbridge over Pymme's brook at the junction of Jeremy's Green Lane (later Montagu Road) with Watery Lane (later Angel Road) in 1799, (fn. 127) there was still only a ford there in 1865. (fn. 128) A wooden bridge had been erected by 1881 when it was washed away by floods and replaced by an iron one. Angel bridge in Fore Street was widened when the tramway (see below) was electrified. (fn. 129)
In spite of the bad roads Edmonton was considered to be easily accessible from London and by 1722 there was a daily coach service to Bishopsgate. (fn. 130) In 1807 hourly coaches ran to Edmonton from Bishopsgate and four coaches a day from Snow Hill. (fn. 131) In 1825 17 coaches made 39 return journeys a day from Edmonton and one coach made a daily return journey from Southgate. (fn. 132) By 1839 there were eight omnibuses and five short-stage coaches running between Edmonton and Bishopsgate, two omnibuses and three short-stage coaches to Snow Hill, and one omnibus and one short-stage coach to the Bank. There were two short-stage coaches between Southgate and Snow Hill. Most services were in the hands of the Matthews and Isaac families. (fn. 133)
In 1851 there were two coach and nine omnibus proprietors concentrated in Church Street and Chase Side. (fn. 134) By then, however, omnibuses were becoming restricted to local journeys to railway stations. In the 1860s an omnibus ran from the King's Head in Winchmore Hill to Bishopsgate via Fore Street and another from the Green Dragon in Winchmore Hill to London Bridge via Green Lanes. Both services were discontinued in 1869. (fn. 135) An omnibus ran ten times a day between Avenue Road, Southgate, and Palmers Green station in 1890 and 1908. (fn. 136)
In 1840 the Northern and Eastern Railway (fn. 137) (from 1844 the Eastern Counties and from 1862 the Great Eastern Railway) opened a line along the Lea valley from London to Broxbourne (Herts.) (fn. 138) with a station at Edmonton (Water Lane, later Angel Road). A branch line was opened in 1849 between Angel Road and Enfield Town, with a station at Church Street (later Lower Edmonton) and from 1880 another at Bush Hill Park. (fn. 139) In 1872 a second branch line, from Bethnal Green to Edmonton, joined the first just north of Edmonton Green and another Lower Edmonton station was built just south of Church Street; (fn. 140) a station was also opened at Silver Street. In 1891 a line to Cheshunt was opened from the one from Angel Road to Enfield Town at a point just north of Bury Street. Suburban growth was not so rapid as expected and in 1909 the line was closed, though reopened for munitions workers between 1915 and 1919 and for electric trains from Liverpool Street to Hertford and Bishop's Stortford (Herts.) in 1960. The section of the line between Angel Road and Lower Edmonton, together with Lower Edmonton (Low Level) station, was closed in 1939. (fn. 141)
The main line of the Great Northern Railway, (fn. 142) which crossed the south-western corner of Edmonton parish in 1850, had a station at Colney Hatch or New Southgate. (fn. 143) Boundary adjustments later placed this line outside the parish. In 1871 the G.N.R. opened a branch line between Wood Green and Enfield with stations at Bowes Park (in Tottenham), Palmers Green, and Winchmore Hill. In spite of schemes in 1902 and 1919 to bring the railway to Southgate it was not until 1932 that the London Electric Co. extended the Piccadilly line to Arnos Grove, where Charles Holden designed a striking circular station. (fn. 144) In 1933 the line reached Cockfosters with intermediate stations, also designed by Holden, at Southgate and Enfield West (later Oakwood). (fn. 145)
In 1881 the North London Tramways Co. opened a service from Stamford Hill along Fore Street to Lower Edmonton, where a tram station was erected at Tramway Avenue, and in 1882 it extended the line along Hertford Road to Ponders End. The company was taken over by the North Metropolitan Tramways Co. in 1891. (fn. 146) Steam and horse trams ran until 1905, when the Metropolitan Electric Tramways Co. introduced a service from Stamford Hill to Silver Street. Later in 1905 electric trams were extended to Lower Edmonton and in 1907 to the Hertfordshire boundary. In 1907 the company began services from Bounds Green to New Southgate (extended to North Finchley in 1909) and from Wood Green along Green Lanes to Palmers Green and later to Winchmore Hill (1908) and Enfield (1909). (fn. 147) In 1933 control passed to the London Passenger Transport Board and in 1938 trams were replaced by trolley-buses, of which there were five services in Edmonton in 1939. They were withdrawn in 1961. (fn. 148) The London General Omnibus Co. introduced motor-buses between Victoria station and the Angel, Fore Street, and by 1914 there were also services from Victoria to Palmers Green and Southgate. (fn. 149) There were nine services within Edmonton borough in 1939 (fn. 150) and 26 London Transport suburban services and two Green Line routes within Edmonton and Southgate c. 1970. (fn. 151)