Early C18 gardens set in a park and associated with a mansion. Converted for use as a public park in 1903.
The house was built in the C16 and is shown on an estate map of 1599 (Enfield Local History Unit), at which time it was owned by Geoffrey Walkaden. By the end of Elizabeth I's reign, it was the property of Alderman Sir John Spencer, who sold it to Joseph Jackson, a City merchant (in possession by 1624). Rocque's map of Middlesex, 1754, shows the park with its present boundaries, a series of ponds and an avenue. In 1773 Mary Jackson received the property as part of her dowry on her marriage to William Tash. Mary Tash's will, dated 1811, left the property to Louise Powys and her husband Henry Phillip Powys, of Hardwick House, Bucks. The Powys family lived at Broomfield until 1858 and it was then leased out until 1902, when the freehold was sold to Southgate Urban District Council.
The House and park were opened to the public in 1903. T H Mawson (1861(1933) advised on adapting the grounds to public use and his plan for Broomfield was published in his book Civic Art but few of his recommendations were implemented. The House was subsequently used as a school, a health centre, a cafe and a museum. The House was gutted by fires in 1984, 1993 and 1994 and is currently (1999) unoccupied.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Broomfield House stands towards the south-east of the 21ha site, with the gardens and park lying to the west. The site is on level ground and is set within a largely residential area of Enfield between Arnos Park to the west and Palmer's Green to the north-east. The park is bounded by Alderman's Hill (A1004) to the north, Powys Lane to the west (B1452), Broomfield Avenue beyond a row of houses to the east, and Broomfield Lane bordering the southern edge of the park. The south-east boundary is marked by C16 to C18 brick walls (listed grade II) and there are park railings along the south-west, west and north sides.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main approach to the House is from Broomfield Lane from where a drive leads west to the south side of the House. There are further entrances into the gardens and park from the surrounding roads on all sides.
Broomfield House (listed grade II*) originates from a C16, two-storey, timber-framed farmhouse, which was gradually expanded and altered through the C17, C18 and C19. The remaining exterior is largely C19 but with fake timberwork added by the Council in 1928-32. The fires damaged a staircase and a series of early C18 murals by Gerald Lanscroon, currently (1999) in store and awaiting restoration.
The early C18 rectangular stable block stands to the south of the House, currently (1999) empty. The stable court is enclosed by high, early C18 brick walls.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
A chain of four formal ponds runs north/south across the site to the west of the House. The southern three are rectangular and are depicted on the C18 maps (Rocque, 1754). A half-timbered bandstand of 1926 stands on the west side of the southernmost pond. The three southern ponds lie, along with the House, within a walled enclosure, the walls of which date from the C16 to C18 (west, south and inner walls listed grade II, east wall listed grade II*). The bowed north wall has been demolished. A gateway breaks the west wall at a point opposite the west front of the House, on either side of which are openings in the brickwork, now infilled with modern railings. These may have been early features, serving as clairvoies. An early C18 pavilion (listed grade II*) is built into the eastern wall, south of which is a gateway into Broomfield Lane.
The fourth and northernmost pond lies outside the walled enclosure. It is oval in shape and was an early C20 addition. A shelter stands at its northern end. To the east of the oval pond is a garden area with a children's playground beyond.
In the south-east corner of the gardens, lying between the stables and outbuildings to the north and the Broomfield Lane boundary to the south-east, is a walled Garden of Remembrance designed by the Borough Architect and Surveyor, R Phillips, and opened in 1929. An arcaded temple is flanked by pergolas, with a memorial cairn in front.
To the west of the walled gardens is an area of open parkland, crossed by a double avenue extending north-west from the centre of the west wall of the gardens. The avenue now consists of lime trees, which were planted in the late C20 along the line of a double elm avenue shown on mid C18 plans. The north-east quarter of the park is occupied by a number of tennis courts and two bowling greens (on the northern boundary of the park), which were laid out from the early C20 onwards.
To the east of the gardens, the entire eastern side of the park is occupied by a sports ground.
T H Mawson, Civic Art (1911), fig 168
English Heritage Report, (March 1992)
B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (1998), pp 461-2
Estate map, 1599 (Enfield Local History Unit)
J Rocque, Map of Middlesex, 1754
Southgate Enclosure map (Enfield Local History Unit)
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published1865
2nd edition published 1896
3rd edition published 1914
Description written: March 1999
Register Inspector: CB
Edited: May 2000