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Finchley
Ballards lane.JPG
Ballards Lane, Church End, Finchley
Finchley shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ255905
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district N2, N3, N12
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
  • Finchley & Golders Green
London Assembly
  • Barnet and Camden
List of places
UK
England
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Finchley (/ˈfɪnli/) is an area of north London, England, in the London Borough of Barnet. Finchley is on high ground, 11 km (6.8 mi) north of Charing Cross. It formed an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex, becoming a municipal borough in 1933, and has been part of Greater London since 1965.

It is predominantly a residential suburb, with three town centres: North Finchley, East Finchley and Finchley Church End (Finchley Central).

History

See also: History of Finchley and Market Place, Finchley
Finchley (parish) population
1881 11,191
1891 16,647
1901 22,126
1911 39,419
1921 46,716
1931 58,964
1941 war #
1951 69,991
1961 69,370
# no census was held due to war
source: UK census

Finchley probably means "Finch's clearing" or "finches' clearing" in late Anglo-Saxon; the name was first recorded in the early 13th century. Finchley is not recorded in Domesday Book, but by the 11th century its lands were held by the Bishop of London. In the early medieval period the area was sparsely populated woodland, whose inhabitants supplied pigs and fuel to London.

Extensive cultivation began about the time of the Norman Conquest. By the 15th and 16th centuries the woods on the eastern side of the parish had been cleared to form Finchley Common. The medieval Great North Road, which ran through the common, was notorious for highwaymen until the early 19th century.

Entrance to st marys church end
St Mary's Church

St Mary-at-Finchley Church is first recorded in the 1270s. Near the northern gate to the Bishop of London's park, the hamlet of East End, later East Finchley, had begun to develop by 1365.

The Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (later the Great Northern Railway) reached Finchley in 1867. It ran from Finsbury Park via Finchley to Edgware. The branch from Finchley to High Barnet opened in 1872. In 1905 tram services were established in Finchley, and extended shortly afterwards to Barnet. They were eventually replaced by trolleybuses.

In 1933, the Underground New Works Programme, 1935-1940 to electrify the lines through Finchley, and connect the Northern line from Archway to East Finchley, via a new tunnel was announced. Much of the work was carried out and East Finchley station was rebuilt, but the project was halted by the second world war. All passenger services from Finchley to Edgware ended in September 1939. Nevertheless, Underground trains began running from central London to High Barnet in 1940, and to Mill Hill East, to reach the army barracks, in 1941.

After the war, the introduction of London's Metropolitan Green Belt undermined pre-war plans and the upgrading between Mill Hill East and Edgware (the 'Northern Heights' project) was abandoned, although the line continued to be used by steam trains for goods traffic through Finchley, until 1964.

Geography

Tally ho corner
Tally Ho Corner

Finchley is on a plateau, 90 metres (300 ft) above sea level 11 km (6.8 mi) north of Charing Cross and 6 km (3.7 mi) south of Barnet. To the west is the Dollis valley formed by Dollis Brook the natural western boundary of Finchley. Mutton Brook forms the southern boundary, joining the Dollis Brook to become the River Brent.

Most of Finchley is on boulder clay or glacial moraine, skirted by a layer of gravel, then the underlying layer of London clay. This roughly triangular gravel line was the most fertile area; hamlets which grew at the three corners evolved into Finchley's early population centres corresponding to the three town centres in the area:

  • Church End, often known as "Finchley Central" (particularly since the station was renamed), the area north and west of the North Circular Road, centred on Ballards Lane and Finchley Central tube station, and in postal area N3;
  • East Finchley, roughly between Highgate and the North Circular Road, and in postal area N2;
  • North Finchley, surrounding Tally-Ho corner, stretching west to the Northern line, in postcode district N12.

The residential areas of West Finchley, in postcode district N3, and Woodside Park, in postcode district N12, centre on their respective tube stations to the west of the area. Between East Finchley and Finchley Central is Long Lane, which runs parallel to the tube line and is dotted with small shopping parades.

The area of London known as 'Finchley Road', around Finchley Road tube station, is not part of Finchley, but instead refers to a district further south at Swiss Cottage, Camden. The area is named after a section of the A41 road, which runs north to Golders Green and eventually continues to Henlys Corner on the North Circular Road and on to Finchley.

Landmarks

See also: List of public art in Barnet

St Mary's at Finchley is the parish church, with parts dating from the 13th century.

College Farm is the last farm in Finchley; it was a model dairy farm, then a visitor attraction. The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley with its 1930s art deco façade is one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas in the United Kingdom.

The Sternberg Centre for Judaism in the old Manor House (formerly convent and school of St Mary Auxiliatrice) at 80 East End Road in Finchley is a Jewish cultural centre. It was founded to facilitate Reform and Liberal Jewish institutions, attached to the Movement for Reform Judaism.

The Archer, on East Finchley tube station, is a 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) statue by Eric Aumonier of a kneeling archer having just released an arrow. The statue La Délivrance depicts a naked woman holding a sword (and is informally known as the Naked Lady); it stands at the approach to Finchley from the south, in a small garden beside Regent's Park Road, just north of Henlys Corner.

Demography

According to the 2011 census in Finchley Church End ward, 67% of the population was white (47% British, 18% Other, 2% Irish), 8% Indian and 6% Other Asian. The largest religion was Judaism, claimed by 31% of the population, whereas Christians made up 28%. West Finchley ward was 61% white (40% British, 18% Other, 3% Irish), 13% Indian and 8% Other Asian.

Transport

East Finchley stn building
East Finchley tube station

Transport for London is responsible for transport in Finchley. Finchley has four London Underground stations, all on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line, which serves the West End and City (financial district).

  • East Finchley tube station in zone three, serves East Finchley and is 21 minutes from Charing Cross.
  • Finchley Central tube station in zone four, serves Finchley, Church End and is 25 minutes from Charing Cross.
  • West Finchley tube station in zone four, serves North Finchley and is 27 minutes from Charing Cross.
  • Woodside Park tube station in zone four, serves North Finchley and is 29 minutes from Charing Cross.

Two of London's major roads, the east-west A406 North Circular Road and the north-south A1 meet and briefly merge at Henlys Corner at the southern edge of Finchley.

North Finchley bus station is a hub with nine bus routes using bus stops around Tally Ho Corner.

Community Facilities

The artsdepot, a community arts centre including a gallery, studio and theatre, opened in 2004, at Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley.

Victoria Park is off Ballards Lane between North Finchley and Finchley Central. It was proposed in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee and opened in 1902 to be Finchley's first public park. There is also a small nature reserve adjacent to the North Circular, Long Lane Pasture.

Avenue House in East End Road was built in 1859. In 1874 it was acquired by Henry Charles Stephens, known as "Inky" Stephens, the son of the inventor of indelible blue-black ink Dr Henry Stephens. On his death in 1918 he bequeathed the house and its grounds to "the people of Finchley". The estate is now known as Stephens House and Gardens. It has a small museum, the Stephens Collection, which covers the history of the Stephens Ink Company and the history of writing materials. The bequest also included Avenue House Grounds, designed by the leading nineteenth-century landscape gardener Robert Marnock. This has a tearoom, a children's playground, a walled garden called The Bothy, a pond and rare trees.

Cultural references

William Hogarth 007
March of the Guards to Finchley

William Hogarth painted his satirical March of the Guards to Finchley in 1750. It is a depiction of a fictional mustering of troops on London's Tottenham Court Road to march north to Finchley to defend the capital from the second Jacobite rebellion of 1745.

A number of fictional characters have been associated with the area, including:

  • In Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop Mr Garland, one of the principal characters, lives in "Abel Cottage, Finchley".
  • In More Peers, a book of comic verse by Hilaire Belloc, one of the poems is about Lord Finchley.
  • Bluebottle, a character in the 1950s BBC radio series The Goon Show, hails from East Finchley. Peter Sellers, who played Bluebottle, lived in the area at one time.
  • In various episodes of the Channel 4 comedy Peep Show Finchley is used as an on-site shooting location.
  • In the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan Pevensie says that she and her siblings, Peter, Edmund, and Lucy, are from Finchley, despite no mention of Finchley being made in C. S. Lewis's book - it is only mentioned that they are from London. In the next film, Prince Caspian, Edmund, on discovering in the ruins of Cair Paravel a gold Chess piece, says, "Well, I didn't exactly have a solid gold chess set in Finchley, did I?", saying that they are obviously in Narnia.
  • The Monty Python's Flying Circus comedy sketch, The Funniest Joke in the World, is set in Finchley.
  • In John Steinbeck's "Once There Was A War" a wee old English woman, discovered on the Isle of Capri is described, “She was dressed in decent and aging black. She never had made the slightest concession to Italy. Her costume would have done her honor and protected her from scandal in Finchley.”

Twinning

Finchley Borough had four twin towns; the London Borough of Barnet continues these links.

  • Uganda Jinja, Uganda, since 1963
  • France Le Raincy, France, since 1962
  • United States Montclair, United States, since 1945
  • Germany Siegen-Wittgenstein, Germany, since 1951

Images for kids


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