John Cole has helped launch a new voluntary group aiming to enhance Gordon Hill Station
My first memory of a train journey was not the sights and sounds of a steam engine, or flying through the countryside; but the fear of not being able to open the tricky doors on the Enfield Town line. One needed muscles of a stoker to squeeze the lock, push open the door and fall to a certain death on the platform below.
A few years later, I discovered the other Enfield railway line – the so-called ‘Hertford Loop’. It had electric sliding doors and, more importantly, it ran late into the night. So began a love affair with Gordon Hill Station.
I have spent 25 years commuting via Gordon Hill Station. The line has got me home safely on many occasions, even when the rest of London (and sometimes the world) was in total chaos, or when I had over done it a bit after work.
Gordon Hill is, to be fair, still a tiny bit old fashioned, in a charming 1940s way. It has corrugated iron-clad passenger walkways, like air raid shelters or tin hats. St Michael’s Primary School still uses it to re-enact wartime evacuations.
The car park at night was once a place for only a few brave souls, though Gordon Hill Tandoori was always a welcoming sight and smell!
A few months ago Alison Yates and I were asked by The Enfield Society if we wanted to work with Govia Thameslink Railway, which owns train operator Great Northern and manages the station, “to help enhance the travelling experience at Gordon Hill Station”.
“Why?” we asked. “Why not?” they countered. And so we did! Last month we officially launched the Friends of Gordon Hill Station group and opened a perfectly-formed exhibition space in the waiting room on platform two. Our first exhibition, called London, includes 16 carefully-selected images capturing the vibrancy of our city, selected by Edmonton Camera Club.
We hope the waiting room at Gordon Hill becomes a regular exhibition space for other artists and other displays. Local artist Shaypress has created a wonderful image of a 1930s American train carriage in the car park, featuring elements by Norman Rockwell and Richard Estes with added contemporary twists. Mary Duggan, our resident poet, has also sourced work by local poets from the Enfield Poets umbrella group to display.
Gordon Hill Station now has improved planting, hosts a book exchange in the waiting room, and also features Linda’s Luv Coffee near the ticket barriers. Linda has been using lockdown to reinvent her lovely coffee shop, so pull up a stool, peer into the secret courtyard, and admire the Christmas decorations!
We have further plans to promote local people, local endeavours, local businesses, local heritage and the environment; including new planting, new artwork from St Michael’s Primary School, a community mosaic, heritage photos, and much more!
Get involved with the Friends of Gordon Hill Station group: