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The London Borough of Enfield is the most northerly London borough and forms part of Outer London.
Enfield used to be a small market town on the edge of the forest about a day's travel north of London. As Greater London has grown, Enfield has become a residential suburb, with fast transport links into central London.
The current borough was formed in 1965 from the former area of the Municipal Borough of Southgate, the Municipal Borough of Enfield and the Municipal Borough of Edmonton. The armorial bearings of these three boroughs were also merged.
The creature on the shield of the Enfield coat of arms is known in heraldry as an "Enfield" (or colloquially as the Enfield beast), and is used extensively as a logo representing Enfield, particularly by the borough council.
In Roman times, Enfield was connected to Londinium by Ermine Street, the great Roman road which stretched all the way up to York. Artefacts found in the early 1900s reveal that there were Roman settlements in the areas that are now Edmonton and Bush Hill Park.
In 790 King Offa was recorded as giving the lands of Edmonton to St Albans Abbey. The area became strategically important as East Anglia was taken over by the Danes. In the 790s strongholds were built by men loyal to King Alfred the Great, in order to keep the Danes to the east of the River Lea.
After the Norman Conquest, both Enfield and Edmonton were mentioned in the Domesday Book. Both have churches, and Enfield has 400 inhabitants, Edmonton 300. Enfield is also described as having a "parc". This parc—a heavily forested area for hunting—was key to Enfield's existence in the Middle Ages (see Enfield Old Park). Wealthy Londoners came to Enfield first to hunt, and then to build houses in the green, wooded surroundings. In 1303, Edward I of England granted Enfield a charter to hold a weekly market, which has continued up to this day.
Enfield has a history of armaments manufacture—see Royal Small Arms Factory. The Lee-Enfield .303 rifle was standard issue for the British Army until 1957, although its usage carried on afterwards for some time. Other firearms manufactured there include the Bren and Sten machine guns -- the "en" in both cases denoting the place of manufacture.
The world's first solid state circuitry colour televisions were manufactured by Ferguson at their the now closed plant in Enfield.
The very first Dishwasher to be mass produced was in Hotpoint's now closed Enfield plant.
The Barclays Bank in Enfield was the first place in the world to have an ATM -- the ATM was officially opened in June 1967 by Reg Varney a television actor and personality most famous for his lead role on the comedy series On the Buses. This historical event is marked by a plaque on the wall of the bank, which still stands today.
The Borough's Civic Centre is located in Enfield Town.
In 2007, Enfield Town centre completed a major redevelopment project under the name PalaceXchange while retaining the Palace Gardens Shopping Centre. An extension was added to the existing retail area with many new shops, and a second multi-story car park was built along with a new road layout.
A major redevelopment of Edmonton Green including the shopping centre, and adjacent municipal housing over a wide area, started in 1999. This is still on-going, and provides new housing, health facilities, a new leisure centre, a supermarket, and many other civic features.
Many local activities are located around the A10 road which has a number of large retail outlets and a large multiplex Cineworld cinema. The cinema also plays host to Jubilee Church on a Sunday morning; whilst cinemagoers continue to watch movies in the other screens, a charismatic movement which draws its worshippers from a wide area hires a couple of auditoria for worship.
Enfield Council is elected every four years. The borough is divided into 21 wards, with 3 councillors representing each ward. The most recent election was held on 3 May 2018 with the Labour Party holding control with 46 of the 63 seats. The remaining 17 seats are represented by Conservative Party councillors. The wards and party allegiances of those elected in 2018 are as follows:
- Bowes: 3 Lab
- Bush Hill Park: 3 Con (Con gained 1 from Lab)
- Chase: 3 Lab (Lab gained 2 from Con)
- Cockfosters: 3 Con
- Edmonton Green: 3 Lab
- Enfield Highway: 3 Lab
- Enfield Lock: 3 Lab
- Grange: 3 Con
- Haselbury: 3 Lab
- Highlands: 3 Con
- Jubilee: 3 Lab
- Lower Edmonton: 3 Lab
- Palmers Green: 3 Lab
- Ponders End: 3 Lab
- Southbury: 3 Lab
- Southgate: 2 Lab, 1 Con (Lab gained 2 from Con)
- Southgate Green: 3 Lab (Lab gained 1 from Con)
- Town: 3 Con
- Turkey Street: 3 Lab
- Upper Edmonton: 3 Lab
- Winchmore Hill: 2 Lab, 1 Con (Lab gained 2 from Con)
London Fire Brigade
The London Borough of Enfield has three fire stations within its boundary; Edmonton, Enfield and Southgate. However, if an incident requires a higher attendance, appliances from throughout London can be mobilised to meet the needs of the area if required. Within the Borough of Enfield lies the North Middlesex Hospital, Shell Gases Ltd (amongst other chemical plants) plus several mainline and Underground stations.
The three fire stations operate a total of five pumping appliances, one rescue tender, a hose layer and a USAR unit.
Of the three fire stations within the borough; Enfield is mobilised to the most incidents and has the largest station ground (the area of which Enfield is the first appliance to attend).
Two major NHS hospitals, Chase Farm Hospital and North Middlesex Hospital, are located in the borough. Enfield Primary Care NHS Trust is responsible for local primary health care. Another hospital in the borough, Highlands Hospital, was closed in 1993.
Chase Farm Hospital A&E closure
In 2006, a proposal for the closure of Accident & Emergency facilities at Chase Farm Hospital was introduced to widespread protest. The proposal went into consultation in 2007. Should the proposal go ahead, emergencies will be directed to North Middlesex Hospital and Barnet Hospital. As the hospital serves not only Enfield but also the nearby Hertfordshire borough of Broxbourne, it is possible that this could lead to many long journeys for emergency treatment.
The London Borough of Enfield is the education authority for the district. Education is provided in a mix of community and voluntary aided schools. A number of private schools are also located in the borough.
In historical terms, among the most significant are The Latymer School in Edmonton, the best performing school in the borough at both GCSE and A-Level, and also Enfield Grammar School, which since the 1960s has been a boys' comprehensive, but has retained its original name, and still uses its Tudor building which is now often referred to as the Old Hall. St Ignatius' College is the borough's largest Catholic school and one of the best-performing non-selective schools in the borough, at both GCSE and A-Level. Enfield College is also based in the borough.
Middlesex University the former polytechnic, has three campuses in Enfield: Ponders End, Cat Hill and Trent Park. An associate college of the University, Oak Hill Theological College is also located in the borough.
Sport and recreation
Enfield's King George's Field, named in memory of King George V, includes the Queen Elizabeth II athletics stadium, the Enfield Ignatians Rugby Club and numerous football, rugby and baseball diamonds. The playing fields were used as a POW camp for Italians during World War II.
The second largest playing fields are at Firs Farm on Firs Lane. There a handful of rugby pitches along with more than a dozen football pitches. These are used by local amateur football clubs including Winchmore Hill FC, Mayfield Athletic FC and Southgate County FC. The pitches drain reasonably well but are generally in poor condition with old, rusted goalposts. The changing facilities are also very dilapidated, with some changing rooms being no more than concrete sheds with corrugated roofs.
Many sports teams and clubs are located in Enfield; Enfield F.C.,Enfield Town F.C. Brimsdown Rovers, and Winchmore Hill FC are the most prominent. Saracens Rugby Football Club used to play in Enfield and still train at Bramley Road sports ground near Cockfosters. Enfield Ignatians R.F.C are currently the area's most successful Rugby club.
The principal cricket clubs in the area are Enfield CC, Winchmore Hill CC, North Enfield CC, and Holtwhites Trinibus CC, with many others playing cricket in and around the borough such as Edmonton, Enfield Invicta, Mayfield CC and Myddleton House. Many clubs play in either the Middlesex Cricket League or the Hertfordshire League.
Swimming clubs include Edmonton Phoenix S.C., Enfield S.C. and Griffins S.C. of Enfield.
Futsal is also played in the area with FC Enfield playing in the FA Umbro Futsal League Southern Division.
Enfield Phoenix is the local basketball club with teams playing in the national league and the central london league. The team play at the edmonton leisure centre with seating for 400 spectators.
In 1840 the first section of the Northern and Eastern Railway was opened from Stratford Station to Broxbourne, with stations at Water Lane (Angel Road) and Ponders End. Further stations were added in 1855 at Enfield Lock (Royal Small Arms Factory) and 1884 at Brimsdown. A branch line from Water Lane to Enfield Town was opened in 1849 serving Edmonton Low Level and Enfield Town. A further station was added in 1880 at Bush Hill Park. The direct line from London to Enfield Town was opened in 1872 with stations at Silver Street and Lower Edmonton (now called Edmonton Green). In 1891, a loop from Edmonton serving Southbury (Churchbury) and Turkey Street (Forty Hill) to Cheshunt on the main line was added.
In 1871 the Great Northern Railway opened its station on Windmill Hill. This was later replaced in 1910 when the line was extended to Cuffley Station. This section of railway is now part of the line commonly known as the Hertford Loop Line.
Enfield is served by the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground with stations at Arnos Grove, Southgate, Oakwood (named as Enfield West when it first opened) and Cockfosters (where the line terminates). Suburban National Rail services of First Capital Connect and National Express East Anglia also operate on several lines in the borough.
There are numerous bus services throughout the borough run by Transport for London.
The main roads running through the borough include the North Circular Road, the M25, Green Lanes, the A10 and the old Hertford Road (A1010)
The borough contains the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture. Other museums include Forty Hall Manor and the garden exhibitions at Capel Manor, Myddelton House (part of the Lee Valley Park) and the Whitewebbs Museum of Transport.
Enfield is a stronghold of Youth Activities, there are lots of different organisations and movements offering activities for young people.
Scouting & Guiding are particularly strong. The annual St George's Day Parade has around a thousand young people marching through Enfield Town, led by the Enfield District Scout Band.
The Boys' and Girls' Brigade are also quite active within the borough, participating in various ceremonies and events throughout the year, including the Enfield Town Show, St Georges Day Parade and on Remembrance Day Parade, where members of the Enfield Battalion Band have the long standing tradition of playing Last Post.
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