For much of its history, this part of north London was part of the district of Edmonton. But since 1881 it has been a separate district in its own right.
The area was originally thickly wooded and so for many years it remained very sparsely populated. But by the early 19th century many of the trees had been cleared. Nevertheless the district remained predominantly rural for the next 50 years or so.
It was only when the Great Northern Railway reached the region in the 1870s that large-scale development took place.
Like its neighbouring districts Friern Barnet and Palmers Green, Southgate tended to be settled by the middle classes. As a result much of the architecture in the district retains an Edwardian elegance, and there are some important listed buildings in Southgate.
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