Good reasons to move to Enfield

If you are thinking of living in North London, take a look at Enfield in the London Borough of Enfield. Sitting on the edge of North West London close to beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, it’s an attractive place to live with plenty of local amenities for everyone. Much underrated and often overlooked, the area offers excellent accommodation at reasonable prices, great schools for all ages and fast transport connections into town. That’s a lot of boxes ticked right there!

Housing stock
[A]s one of the most affordable areas to live in London, it’s no wonder that Enfield is especially popular with young professionals and families. The housing stock ranges from modern, purpose built blocks of flats to a plentiful supply of period properties.

Enfield town centre boasts some beautiful Georgian houses, and the charming Victorian cottages along Gentleman’s View and River View are among the best addresses in the area. Handsome Edwardian and 1920s semis and detached houses can be found in the Bush Hill Park conservation area, with more Victorian, Edwardian, 1920s and 1930s properties available elsewhere in the town.

According to recent figures, most of property sales in Enfield Town last year involved flats, which fetched £285,331 on average. Terraced properties sold for an average of £417,766, and semi-detached houses averaged £543,182. Prices in Enfield were up 18 per cent on the previous year.

In terms of comparison in the area, overall average property prices in Enfield Town stood at £387,475, similar to Bush Hill Park nearby (£384,032). This was higher than Enfield (£359,619) but lower than Chase Side (£407,228).

Good schools
[E]nfield is a popular destination for families with children, and the provision of state school education in the area is excellent. Local primary schools include Eversley, St George’s RC and St Andrews C of E, all of which were ‘outstanding’ according to a recent Ofsted inspection. 4 other primary schools – St Michael’s C of E, Lavender, George Spicer and Chase Side ­– were judged to be ‘good’.


Well performing secondary schools include Enfield Grammar School (boys aged11-18 years) and Enfield County School (girls aged 11-18), where 100 per cent of students received 5 or more A* to C grades, according to the Enfield Independent. The 2 co-ed comprehensives Kingsmead and Chase were not far behind in terms of results. The very sought after Dame Alice Owens School in nearby Potters Bar was deemed by Ofsted to be ‘outstanding’.

Excellent transport links
[E]nfield has enviable transport links, making it a popular location for those needing to commute into Central London. The area is served by no less than 4 underground stations on the Piccadilly line – Arnos Grove, Southgate, Oakwood and Cockfosters – with a ½ hour train journey taking you directly to Leicester Square.


Rail services to London are frequently operated from 3 train stations. It takes 30 minutes to travel from Enfield Town or Enfield Lock to Liverpool Street, while trains from Enfield Chase terminate at Moorgate.

For motorists, there are speedy links to London’s North Circular and to the M25 motorway.

Local amenities
[E]nfield is a friendly place to live, with a good community spirit and a bustling town centre, offering great shopping and eating out opportunities for everyone. The Dugdale Centre comprises a theatre and small museum.


Enfield has a rich history, including one of the oldest pubs in England (The King and Tinker) and a historic mansion nearby. The Grade I listed Jacobean manor house Forty Hall is a beautiful venue for weddings and outdoor concerts and well worth a visit.

Open spaces include Capel Manor Gardens’ [above] 30 acre estate which dates back to the 13th century, the beautiful Myddleton Gardens and public Grovelands Park.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with North London based Estate and Letting Agent Peter Barry, who was consulted over the information contained in this post.

CabbieBlog-cabThis is a sponsored guest post for which CabbieBlog has received a fee. Proceeds from these articles help keep the wheels turning on this site offering free content for anybody with an interest in London. All links here conform with guidelines set out in Write a Post.

Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge

Charlotte Gunnell is a blogger on a mission to find quiet, cultured and unusual corners of London, then blog about them at A Peace of London. One she has found is tucked away in Epping Forest, and has written a Guest Post for CabbieBlog.

Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge was created by Henry VIII, inspired William Morris, and was given to the public by Queen Victoria.

[Q]ueen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge in north-east London is forever associated with its namesake and the extraordinary tale of a queen and her horse. A Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade II Listed Building in Chingford. Built for Henry VIII in 1542-3 as a grandstand from which to view the hunt, it was originally intended to complement Fairmead, the King’s magnificent new Royal Park.

There is evidence to suggest that the hunting Lodge was not the first building to exist on this site. According to a report written after an archaeological investigation by the Passmore Edwards Museum in 1992-93, “there are substantial buttresses beneath the corner storey posts, and a surfaced floor has been found adjacent to the south door which extends below the stair tower . . . Other artefacts recovered, e.g. shaped flints, could indicate a long history of human activity on Dannett’s Hill.” 1


Tree-ring analysis of timbers in the Lodge, again in 1992-93, suggested that ‘some of the timbers were felled in the spring of 1542’, and that the stair tower was constructed at the same time. 1 The work was completed by 1543, when Henry VIII signed a warrant for Sir Richard Rich to pay £30 to the woodward of the Chingford Walk for the ‘ffynyshinge as wall of(f) on greate stondeinge’ and for laying out the King’s new park at Fairmead. 4

Everything about the Lodge was designed to suit the purpose of watching the hunt and the shooting of deer from its windows. Sir Addison reports that ‘the spaces between the studs on the upper floors were left open above breast height’ 4 so as not to spoil the view. Furthermore, the windows were left open to the elements and the walls would have been painted and draped in colour during hunting season to demonstrate the status of the building’s owner.


One would assume that the ever-grandiose Henry VIII would have planned to view the hunt from the top floor. However, it is interesting to note comments made by Jeffrey Seddon, curator of the Lodge from 1975-2001, which describe the intricate carving in the spandrels of the first floor rooms. This suggests that the King would have planned to shoot from here and the lower-ranking courtiers would have been sent upstairs. 5 This would have certainly suited the declining health of the King, who by the 1540s was in constant acute pain from an ulcerated leg.


But it’s thought that Great Harry never got to visit his ‘Great Standing’ as his health declined even further in the years following the Lodge’s creation, and he died in 1547. Neither Edward VI or Mary I had interest in sport, though, and Fairmead, the great royal park that their father had done so much to create, was turned into common ground in 1553. 4

Fortunately, the fortunes of the Great Standing were to change. The most compelling legend associated with the Lodge, and the one that has stuck in the public’s imagination, originated from around this time. The story goes that Elizabeth I rode up the stairs on horseback to celebrate the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. This story was given further weight in the 1800s with the tale of an anonymous ‘sporting celebrity’ who won a bet by successfully ‘riding an untrained pony up the assigned route of her Tudor Majesty’ in the 19th century. 3


But it would take Elizabeth 31 years of her reign (and one year after the horse incident was supposed to have taken place) to order five lords, along with her surveyor, to report on the condition of the building and the cost of repairing it in 1589. 4 They would find the Lodge in poor shape, owing to 42 years of neglect. The building’s poor condition at this time might discredit the ‘legend of the horse and the stairs’ even further.

It’s not known whether Elizabeth ever visited the Lodge, but Jeffrey Seddon suggests that Elizabeth might have visited only during a stay at one of her courtiers’ houses in the area, if she used it at all. The Lodge’s use as a gift bestowed to courtiers as a mark of favour seems a more likely use during Elizabeth’s reign. 5

During the first half of the 17th century, the Lodge came into the hands of the Boothby family, although the costs of repairing it were still the responsibility of the Crown. Manor Courts were held here until 1851, in which time the Lodge had passed through marriage to the Heathcote family.

From around 1750, the Lodge was occupied by a succession of ‘under-keepers’ who, according to Sir Addison’s account, were paid by the Crown and ‘probably regarded locally as the gamekeeper-cum-bailiff’.

The rise in popularity of Chingford Plain as a tourist attraction guaranteed many visitors to the Lodge, including a top floor tea-room which was run by the wife of one of the under-keepers. But the real turning point for Epping Forest and Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge was the Epping Forest Act of 1878. As part of the Act, the Lodge was to be preserved by the Corporation of London as ‘an object of public and antiquarian interest’,” 3 and given to the ‘poor of the East End’. Outbuildings attached to the Lodge were demolished between 1879 and 1881, leaving it as an isolated structure once more.

From here the Lodge’s progression from residence to museum was almost complete. In 1882 William Morris fondly recalled a childhood visit, remarking in The Lesser Arts of Life:

I remember as a boy my first acquaintance with a room hung with faded greenery at Queen Elizabeth’s Lodge . . . and the impression of romance that it had upon me! . . . yes, that was more than upholstery, believe me.

Although the under-keeper Herbert Butt and his family (his wife and their six children) still lived there in 1895, the top floor of the Lodge was turned into a museum of natural history by The Essex Field Club. The Essex Field Club maintained the museum until the 1960s, when it was taken under the direct control of the City of London Corporation.

At the time of the last restoration in 1992-93, the building, including its oak frame, was lime-washed, and a Tudor fireplace uncovered, before the building was reopened to the public as a museum detailing the building’s use as a hunting Lodge, rather than a natural history museum as it had previously been. Visitor reactions to the building’s new limewash look were mixed (even though it was more historically accurate) and the curator’s report of 1994 adds that visitor comments on the new look and purpose of the building, ‘ranged from expressions of extreme excitement and pleasure to near-apoplectic hostility’. 2

However, as is also noted in the report, “It is a fact that you cannot please everybody.” The report finishes, as we will finish, with a comment from a volunteer on the reactions of visitors to the interpretation of the building:

I just like to come and absorb the atmosphere of this beautiful building. I don’t need to have it explained or interpreted in order to enjoy it, I only need to be inside it.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

1.    Visit of HRH The Duke of Gloucester, as Ranger to Epping Forest, Wednesday, 3rd November 1993, Appendix E
2.    “QEHL: Visitor Reactions”, report by curator at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, 1994
3.    Newspaper cutting: “The Chingford Rise Estate on the Borders of Epping Forest, One of the Prettiest Suburbs of London” dated 1833-189?
4.    “Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge and Epping Forest Museum” (booklet) by Sir William Addison
5.    “Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge: a brief history” by Jeffrey Seddon with additions by Tricia Moxey, 2003


CabbieBlog-cabThis is not a sponsored post. The author has written this Guest Post for CabbieBlog. Other articles can be found on Charlotte Gunnell’s A Peace of London: Quiet Places in London to Explore. All links here conform with guidelines set out in Write a Post.

Down Your Alley: Little Britain

With the EU Referendum days away, we look today at one of London’s most curiously named alleys – Little Britain.

This winding street which goes from being an alley to part of the one-way system around BT’s headquarters then turning off again towards Smithfield to become a cul-de-sac and got its name from the Dukes of Brittany who built a house here in the 15th century.

[D]uring the 19th century. ‘Little Britain’ was a derogatory term used to describe people and places that were seen as typical of working-class life.

The street’s early purpose was for selling printed material, as close by Wynken de Worde had, in 1500, moved his press from Westminster to nearby Fleet Street and produced at least 600 titles from his premises. So from 1575 to 1725 there were mostly booksellers on the street until they all moved to Paternoster Row.


But this little street in the ward of ‘Aldersgate and Farringdon Within’ has had some very important visitors and residents:

John Milton, the English poet and scholar lived on Little Britain briefly in 1662 and in 1711 The Spectator, the daily publication and forerunner of today’s weekly magazine, was first printed here by Samuel Buckley.

In 1712 a 3 year old Samuel Johnson was brought to London by his mother in a hope that by touching Queen Anne, he would be cured of scrofula (extra-pulmonary tuberculosis). It was believed from the Middle Ages that the royal touch would cure this infectious disease.

Benjamin Franklin stayed in a house on the street when he was in London in 1724 and it was at number 13 Little Britain where Charles Wesley’s evangelical conversion took place in 1738.


The purpose of featuring this little alley on the eve of the EU Referendum is in describing its importance this week on England’s character.

In 1820, in Washington Irving’s The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Little Britain was described as follows:

In the centre of the great City of London lies a small neighbourhood, consisting of a cluster of narrow streets and courts, of very venerable and debilitated houses, which goes by the name of Little Britain . . . Little Britain may truly be called the heart’s core of the City, the stronghold of true John Bullism.

Just a few years after Irving wrote these words, others were characterising the locality as a slum and a rookery. Charles Dickens wrote in his novel Great Expectations, the lawyer, Mr Jaggers had his office on Little Britain which was described as ‘a gloomy street’.

Picture: Little Britain by Tigerulze

CabbieBlog-cabMuch of the original source material for Down Your Alley has been derived from Ivor Hoole’s GeoCities website. The site is now defunct and it is believed Ivor is no more. Thankfully much of Ivor’s work has been archived by Ian Visits and Phil Gyford.

Before there was Uber

This Sunday marks 55 years of London’s minicabs, correctly termed private hire. Before 1961 the black cab reigned supreme on London’s streets.

The drivers had spent years riding around the capital on push-bikes at that time, learning The Knowledge and many cabbies on gaining their badge had used their army gratuity to start purchasing the iconic FX4 recognised as a London cab.

[A] few months earlier Tom Sylvester had found a loophole in the 1869 Carriage Act, which meant ‘ply for hire’ was restricted to black cabs but if one telephoned his cab office – Carline Cabs – you could circumvent the Act as his drivers weren’t plying for hire, simply responding to a telephone call.

Starting on 6th March 1961 his small fleet of 12 Ford Anglia 2-door 105E vehicles hardly posed a threat to the thousands of black cabs stalking London’s streets. Yet, incredibly, in the first week of operations they carried 500 passengers.

Their passengers liked the genuine door-to-door service he offered and spurred on with its success Carline Cabs ordered 25 black-and-grey livered Fiat Multiplas a 4-door long wheelbase genuine 6-seater [pictured above].

The challenger to the Black Cab’s supremacy on London’s roads came on 19th June 1961 – fifty-five years ago when an exceptionally publicity-conscious young law graduate named Michael Gotla fronted an outfit called Welbeck Motors. Welbeck’s had ordered 800 bright red Renault Dauphines garnering press attention with its £560,000 price tag, a small fortune in those days.


Welbeck Motor’s Renault Dauphine Dinky toy

In the days when telephone numbers carried a quaint indication of their owner’s location calling WELbeck 0561 would summon a driver resplendent in a beige corduroy suit and forage cap ready to transport you for a mere 1/- (5p) per mile. As with Uber today, public support was strong. Dinky toys even produced a model of the company’s vehicle.

The Times warming to the public’s enthusiasm for this new form of public wrote:

The reaction of the hard-done-by travelling public to the coming of minicabs is – the more the merrier . . . men of wealth have been heard to cry out against the taximeter – men who think nothing of signing away many thousands in seconds in the wiggle of a pen, but find it very painful to sit helplessly in the back of a taxi watching their money dripping away in three penny stages.

The paper’s editor had forgotten that his paper some 60 years previous had been at the forefront of a campaign for the introduction of the taximeter.

London’s streets had never before, or since, seen what followed as the press would dub the confrontations: “Minicab Wars”; “Gotla’s Private Army”; and “The Battle of Belgrave Square”. Gotla would claim that six of his drivers were attacked while another 15 were threatened.

Time magazine wrote colourfully:

. . . their exhaust pipes billowing clouds of diesel smoke, their cabbies shaking irate fists and shouting unprintable war cries


Public sympathy was inevitably with the underdog, who just happened to be a millionaire businessman trying to scratch a living; such was the ability of Gotla’s persuasive rhetoric.

As we see today with Uber, rules were meant to be broken, when private hire is trying to get fares. They would tout for fares but then hand their car phone to the customer and ask him to place his order with the dispatcher – who would then repeat the same order to the driver.

Twelve months later after scenes of hostility regularly featuring in the media a court ruling on 31st May 1962 decreed that some private hire drivers had indeed been plying for hire, and therefore were breaking the law.

The sage then took a bizarre twist: Legend has it that Gotla’s entire army was instantly demobbed via a frantic radio message ordering them to drive their Dauphines to the nearest convenient dark alley and strip it of all advertising.

Welbeck’s went into administration with total liabilities of £50,000. It was rumoured at the time that the millionaire Mr. Isaac Wolfson, who had put most of the finance into place, had been told that the bad press surrounding his private hire venture could well prejudice his coveted knighthood. Soon after he did received his gong.

It only goes to prove that, as today, when it comes to transporting the public around London; for some – be they Black cabbies, Gotla’s corduroy army or Uber – rules were made to be adhered to, and its only enforcement from the authorities that protect the public.

The London Grill: Laura Porter

We challenge our contributor to reply to ten devilishly probing questions about their London and we don’t take “Sorry Gov” for an answer. Everyone sitting in the hot seat will face the same questions that range from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out just what Londoners really think about their city. The questions might be the same but the answers vary wildly.


[L]aura Porter writes the London Travel site and also Laura’s London for She has lived in the London area all her life and can’t imagine ever wanting to live elsewhere. She fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen’s. Laura is @AboutLondon on twitter and @AboutLondon Laura on Facebook. You can find out more about her at and see Laura’s other articles on the Visit Britain Super Blog.

What’s your secret London tip?
Walk as much as possible. You can find a new street/alley that you’ve never walked down on every day of your life. You won’t get lost as London is such a densely populated city and you’ll find a main road or tube station within a few minutes. But one day turn left instead of right and see where it takes you.

What’s your secret London place?
I like to take friends to see the ‘Roman Baths’ on Strand Lane as it’s such a hidden away attraction although I think the journey is more fun than getting there. It’s probably not Roman but it has a Dickens connection (David Copperfield was said to use the plunge bath regularly). I also like the Ceramics Department in the V&A where you can watch workshops and use the terminals to design your own teapot.

What’s your biggest gripe about London?
Unnecessary crime. It’s a city thing, I guess, but I have no idea why anything would think it OK to scratch someone’s car, break someone’s window, steal someone’s phone, etc. Maybe it’s a jealousy issue but it seems many do it just because they’re bored and don’t care about the hurt they inflict.

What’s your favourite building?
Can a bridge be a building? If so, today I’ll choose the Rolling Bridge in Paddington Basin which unfurls on Fridays at midday. Why, because it can. I love our traditions; even the relatively new ones.

What’s your most hated building?
The City has some real shockers but let’s go with no.1 Poultry. The old Mappin & Webb building was much more attractive but you can still see the M&W clock just inside.

What’s the best view in London?
Big Ben seen through the London Eye from Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank. Also, standing on the National Gallery steps and looking down Whitehall, seeing past Nelson’s Column to Big Ben.

What’s your personal London landmark?
I love our iconic buildings. They make a lovely skyline when pulled out of geographical accuracy into a horizontal line. I can’t choose one but love to see Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and yes, Big Ben.

What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
I constantly read London books and one I enjoyed relatively recently was Walk The Lines by Mark Mason. He walked the length of all the tube lines and wrote about what he saw. Reading it feels like you’re doing the walk with him without the physical exertion.

I love spotting London film locations so I’d choose places in films, such as the entrance to the Ministry of Magic, near the Nigeria High Commission, for the Harry Potter movies, or Westminster Bridge in 28 Days Later. Seeing any London rooftops makes me think of Mary Poppins and dancing chimney sweeps.

What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
I’ll go with cafe. I find myself in Yumchaa Soho a lot these days as 1. The tea is great, 2. I live the rustic style and 3. It’s a great location near Oxford Circus. I have no idea why I put up with the chipped cups and teapots that generally spill tea across the table, and the wifi rarely works. But I still like it there.

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
To get a mix of the hectic city and the peace I’d go to Camden Market and have liquid nitrogen ice-cream at Chin Chin Labs before strolling down the canal to Little Venice. I’d turn off to visit teanamu Chaya Teahouse in Notting Hill and meet my tea-drinking friends. The evening would end with a trip to the pub with more good company.

This ‘Grill’ was first posted on the Radio Taxis blog.