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The London Borough of Enfield ( ) is the most northerly London borough and forms part of Outer London.


Enfield was recorded in the Domesday Book 1086 as Enefelde, Einefeld 1214, Enfeld 1293, Enfild 1564, that is 'open land of a man called Ēana, or where lambs are reared', from the Old English feld with an Old English personal name or with Old English ēan 'lamb'. The feld would have been a reference to an area cleared of trees within woodland later to become Enfield Chasemarker.


Enfield Townmarker 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 Town and its surrounds have 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 Southgatemarker, the Municipal Borough of Enfieldmarker and the Municipal Borough of Edmontonmarker. 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 Londiniummarker by Ermine Streetmarker, the great Roman road which stretched all the way up to Yorkmarker. 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 Albansmarker Abbey. The area became strategically important as East Angliamarker 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 Parkmarker). 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 Factorymarker. 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 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 or cash machine, it 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.

Enfield today

The Borough's Civic Centre is located in Enfield Townmarker.

In 2007, Enfield Townmarker 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 Greenmarker 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 roadmarker 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 church which draws its worshippers from a wide area hires a couple of auditoria for worship.

The western part of Enfield is largely residential, with shopping centres in Southgatemarker, Palmers Greenmarker and Cockfostersmarker.

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 Hospitalmarker and North Middlesex Hospitalmarker, are located in the borough. Enfield Primary Care NHS Trust is responsible for local primary health care. Another hospital in the borough, Highlandsmarker, 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 Hertfordshiremarker borough of Broxbourne, it is possible that this could lead to many long journeys for emergency treatment. The proposal to close the A&E and other functions is opposed by the Local Conservative Council, but is now being described as a reconfigeration which saves the Hospital from closure by the local Labour MP, although there has been no suggestion the whole hospital would be closed.


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.

Schools in the borough are listed at List of schools in the London Borough of Enfield. In historical terms, among the most significant are The Latymer Schoolmarker in Edmonton, the best performing school in the borough at both GCSE and A-Level, and also Enfield Grammar Schoolmarker, 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' Collegemarker 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 and The Bishop Stopford's Schoolmarker; Enfield's largest school, are also based in the borough.


Middlesex University the former polytechnic, has two campuses in Enfield: Cat Hill and Trent Parkmarker. An associate college of the University, Oak Hill Theological Collegemarker 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 Town F.C. Brimsdown Rovers, and Winchmore Hill FC are the most prominent. Although the most successful football club is Enfield FC, which later became Enfield 1893. After spending several recent season's having to ground share outside the borough, for the 2009-10 season they will once again be playing their football in the borough, ground sharing with Broxbourne FC. Saracens Rugby Football Club used to play in Enfield and still train at Bramley Road sports ground near Cockfostersmarker. Enfield Ignatians R.F.C are currently the area's most successful Rugby club.

The principal cricket clubs in the area are Winchmore Hill, Enfield, Edmonton and Southgate, with many others playing cricket in and around the borough such as, Enfield Invicta, Mayfield CC, Myddleton House, North Enfield CC, Botany Bay and Holtwhites Trinibus CC. 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.

Gaelic Football is also played in the area. The club North London Shamrocks play at Enfield Playing Fields.

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, Edmonton Greenmarker with seating for 400 spectators.

Theatre goers are catered for by The Intimate Theatre and The Millfield Theatre in Enfield, with amateur and professional dramas, musicals and live music on show every week. Amateur dramatic companies include Saint Monica's Players, The Capel Players and The London Pantomimers.


In 1840 the first section of the Northern and Eastern Railway was opened from Stratfordmarker to Broxbournemarker, with stations at Water Lane (Angel Roadmarker) and Ponders Endmarker. Further stations were added in 1855 at Enfield Lockmarker (Royal Small Arms Factorymarker) and 1884 at Brimsdownmarker. A branch line from Water Lane to Enfield Townmarker was opened in 1849 serving Edmontonmarker Low Level and Enfield Town. A further station was added in 1880 at Bush Hill Parkmarker. 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 Southburymarker (Churchbury) and Turkey Streetmarker (Forty Hill) to Cheshuntmarker on the main line was added.

In 1871 the Great Northern Railway opened its stationmarker on Windmill Hill. This was later replaced in 1910 when the line was extended to Cuffleymarker. This section of railway is now part of the line commonly known as the Hertford Loop.

Enfield is served by the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground with stations at Arnos Grovemarker, Southgatemarker, Oakwoodmarker (named as Enfield West when it first opened) and Cockfostersmarker (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 Roadmarker, the M25marker, Green Lanesmarker, the A10marker and the old Hertford Roadmarker (A1010).


The borough contains the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecturemarker. Other museums include Forty Hall Manormarker and the garden exhibitions at Capel Manormarker, Myddleton Housemarker (part of the Lee Valley Parkmarker) and the Whitewebbs Museum of Transport.

Youth activities

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.

See also


  1. Mills A. D. Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names (2001) p76 ISBN 0198609574 Retrieved 28 October 2008
  2. London Fire Brigade - Enfield Profile
  4. London Fire Brigade - Enfield Profile
  5. BBC Inside Out
  6. Education gateway for LB Enfield accessed 5 Jun 2007
  7. Results in Enfield, 2006: GCSE A/AS accessed 12 Dec 2007

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