[Lower Edmonton]
Lower Edmonton > Roads and localities > The Green

The Green

This page covers The Green as it was and also looks at how it is today.
This page last received any significant attention back in 2004 before the demolition works began. Construction on the east side of The Green and The Broadway was largely completed in early 2007 so the modern day views are substantially different and this means the page is already very much out of date.

I simply have to have a page about Edmonton Green before it was trashed in the 1960s. I was going to say before it was replaced by a shopping centre but, when you think about it, the bulk of the shopping centre is to the east of the New Road. So it seems the east side of Edmonton Green got trashed for a car park that has proved not to be required and for the bus station. OK so perhaps the roads have been widened a bit too, but you do get the feeling that there could have been a less destructive way of doing things. As the shopping centre can mostly be considered separately it means I can adopt a useful "then and now" approach on this page without it becoming too unwieldy.

I am somewhat handicapped by not being old enough to have any detailed memories of the area before the 1970s. I do have hazy memories of the market stalls but no real detail and any memories I have of the low-level railway station and trains are probably false ones as the tracks were lifted when I was about two years old! I can remember a little more of the area north of the Green running along the Hertford Road as this survived into the 70s until after the North Mall and North Square were built. I can remember a Woolworth's store which I would guess must have just been just off The Green itself and nearby was Edmonton Opticians (now Mr Scher's Spectacle Shop in the North Mall). I can remember a bicycle shop which also sold Airfix and Revel kits which was called Stanley Bridge. This was a small corner shop by a pathway which I remember using as a short cut from Balham Road. This must have been located roughly opposite Monmouth Road. Going north there was another parade of shops at the end of which was a toy shop called Wheatley's. I believe this was double fronted with prams being sold next door.

I shall start with some pictures of Edmonton Green to give an overview.

[image]

This picture on the left is a well known print of Edmonton Green in 1806. This is most of interest for illustrating the pond. Salmon's Brook opened into a pond at the Green until the middle of the 19th century when the new railway came along. Exactly what happened to the brook and pond and when isn't clear from the material I have seen but certainly by the end of the century the railed off triangle had appeared.  The second picture shows an Edwardian scene and things look quite sedate. The street market that The Green was famous for was yet to develop.

Update: The 1867 OS Map suggests there was a small pond on the north-east side of the railway line and a larger one to the south-west with the 'triangle' already having been formed. The ponds were roughly where the most obvious areas of trees are next to the railway line in the third photo.

The third picture dates from c. 1935. You can see that layout of the roads is not far off that you can see today (the triangle has been eaten into by a curve in the road) but that instead of the main road around the roundabout there was a railway platform slap bang cross one side and a level crossing on the other. New Road, which these days is just a flyover only really used by buses turning round and as the entrance to the now disused car park, was the main through road and essentially a mini-bypass. Don't be fooled by the name, New Road appears on early 19th Century maps so has been around quite some time (it was built when the railway was opened in 1849 but I am not ruling out a road having been there before without a bridge).

The market stalls can be seen along the east side. I should imagine the stalls must have been displaced during construction of The Green which might explain why I don't have much recollection of a line of stalls as shown.

The c. 1935 photo was scanned from Matthew Eccleston's book and went across the page fold so a good third of it to the left is missing which leads us to the third photo! This is particularly of interest for a complete view of the Cross Keys pub but also shows rail wagons in sidings in the bottom left and more of the railway platforms. You can also see more of Balham Road. I can always remember there being a timber merchants and/or hardware store (I can't remember exactly what it was) but I've clean forgotten its name. I think it was probably built in the empty space between the corner and the large building shown and I remember just before it there was a passageway into a rear courtyard. Courtesy of Debbie on the message board I am reminded that the name I couldn't recall was Hobbycrafts and am informed that it used to be on the high road opposite Woolies. She does suggest that it was actually the white building and she may well be correct as I simply can't recall what was on the corner.

The c. 1935 photo above, which I took from Enfield - Portrait Of A London Borough, is clearly taken within a few minutes of another aerial photo from Lower Edmonton In Pictures which is firmly dated by Graham Dalling as 1938. Ron Roe points out that there don't seem to be any tram tracks on the New Road or Hertford Road and that as trolleybuses took over in 1938 that suggests the later date is more likely, though even with that date the tracks must have been lifted pretty quickly. I'll keep referring to it as the "c. 1935" photo for the moment.

[image][image][image]

I do have a couple of photos that give a closer look at either end of The Green c. 1910 (at a guess). The first one looks from the south across the level crossing and up the east side. The war memorial would be just off camera to the left. The second one looks back from the north end at the end of the fenced off "triangle" and shows the Cross Keys and the shops leading to Balham Road (which are also prominent in the background of the other photo).

The third photo seems to be much later, perhaps around the 1950s or even 1960s. It shows the "triangle" at the north end, this time looking in a northerly direction. The Exhibition pub can be seen in the background towards the left of the photo.

[image][image][image][image]

I don't have any really good present day photos giving an overview of The Green though the photos above from August 2000 might give some idea. The only thing in the photos that predates the 1970s is the war memorial (shown below)

You can also get an aerial view of The Green courtesy of Google Maps. At the time of writing it is showing the situation as it was prior to the latest round of demolition and construction.

[image][image]

When I was struggling to build an older version of this page I felt I needed some better information to work with and Peter Cartwright obliged with a superb contribution to the message board. Now I am able to adopt a "then and now" approach I should be able to wing it.

For those with good memories for names of shops, I have a page listing shops in the area of The Green in 1937. I am not suggesting too many of my readers will have first hand knowledge of the area at that time but quite a few shops will have continued on for decades afterwards, and others might have changed name but be the same type of shop.

I should perhaps belatedly define "The Green". I will often be using it to refer to the general area but it also means a particular road. Before the 1970s it was the name for the road around the "triangle" on the northern side of the low level railway line (clearly visible in an earlier photo) and leading up to the junction with Town Road. On the southern side of the railway the roadway from the railway line to Church Street was called Railway Approach. The remainder was the end of The Broadway. The details were slightly different before the early years of C20 but we wont worry about that here.

The Green still exists as a road today. Some maps just assign the name to the road around the roundabout with the area to the north, from about Balham Road, being considered as the Hertford Road. However others show it going up to somewhere near the North Square which pretty much corresponds with the old northern extent. There is nothing requiring an address for it to make much difference. The Broadway still exists down to St Georges Road and Bridge Road even if many think of that as Fore Street. Again it doesn't really matter a great deal as nothing needing an address is there at the moment. The name The Broadway does feature for the shops by the bus station.  The railway line would have run through the middle of those so The Broadway has actually grown a little.

[image][image]

I have to start a more detailed examination somewhere and the west side seems a good start. The area between the high level and low level railway lines, known as Railway Approach, was once populated with coal yards served by a couple of railways sidings (with more in the area just to the north). It can be seen in the photo on the left with the station house bottom right. Running alongside the far side of the railway line was Salmon's Brook which was crossed by a footbridge that features in many old photos. Then came the Cross Keys pub which in many ways was *the* Edmonton Green landmark for many years. It was in existence in the 17th Century and in a photo above (centre left) it can be seen in 1886 along with the bridge over Salmon's Brook. According to Boudier the pub was rebuilt in 1886. A couple of sources don't acknowledge this and instead talk about a 1930s rebuild but clearly the main builiding shown in the crop of the c. 1935 photo looks substantially the same as that seen in photos from c. 1886 after the rebuild, including the one from the early 1890s above, and there doesn't seem to be any record of substantial works at the later date though there is some evidence of refurbishment. The Cross Keys survived into the 1980s before finally being seriously damaged by fire and being demolished, however it had not been operating as a proper pub since 1970 so it had quite a long decline.

Peter Coath has an interesting photo of the Cross Keys dating from 1970 on his Flickr site and it also shows a market stall in the foreground, the factory that used to be on the far site of the railway, Ragg's chemists and also what remained of the 'triangle'.

The older photos clearly show that between the Cross Keys and Ragg's chemists there was another building, and this certainly included the shop that was number 3 The Green which was once owned by Robert Hobbs, who later moved the shop to number 26. This was still there c. 1935 but seems to have gone by the time of the 1949 photo and in the 1970 photo a single storey extension to the pub is on the site.

A row of shops with a very distinctive roof line lay between the Cross Keys and Balham Road. The first photo above dates from c. 1900 and shows Ragg's chemists on the left. The second photo, from 1949, is a close up of Ragg's. Lower Edmonton In Pictures has another picture of Ragg's c. 1900 showing Mr Ragg outside his store and also showing that next door was a Post Office (also run by Mr Ragg).

[image][image][image][image]

I can't remember when the latter buildings were demolished but the Cross Keys lingered on until the late 1980s. The whole area from the railway line to Balham Road is now occupied by blocks of flats as shown above. The first photos show the flats between the railway and the brook. There is another similarly (but by no means identically) styled block between the brook and Balham Road which is just about visible in the third photo and this extends around the corner. It can be seen better in the last photo.

[image][image]

There is actually one older building that has survived in this area. Right by the railway line is the hut that is the office for D&J Pegrum Memorials and it seems very likely it was once one of the coal merchants offices. This might also be a good place to note that around the corner in Balham Road a strange assortment of buildings have also survived between the modern flats and houses.

[image][image][image]

Another landmark of the old Green was Dale's department store which sat on the corner of Balham Road. The above left photo looks like it dates from the 1950s but it in a 1904 photo the name is clearly visible on the side of the building and you can see the building in the 1886 photo of the Cross Keys above so it seems probable it was already trading by then.  Indeed it appears in very many photos. Dales were also an Estate Agents and they seem to have occupied the next door building as seen in the centre photo. The three storey building next door to Dales housed two shops (though they look like they might have been combined in that photo which dates from 1963) but c. 1900 was a private residence and was named Devonshire House. The pair of cottages next door, which seem to have accommodated three shops, were originally the last on The Green and the road clearly bends to the north. This was originally the start of the Hertford Road until the dividing line was shifted to the Town Road junction.

The photo on the above right dates from 1897 and as far as I can tell it shows the west side of The Green a little way north of the previous photo and must show the bakery that became Geary's. A little further to the right off camera would have been the King's Head pub and to the left would have been Staveley's. Just to give some soft of idea of the distance, Devonshire House was number 17 and the bakers was number 37 (only odd numbers).

[image][image]

I'd now really like to show you what has replaced the above shops. I really would. However the answer is basically nothing at all. Well apart from one end of the footbridge which is right on the corner. The rest of the road is just a grass verge next to the pavement and then the brick wall of a housing development. I guess this estate does occupy part of the site of the old buildings but it doesn't really strike you as having been planned that way, more that it spilled over onto an otherwise empty site.

[image]

The east side as a whole is perhaps best illustrated by the earlier aerial photo but there are a few more detailed photos around. The first two photos above are of the east side circa 1900 and in 1910. The first one shows, on the far left, The Golden Lion pub followed by James Gray's confectionary, Alfred Shortland's bakers, Mrs J & E Heath drapers and James Page the greengrocer. This seems to skip the impressive looking Dutch gabled building.

The second photo is from slightly further along the parade and that gabled building I just mentioned is on the right of the picture. The third photo is again The Golden Lion on the right but this time dating from around 1875.

The photo on the far right is from around 1914 or 1920 (depending on who you believe) and is looking south and shows The Golden Lion on the left and on the other side of the road can be seen a bakery and Staveley's shop. The building in the left foreground is the Exhibition pub which had three sides on New Road, Town Road and The Green (actually I think to be precise it was regarded as the first building on the Hertford Road).

It would appear that the buildings to the left of The Golden Lion change between the 1900 and 1910 photos and then by the c. 1920 photo there seem to be less shops before the junction with New Road. The c. 1935 looks like it probably matches up with the c. 1920 one quite well to the left of the Golden Lion but to the right the Dutch gabled building isn't obvious and it may have been altered or replaced.

The Golden Lion lasted to 1970 but unlike two other pubs didn't live on in name in the new Edmonton Green. The third pub in the shopping centre was named the Old Circus but was intended as a replacement for the King's Head.

[image][image][image]

I have mentioned the building with the dutch gabled roof a few times. By a process of elimination this must be the building that became number 40 The Green and which in 1902 was listed as occupied by Edward Cater the cheesemonger. Edward Cater was the uncle of the Cater Brothers who built up the grocery and supermarket chain, including a shop a few doors up the street from this one. Presumably that is his store visible in the pictures and indeed David Waters confirms this and provided a photo (above left). It seems this building may have been known as Observatory House and was in existence in 1851 when it was being used for a music and dancing school.

This second photo above is dated c. 1900 and shows Young's bakers and corn dealers, and beyond that Edgar Beeton's butchers. A sketch map in Glimpses Of Old Edmonton places it north of a previous photo of The Golden Lion but comparison with the c. 1935 aerial one shows it is the east side of The Green for roughly the length of the "triangle" and so to the south. The house back left gains shop blinds on the ground floor in the 35 years between photos (and can be seen to be called Elm's in another one) and that is the north end of the "triangle" in front of it..

The shop buildings look like they feature in the other photos with the exception of the two adjoined shops in the foreground (notice they have the same roofline but different window layout) which seem to have been replaced by a larger structure by the late 1930s. The trees will have mostly gone too. It should be remembered that the street market had yet to be established.

The third photo above was taken in 1949 shows Edmonton Bakeries, Boots, Linwoods the fishmonger and Hensons. This can be compared with the earlier c. 1900 one where the baker was Alfred Short and the shop that is now Boots was a drapers and looked more like a house as it didn't have a shop front.

Most of the photos above are quite common in the various local history books and nearly all are from the early years of the 20th Century. So I pleased to be able to present one (above right) that I found in a magazine with a cover date of July 1961. It shows the market stalls on the east side of The Green from a viewpoint outside The Exhibition pub. My eyes are drawn to the building next to The Golden Lion yet again. Is this the same building as the one with the dutch gabled roof altered to remove that roof, or is it a completely different building on the same site?

[image][image]

I've borrowed a couple of photos from the shopping centre page as a token illustration of what the east side of The Green has become. As you can see there is a large multi-storey (due for demolition in 2004) that straddles the old line of the railway and then there is The Concourse.  Otherwise only green space lies west of the New Road. It is really the bus station (such as it is) that seems to lie on the site of the old shops. You would have thought it was possible to have put the bus station elsewhere and just built the shopping centre east of New Road without needing to demolish so many old buildings. Indeed it seems odd that New Road survived as all it initially did after redevelopment was act as an entrance to the car park. Removing it would have created much more room and I rather suspect that has been recognised for the redevelopment from 2004 onwards (especially as the car park wont be there so it is even more pointless).

I tend to bundle The Broadway in with any discussion of "The Green". The "new" Edmonton Green has The Broadway as the bit under the car park by the bus station though maps show it still reaching down as far as St George's Road and Bridge Road where Fore Street begins. So in fact it has actually grown a little since the redevelopment as the line of the low level railway runs through the car park.

New Road was the main through road until the 1970s and so The Broadway only had to handle traffic from Church Street plus any to and from The Green via a level crossing. It was originally much wider than it is today. You may notice that pavement outside the railway station shows a gulley where the original kerb line must have been. On the east side there seem to be drains in the middle of the pavement that might also indicate an old kerb line.

Peter Cartwright again helped me out with a basic description of The Broadway in a contribution to the message board. Again I am now winging it by myself.

The west side of The Broadway to Bridge Road was lined with shops but the east side doesn't seem to have had any that anyone can remember! Indeed it was only really notable for the Railway Tavern which was right next to the railway.

[image][image][image][image]

The first photo above highlights the east side of The Broadway in 1909 and shows the Railway Tavern in the centre right (when viewed full size) and also supports my earlier point about Dales and the shops on the other side of Balham Road being very distinctive in photos. I do have to query whether it really does show The Broadway or if it shows Fore Street. My point being that The Broadway name came into being post 1902 and it does seem to me that it is unlikely to have got its new name until it was indeed broad. As can be seen Salmon's Brook ran in an open channel on the east side of the road.  The next photo shows the junction with New Road c. 1900 (based on the absence of overhead wires for the trams) and the brook is again clearly visible.

The next photos show the junction of The Broadway with New Road c. 1910 and there doesn't seem to be much sign of the brook so perhaps it was around about this time that the brook was covered and The Broadway got its name.

The photos of New Road highlight that it was the through route for trams (and indeed other traffic) but there was also a stub siding running into The Broadway for trams terminating at the Town Hall. The two buildings standing sentinel at the bottom of New Road are both banks. The one on the left is the London & Provincial and that building would have been pretty much brand new c. 1910. It became part of Barclays in 1918. The other one was The London Joint Stock Bank which eventually became the Midland Bank. Barclays and the Midland (now HSBC, of course) are both still present in the area at the end of the South Mall.

[image][image][image]

The modern day view of the east side of The Broadway is still pretty spartan. The south end of the bus station lies roughly where the Railway Tavern was and this is followed by an improbably located banqueting room that shut down years ago (demolition began in November 2004). I have shown another view with Edmonton Sea Cadets leading the Remembrance Day parade in 2003. I wasn't really aware we had any sea cadets and it does rather seem that others don't realise either or even if they do there isn't so much interest in them.

The third photo above is one of my better ones and looks towards the New Road junction. It is now St George's Road that joins The Broadway / Fore Street and New Road runs off that. Since the 1970s it has just been basically a narrow flyover that just provided access to the multi-storey when it was open and now acts as bus standing. It does seem curious that it survived the redevelopment at all and I don't suppose it will be around much longer.

[image]

I seem to be even more lacking in photos of the west side of The Broadway which is a shame as that is where all the shops were. The first photo above shows the northern end with the goods and coal yards in the background. This stretch of road was called Railway Approach at the end of the 19th Century but by 1902 the name was only used for the road from Church Street to the low-level railway line. I should imagine the photo is taken in the early or mid-1920s.

Loading
© Copyright 2000-2015 Graham Johnson.
Cookies are used on this site. Please see the cookies and privacy page.