Dr Robert Uvedale planted the first Lebanese Cedar in Europe In the grounds of Enfield Palace, roughly where Pearson’s the department store now is, somewhere between 1662 and 1670.
This is a woodcut showing the tree growing at the back of the palace in, perhaps, the late 19th century.
Image courtesy of the Enfield Local History library
In 1920 Enfield council demolished the Palace and cut down the tree. Lloyd George was prime Minister but I suspect it was a Conservative Council who perpetrated this deed. Luckily he planted a second one on the grounds of Forty Hall and this is still there.
Unfortunately a large branch fell off a few years ago and the bowl in the feature image above was turned from this by a local craftsman.
To mark the spot a Silver Birch has been planted approximately where the tree grew, alongside a granite stele giving details.
It is a pioneer tree, that is to say it is one of the first to occupy land. It spread across Britain after the last ice age so it is a native of our island which was, in those times, still connected to continental Europe. I think it an interesting metaphor that the Silver Birch has been chosen the represent a tree as exotic as the Lebanese Cedar which did not arrive on our shores until the late 17th century.