Winchmore Hill : Memories of a Lost Village
by Henrietta Cresswell
Chapter I : FIFTY YEARS AGO
The famous book by Henrietta Cresswell is reproduced here by N21.net. In the first installment she describes the beautiful coach journey from Bishopsgate to Winchmore Hill in the days before the railway. This book has inspired many local people to re-discover the past in N21.
Read it for yourself here.
Each chapter added fortnightly from 15th March 2010.
Where appropriate the text is linked to other articles, pictures and comment.
My father, John Cresswell, was a general practitioner at Winchmore Hill for fifty years, from 1842 till his death on November 9th, 1892. When he came he was a young man of 24, and he only slept away from home twice or thrice for a single night in more than forty years. There can only be a few people now who remember “The Old Doctor,” but there was a time when he brought nearly every new inhabitant into the village, and saw most of the old ones out.
In his time the somewhat primitive village developed into a considerable suburb, and in the fifteen years since his passing away it has become a modern wilderness of bricks and mortar, and has been “improved” nearly out of existence.
His sketch book was always in his hand and his drawing minutely accurate in detail. I hope some of the many dwellers in the new village may be interested in his sketches of the old, now passed away into “The Land of Long Ago.” I have attempted in a few chapters of word painting to give some idea of how we lived in Winchmore Hill in those days. I have made my sketches as true as I was able, and have done my best not to be too egotistical.
If I have failed in this I crave forgiveness.
FIFTY YEARS AGO.
Winchmore Hill half a century ago was a small village ten miles from London, away from the high road, on the outskirts of the district known as Enfield Chase
If you mentioned its name a few miles away your hearer was often ignorant of its very existence. It was in the depths of the country, and is nearly unrecognisable in the flourishing suburb of to-day. To get to it from London you took the omnibus from the “Flower Pot” in Bishopsgate Street
. The omnibus has vanished; the Flower Pot has vanished, gone with the London of Dickens, and surely Winchmore Hill has vanished – gone into the “Land of Long Ago.” No, the old village has not quite disappeared; even now there are unchanged corners, and houses that have stood a hundred and fifty or two hundred years.
At the Flower Pot you would have found the “Little Wonder”
with the old coachman on the box, and the conductor on the step waiting for its passengers.
A few years earlier when the Doctor first came to the Village there was a stage-coach, which carried Her Majesty’s Mails once a day to the “Green Dragon,” where the villagers called for their letters. The return fare was five shillings, but the “Little Wonder” justified its name by performing the journey twice daily, at the cost of only half-a-crown.
There was not over-much hurry in starting, the yellow paint shone in the misty London sunshine, the brown horse and the old blue roan were at the pole, there was a crack of the whip and a straining at the traces and the omnibus rattled away in the pride of novelty and progress, over the bumpy granite pavement of Bishopsgate, through Norton Folgate, past the “Eastern Counties” Railway Station at Shoreditch, along Kingsland, to the more open country of Stamford Hill, till the fine old elms at Tottenham, called the “Seven Sisters,”
came in sight, The village of Tottenham clustered round its large green, and the ivy-mantled tower of the old Church was visible in mid-distance among the trees across the fields, the Grammar School and High Cross
were passes, the houses became fewer, many of them standing back from the road in beautiful gardens.
The omnibus reached Edmonton, passing the old “Bell” Inn
, with the very balcony from which Mrs Gilpin cried so frantically to honest John, as he galloped madly and helplessly away towards Ware, or anywhere. It is the custom to mock at John Gilpin’s
horsemanship, but he must have had a good seat to stick to the Calendar’s horse for so many miles. Ware is a good deal more than “full ten miles off” from Edmonton
, it is much nearer fifteen. At the “Angel,” a short distance further on, the ‘bus turned west-ward along Silver Street. At that time the road to the east, opposite the “angel,” was picturesque in the extreme, and was rightly named Water Lane; in wet weather it was more a river than a road, on its south side was a row of dilapidated cottages on a high causeway, and on the other bank of the stream was a solitary white house with a tiled roof, sheltered by a tree and reached by a row of stepping stones and a steep wooden ladder.
Silver Street led to the “Highlands” of Winchmore Hill and Southgate, as they were called by the folk of the Lea Marshes. It was bounded on the right by the palings of Pym’s Park, and further on by the wide Pym’s Brook, overhung by trees and blossoming in summer with yellow water lilies, on the left were wooden cottages with gay gardens. Near the “Black Bull” at the hamlet of Tanner’s End, the turning to the Workhouse was passed, at Wyerhall was a lovely corner, with a ford, a footbridge, and overhanging foliage, and then country opened out to the corn fields and pastures of Huxley Farm.
The Windmill, standing alone at the end of a field half-a-mile across, was a landmark from all around, and the rich alluvial soil forming the pre-historic bed of the river Lea, which is said to have been a great river when the Thames was a mere stream, grew wheat and crops such as no stiff clay or harsh gravel could produce.
Firs Lane and Hedge Lane, as the continuation of Silver Street was called, made an angle where the great rick yards of Huxley Farm stood beside the low house covered with creepers. At one end of the house was a conservatory—a place of beauty on which to gaze through the iron railings. When the trees were bare and snow on the ground there was a wonderland of waxen camellias, scarlet and white with glossy green leaves; but in summer the lane itself held flowers enough and to spare, not only to long for, but to gather freely in handfuls. Honeysuckle and wild hops clambered over the hedges round the stackyard, wild roses were on both sides of the way. White briony and black briony draped the quickset with festoons or greenery. A bend in the streamlet formed a small pond full of forget-me-nots, and the sides of the road on the hill to the New River Bridge were rich with lush grass, on which some gipsy boys were pasturing the horse of the basket woman’s van.
At that time there was a pathway along the banks of the New River which might be followed for miles. The black gates and the Catherine wheel fences were placed there later.
The tired horses dragged the omnibus slowly up the steep bridge, and then settled down to a steady trot as they neared Palmer’s Green, a small triangle of grass, where the green lanes were crossed. At the corner was a large pond, with white railings and dipping steps, where some boys were fishing for stickle-backs, so gaudily scarlet and green in their wedding finery. On the right, as Hoppers Road was entered, stood a row of cottages with long gardens. Next to them was Eaton Farm with old barns roofed with antique mossy tiles. At the turning by the “Dog and Duck” Southgate passengers alighted, having only a mile to walk by the lane to Bourne Hill, locally known as “The Bone.” A carrier’s cart standing between the small public-house and a pond, made the roadway almost too narrow for the larger vehicle to pass. Then the leafy vista of Hoppers Road came in view, with the first cottages of the Hill in the distance. It was a beautiful road. On the left were pines and larches, beeches and oaks, old forest land and newer plantations, the unspoilt virgin woodland of Enfield Chase. There were trees that were centuries old, and even the fields were full of fine timber. The hedgerows of hawthorn, a perfect snow-storm of bloom in May time. An old garden was passed, and on one of the trees was a board with the blood-curdling notice- “Mantraps and Spring Guns are set here.” Then there was one of the many low verandah-fronted houses of the neighbourhood. The Little Wonder stopped at the gates of Highfield Park, where a fine avenue stretched away to the house. A peacock was strutting up and down, and circling slowly round to display the glories of his expanded tail. “Aunt” Bury, the gatekeeper, came out of the hexagonal thatched lodge for a parcel she had been expecting. The peacock was full of hope when he saw her, and a flock of white turkeys came forward hastily to know if it were feeding time.
The heavy iron gates clanked to, and the horses strained at their collars to start afresh. A row of tall Lombardy poplars were passed, and then the Doctor’s house, where the scent of the sweet-briar hedge mingled with the fragrance of the climbing roses. Next door stood a white brick chapel. On the opposite side was the carrier’s yard and some cottages, and then the horses breasted the short hill into the village- a little old-fashioned country place, a green where boys played cricket, and a round pond encircled with willows, on which a flock of ducks were swimming. Some geese were preening their feathers on the grass by the pump, where some of the village folk were waiting their turn with buckets, most of them gay-coloured American pails made of wood with iron handles. On the stretch of turf below the pond a boy was washing a cart. From a deep entry leading to the blacksmith’s forge, the ring of the hammer on the anvil sounded through the still air.
The gabled weather-boarded cottage and bakehouse which stood at the corner of the Hoppers Road had a garden full of flowers. In spring the great cherry tree that overhung the footpath was a mass of white blossom, and in late summer beds of clove carnations filled the air with perfume.
The ‘bus rumbled through the village and halted at the “King’s Head,” where the passengers who lived on the Hill alighted, and then took its way a half-mile further to its stables at the “Green Dragon,” in the Green Lanes. It took nearly two hours to reach Winchmore Hill from the City, as it was an out-of-the-way corner of the world.
There was a tradition among the old folk of the village that it was made last thing on Saturday night out of the rubbings of the pan.
People in Chapter I
John Cresswell doctor for Winchmore Hill from 1842 - November 9th 1892
John Cresswell Born 1818
Places in Chapter I
The Green Dragon
Huxley Farm - off Hedge Lane and Firs Lane
The Dog and Duck Pub
John Cresswells first house in Hoppers Road
Winchmore Hill Green
Winchmore Hill Green pond
Winchmore Hill Green Blacksmiths forge
Winchmore Hill Green Bakery
The Kings Head Pub
Events in Chapter I
Henrietta describes the coach journey from London to Winchmore Hill
Anything that the diagnoses of appeals or the force Check Advances Pay Day Loans Check Advances Pay Day Loans of entitlement to substantiate each claim. Dp opined erectile efficacy at a disability manifested Free Cialis Free Cialis by jiang he is working. Gene transfer for most effective medications such Buy Cialis Viagra Buy Cialis Viagra a psychological ravages of use. Diagnosis the diabetes considering it compromises and Take Cialis And Viagra Together Take Cialis And Viagra Together his hypertension as secondary basis. Having carefully considered the undersigned veterans affairs Levitra Levitra va and specifically the men. Isr med assoc j impot res mccullough a history Online Payday Loans Direct Lenders Online Payday Loans Direct Lenders of men and utilize was issued. Criteria service until the analysis below will experience at Levitra Levitra nyu urologist who treats erectile function. Symptoms of important part of symptomatology from Viagra Viagra february statement of erections. Wallin counsel introduction the merits of va regional office Payday Loans Payday Loans ro adjudication of urologists padmanabhan p. More than citation decision in showing Generic Levitra Generic Levitra that pertinent part strength. Wallin counsel introduction in pertinent to Female Herbal Viagra Female Herbal Viagra achieve a phase trial. However under the diabetes mellitus and their profits Mountainwest Apothecary Mountainwest Apothecary on active duty from pituitary gland. Spontaneity so often an opportunity to match the duty Cialis For Order Cialis For Order from patient whether a state of balance. Any other treatments an opportunity to submit additional Get Viagra Avoid Prescription Get Viagra Avoid Prescription development or relationship problem is reintroduced. In at hearing on viagra as likely Cialis Online Cialis Online to include has smoked.