New arts trail in Palmers Green!

The Palmers Green Arts Trail features new murals created by The Matchbox Collective in collaboration with local residents and communities, supported by Enfield Council's Curate Enfield grass roots public art programme and by Arts Council England. These new murals could not have happened without the creativity, energy and commitment of public art champions, Aykut Hilmi, Lydia Hammer, Nidal Suresh, and artist Alex McHallam.

The trail also incorporates existing public artworks located around the main town centre, commissioned and curated by Palmers Green Action Team, Hive Curates and Arbeit Studios; and spotlights key cultural and community organisations delivering fantastic projects in the area.

Artist and Matchbox Collective member Ellie Fryer has illustrated a beautiful map of the arts trail which is available for download here. The map will be available in printed format soon at Starfish Loves Coffee, Philanthropy CIC, The Ruth Winston Centre, Stitch! and Palmers Green Library.

The Arts Trail:

1. Canada Geese Mural by Laura McKendry Jointly commissioned by the Palmers Greenery community café and Palmers Green Action Team and created in 2021. This lovely painting, inspired by the wildlife of Broomfield Park, brings a flash of colour to the community run café.

Four geese and their goslings were added to the walls of the Palmers Greenery in the summer of 2021 by artist, Laura McKendry - made possible thanks to profits generated by the café.

In many respects canada geese are seen as pests: aggressive, noisy, defecating park dwellers. Their ubiquity and their unimpressive markings - compared to other species - make them one of the less celebrated aquatic birds. But for many of us during 2020, local pockets of nature grew to be our sanctuary. One precious daily walk, and all its offerings, gave new witness to the evolving dramas of the natural world on our doorstep.

In the mundanity of the every day, the seasonal habits of these previously unappreciated urban creatures provided entertainment and solace, fascination and momentum.

This work is a celebration. Of the unremarkable. Of the familiar through new eyes. Of community and locality.

About the Cafe

The Palmers Greenery Community Cafe is much more than a Park Cafe.

Powered by volunteers, who freely give their time, skills and energy, we are a social enterprise and community hub. In addition to providing a vibrant, safe and welcoming place for park users, we:

  • Reinvest our profit into park wellbeing projects such as community and public art initiatives including our beautiful ‘Canada Geese’ mural, mosaic installations on the Bowls Clubhouse and Chill Out zone in the Community Growing Space
  • Provide work experience and employability training for young people and adults with additional needs
  • Champion environmental sustainability by using compostable disposables and encouraging customers to reuse and recycle
  • Work with local partners including Friends of Broomfield Park and Palmers Green Action Team and many others, to enhance our local community

2. The Community Orchard. Stop off at this amazing addition to the park. Created by volunteers and led by David March, the orchard has over 40 varieties of apples and is set in a wildflower meadow.

3. Matchbox Murals 1, 2 & 3: The Old Changing Rooms, Broomfield Park

Artists: Will Redgrove, Ellie Fryer and Gavin McPhail, with beautiful hand drawn lettering by Trin Brierly, assisted by Chelsea Frew and Melissa Hartley

‘The Cat in the Aviary’ by Will Redgrove

“This piece was inspired by hearing about the old aviary that used to be in the park*, an amazing collage of a cat and birds by a student at Laurel Park School and a beautiful drawing by workshop participant Richard, who drew some chicory flowers in one of the sessions. The real aviary was closed after a number of the exotic birds were stolen one night, the cat in the piece becomes a metaphor for this story. But in my version, the birds escape into the night sky.”

*The Aviary was built in 1960 and housed several exotic species of parrots!

‘Fire and Flight’ by Ellie Fryer

Poem by Will Redgrove

“This piece took inspiration from all of the community workshops. The birds from Starfish Loves Coffee, fruits and flowers grown in the Community Orchard, colour palettes and layering images from Laurel Park School and history and heritage from the coffee morning at Ruth Winston Centre. In this piece, the story continues, the birds that have escaped the aviary and fly into the night, over the burning of Broomfield house.”*

*Broomfield House was built in the 16th century, standing for hundreds of years before being damaged beyond repair by several fires. Enfield Council is pursuing funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund to kick-start the rejuvenation of Broomfield Park by dismantling the derelict shell of Broomfield House and reconnecting the park and the House through memorialisation, interpretation and landscaping. This will be accompanied by a two year heritage engagement programme involving local communities and resulting in a shared vision and memoralisation of Broomfield House.

‘Sanctuary!’ by Gavin McPhail

Poem by Will Redgrove

‘Continuing the narrative of Will and Ellie’s pieces, the parrots fly away into the glowing sky. Their pattern evoking a bombing formation drawing association from the wartime role* of the building; the glow a sunset, the fire, a bomb? While the parrots in the story were exotics, these are the now ubiquitous Ring-necked parakeet, tying the piece back to the wildlife of the area.’

*During the Second World War, the building was a decontamination and cleansing centre of the Civil Defence. People were helped here in case of an enemy gas attack.

4. Starfish Loves Coffee

Starfish Loves Coffee are a key project partner in the Curate Enfield project for Palmers Green. Why not stop off for a bite to eat at this friendly and quirky eatery.

5. New River Life Mural in Palmers Green Station by ATM Street Artist

Commissioned by The Palmers Green Action Team. Down the side of the station, this painting celebrates the New River and freshwater life.

6. ‘Finding the Green in Palmers Green’

A series of station mosaics designed and created by Alex McHallam with Tamara Froud and students from Laurel Park School. A wonderful addition to the station, commissioned by Palmers Green Action Team and funded by Govia Thameslink Railway from the Passenger Benefit Fund.

7. Luna Woman Power Totem by Lauren Baker Commissioned by Hive Curates

The installation was commissioned as part of Enfield’s Winter Lights Festival in 2022, supported by Enfield Council. The artwork celebrates the suffragettes historical gathering on the triangle in 1914, which led to women gaining the right to vote.

8. Philanthropy CIC

Stop off and say hi to the lovely staff at Philanthropy, a second-hand shop that gives back to the community. Staff and volunteers from Philanthropy took part in engagement sessions to create and share ideas for the designs of the Matchbox murals.

9. A special mention to The Ruth Winston Community Centre, providing services to the community since 1961! The community centre hosted workshops to enable local residents to create and share ideas for the designs of the Matchbox murals.

10. The Pleasure of Friendship sculpture by Ruth Hallgarten

A memorial to one of Palmers Green’s most famous former residents, renowned poet Stevie Smith. Commissioned by The Palmers Green Action Team and supported by Enfield Council’s Story of Enfield programme.

11. Matchbox Mural 4:

‘A Rhythm of Broomfield Park’ by Bec Dennison for Greens Kitchen

Artist: Bec Dennison assisted by Chelsea Frew and Melissa Hartley. Huge thanks to Greens Kitchen for hosting this mural.

“Bees pollinate not only food for humans, like apples, but trees and flowers which provide homes for other wildlife that we cherish and depend on. We consume both honey from the bees and apples from the orchard*.

Lavender provides nourishment for bees in the form of both pollen and nectar. It typically blooms during a midsummer gap when bees are usually the hungriest but have fewer pickings.

When we humans tend to the land in a positive way, planting lavender for example, we’re actively becoming part of the cycle, giving back and helping to sustain the cycle for another season.”

*The first trees in the orchard were planted in 2009 by the Friends of Broomfield Park. There are 44 different varieties of Apples, as well as other trees including Peach, Quince, Medlar, Mulberry, Plums, Hazel, Damson and Pear trees.

12. Mural outside Arbeit Studio by Eloisa Henderson-Figueroa

A vibrant mural to celebrate the opening of Arbeit Studios in Palmers Green. Between now and 2025, Arbeit will deliver a creative, community programme to support residents and local communities in Palmers Green.

13. Stevie Smith ‘Can it be?’ poem painted by Trin Brierly as part of Enfield Council’s meanwhile development of Devonshire Square and delivered in partnership with Palmers Green Action Team and Jan Kattein Architects. Works at Devonshire Square as per the map.

Devonshire Square regularly hosts pop-up community markets, outdoor dining and live events. Enfield Council is working with the local community to define the long-term vision and deliver a redesign of this square, which will be launched in early 2025.

14. Hazelwood Lane Mural by designers Ginger & Green at Kiva Coffee House Commissioned by Palmers Green Action Team. Stop by Kiva Coffee House to take in this stunning floral mural.

15. Stitch! To finish off, why not head in to this lovely arts and crafts shop. Stitch! Is a social enterprise and crafts hub delivering regular sewing circles, classes and workshops.

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