Hidden London

Arnos Grove

Latest addition
Index of places
Clickable map
About this site
London football
London lyrics
London proverbs
London quotes
London statues
London images
Contact us


A classic station and its immediate vicinity, keeping New Southgate at arm’s length from Southgate. In the 14th century this area was Armholt Wood, and later Arnolds. When City banker James Colebrook bought the estate in 1719 he built a mansion called Arnolds in Cannon Hill, Southgate. Locals called the estate Arno’s and subsequent owner Sir William Mayne, later Lord Newhaven, adopted this convention by renaming the house and estate Arnos Grove, which is now pronounced as though it never had an apostrophe – unlike, for example, Arno’s Vale in Bristol. From 1777 until 1918 the estate belonged to the Walker brewing family, who increased their landholding to over 300 acres by buying neighbouring Minchenden. In 1928 Lord Inverforth, who had bought the estate from the last of the Walker brothers, sold the southernmost 44 acres to Southgate council, the mansion to the North Metropolitan Electricity Supply Company for use as offices and the rest to builders. Northmet enlarged the mansion and encased it in red brick; it is now an upmarket residential care home called Southgate Beaumont (see image below). Arnos Grove station opened on the far south side of the estate in 1932. Designed by Charles Holden, the station was for its first year the northern terminus of the Piccadilly line and ranks among London’s best railway structures. Guardian architecture critic Jonathan Glancey has gone farther, calling it ‘this king, queen and all princes of a metro station... one of the finest of all 20th-century buildings.’ There was some debate over its name; Arnos Park was considered and might have been more appropriate, since this was the name the council had given to the neighbouring open space, which has meadowland, a railway viaduct, a stretch of Pymmes Brook and traces of a former loop of the New River. The area north of the park was built up as the classy Minchenden estate by 1939, with Arnos Grove as its central avenue. More recently, privately built flats have been added near the park in Walker Close.

the other Arnos Grove
click for area map (opens in a new window)

‘The station is truly what German art historians would describe as a gesamtkunstwerk, a total and entire work of art ’
Jonathan Glancey, in The Guardian, 16 October 2007
Postal districts: N11 and N14
Station: Piccadilly line (zone 4)
Further reading: R Garnier, Arno’s Grove, Georgian Group Journal 8, 1998
Postal districts: N11 and N14

click to order Chambers London Gazetteer
Text and selected images are reproduced with the permission of Chambers but may differ from the published versions
All content 2005–2010