April 4, 2011

Enfield

Having a relatively large number of my family grow up in Enfield I have distinct, but at the same time fuzzy, memories of the place stretching back to the earliest memory of London.  I was around 6 or seven years old, I had actually been before but this is the earliest visit I remember.  My mother and I had taken public transport, so a long train journey followed by the tube.  My ever erratic aunty had requested that we wait by Seven Sisters tube exit where she would collect us in her car.    After the inside of busy train stations and tube carriages I popped out at the tube and noted the busy traffic, the big red busses, so many, and people going in all directions.  My aunty was late and my Mother was frustrated, she then failed to find a parking place and we jumped into a car as the lights were on red, a typical welcome. 

We then headed to the familiar family home but first made a short shopping trip in Enfield town.   Peering out of car window I became a snail in a traffic train of unimaginable slowness.  I quiclkly understood what a mess a parked car would make on these roads.  The business of ‘Enfield town’ amazed me and in my six year old head this was London.  I hadn’t been to the city centre proper and little conception that this was a zone 5 ‘suburb’. In many ways it might seem silly that a six year old child unfamiliar with the city may think that this was London ‘proper’ but maybe it’s not so silly after all.  After all Enfield town seems to hold much of what we have found in many of the places we have visited in our sites.  There is the common busy High Street with many common national retail shops as well as charity shops and a large shopping centre.  This seems to have expanded since the last time I was here.   Further there is a noticeable mix of older buildings holding pubs, retail, betting and food shops with newer shopping centres holding national chain stores and a supermarket.  Further there was a noticeable amount of back land activity and second floor office space.  This tended to hold service orientated services such as health treatments, solicitors and the like.  Small pedestrian alleyways seemed to have a large amount of traffic linking keys roads and areas of Enfield town.  This has to be considered when looking at any cartographic data that may not show such information. 

The area also seemed to be one of the busiest and more metropolitan of the areas we had visited.  There was a noticeable mixed demographic of age, race, gender that seemed to be representative of my idea of London as a whole.  Further the area of Enfield seemed to spread out over a large area in my conception of ‘Enfield’ this was endured by the notable names of train stations around the area ‘Enfield chase’ ‘Enfield lock’ as well as ‘Enfield town’.  In this sense Enfield was a busy metropolitan area that had cars, people and buses coming and going in all directions, shops and activity in all the buildings in the area, some built for purpose some adapted.  In a sense this is my idea of London today.  Its only now I know that this is zone 5 and not central however I wonder if I had no idea of London today and I hadn’t arrived on the bus through the dense residential streets would I know what zone I was in?  Enfeild, as one of the largest centres in the study really seems to serve to demonstrate the concepts we have been thinking about on this project so far and so much more besides.

 

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