Ponders End

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Ponders End
Ponders End.jpg
Tower blocks at Alma Road
The Navigation Inn - geograph.org.uk - 748231.jpg
The Navigation, Ponders End formerly known as the Navigation Inn from the towpath of the River Lee Navigation
Ponders End is located in Greater London
Ponders End
Ponders End
Location within Greater London
Population15,664 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceTQ 353 959
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townENFIELD
Postcode districtEN1, EN3
Dialling code020
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°38′46″N 0°02′46″W / 51.646°N 0.046°W / 51.646; -0.046Coordinates: 51°38′46″N 0°02′46″W / 51.646°N 0.046°W / 51.646; -0.046

Ponders End is the southeasternmost part of Enfield, north London, centred on the Hertford Road. Situated to the west of the River Lee Navigation, it became industrialised through the 19th century, similar to the Lea Valley in neighbouring Edmonton and Brimsdown, with manufacturing giving way to warehousing in the late-20th century. The area consists heavily of social housing, with streets also lined with 19th and early-20th century suburban terraced housing.

As a result of increased levels of immigration, the area has become the most ethnically diverse part of Enfield, with the majority of the population now belonging to an ethnic minority background as first recorded in the 2011 census. The area is undergoing large-scale regeneration, with the high-rise Alma Road Estate currently undergoing demolition and redevelopment by Countryside Properties. The population of Ponders End was 15,664 as of 2011.


Elevations range from 21 metres (69 ft) to 13 metres (43 ft) above sea level, uniformly dropping from west to east. Two north–south railway lines enclose the residential parts of the area, bounded east and west by estates of warehousing, industrial and commercial use

Its northern and southern limits are along Hertford Road at The Ride and The Boundary pubs (north to south). Its loosely defined east and west limits coalesce around Wharf Road in the east and the Southbury station or Kingsway in the west.[1]


Ponders End is marked on the Ordnance Survey map of 1822. It was recorded in 1593 as Ponders ende meaning the "end or quarter of the parish associated with the Ponder family" from the Middle English ende. John Ponder is mentioned in a document of 1373; the surname is believed to mean a "keeper of, or dweller by, a fish-pond or mill-pond".[2]


All but a southern belt of the district was in Enfield, as the south lay in Edmonton, the parishes becoming a civil and ecclesiastical after a split of functions in the 1860s, which saw the final secularisation of government, the disestablishment of the vestries following the increase in Poor Law Unions in the hundred years before.[3]

Through the 19th century the area became industrialised, due to its straight road and waterway network up and down the Lea Valley including the 17th century River Lee Navigation.[3] The first major firm to arrive was Grout, Baylis & Co, who were established in Norwich in 1807 as crape manufacturers, the material being used for widows' weeds. They opened a dyeing and finishing plant in Ponders End two years later. Crape went out of fashion by late Victorian times, and the factory closed in 1894. The buildings were taken over by the United Flexible Tubing Company.

In 1866 the London Jute Works Company established a factory on the Navigation in a desolate area known locally as Spike Island. Many of the new employees came from Dundee, the traditional centre of the jute industry in Scotland. The jute works closed in 1882, to be replaced by the Ediswan factory. Over the years the factory was enlarged, eventually covering 11.50 acres (4.65 ha), and employing many people, notably girls, from the area. Ediswan produced electric lamps, and the factory was colloquially known as The Lamp. They also manufactured appliances for the shipping and aviation industries, mechanical pianos and butter makers.

To the south of Ponder's End Lock a factory making white lead was built in 1893. Further south of that factory, the Cortecine works produced floor-cloth and carpet backing. By 1906 over 2000 people were employed in local factories. Another major industry in the latter years of the 19th century was horticulture. Tomatoes and cucumbers were the principal produce but flowers and fruit were also grown in the many orchards and greenhouses to the north of the locality.[4] During World War I, a huge munitions factory, the Ponders End Shell Works was built in Wharf Road. The factory building was sold after the war. Further factories were built in the 1930s alongside the newly built Great Cambridge Road.[5]

Today (2009) little remains of manufacturing and much of the area has given way to warehousing and residential developments. Aesica pharmaceutical manufacturers (formerly Thomas Morson Ltd)[6] closed its plant in 2011.[7] Wright's Flour Mill, the oldest working industrial building in the borough remains, some of its buildings having been constructed in the 18th century.[5]

On 7 August 2011 Ponders End was the scene of copy-cat riots which spread from Tottenham to neighbouring districts.[8]

In Spring 2017, Camden Town Brewery completed a new facility in Ponders End on the western bank of the Lee Navigation.[9]

In August 2020, Beavertown Brewery opened "Beaverworld", a new brewery on a six-acre plot on the western bank of the Lee Navigation, creating up to 150 jobs.[10]

Popular culture[edit]

Critchley & Simmons released an album titled Ponders End in 2017 - inspired by the area where they first met.[11]

Musician Jah Wobble was inspired to write his (2005) album Mu by his experiences in the Lea Valley and Ponders End.[12][13]

It's as close as London gets to New Jersey. But it's one of my favourite places for walking, through the Lee Valley. It gets beautiful in that urban way, but then you go through soap factories up near Ponders End. It's got a wonderful, dislocated, alienated feeling

— Jah Wobble

Ponders End Allotments Club is a track from the (1975) Chas and Dave album One Fing 'n' Annuver.[14]

Historic buildings[edit]

Wright's Flour Mill and the mill stream

Nearest places[edit]


South Marsh, Overflow Channel and the grassed embankment of the King George V Reservoir


  • Angling is allowed on the River Lee Navigation upstream and downstream of Ponders End Lock. Information from the River Lea Anglers Club.[18]


London Bus Routes 191, 279, 349, 491, 377, 121, 307, 313, 217, 317, 231 and N279 serve the area.

Local rail services[edit]


The 2011 census showed that 45% of the population was white (26% British, 17% Other, 2% Irish), 16% Black African and 8% Bangladeshi.[19]

Notable people[edit]

Local newspapers[edit]

The local newspapers are as of 2011:

  • Enfield Independent[20]
  • Enfield Advertiser[21]


After boundary changes in 2010 - Ponders End became one of seven wards which form the Edmonton parliamentary constituency.[22] The MP for constituency is Kate Osamor.


Higher education[edit]

Places of worship[edit]

Open spaces[edit]

  • Ponders End Park, formerly Ponders End Recreation Ground and Ryan's Park.[29]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Local Government Map of Ponders End Boundaries[permanent dead link] Retrieved 28 February 2008
  2. ^ Mills, A, D, Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names (2004) p180 ISBN 0-19-860957-4 Retrieved 17 October 2008
  3. ^ a b Map of the Edmonton Hundred of Middlesex Victoria County History of Middlesex, Volume 5, A P Baggs, Diane K Bolton, Eileen P Scarff and G C Tyack (1976). Retrieved 2015-02-20
  4. ^ Godfrey A (notes to) Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Ponders End 1895 Alan Godfrey Maps, ISBN 1-84151-043-2 Retrieved 7 September 2009
  5. ^ a b Ponders End history Archived 18 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 19 February 2011
  6. ^ Thomas Morson Retrieved 8 September 2009
  7. ^ Plant closure Retrieved 18 April 2011
  8. ^ News report 8 August 2011
  9. ^ "Big Brewery - Camden Town Brewery". www.camdentownbrewery.com. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Beavertown Brewery opens 'London's largest' new brewery". Imbibe. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Ponders End". Spotify. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  12. ^ Hatts, Leigh The Lea Valley Walk p99 ISBN 1-85284-522-8 Retrieved 14 March 2008
  13. ^ Lea valley walk Retrieved 15 May 2008
  14. ^ Chas and Dave Archived 24 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 14 May 2008
  15. ^ History of Enfield Archived 3 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 22 November 2007
  16. ^ Buildings of England London 4:North by Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner pg 451 ISBN 0-14-071049-3
  17. ^ "Harvester: The Navigation". Harvester.co.uk. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  18. ^ River Lea Anglers Club Retrieved 2 December 2014
  19. ^ http://www.ukcensusdata.com/ponders-end-e05000206[bare URL]
  20. ^ "News, sport and local information for Enfield and surrounding areas". Enfieldindependent.co.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  21. ^ "The Enfield Advertiser". Mediauk.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  22. ^ Electoral boundaries Archived 14 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 15 April 2011
  23. ^ St Matthew's Ponders End Archived 3 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 25 May 2011
  24. ^ Mary Mother of God RC church Archived 6 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 15 December 2010
  25. ^ Ponders End mosque Retrieved 27 June 2009
  26. ^ Lincoln Road chapel Retrieved 9 January 2013
  27. ^ Ponders End Methodist church Retrieved 9 January 2013
  28. ^ Ponders End United Reformed church Retrieved 9 January 2013
  29. ^ London Borough of Enfield parks Retrieved 23 July 2014