The stories and inspiration behind A Stroll Through Enfield Town Mural

A Stroll Through Enfield Town is a mural commissioned by Journeys & Places, as part of the Curate Enfield public art programme and is supported by Arts Council England. Created by artist Anna Nicolò, the mural is inspired by Enfield’s heritage and celebrates the borough’s origins as a market town.

In the foreground, are bold and brightly coloured silhouettes of people carrying shopping bags filled with goods from the stalls in Enfield's Market Place. These include a piece of Kente cloth from the market’s accessory stall, and a falling pocket watch which covers the head of the watch stall-holder, as he shakes the Queen’s hand during her visit to the market in 2003, to celebrate 700 years of trading in Market Place.

In the background, are landmarks, curious stories and memories shared by local residents, which create a playful landscape of Enfield Town. These include the iconic Market House, Barclays Bank – site of the world’s first cash machine, and the much-loved Enfield Town Library. Also included are some buildings that are sadly no longer standing today, but still have strong cultural relevance. These include Clarke’s Academy, once the cultural heart of Enfield and attended by the poet John Keats; and the ancient Manor that was once the home of Robert Uvedale – a local cleric teacher and horticulturist. Also featured in the mural is the ‘Cedar of Lebanon’ tree which was planted by Uvedale and located where Pearson’s department store is today. Uvedale’s work is also referenced in the sweet pea flower held by a little girl - a character inspired by an Iranian refugee who participated in a creative workshop to generate ideas for the mural’s design.

Notable local residents are also represented, including Charles Lamb, essayist, poet and resident of Gentlemen’s Row. After reportedly witnessing a desolate donkey struggling to find nourishing grass, Lamb opened the gate between his lodgings and the Chase to allow the donkey to feast on the lush garden lawn. Barney the legendary cat, well known by anyone walking along River View, also makes an appearance.

Among the many stories and memories, there are also some curious and darker tales too, such as the flying chair, a nod to the infamous Enfield Poltergeist; and the fallen teeth scattered in Market Place, where during the late 18th century, the public extraction of teeth would attract large crowds.

Local residents Aisha Bocas, John Cole and Shan-Jay Daley were recruited as ‘Public Art Champions’ and supported by artist and curator Mark Beattie to develop the concept for this artwork and select the site and the artist – Anna Nicolò.

The artist worked closely with local residents and communities on the mural’s design and creation. Students from Enfield County School for Girls and young people participating in reparation projects assisted with the painting of the mural, which was launched in December 2023.

We would like to give special thanks to Sue Grayson-Ford and The Enfield Society for their invaluable contribution to this project.

Curate Enfield is a borough-wide grassroots public art programme, which supports local residents to take the lead in conceptualizing and curating public art projects for their town centres. In addition to A Stroll Through Enfield Town, there are new artworks in Palmers Green, and more in development for Angel Edmonton, Southgate and Edmonton Green. Please check the linked text above for updates on these projects.

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