Potters Bar

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Potters Bar
Wylliott's Manor, Potters Bar - geograph.org.uk - 130858.jpg
The Old Manor, Potters Bar
Baker Street - geograph.org.uk - 1263543.jpg
Baker Street
Potters Bar is located in Hertfordshire
Potters Bar
Potters Bar
 Potters Bar shown within Hertfordshire
Population 21,639 [1]
OS grid reference TL255015
District Hertsmere
Shire county Hertfordshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district EN6
Dialling code 01707
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Hertsmere
List of places

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Potters Bar is a town in Hertfordshire, England,[2] 18 miles (29 km) north of London. In 2011, it had a population of 21,882.[1][n 1]

The town dates to the early 13th century but remained a small, mainly agricultural, settlement until the arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1850.[3] It is now part of the London commuter belt.[4]


The origin of the Potters element of the town's name is uncertain but is generally thought to be either a reference to a Roman pottery, believed to have been sited locally, or alternatively to the Pottere family who lived in neighbouring South Mimms parish.[5] The Bar is thought to refer to the gates leading from the South Mimms parish and into the Enfield Chase parish, or possibly from some sort of toll on the Great North Road,[5] said to have been by what is now the Green Man pub, or at the current entrance to Morven House. See also Temple Bar which is a gate by St Paul's Cathedral.


Potters Bar is located on the Great North Road, one of two road routes from the City of London to the north of England.[6] The road was originally numbered as the A1, and later the A1000.

Potters Bar was historically part of Middlesex[7] and formed the Potters Bar Urban District of that county from 1934.[8] From 1894 to 1934 its area had formed the South Mimms Rural District.[9] In 1965 the district was transferred to Hertfordshire while most of the rest of Middlesex became part of Greater London.[10][11]

The urban district covered an area of 6,129 acres (24.80 km2).[8] In 1939 it had a population of 13,681, increasing to 24,613 in 1971.[12] In 1974 the urban district was abolished and the area became part of the borough of Hertsmere. Having been part of Middlesex, the area continued to form part of the Metropolitan Police District; with the creation of the Greater London Authority it was transferred to the Hertfordshire Constabulary in 2000.[13]



Potters Bar experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.

Climate data for Potters Bar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 50.7
Source: [14]


Darkes Lane, Potters Bar, looking north towards the railway bridge

The A1 was built as a major 'arterial' road and a crossroads at Bignells Corner linked it to the BarnetSt Albans road. Potters Bar is now also served by junctions 23 and 24 of the M25 motorway.[2]

Potters Bar railway station is the highest on the line between London's King's Cross railway station and York. The Great Northern route serves various North London suburbs to the south before terminating at either King's Cross or Moorgate station. Northbound, the railway runs to Peterborough, Cambridge, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City.[15]

The nearest London Underground station is at Cockfosters, which is approximately 2.5 miles south on the A111 from junction 24 of the M25.

Potters Bar has a bus depot that services local bus routes as well as some London bus routes. The 84 bus route travels south to New Barnet and north-west to St. Albans. Other routes include the 298 to Arnos Grove, the 313 to Enfield and Chingford, the 242 to Waltham Cross, the 398 to Borehamwood and the 610 to Enfield (on weekdays) and Hatfield. There are also school bus services run from various places to Dame Alice Owen's School and to Chancellor's School, as well as a service that runs once on a Wednesday from Hatfield to Potters Bar via Cuffley and Colney Heath, numbered 312.

Route Number Route Operation Operator
84 Handicapped/disabled access St. Albans St Peters Street to New Barnet Station National Rail via Barnet
Daily Metroline

242 Handicapped/disabled access Waltham Cross Bus Station to Potters Bar Station National Rail via Cuffley, Cheshunt.

Extended to Welwyn Garden City via Hatfield on Sundays

Daily Metroline,
Sullivan Buses,
298 TfL Handicapped/disabled access Potters Bar Cranbourne Road to Arnos Grove Station London Underground via Cockfosters Daily Sullivan Buses
313 TfL Handicapped/disabled access Potters Bar Station National Rail to Chingford Station National Rail via Enfield Daily Arriva London
398 Potters Bar Station National Rail to Borehamwood via South Mimms Mon-Sat Sullivan Buses
610 Handicapped/disabled access Enfield Town to Hatfield Business Park via Welham Green Mon-Sat Uno
PB1 Circular Handicapped/disabled access Circular via Shillitoe Avenue, Potters Bar Station National Rail, High Street and Oakmere Mon-Sat Uno

Potters Bar rail accidents

Potters Bar has been the scene of three train crashes; two major and one minor. On 19 March 1898, a train crashed on the platform, but no one was killed or seriously injured. On the night of 10 February 1946, a local train hit buffers at the station, became derailed, and two express trains travelling in opposite directions struck the wreckage. On 10 May 2002, a northbound train derailed at high speed, killing seven people and seriously injuring another 11. On 10 May 2003, a small piece of art that resembles seven faces was erected at the station as a memorial to those killed.[16]


There are eight churches in Potters Bar. These include St Mary the Virgin and All Saints Church at the top of the Walk, the first Anglican parish in the town created from the parish of South Mimms in the 1800s.[17] Other churches are Our Lady and St Vincent, King Charles the Martyr, Christ Church, Potters Bar Baptist Church, St John's Methodist Church[18] and Causeway Free Church. Potters Bar Spiritualist Church is on Hill Rise[19]


There are six primary and infant state schools in Potters Bar and the surrounding area; they are Cranborne School, Ladbrooke JMI, Little Heath Primary, Oakmere Primary, Pope Paul RC Primary and Wroxham School.

There are five secondary schools in Potters Bar, which includes its large green buffer zone;

Mount Grace School is a mixed grant maintained School in Potters Bar opened in 1954.[20]

Lochinver house school is an all-boys preparatory school in Potters Bar, which opened in 1947.[21]

Stormont School is an all-girls preparatory school in Potters Bar, which opended in 1944.[22]

Dame Alice Owen's School is a mixed grant-maintained school in Potters Bar.[23] Originally founded in 1613 and based in Islington until 1973, it is unusual in its 'Visitation' and 'Beer Money' traditions.[24] The trustees of the Dame Alice Owen Foundation are the Worshipful Company of Brewers. It is a partly selective school (25% of its intake is on the basis of pupils doing well on its entry test). It also reserves some places for children from Islington. It specialises in languages, and offers GCSEs in a wide range of languages. It has recently become a music and science college in addition to being a language college.

The town also houses many Veterinary Medicine (mostly third, fourth and fifth-year) students from the Royal Veterinary College.

Sports, entertainment and recreation

Potters Bar has a King George's Field in memorial to King George V, which is situated behind the Furzefield Centre. There is a swimming pool and leisure centre run by Hertsmere council, which is home to St Albans and Hertsmere Canoe Club.[25] Also in the town are Potters Bar Town F.C., Potters Bar Swimming Club (PBSC),[26] a Scuba diving Club (the Potters Bar Sub Aqua Club), a tennis club, a cricket club, and a golf course. The Wyllyotts Centre is a theatre, cinema and events venue, and is also the location of the town's museum.[27] Potters Bar is also home to the Hertfordshire Showband (formally known as the Marching Blues).[28]

In 1983, the area around Potters Bar was used for the on-location filming of the comic-horror film, Bloodbath at the House of Death. Also, in 2005, David Walliams and Matt Lucas shot two scenes for the third season of the comedy, Little Britain, one scene at Mount Grace School gym, the other at a wedding shop on the High Street.[29] Potters Bar is also home to the performing arts school, Top Hat Stage School, which has been running classes at Elm Court Community Centre since 1994.

Notable residents

  • Amanda Abbington, actress[30]
  • Acker Bilk, clarinetist, divided his time between Pensford, Somerset, and Potters Bar[31]
  • Bernard Butler, musician, Record Producer. Became famous as guitarist in Suede.[32]
  • Martin Freeman, actor[30]
  • Tony Jacklin, golfer, home golf club was Potters Bar Golf Club[33]
  • Terry Lightfoot, jazz musician, born in Potters Bar and spent his early years there[34]
  • Storm Thorgerson, graphic designer, born in Potters Bar[35]
  • Dolly Shepherd, was born in Potters Bar in 1886 and was an Edwardian Lady Parachutist and UK Show Ground entertainer and during World War One joined the Emergency Corps and then the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) as a Female Driver and Mechanic serving on the Western Front in France Dolly Shepherd holds the Guinness World Record for the first Mid Air Rescue on 9 June 1908.


Notes and references

  1. This excludes a county ward which takes its name from the historic ecclesiastical parish but which contains Ridge and South Mimms; population 4,573 (2011).
  1. 1.0 1.1 Neighbourhood Statistics Office for National Statistics 2011 Census. Retrieved 1 June 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hertsmere Borough Council – Community Strategy First Review (PDF)
  3. PBHistory – The history
  4. North Hertfordshire – A Housing Strategy for the London Commuter Belt Sub-region 2005 – 2008 (PDF)
  5. 5.0 5.1 PBHistory – Whats in a name?
  6. PB History – The Great North Road
  7. PBHistory – Potters Bar, Middlesex
  8. 8.0 8.1 Vision of Britain – Potters Bar UD (historic map)
  9. Vision of Britain – South Mimms RD (historic map)
  10. Vision of Britain – Middlesex unit history
  11. London Government Act 1963, 1963 c. 33, s. 3 (1)
  12. Vision of Britain – Potters Bar UD historic population
  13. HMSO, Greater London Authority Act 1999. 1999 c. 29
  14. "Averages for Potters Bar".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. First Capital Connect – Network and Stations
  16. BBC News – In Depth Potters Bar Crash
  17. "St Mary the Virgin and All Saints Church, Potters Bar Official website". Retrieved 28 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Potters Bar Religion". pottersbar.org. Retrieved 28 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Causeway Free Church, Potters Bar Official website". Retrieved 13 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Mount Grace School Official website". Retrieved 28 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Lochinver House School Official website". Retrieved 28 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Stormont School Official website". Retrieved 2 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. UniServity School Portal – Dame Alice Owen's School
  24. UniServity School Portal – Dame Alice Owen's School history
  25. Furzefield Centre
  26. Potters Bar Swimming Club
  27. Wyllyotts Centre
  28. Hertfordshire Showband
  29. Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984)
  30. 30.0 30.1 http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/news/a464686/martin-freemans-partner-amanda-abbington-declared-bankrupt.html
  31. [1] -Scrumpy & Western, Acker Bilk biography
  32. [2] Have Guitar Will Travel – by David Canvanagh, Q Magazine Q 113 February 1996
  33. Potters Bar Golf Club
  34. [3] IMDB Terry Lightfoot's page
  35. Sweeting, Adam (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson dies aged 69: 'the best album designer in the world'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links