I could perhaps say *Lower* Fore Street as once upon a time there were the two names Lower Fore Street and Upper Fore Street, even if no one referred to them as that, but somewhere along the line the "Lower" and "Upper" got dropped. Where the two met, which would be somewhere near Park Road, there used to be two road name signs side by side on the east side of the road and the wonderful thing was that the sign for "Lower" was higher than the one for "Upper". The only street name sign I could spot in 2002 was on the railings outside Knight's Lane car park and it is an old Borough Of Edmonton one saying Lower Fore Street. I have since spotted just one more sign (above left) which is a rather battered one that does say Fore Street. It is on the west side of the road between the old Co-Op buildings next to Warriner Drive.
I am looking at the road starting from the north end. Where I have a group of photos of the west side I order them from the right so you get a better feel for for the flow of buildings. If you think I am skimming over pubs and places of worship a little it is because I don't want to repeat myself.
If you examine the 1894 maps and the extract from Kelly's Directory of 1890 thoughtfully printed on the back, Lower Fore Street addresses would seem to include the area right up to Church Street which became The Broadway at some stage and is covered a little on my page about The Green. I don't know exactly when The Broadway became the official name but I could speculate c. 1910 is possible.
Fore Street today starts at the junction with New Road and St George's Road. On the east side there is Knight's Lane car park, which was once the site of the Congregational Church built in 1883, leading up to Knight's Lane (surprise, surprise!) and on the west side just green space alongside the railway station leading to Bridge Road. This area will always be remembered by me as "up the Town Hall". The photo on the left shows the old Edmonton Town Hall on Knights Lane dating from 1884 (and extended in 1903). It survived the redevelopment but then fell into disuse and was eventually demolished in 1989. This to me was pure vandalism and whoever took that decision should be ashamed of themselves. Why wasn't a use found for it? If it was in a poor condition, who let it get into that condition and why? The site remains empty as of February 2003.
The next photo shows the buildings just past the old Town Hall in May 1961 as a 649 trolleybus passes by. This was the last trolleybus route operating as was itself withdrawn in July of that year. These buildings, and all those down to the junction with Plevna Road, are now the site of the big new police station which was was opened in 1990 (pictured 2001). It is a much bigger building than its predecessors and having been a divisional and area HQ until the latest restructuring it is now the HQ for Enfield Borough Police.
The last photo looks north towards this area from back down the road a bit.
The above photos show the parades of shops on the other side of the road leading from Bridge Road at the right hand end (photo taken from The Broadway) to opposite Plevna Road on the left (the photo is taken from Plevna Road). There are actually three different buildings here.
The north most parade (centre right) is the one most familiar to me. For many years towards the right hand end was the home of Wade's where one went up the wooden panelled staircase to the menswear department to be kitted out for school uniform. You can see the second and third shops before the corner have a pebbledashed frontage and a different roofline where Wade's had a bad fire. I have an old photo showing Cook & Jones jewellers on the corner (the fried chicken outlet in the photo to the right) and that seemed familiar so I should imagine they kept the shop into the seventies at least. Here was also Ramsbotham's sports shop. They opened a new shop as Edmonton Green Sports in the North Mall and eventually the old one was closed. This shop is closing down following the death of old Mr Ramsbotham in August 2002.
After the second photo was taken in July 2002 Akin Supermarket expanded into the old solicitors offices next door (which has a notice on them saying they had been repossessed which seemed a little ironic) so is now a substantial supermarket covering five shop fronts.
The central pediment of the right hand end block has some very worn engraving and I can just make out the words "Town Hall" but the remaining word seems to be lost. I believe "Town Hall Buildings" may appear on older directories but that sounds somewhat ugly compared to the usual "Villas" or "Terrace". On the left hand side of the middle building there is a gate leading up some side stairs (visible in the photo) and at the top of the gate it says "Salisbury Mansions" and it does indeed seem that the flats above the shops have Salisbury Mansions as an address.
Looking at the 1894 map reveals that none of these buildings were in place back then. The right hand one has a look about it at the roofline that reminds me of the old library which was built in 1897 and one wonders if it perhaps built at a similar time.
A little further down the west side there is a break in the parades of shops and then a standalone building that is now a Turkish (?) supermarket. I had forgotten what it was when I was young but Debbie on the message board reminds me that it was The House Of Holland. The Edmonton Cinematograph Theatre (i.e. a cinema!) opened in 1911 near here and was converted to a shop in 1927. I am wondering if this is the same building as it does look like it easily could have been.
There used to be a car park tucked in behind this store and, as seems to be the case with just about any spare patch of land in Edmonton, this has turned into a small estate of the Fairview/Laing style and the car park entrance has become a road called Warriner Drive. On the south side tucked back from the street is the remaining pair of what presumably was once a terrace of houses. The ground floor of the left hand one has been brought forward so you might not really notice what you are walking past.
Between here and Shrubbery Road is another small parade of shops (above left) which show the date 1903 on the ends but there is also a crest thing in the middle that has the initials "ECSL" and "Established 1888" which reveals this to be the old Co-Op store that I am told was along here. I had long assumed it was the previous building that was the Co-Op.
In fact I wasn't wrong because the 1937 Kelly's Directory has the now London Co-Operative Society at numbers 353, 355 and 363 and number 353 is the 1903 building, 355 is the house next door that is now a dry cleaners or something and 363 is the white building. Carole Jones has now confirmed that for some time the white building was a Co-Op chemists.
The 1903 building was called Shrubbery House and was the head office of the Edmonton Co-Op. In 2005 it's heritage was recognised as it received some exterior refurbishment and looked much smarter for it as the photos from July 2005 show.
A little further south past Shrubbery Road and a terrace of houses (right) which have uniquely remained residential in appearance (whether they actually are or not I couldn't say) is the Salvation Army (centre) and both are marked on the 1894 map, although of course the Salvation Army building is a relatively modern replacement for the old landmark citadel.
Next door on the corner with Shrubbery Road (they originally called this end of it George Street) is the old Passmore Edwards library (above left). This was built in 1897 and the lending library extension was added in 1931 (if you look at the left hand side there is an entrance towards the back with a "E.U.D.C. Lending Library 1931" sign on it). The library has moved to Edmonton Green and the building was being used as a Sikh community centre for a number of years, although passing by in December 2008 it looked like it had become a mosque and as of October 2011 it retains that usage. It is Grade II listed.
Continuing down the west side there is another parade of shops which seem to date from before 1894 (above right) and that were originally known as Commercial Terrrace. Passing here in February 2003 I saw that Recorder was closing down and in November 2003 I saw that planning permission was being sort for use as a restaurant (which indeed did open). That was listed in the 1937 directory and must have been one of the last businesses to survive under its old name. Continuing south there is The Steps pub (centre right, now a shop), Faith House (centre left) and then the entrance to Community House (left) which is set back a bit. Community House is a building that appeared without my really noticing. As far as I know it is a Council owned building that provides offices for assorted local organisations.
I don't know when Faith House was built but it presumably effectively replaced the Congregational Church at Knight's Lane. I have a feeling it could even have been a 1970s build but I may be way off. There used to be a day nursery here but I have absolutely no idea what it looked like.
Next to this is a rather imposing looking building (photos right) whose current usage has been something of a mystery to me, as indeed is the use it had when I was younger. It is apparently now the Edmonton Community Mental Health Centre which seems to house the area mental health teams and a day hospital. When you look at it from the side it joins onto a flat roofed building in a similar if not identical style that runs back quite some distance and makes it look like a factory or warehouse. It was, however, most certainly once the "North Met" building, that meaning the North Metropolitan Electric Power Supply Co.
The next site was once occupied by three houses. When photographed in late 2002 it was a car showroom (centre left) for Mercedes Benz Edmonton having previously been Currie Motors and if memory serves correctly the forecourt was once a petrol station. Mercedes were succeeded by at least one other car showroom but passing by in October 2011 it would appear that the building has been converted for use as a restaurant along with two smaller retail units.S
There is then the Horse & Groom (left), or the Tudor Inn as the owners would like to think of it. This building is a 1968 replacement. In October 2003 I noticed in a local rag that there were plans to demolish it in favour of a four / five storey block of flats but no more was heard so perhaps planning permission was refused.
There are then some smaller buildings (right) that look like they were probably detached town houses with quite impressive entrances (and indeed they do seem to have been private residences in 1902). The one on the right is the Royal British Legion. Just off picture to the left is another one which is now butted right up to a modern looking office block which was built for M.K. Electric who had factories between here and the railway for many years (yes, you guessed it, another housing estate). This has been converted to provide accommodation (centre right) by Christian Action and goes under the name of the Enfield Foyer. There are then two more of the houses. The one on the left that is now MIND was Bradley's pram shop for many years.
The last buildings of great note are just before Park Road, the boundary of Lower Edmonton. These were Argos (centre left) and The Golden Fleece (left) when photographed for this page. Argos was for many years the Green Shield Stamp showroom. The same company was behind the creation of Argos which initially opened in a small first floor room accessed via a door at the left hand end of the building. Argos was closed down c. 2010 in favour of a new unit at Edmonton Green and The Golden Fleece was undergoing conversion to a restaurant in October 2011.
I have listed the shops that were on the west side of Fore Street in 1937 on another page.
Now what is there back on the east side of the road?
From Plevna Road past Osman Road and Sebastopol Road the street is lined with flats and maisonettes set a little back from the road with four storey blocks of maisonettes alternating with three slightly taller blocks of flats which have a slight V shape at the front and also extend at the rear to give a hammerhead shape. Plevna House is between Plevna Road and Osman Road and then Durbin House, Passmore House, Anvil House and Gilpin House lead to Sebastopol Road with Walton House and Brompton House as the last two. There are more lines of flats behind these as can be seen on one of the gloriously tatty signs (right) and I notice in the communal space there is a childrens' play area.
Durbin House is named after Edmonton's post war Labour M.P. Evan Durbin who died rescuing a child on holiday in 1948. Passmore would be from the Passmore Edwards Foundation and of course Gilpin would the literary character John Gilpin. The other names are left as an exercise for the reader ;-)
This side of Fore Street exhibited bomb damage after the war and also Sebastopol Road was another of the near slum areas of Edmonton that got bulldozed in the 1950s so I should imagine these flats must be late 1950s or early 1960s. I certainly remember them in the 1970s, put it that way! The previous housing dated from the late 19th Century and the 1894 shows near enough the same area as already fully developed.
These flats might be a bit more interesting to look at than many but are set back from the street a bit and this makes for a pretty boring stretch of road really. Fortunately before all hope is lost the old police station comes along.
According to the Metropolitan Police web site the first Edmonton police station was a watch house by Angel Road station taken over in 1840 and in 1865 the first purpose built police station and section house was erected at 320 Fore Street (left). This may or may not be true but it seems to overlook a police station clearly marked on the 1881 O.S. Map at what is now the junction of Church Street and Winchester Road.
In 1916 the police station was rebuilt on the same site and it remained there until 1990. The old police station buildings (there was another one behind it at the back of the yard), have been converted into apartments as part of a residential development called Station House Mews (centre). To my eyes they seem to have done a nice sympathetic job (as befits a Grade II listed building) and also the new dwellings built on the old yard blend in reasonably well.
That leaves us just a few yards short of Brettenham Road and almost the end of the journey. On this corner is the Methodist Church (left). The Citizens Advice Bureau also operated from here for many years but closed in 2003 due to funding problems. Strictly speaking Fore Street is still N9 up until Park Road and there are some much more modern looking flats or maisonettes along this part of the road (centre left). I'd imagine they are 1970s built.
Brettenham Road used to swing south-west and meet up with Folkestone Road and then join the high road opposite what is now Park Road. To the north stood the Central Hall (centre right) and it seems the existing Methodist Church formed the Sunday School and meeting rooms associated with it. I guess it could have lasted to the 1960s or early 1970s but I don't know for sure. There were ten residential properties between the Central Hall and Bretteham Road (assuming none of them were demolished to create space) . I don't know how long those survived but they were certainly still there in 1937.
On the south side of the junction was St Mary's church. This was finished in 1883 and consecrated in 1884 (Dalling has it as built in 1873) but closed in the 1950s and was demolished in 1957, becoming a car park for some time. The photo on the right is from a little further up Fore Street towards the Angel and shows the church (and the Central Hall can be seen in the background). The original alignment of Brettenham Road is still seen on maps dating from the early 1970s so it must have been straightened when the new estate was built.
I have listed the shops that were on the east side of Fore Street in 1937 on another page.
I thought I would permit myself to quickly drift over the boundary a bit more just to show the road as far as the junction with the North Circular. It would have been even nicer if the pictures were any good...
These rather badly exposed photos show the buildings on the west side of Fore Street from the junction with Park Road on the right, to Broad House on the left. Broad House sits next to Pymmes Brook and after that Angel Place leads to the North Circular Road junction. I cannot recall anything having changed here in the last thirty years (and probably a lot longer than that). Presumably the Alcazar would have been on the site of the buildings shown in the two photos on the left. The bridge was once more obvious and known as Angel Bridge.
The road shown in the second photo is Park Avenue which turns right to join on to Park Road before the railway. On old maps you can see this road forming part of Hyde Lane (later Victoria Road) with the part of modern day Victoria Road south of Park Road being a lesser track called Stanley's Alley. The south corner of the junction was once the site of Moree's Pond which Gary Boudier tells me was filled in 1910. Looking at old maps it would seem this was fed by an old stream which ran through Pymmes Park and joined up with the old course of Salmon's Brook and I wonder if perhaps the creation of the lake in the park ties in with the filling of this pond. A road off Park Avenue behind the building shown is called Moree Way.
Over on the east side not a lot has changed either. In fact the only thing I can recall in the last thirty years is that the car park just before the Crown & Anchor pub and Fairfield Road surrendered some land to a new doctor's surgery and clinic. I think there was something on the other side of Fairfield Road too but I can't remember what. Naturally I don't have a photo to illustrate either of these two points.
The photo on the left above shows that Angel Corner Parade has survived the massive alterations to the road layout over the years and especially the construction of the underpass shown in the centre. This underpass surfaces beyond the Victoria Road / Silver Steet junction. The third photo shows what replaced the wonderful Regal cinema. It was build as a Safeway supermarket but it now Lidl.
The last photo is an old postcard I came across which refers to "The Angel Circus". I've never heard it called that. Pollock's shop on the corner only closed comparitively recently and the one next door to it looks familiar too. I have no recollection of the road layout being like this but the first major remodelling of the junction started around 1968 so it quite probably lasted like this until about then. At this time the Angel pub, which was just off picture to the left, was demolished and I should imagine the building on the right was too (there was apparently a Barclay's Bank here so that might be it). Next door to that was a building I remember as Brentford Nylons for many years (it always seemed to have a sale on). That went in the late nineties reconstruction of the junction so the first building is now the old Globe pub, which just to confuse the issue was renamed to The Angel for the last few years of its life.