Southgate is an area of north London, England, primarily within the London Borough of Enfield, although parts of its western fringes lie within the London Borough of Barnet. It is located around north of Charing Cross. The name is derived from being the south gate to Enfield Chase.
Southgate was historically a chapelry of the parish of Edmonton. It became a civil parish in its own right in 1894, when it was also made an Urban District. Southgate Urban District was incorporated in 1933 to become a Municipal Borough. Southgate Municipal Borough was abolished in 1965, becoming part of the London Borough of Enfield.
Southgate was originally the South Gate of Enfield Chase, the King's hunting grounds. This is reflected in the street names Chase Road (which leads due north from the station to Oakwood, and was formerly the avenue into the Chase) and Chase Side. There is a blue plaque on a building on the site of the south gate. A little further to the south was another small medieval settlement called South Street which had grown up around a village green; by 1829 the two settlements had merged and the village green became today's Southgate Green.
Becoming separate from Edmonton in 1881, Southgate had a population in 1891 of just 10,970. By 1901 the figure had moved up to 14,993, and by 1911 the figure had ballooned to 33,612, aided by the nearby railway station in Palmers Green.
Southgate was predominantly developed in the 1930s: largish semi-detached houses were built on the hilly former estates (Walker, Osidge, Monkfrith, etc.) following increased transport development. In 1933, the North Circular Road was completed through Edmonton and Southgate, and also in 1933, the London Underground Piccadilly Line was extended from Arnos Grove (where it had reached the previous year), through Southgate tube station, on to Enfield West (now known as Oakwood). This unleashed a building boom, and by 1939 the area had become almost fully developed.
By 1951, the population had grown to 73,377 - falling by about 1,000 ten years later as many moved to new towns nearby.
In 1894 Southgate was created an urban district of Middlesex by the Local Government Act 1894. In 1933 the district gained further status as a municipal borough. The Municipal Borough of Southgate was abolished in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963 and its area was combined with that of the Municipal Borough of Enfield and the Municipal Borough of Edmonton to form the present-day London Borough of Enfield.
Taverns, inns and public houses
Because of the age of the former village, Southgate has many pubs: within the village centre there were no fewer than six licensed premises.
Chase Side contained (and still contains) a number of pubs. The Wagon and Horses in Chase Side was rebuilt in 1900 and again in 1930. The Rising Sun in Chase Side was the terminus for a local horsebus service to Colney Hatch (and there to Kings Cross) before the arrival of the railways, whereupon the service switched to the new station in Palmers Green. It was rebuilt in 1932, and substantially renovated in 2008, changing its name to The Sun.
Opposite the Southgate Club on Chase Side stood The Gate, which was closed in August 1909. The landlord, A. Butcher, took the sign with him to the Fishmonger's Arms in Winchmore Hill Road - which apparently read "This gate hangs well, and hinders none. Refresh and pay - then travel on." While the sign no longer exists, his pub does - rebuilt in the 1930s, the pub owes its name to the nearby ice wells which produced ice for central London fish markets.
In the middle of the 18th century, The Crown (also once known as The Crown Hotel) on Chase Side was a centre of 'much sport'. A caption in a framed picture of a dog discovered by author Herbert W. Newby reads:
Mr. Earl of the 'Crown Inn', Southgate, Nr London, will produce a retriever puppy not over six months old for £10 or £20 that will perform more tricks than any other dog of nine months old in England. He is a beautiful dog, and very large for his age.
The building was originally a wooden two-storey building with a brick gable-end facing the highway. It was rebuilt in 1895 but has since been demolished. The Wetherspoons pub The New Crown occupies a site nearly opposite.
Other notable pubs include Ye Olde Cherry Tree which overlooks Southgate Green to the south of Southgate's main centre, and The Woodman which is on The Bourne.