It was not until the late C19th that the large estates in this area began to be broken up for suburban housing development. Arnos Park was created in 1928 when Southgate UDC purchased 44 acres of wood and meadows formerly part of the Arnos Grove Estate. Originally called Arnolds, the house was owned by Sir John Weld's family in the C17th, and a Tudor manor house here was demolished in the early C18th. Between 1777-1918 it belonged to the Walker family of the Taylor Walker brewing company, who purchased further land so that the estate was 100 acres when Lord Inverforth purchased it in 1918. In the early C19th Isaac Walker much improved the grounds, creating 3 miles of pleasure walks. The public park retains traces of the New River Loop, which ran through the estate grounds until the C19th.
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Southgate was a settlement at the south gate of hunting park of Enfield Chase in the north-west of the parish of Edmonton, becoming a separate district in 1881 and then a borough in 1933. It was not until the late C19th and early C20th that the large estates in this area owned by 'opulent citizens' began to be broken up as suburban housing was built. London's development came largely as a result of improvements to public transport; the Great Northern Railway opened a station at New Southgate to the south west in 1851; Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill stations opened in 1871; the tram was extended to Enfield in 1907/8; and the Piccadilly line tube extension to Cockfosters was built in 1932. However, the rapid growth of suburbia here was somewhat arrested by two wealthy landowners, the Taylor family of Grovelands, Winchmore Hill and the Walker family of Arnos Grove, Southgate, who made concerted efforts to keep development at bay in order to retain their rural surroundings. They bought land as it became available to add to their estates and John Donnithorne Taylor fought to oppose the railway being built through Winchmore Hill. However, the Taylor estates were eventually put up for sale in 1902, and those of the Walkers in 1918, by which time their Arnos Grove estate amounted to 100 acres.
Arnos Park was created in 1928 out of 44 acres of wood and meadows that were formerly part of the estate, which were purchased by Southgate Urban District Council from the then owner Lord Inverforth. The park was probably designed by Borough surveyor Robert Phillips whose name is on a plaque at the main park entrance on Morton Crescent, which has fine iron gates with brick gate piers and lanterns.
The Arnos Grove Estate was originally called Arnolds, and in the C17th was owned by Sir John Weld. When James Colebrook acquired Arnolds in 1719 he demolished a Tudor Manor House on the estate and built a new house, which has undergone considerable alteration but still stands today, now called Southgate House, at 15 Cannon Hill. In c.1765 a north wing was added to the house by Sir Robert Taylor for Sir George Colebrook, and in the late C18th a south wing was added for Lord Newhaven. Arnos Grove was the first house in Southgate to have electric lighting in 1896. Between 1777 and 1918 the Arnos Grove Estate belonged to the Walkers of the Taylor Walker brewing firm; a drawing of 'Arno's Grove' in 1804 by S. Rawle shows it as the seat of Isaac Walker Esq, who improved the grounds, creating three miles of pleasure walks. The last generation of the family to live here included seven sons who were all famous cricketers, particularly Vyell Edward Walker, and their portraits hang at Lord's. The eldest of the brothers, John Walker, established Southgate Cricket Club in 1855, which played on Chapel Fields opposite the parish church of Christ Church (q.v.), the ground returfed for the purpose. After the death of Russell Taylor, the last surviving brother, the estate was put up for sale in 1918 by which time it covered 100 acres; it was purchased by shipping magnate Lord Inverforth. When he sold the estate in 1928 it was broken up for development, a fragment of the once-extensive grounds remaining as Arnos Park, the remainder of the estate lost to residential development such as the Minchenden estate.
The lozenge-shaped park retains traces of the New River Loop, which ran through the estate grounds until the C19th, and the impressive brick viaduct of the Piccadilly Line runs through the western part of the site over Pymmes Brook, which meanders through the park, bordered with shrubs and willows. The main entrance from Morton Crescent has impressive ornamental gates from where the land slopes down towards the river. A wooded area that contains oak and hornbeam, with one or two holm oaks and holly understorey, runs all along the north edge of the park.
The house itself and surrounding grounds were purchased by the North Metropolitan Power Supply Company who built extensions onto the south in 1929 and onto the north in 1935, so that the portico facing Southgate Green was lost. In 1975 it was purchased by the Legal and General Assurance Society and renamed Southgate House. It was converted for residential care in 1997/98, and the southern part of the house developed for luxury apartments.
Colvin, H. A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, London 1978 p817; 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; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); local history leaflet; Edward Walford, 'Village London, the Story of Greater London, Part 2 - North and East', first published 1883/4 (1985 ed., The Alderman Press); Bernard Byrom, 'Old Southgate and Palmers Green' (Stenlake Publishing, 2008)