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Waltham Cross
Waltham Cross - - 928907.jpg
The Eleanor Cross
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Population 7,407 {2011 Census.Ward}
OS grid reference TL360003
• London 12 mi (19 km) SSW
  • Broxbourne
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district EN8
Dialling code 01992, 020
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
  • Broxbourne
List of places
51°41′10″N 0°01′59″W / 51.686°N 0.0331°W / 51.686; -0.0331

Waltham Cross is a town in the Borough of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, England, located approximately 12 miles (20 km) north of central London. In the south-eastern corner of Hertfordshire, it borders Cheshunt to the north, Waltham Abbey in Essex to the east, and Enfield in Greater London to the south, forming part of the metropolitan area of London and the Greater London Urban Area.

The town has a modest commercial centre, with a pedestrianised High Street and an indoor shopping centre. The Waltham Cross post town stretches to the neighbouring town of Cheshunt and a small part of Enfield.

The town is named for the Eleanor cross which stands in its centre, one of twelve constructed on the orders of King Edward I following the death of his wife Eleanor of Castile in 1290. Only three of the original crosses remain intact, including the Waltham cross and two more in the Northamptonshire villages of Geddington and Hardingstone.


The town falls within the Borough of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, but is also considered part of the metropolitan area of London, and the Greater London Urban Area. Waltham Abbey lies to the east, Cheshunt to the north, and Enfield to the south. The M25 motorway runs immediately south of the town, bordering the area of Freezywater. The Waltham Cross post town includes the neighbouring town of Cheshunt, and some northern sections of Enfield, including the Holmesdale Estate. Waltham Cross is the most southeasterly town within the county of Hertfordshire, and has been part of the Borough of Broxbourne since 1974.


Waltham Cross formed part of the ancient parish of Cheshunt in the Hertford hundred of Hertfordshire. It formed part of Cheshunt Urban District from 1894 to 1974. In April 1974 the town together with Cheshunt and the Hoddesdon urban district councils merged to form the Borough of Broxbourne. The town takes its name from the Eleanor Cross which stands in its centre.

The Eleanor Cross

At the centre of the town is one of the three surviving medieval Eleanor crosses, a memorial commemorating the over-night resting place of the coffin of Eleanor of Castile, wife of King Edward I, on its processional journey from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey in 1290.

In the early 18th century the monument was surveyed by the Society of Antiquaries of London who, advocating its conservation, printed and illustrated the results in the pages of Vetusta Monumenta in 1721. However, restoration did not take place until 1832, when extensive rebuilding was carried out under WB Clarke. A further major restoration was carried out in 1885–92, and yet another in 1950–53.

The cross is hexagonal in plan, in three stages. The main stage has three statues of the Queen, each standing in a niche under a canopy, while the other three faces have a niche bisected by a buttress. The original sculptures were by Alexander of Abingdon. These have been replaced in the course of restoration, but one of the originals can be seen on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Four Swannes sign

The High Street is spanned by a gantry sign supporting four sculpted swans. It was originally the sign of the now-demolished Four Swans (or "Swannes") public house. The present sign is a replica erected in 2007. The original signs are now kept at Lowewood Museum, Hoddesdon.


The area is served by two railway stations, on different lines in London fare zone 7. Waltham Cross station has services to London Liverpool Street and Stratford via Tottenham Hale with links to the Victoria line. To the north services run to Hertford East or Bishops Stortford.

Theobalds Grove station to the north of the town centre also provides services to London Liverpool street via Seven Sisters which also provides links to the Victoria line. The station and its services are run by London Overground.

There is a bus station in the town centre where many London Buses routes terminate and link with services further out of London.

Nearest Places

  • Freezywater
  • Enfield Lock
  • Waltham Abbey
  • Cheshunt


Retail and tourism

The town centre has a pedestrianised High Street fronted by a mixture of chain stores, independent shops and banks; a covered shopping mall and Fishpools Department Store which specialises in upholstered and fancy furniture and has been in the town since 1899. A general market takes up parts of the street on Wednesdays and Fridays, morphed into occasional entirely French and entirely farmers' markets, season-dependent.

Other businesses

Park Plaza west of the town adjacent to Junction 25 of the M25 hosts one of the world's largest printworks. This produces publications for News International including The Sun, The Times and formerly the News of the World. Employing 200 people on a 23-acre (9.3 ha) site to produce 86,000 newspapers per hour on each of its twelve printing presses (a total capacity of over 1,000,000 newspapers per hour), the plant cost £187 million (part of £650m spending including plants in Knowsley, near Liverpool, and Motherwell, near Glasgow) and replaced the News International press in Wapping.


The Showground site adjoining Waltham Town Lock on the River Lee was chosen as the site for the Lee Valley White Water Centre for the 2012 Olympics. It was the only new Olympic venue to be open ahead of the Games, and offers the public the chance to follow in the footsteps of the Olympic competitors by taking to the rapids themselves. A Gaelic Football club is a rare venue for the sport in the county, St Joseph's (Waltham Cross), and reflects a long history of the Anglo-Irish across many socio-economic sectors in the local area, including as to engineering and construction, the surrounding area having many reservoirs, railways and once vast building yards.

Notable residents

Cliff Richard (Harry Webb) spent some of his childhood living in Waltham Cross before moving to neighbouring Cheshunt. He attended Kings Road Junior Mixed Infants School, on the site of the current Four Swannes Primary School, before attending Cheshunt Secondary Modern.

Bill Treacher, known for his role as Arthur Fowler in EastEnders, grew up in York Road and attended Kings Road JMI School. Before his acting career, he worked as a porter at Waltham Cross station.

Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope lived at Waltham House, Waltham Cross for 12 years between 1859 and 1871, where he wrote twenty-six novels and entertained his illustrious London friends. His home was demolished in 1936 and on the general site now stands a 1930s parade of shops and the Moon and Cross, a J D Wetherspoon public house, decorated with a literary theme.

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