The Fox Palmers Green in 1899 (Part 1)

This article by Stephen Gilburt was published by the Enfield Society in newsletter 218, Summer 2020. Part 2 is due to be published by The Society in August 2020 in the Autumn newsletter.

The Fox was originally a cottage at the end of Fox Lane in the former hamlet of Palmers Green. It was named after the Fox family who were farmers living in the area in the 14th century. It is first mentioned in a will of 1683 and the first landlord is recorded in 1716.

Between 1861 and 1967 the licensees were members of the Davey family. Robert Davey, who was the licensee from 1861, started a two-horse omnibus service from the Fox and on Sundays used a horse-drawn wagonette to provide a home delivery service of ale. His wife Belinda was the licensee from 1870. Their son Arthur, born at the Fox in 1867, was the licensee from 1891 and for 18 years from 1901 was an elected member of Southgate Urban District Council. After 1914 Arthur Davey and his son-in-law Leo Whalen were joint licensees until Arthur’s death in 1932.

Photographs are reproduced by courtesy of Enfield Local Studies & Archive.

The Fox shown here in 1899, was a 17th century two-storey brick building with sliding sash windows. It was entered through a portico on the Green Lanes side. A sign and a picture of a fox were illuminated by lanterns fixed to the exterior of the building. On warm days drinks would be served through a hatch to customers who would be able to use the outdoor tables and benches. There was also a sweet dispensing machine.
In 1904 The Fox was demolished and replaced with a more methodically laid out and grander three storey red brick Edwardian building. It had a corner turret, projecting half-timbered gables and pargetting (exterior relief plaster decoration) in a band between the ground and first floors. The photograph is from a postcard sent from The Fox in 1909 to Marie Davey, Arthur’s daughter, when she was on holiday on the Isle of Wight. The building has now been gutted and 54 apartments are being constructed on the site, with several in the shell.
To the right of the entrance in the original building was the serving area with two hatches to the bar area and one to the outside. Beer pumps, jugs, pewter tankards, glasses and bottles of beer can be seen.
At the back of the serving area was the landlord’s parlour with wooden panelled walls. There is an open fireplace in the wall dividing the parlour from the serving area, which can be seen through the doorway on the left. The mantel above the fireplace has an elaborately decorated cloth hanging, with vases of flowers in front of a large mirror. There are also leather covered settees and a round table. The room is lit by an ornate brass gaselier.
The wood panelled public bar is simply furnished with tables and benches on a bare wooden floor. There is a large fireplace and pictures on the walls. The room is lit from a central gas jet.
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