The Eleanor Cross
Waltham Cross shown within Hertfordshire
|Population||10,000 |
|OS grid reference|
|– London||12 mi (19 km) SSW|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||WALTHAM CROSS|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Waltham Cross is the most southeasterly town in Hertfordshire, England. It is 12 miles from the City of London and immediately north of the M25 motorway, forming part of the Greater London Urban Area and London commuter belt. The Waltham Cross post town additionally includes Cheshunt and a small part of Enfield, Greater London.
The town is situated within Hertfordshire, at the County's very south-eastern corner close to the border of Greater London to the south and Essex to the east. It is located south of Cheshunt, west of Waltham Abbey and immediately north of the London Borough of Enfield, with the southern section of the town bordering the M25 motorway and Freezywater. Although located just outside Greater London, the town forms part of the Greater London Urban Area. The Waltham Cross post town includes some northern sections of Enfield, including the Holmesdale Estate.
Waltham Cross formed part of the ancient parish of Cheshunt in the Hertford hundred of Hertfordshire. It formed part of Cheshunt Urban District from 1894 to 1974. In April 1974 the town together with Cheshunt and the Hoddesdon urban district councils merged to form the Borough of Broxbourne. The town takes its name from the Eleanor Cross which stands in its centre.
The Eleanor Cross
At the centre of the town is one of the three surviving medieval Eleanor crosses, a memorial commemorating the over-night resting place of the coffin of Eleanor of Castile, wife of King Edward I, on its processional journey from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey in 1290.
In the early 18th century the monument was surveyed by the Society of Antiquaries of London who, advocating its conservation, printed and illustrated the results in the pages of Vetusta Monumenta in 1721. However, restoration did not take place until 1832, when extensive rebuilding was carried out under WB Clarke. A further major restoration was carried out in 1885–92, and yet another in 1950–53.
The cross is hexagonal in plan, in three stages. The main stage has three statues of the Queen, each standing in a niche under a canopy, while the other three faces have a niche bisected by a buttress. The original sculptures were by Alexander of Abingdon. These have been replaced in the course of restoration, but one of the originals can be seen on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Four Swannes sign
The High Street is spanned by a gantry sign supporting four sculpted swans. It was originally the sign of the now-demolished Four Swans (or "Swannes") public house. The present sign is a replica erected in 2007. The original signs are now kept at Lowewood Museum, Hoddesdon.
Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope lived at Waltham House, Waltham Cross for 12 years between 1859 and 1871, where he wrote twenty-six novels and entertained his illustrious London friends. His home was demolished in 1936 and on the general site now stands a 1930s parade of shops and the Moon and Cross, a J D Wetherspoon public house, decorated with a literary theme.
The town centre includes the pedestrianised High Street with a mix of chain stores, independent shops and banks; a covered shopping mall and the Fishpools department store, reputedly the 'South-East's largest quality furniture store', which has been in the town since 1899. A busy general market is held on Wednesdays and Fridays, and there are occasional French and farmers' markets.
The 'Park Plaza' site, immediately west of the town adjacent to Junction 25 of the M25, is home to the world's largest printworks. This produces publications for News International including The Sun, The Times and formerly the News of the World. Employing 200 people on a 23-acre (9.3 ha) site to produce 86,000 newspapers per hour on each of its twelve printing presses (a total capacity of over 1,000,000 newspapers per hour), the plant cost £187 million (part of a £650m initiative including plants in Knowsley, near Liverpool, and Motherwell, near Glasgow) and replaced the News International press in Wapping.
There is a large bus station in the town centre where London Buses terminate and link with services for Hertfordshire and Essex. The town is the only settlement outside Greater London to be served by a Transport for London night bus – route N279.
The area is served by two railway stations, on different lines in London fare zone 7. The main Waltham Cross railway station has services to south to London Liverpool Street and Stratford railway station via Tottenham Hale railway station with links to the Victoria line. To the north services run to Hertford East railway station or Bishops Stortford railway station. Theobalds Grove railway station to the north of the town centre also provides services to London Liverpool street via Seven Sisters station which also provides links to the Victoria line.
Waltham Cross Bus Station serves as the main terminus and starting point for buses in the immediate locality, with links to a number of destinations in northern and central Greater London, Cheshunt, Hertford, Waltham Abbey, Loughton, Epping and Potters Bar.
The Showground site adjoining Waltham Town Lock on the River Lee was chosen as the site for the Lee Valley White Water Centre for the 2012 Olympics. It was the only new Olympic venue to be open ahead of the Games, and offers the public the chance to follow in the footsteps of the Olympic competitors by taking to the rapids themselves. There is also a Gaelic Football club based in Waltham Cross, St Joseph's (Waltham Cross)
- Hertford hundred Retrieved 29 July 2010
- Local history Retrieved 2 September 2010
- "The Eleanor crosses". Museum of London. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "Hertfordshire Genealogy: Places: Waltham Cross". Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- Lysons, Daniel, The Environs of London:Counties of Herts, Essex & Kent,1796, p.50
- "Visitor Attractions and Heritage". Borough of Broxbourne.
- Lowewood museum Retrieved 2 September 2010
- "News International unveils 'biggest printing plant in the world', Press Gazette, 14 March 2008".
- "World's biggest print plant opens". BBC News. 17 March 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- Olympic site moved to Waltham lock Retrieved 14 May 2008
Media related to Waltham Cross at Wikimedia Commons