So apparently I’m hot for Victorian suburbia.

Photo from Memories

Having lived in the multicultural, um, paradise of Wood Green for four years it’s a bit of a shock to the system to find myself setting up home in the altogether more genteel ‘burbs of Enfield. Only a few miles from my former home, this is Outer London with a vengeance: it may be a temporary stop for us, but it’s an experience if nothing else.

One of the things I enjoy about living in a new area is exploring all the back roads and routes and recalibrating the map in my head. First thing I got to know was the free parking spots, which taught me the joy of the maze-like footpaths around the back of the Town, by the New River. Just recently though, I’ve been getting my head around Bush Hill Park. This place was always a diaphanous concept for me, being one of those locales that you don’t really go through to get anywhere. It’s become a source of shortcuts of late though, and I think I’ve finally got it. I like this business of figuring out the Victorian mindset – I’d better, it’s going to dominate my head for the next four weeks while I finish my dissertation on Noel Park. Bush Hill Park is far more typical of late nineteenth century expansionism than the philanthropically-minded spacious avenues of Noel Park: the spacious avenues of Bush Hill Park were intended for a much more salubrious set of suburban pioneers, evidenced by the huge, sprawling (and beautiful) piles on Wellington Road.

The sweeping streets around the station, the gated cul-de-sac of the curiously-named Private Road, were aimed towards the city workers who’d take this train down to Liverpool Street and to some extent that looks true today: the early morning foot traffic as I patrolled this morning were split between the expensive-looking suits of city types and the cheap, shiny suits of estate agents. The smaller houses near St Mark’s Road and Main Avenue seem to have been built with one eye on the Royal Small Arms Factory at what is now Enfield Island Village, and the development continued after the first war with massive infill up to the new A10, built alongside the other major arterial routes between the wars. Now, it’s all uniformly block-paved driveways (good job this isn’t a flood zone) and wide roads to accommodate these new-fangled motor cars.

I love mooching round places hunting for new charity shops, and it’s a pity when I can’t write anything about them because there’s no shops there. So here, I’m a Victorian suburbia geek.

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3 Responses

  1. Hello- Would you care to share your dissertation with the Noel Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee? We’d like to add it to our archives. BTW, I have also have a report someone wrote for a school in 1977, if you’re interested in looking at it. She interviewed some local residents who were long-standing members of the community.

  2. Hi Steve,
    I’ll be happy to do that as soon as it’s complete – I’ll email it to the NPCAAC. I’d also be interested in having a look at this report: do you have it as PDF at all?

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