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Title: Finchley  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Dollis Brook Viaduct, Charles Upfold, London Borough of Barnet, Golders Green, Helen Gardner (critic)
Collection: Areas of London, Districts of Barnet, Finchley
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Ballards Lane, Church End, Finchley
Finchley is located in Greater London
 Finchley shown within Greater London
OS grid reference
London borough Barnet
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
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

Finchley () 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 1
  • Governance and politics 2
  • Geography 3
  • Landmarks 4
  • Transport 5
  • Education 6
  • Sports 7
  • Public services 8
  • Community Facilities 9
  • Cultural references 10
  • Notable people 11
  • Twinning 12
  • Gallery 13
  • References 14
  • Further reading 15
  • External links 16


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.[1] Finchley is not recorded in Domesday Book, but by the 11th century its lands were already held by the Bishop of London.[2] In early medieval period the area was sparsely populated woodland.

Proper farming began in the 12th and 13th centuries and by the 15th and 16th centuries the woods on the eastern side of the parish had been cleared to form Finchley Common.[3] The medieval Great North Road, which ran through the common, was notorious for highwaymen until the early 19th century.[1]

St Mary's Church

The parish church of St Mary is first recorded in the 1270s. The settlement at Church End grew up around it.[4] 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.[5][6]

The Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (later the Great Northern Railway) reached Finchley in 1867.[7] 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.[8] They were eventually replaced by trolleybuses.[9]

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.

Governance and politics

Wards of Finchley Urban District in the 1930s
Wards of Finchley Municipal Borough in the 1950s

From around 1547 Finchley had a parish vestry, which became a local board in 1878, an urban district council in 1895, and finally a municipal borough council between 1933 and 1965. The area is now part of the London Borough of Barnet.[10]

From 1959 to 1992 the Finchley constituency was represented in Parliament by Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.[11] Finchley is now included in the new constituency of Finchley and Golders Green.

In February 2010, the Green Party held its spring party conference at the arts depot in North Finchley.[12]


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.[1] 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[5] corresponding to the three town centres in the area:

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 continues to Golders Green and eventually runs north to Henlys Corner on the North Circular Road and Finchley.


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 facade 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; it stands at the approach to Finchley from the south, in Regent's Park Road, just north of Henlys Corner.


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).

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.[13]


The old Christ's College, now a secondary school

There are 17 primary schools in the district.[14]

There are six secondary schools. Three are voluntary aided schools, all Catholic: Bishop Douglass Catholic,[15] Finchley Catholic High[16] and St Michael's Catholic Grammar.[17] Two are community schools: Christ's College Finchley[18] and The Compton.[19] One is an academy, the 'Wren Academy',[20] named after Sir Christopher Wren, and sponsored by the Church of England.[21]

There is also a special school, Oak Lodge Special.

Woodhouse College in North Finchley, on the site of the old Woodhouse Grammar School, is one of two colleges in the borough.[14]


The local football teams Old Finchleians formed in 1901 who play home games at The Old Finchleians Memorial Ground in Southover and are members of the Southern Amateur League.Nicknamed The OF's the club have had well known players like Gordon Finnie,Wayne Gosling and Cliff Brooks on their books.Wingate & Finchley,plays in the premier division of the Isthmian league. The club was formed in 1991 following the merger between Finchley Football Club (est 1874) and Wingate Football Club (est 1946). Although the club is sometimes incorrectly perceived to be exclusively Jewish, it is open to people of every religion and ethnic background. Wingate & Finchley play home games at Summers Lane, N12.

The rugby team is Finchley RFC. Finchley Cricket Club (founded 1832), plays in the Middlesex premier league, at Arden Field, East End Road, N3.[22] Finchley golf club on Frith Lane was designed by five-times Open Champion James Braid. Ken Brown, Ryder Cup player and BBC presenter, described it as "The best presented golf course for club play that I have seen in years".

Public services

Veolia Water Central Limited, formerly Three Valleys Water, supplies Finchley's water; the area is in the south-east corner of the company's water supply area.[23] EDF Energy Networks is the Distribution network operator licensed to distribute electricity from the transmission grid to homes and businesses in Finchley.

Finchley Memorial Hospital, on Granville Road, North Finchley, was a small NHS hospital administered by NHS Barnet, a primary care trust. Built with local donations in 1908 it was originally Finchley Cottage Hospital, renamed and expanded after the first world war as a war memorial.[24] A new hospital on adjacent land opened in September 2012; the old hospital buildings were demolished.

London Ambulance Service responds to medical emergencies in Finchley. Policing in Finchley is by the Metropolitan Police Service. Statutory emergency fire service is by London Fire Brigade, which has a station on Long Lane.

Community Facilities

The artsdepot, a community arts centre including a gallery, studio and theatre, opened in 2004, at Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley.[25]

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.[26]

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.

Avenue House 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.[27]

Cultural references

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:

Notable people

Sir William Shee, the first Roman Catholic judge to sit in England and Wales since the Reformation lived in Finchley.[1]

The novelist Charles Dickens wrote Martin Chuzzlewit while staying at Cobley Farm near Bow Lane, North Finchley.[28]

Octavia Hill, a social reformer and a founder of the National Trust, Kyrle Society and the Army Cadet movement lived at Brownswell Cottages on the High Road in East Finchley just south of the junction with the North Circular Road today.[29][30]

L. S. Bevington (1845–1895), anarchist poet, essayist and journalist, died and was buried in Finchley.[31]

Henry Stephens, who founded the Stephens Ink company, and his son Henry Charles Stephens, who was the local MP from 1887 until 1900, lived in Finchley: Henry Charles in Avenue House which he left, in 1918, as a bequest to the people of Finchley, along with its grounds, now known as Stephens House and Gardens.

Harry Beck, an engineering draftsman who created the present London Underground Tube map in 1931,[32] lived in Finchey. There is a plaque commemorating him along with a copy of his original map on the southbound platform at Finchley Central tube station.

Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, 1979–1990, was Conservative MP for Finchley from 1959 to 1992,[11] although she lived in Chelsea before her time in Downing Street.

Spike Milligan, the comedian who was the chief creator and main writer of The Goon Show, lived in Woodside Park from 1955 to 1974. He was president and patron of the Finchley Society.[33] His statue, sitting on a bench, occupies a prominent position at Stephens House and Gardens.

Private John Parr, the first British soldier and the first soldier of the Commonwealth killed in World War I, was born in Church End Finchley, and lived at 52 Lodge Lane, North Finchley.

George Michael, the singer, was born in East Finchley.


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



  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^ Clive's Underground Line Guides, Northern line, Dates
  8. ^ London Transport Museum Tram in Finchley, dated 1905 to 1915
  9. ^ London Transport Museum Trolley bus at North Finchley
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ Bishop Douglass School web site
  16. ^ Finchley Catholic High School web site
  17. ^ St. Michael's Catholic Grammar School web site
  18. ^ Christ's College Finchley School web site
  19. ^ The Compton School web site
  20. ^ Wren Academy web site
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ London Transport Museum artsdepot, 2006
  26. ^ Victoria Park, London Gardens Online
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Bevington, Louisa Sarah, 1845–1895" Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^

Further reading

External links

  • The Finchley Society
  • The Finchley Arrow
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