Pymmes Park is on the site of an earlier landscape park and is named after the estate's owners in the C14th. Pymmes Brook runs through the south. There were a number of illustrious owners, including the Cecil family who held it from 1582-1801. By 1801 little indication of earlier gardens had remained apart from a formal canal north of the house and the walled garden to the west. The estate was purchased by Edmonton UDC in 1897/8 and Northside opened initially, the remaining land then laid out and opened in 1906. Earlier landscaping such as a small lake, trees and shrubs were incorporated into the municipal layout, which centred on the elaborate lake. A bandstand, tennis and bowling facilities, formal gardens and walks were laid out. The old mansion was demolished in the 1940s, but the walled garden survives, restored to its 1930s design.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/02/2011
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Pymmes Park is on the site of an earlier landscape park and is named after the family of William Pymme who owned the estate in the C14th; Pymmes Brook runs through the south of the park. William Pymme's mansion was on the north side of what is now Silver Street, but at that time known as Watery Lane possibly so-called due to its proximity to Pymmes Brook; until the late C19th Angel Road was known as Water Lane. From 1327-1578 the Pymmes Estate had a number of owners, and was referred to in 1562 as a 'great messuage'. In 1579 it was purchased by Thomas Wilson, statesman and MP and then in 1582 it was acquired for £250 by William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Lord High Treasurer of England. His son Sir Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, became the owner in 1589 following his marriage. He stayed at Pymmes on his honeymoon and rebuilt or substantially altered the house in c.1593, the estate now extending to some 51 acres. In the early C18th the timber-framed house was given a classical casing.
The estate remained in the ownership of the Cecil family until 1801; from 1808 the Ray family owned the estate and it was from them that Edmonton Urban District Council purchased the 53 acre estate in 1897/8 for £36,000. Northside was opened in 1897 and the remaining land was laid out and opened to the public in June 1906. The first public park in the area, its layout was much photographed for postcards at the time, and among its features was a bandstand that could seat up to 800 people. Of the C16th and C17th layout only the brick walls on three sides survive from the walled garden. The pond to the south west of the site of the house may be of early in origin since it is recorded on the 1801 enclosure map. However, by 1801 there is little indication of earlier gardens remaining intact apart from the walled garden to the west and a formal canal to the north of the house, which was infilled by 1867. Much of the C18th/C19th landscaping, which comprised a small lake to the north, and planting of trees and shrubs, was incorporated into the early C20th design.
The municipal layout centres on the elaborate lake, which engulfed the earlier lake or widened brook, and contains three islands; the early C20th rustic wooden bridge that crossed it has been replaced by a concrete one. Other works at that time included the erection of the bandstand, levelling of land for tennis courts and bowling greens, an elaborate series of shrubbery walks to the east of the house, and a complex layout of paths in the southern half. An Old English Garden was created in the walled garden, originally known as the Kitchen Garden, which was used for a time as a work yard. The walled garden was first restored in 1980 and has an ornamental pond and Thomas Angell drinking fountain.
The old mansion was damaged by fire in 1940 during World War II and subsequently demolished; after the war a one-storey utilitarian building was erected on its precise site, which thereby relates to a good C19th lawn with fine Cedar of Lebanon, holm oaks, yews and shrubberies. This building, the Pymmes Park Visitors Centre, is used by various voluntary groups including Total Healthcare Stroke Action Group and the Senior Citizens Group.
The park remains a well-wooded site with notable lime and plane trees along Silver Street, abundant shrubs and a good spread of mature planes and horse chestnuts, and a notable parkland oak south of the lake near the old drive. The southern part of the park lost some land to make way for improvements to the North Circular in early 1995. Pymmes Park Adventure Playground was opened in 1997, the public park's centenary year, which is also commemorated by a carved wood sculpture on the lawn between Silver Street and the walled garden, erected by Pymmes Park Friends.
In 1996 LB Enfield made a successful bid under the Urban Parks Programme of the newly established Heritage Lottery Fund, and was subsequently awarded an HLF grant of £2.3m towards the project to restore the historic landscape and improve park facilities. These works enabled improvement works to the lake area, restoration of the walled garden to its 1930s design as an Old English Garden, restoration of pathways, and much new planting including replacement of trees lost as a result of the North Circular road widening. The old bandstand was updated with a new performance area and modern amphitheatre, and new signage, railings and litterbins were installed. A 1km walking/jogging trail was opened in 2006. Pymmes Park has won a Green Flag each year from 2006-2010.
Candidate for Register: Enfield Local Studies Library files. Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); Victoria County History; Pymmes Park leaflet, LB Enfield Parks Business Unit (2001/2)