Whitewebbs Park, Enfield, Middlesex

Road in/near Enfield

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Road · Enfield · ·
December
7
2019

A street within the postcode



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Enfield

Home of the world's first ever ATM.

Inspiration had come to John Shepherd-Barron while he was in the bath. “It struck me there must be a way I could get my own money, anywhere in the world or the UK. I hit upon the idea of a chocolate bar dispenser, but replacing chocolate with cash.” he told the BBC. Shepherd-Barron took his idea to Barclays Bank which was convinced immediately. Over a pink gin, the then chief executive signed a hurried contract with Mr Shepherd-Barron.

At that time plastic ATM cards did not exist. John Shepherd Barron's ATM machine took checks that were impregnated with carbon 14, a slightly radioactive substance. The ATM machine would detect the carbon 14 mark and match it against a pin number. The idea of a personal identification number or PIN was thought up by John Shepherd Barron and refined by his wife Caroline, who changed John’s six digit number to four as it was easier to remember.

Humble Enfield was chosen to host the world's first ever cash machine, which was installed at the branch of Barclays. On 27 June 1967 it was opened by actor Reg Varney - star of On The Buses.

Before this rise to fame and Enfield's starring role in ATM history, it was a collection of small communities spread around the royal hunting grounds of Enfield Chase. At the time of the Domesday Book the area was spelt Enefelde, and had a priest who almost certainly resided in St. Andrew's Church. By 1572 most of the basic street layout had been completed. The village green later became the historic marketplace between the church and where the fountain now stands. A market is still operated in this area, which is owned by the parish charity. Its name most likely came from Anglo-Saxon Eanafeld or similar, meaning "open land belonging to a man called Eana" or "open land for lambs".

Adjacent to St. Andrew's church is the old school building of the Tudor period, Enfield Grammar School, which institution expanded over the years, becoming a large comprehensive school from the late 1960s onwards.

In 1303, Edward I granted a charter to Humphrey de Bohun, and his wife to hold a weekly market in Enfield each Monday, and James I granted another in 1617, to a charitable trust, for a Saturday market. The Market was still prosperous in the early eighteenth century, but fell into decline soon afterwards. There were sporadic attempts to revive it: an unsuccessful one of 1778 is recorded, and in 1826 a stone Gothic market cross was erected, to replace the octagonal wooden market house, demolished sixteen years earlier. In 1858, J. Tuff wrote of the market "several attempts have been made to revive it, the last of which, about twenty years ago, also proved a failure, It has again fallen into desuetude and will probably never be revived". However the trading resumed in the 1870s. In 1904 a new wooden structure was built to replace the stone cross, by now decayed. The market is still in existence, administered by the Old Enfield Charitable trust.

The charter of 1303 also gave the right to hold two annual fairs. one on St Andrew's Day, and the other in September. The latter was suppressed in 1869 at the request of local tradesmen clergy, and other prominent citizens, having become, according to the local historian Pete Eyre “a source of immorality and disorder, and a growing nuisance to the inhabitants”.

The poet John Keats went to the progressive Clarke's School in Enfield, where he began a translation of the Aeneid. The White House in Silver Street was formerly the home of Joseph Whitaker, publisher and founder of Whitaker's Almanack who lived and died there from 1820 to 1895.
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