History of Edgware

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Edgware is a Saxon name. It means "Ecgi's weir". Ecgi must have been a Saxon and the weir relates to a pond where Ecgi's people would catch fish. A legal record of 1422 mentions "Eggeswer", in Middlesex, which, being in Latin, may have been written deliberately using an older form of the spelling.[1] Over many years the name slowly became Edgware, and Ecgi as an individual is long since forgotten. By 1489, and the beginning of the Tudor period those writing the name added the "d" and it was Edggeware.

The manor does not appear in the Domesday survey, nor has there ever been a manor-house as such. But its centre has traditionally always been Edgwarebury Farm since at least 1216. James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos erected a palace at Cannons Park around 1713 and was by far the most important man in the district. The ancient parish of St Margaret’s was larger than the manor and included parts of Elstree in the north, but not land south of Deans Brook and Edgware Brook, or lands west of the Edgware Road.

Edgware Road follows the same line as the ancient Watling Street, an important Roman Road, and used in the medieval period by pilgrims. The Road was improved by the Edgware-Kilburn turnpike trust in 1711, and a number of the local inns functioned as a stop for coaches. By 1867 a railway line had been built between Edgware and Finsbury Park and a station was built.

Mostly forest until the 13th century the area was mixed agriculture until the end of 16th century. Production of hay and the selling of cattle fattened and driven from other parts of England and sold locally led, by the 17th century to Edgware becoming a small market. Trades included butchers, tailors, colliers (charcoal sellers) and brewers. The market was held every week but petered out in 1790s. Edgware was associated with the highwayman Dick Turpin- the infamous scene of his worst incident, which happened on 4 February 1735, when five gang members, including Turpin, broke into a farmhouse owned by Joseph Lawrence, called Earlsbury Farm. Lawrence was at least 70 (so considered fairly old) and yet Turpin et al. beat him with their pistols and tortured him by sitting him on a fire whilst naked, before announcing that they would amputate his legs. While this was going on, the leader of the gang took a servant girl upstairs and raped her.

There was a cattle and pleasure fair from 1760s to 1860s with horse racing between 1834 and 1855. The introduction of a railway led initially to a decline in the local population for unknown reasons. By the mid 19th century the area was almost entirely given over to hay production. Chas. Wright Ltd came to the area in 1900, and manufactured medals after the First World War. In 1921 the population was 1,516. Although much suburban development was encouraged by the opening of the tube station in 1924, the area was already attracting developers like George Cross to the area by 1919. The conurbation increased as far north as the Edgware Way. In 1932 the parish became a part of Hendon Urban District. The shopping district around Station Road developed to included a cinema, now demolished the site is now occupied by a mixed use development including a gym, apartments and a Caffe Nero. The Edgware Town F.C. was founded in 1939, although there was a team in 1915.

Post war development was restricted by the Green Belt, sparing the Scratch Wood and Deacons Hill district apart from the M1 motorway. By this time the population was more than 17,000. In 1939 the overground railway passenger service ceased to run, and goods traffic ceased by 1964. The site has been occupied by The Mall Shopping Centre (formerly Broadwalk Shopping Centre) since 1990, replacing the station pulled down in 1961.

  1. ^ Plea Rolls of the Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40/647;http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT1/H6/CP40no647/bCP40no647dorses/IMG_0495.htm; 4th entry, line 1, the home of the defendant Richard Smyth

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From the collection of the City of London

From the Collection of Clive Smith

Coordinates: 51°38′02″N 0°16′45″W / 51.63399°N 0.27907°W / 51.63399; -0.27907