Winchmore Hill is a district in the London Borough of Enfield in London bounded on the east by Green Lanes (the A105) and on the west by Grovelands Park. Winchmore Hill is 8.9 miles (14.3km) north north-east of Charing Cross.
Green Dragon Lane, an old thoroughfare, started to be urbanised in 1907.
The ’Green Dragon’ inn is reputed to have opened in 1726 on the junction of Green Lanes
and Green Dragon Lane, with the latter road named after it. That pub moved to its current location at the bottom of Vicars Moor Lane
near the end of the eighteenth century. In 2017, a micropub called the Little Green Dragon was opened near to the site of the original eighteenth century Green Dragon at the end of Green Dragon Lane.
In 1754 the Lane was called Filcaps Lane after Filcaps Farm which stood on its north side. Cary’s Map of Middlesex from 1789 shows it as Chace Lane, and the Edmonton Enclosure Award of 1801 calls it Old Park Road since it formed the southern boundary of Old Park. Henrietta Cresswell in 1912 called it Dog Kennel Lane - a document of 1721 refers to the cutting down of an oak tree near the dog kennel on the Chase.
A builder Richard Metherell arrived in London from Devon to London in the 1870s. He formed a company - R. Metherell and Son - and began buying up land to became one of the first speculative builders in the area. In 1906 he bought the Old Park Grange Estate from Lord Currie.
About 1900, Metherell had straightened and widened the lower end of Green Dragon Lane, building between Bush Hill and Old Park Ridings
. In conjunction with his son, constructed the roads Old Park Ridings
, The Chine
and The Grangeway
, including two bridges over Salmons Brook.
The portion of Green Dragon Lane between Old Park Ridings
and Green Lanes
was known earlier in the twentieth century as Grange Drive.
In 1909 ’The Recorder for Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill and Southgate’ reported that "The old lane has been transformed from a narrow picturesque avenue of trees and high hedges into a fine wide road, flanked on one side by an artistic row of high-class houses. Those who know this part of Winchmore Hill are aware of its charm, its high altitude, gently undulating contour, the fine woodland and its close proximity to some of the finest scenery in the neighbourhood of Enfield."
It was reported in the Middlesex Gazette in 1910: “…there is no lovelier part of the district than that stretching northwards from Green Dragon Lane towards Enfield.”
Green Dragon Lane (1906)
User unknown/public domain
Once a small village hamlet in the parish of Edmonton. It borders with Palmers Green, Southgate, Edmonton, Enfield Chase and Bush Hill Park. The district boundaries are: Green Dragon Lane, Worlds End Lane (encompassing Highlands Village), some of Winchmore Hill Road, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bourne Hill, Hedge Lane and Firs Lane.
Of particular note in Winchmore Hill is Grovelands Park which originated as a private estate before being partly being sold to the council in 1913. What remained in private hands, is the now infamous Priory Clinic, which recently hosted General Pinochet awaiting charges from the Spanish government.
At the heart of the area is Winchmore Hill Green, a village green surrounded by shops and restaurants. Amongst the latter the Salisbury Arms, the Queen’s Head and the critically acclaimed King’s Head pubs providing meals, whilst Regatta is an Italian restaurant with the Winchmore Tandoori an award winning Indian restaurant.
WAGN provide services on the electrified railway line which runs from Winchmore Hill, and this line connects further south to the Underground system at Finsbury Park, Highbury and Islington, Old Street and Moorgate, from Hertford North. After 22:00 trains run directly to King’s Cross from Finsbury Park, rather than stations to Moorgate. The nearest Underground station is at Southgate which is on the Piccadilly Line.
The parliamentary constituency is ’Enfield and Southgate’, and in 1997, Michael Portillo (Conservative) lost his seat by a large amount partly due to the proposed plans to build a McDonalds on the site of the old Conservative club Behind residences in Elm Park Road. It was penned as "The first McDonalds built in a residential area". It was however never built. He lost the seat to Stephen Twigg (Labour), who held his seat for two terms. Steven Twigg was then replaced by Conservative MP David Burrowes in the 2005 general election.
Pre-doomsday, prior to occupation by the Romans, Hertfordshire, Essex and Middlesex were invaded and occupied by the Belgian Catuvellauni tribe. It is believed that this tribe built an ancient hill fort on the mound where Bush Hill Park Golf club HQ now stands.
The earliest recorded mention of Winchmore Hill is in a deed dated A.D. 1319 in which it is spelt Wynsemerhull. In old english, merhull translates according the Consise Oxford Dictionary of English place names as ’boundary hill’. It might be speculated that the overall title could mean ’wynsige’s boundary hill’. By 1395 the name had been altered to Wynsmerhull and by 1565 the village was known as Wynsmorehyll, becoming Winchmore Hill by the time it was mentioned in state papers in 1586.
There are many buildings of historical note in Winchmore Hill including the eponymous St Paul’s Church, being built as a Waterloo Church on land donated from the Grovelands estate. The church ceiling was the largest unsupported expanse of plasterwork in Europe until its renovation in the 1960s introduced concealed supports. The original wooden clapperboard St Paul’s School building can be seen a little further down Church Hill. The remains of the second brick and stone, school building are evident in the walls of the church car park. The current 1960s building is on Ringwood Way off Station Road.
The oldest pub in the district is probably the Green Dragon - now named Jim Thompson’s - on Green Lanes. It is reputed to have started in 1726 on the junction of Green Lanes and Green Dragon Lane. Then, highwaymen were hanged near to where they were caught. Apparently, one highwayman was caught and executed on a gallows erected by the Green Dragon’s front entrance. These gallows were not pulled down for a number of years, which might have prompted the owner to move the pub to its current location at the bottom of Vicars Moor Lane near the end of the 18th century. The original Green Dragon was pulled down in 1892 and the new one was extensively remodelled in 1935. Victorian County History reveals that by 1752 The Orange Tree, The Green Dragon and The Kings Head were all established, although not in their present form. Reportedly, the Woodman pub at the end of Broadwalk was built in 1727, although there is evidence to suggest it also dates from 1820. Before the building obtained an pub licence in 1868, it was private residence.
Numerous local buildings that were constructed between 1770 and 1839 remain today. Near the Dog and Duck on Hoppers Road are some old terraced houses built around 1770. Number 106A Vicars Moor Lane is a distictive private residence that retains the facade of a chapel. To the east on the same road are a number of residences that were probably built around the late 18th or early 19th century.
In 1865 the Great Northern Railway Company obtained permission to build a new line to run from Wood Green to Hertford through Palmers Green and Enfield. However, in 1869 financial constrainsts forced the company to consider Enfield as the most Northern terminus. Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill were to be the intervening rural stations. The intention was to finish the line to Enfield by 1870 but the terrain was more troublesome than expected and five men met their death while laying the track. The branch opened on All-Fools day 1871, and the first passenger train came through Winchmore Hill creating a new suburb of London town. At first only 16 trains a day left Enfield, mostly for Moorgate.
An electric tramway along Green Lanes from Palmers Green was developed in 1907 helping to further develop the area. The tramway is now long gone, but the wide road remains and the 329 bus follows the tram route from Enfield to Turnpike Lane.