Main Births etc
Coordinates: 51°35′56″N 0°11′13″W / 51.599, -0.187
Ballards lane.JPG
Ballards Lane, Church End, Finchley

Finchley is located in Greater London

 Finchley shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ255905
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: UK • England • London

Finchley /ˈfɪnli/ is a district of North London, England, in the London Borough of Barnet. Finchley is on high ground, about 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 formed part of Greater London since 1965. It is predominantly a residential suburb, with three town centres.


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. During the 12th and 13th century, proper farming began, 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

In the 1270s the parish church of St Mary is first recorded. The settlement at Church End grow 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] The route 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 was announced, to electrify the lines through Finchley, and connect the Northern line from Archway to East Finchley, via a new tunnel.

Much of the work was carried out, and East Finchley station was completely 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 large 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 it closed completely in 1964.

Governance and politics[]

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 their spring party conference at the artsdepot in North Finchley.[12]


Tally Ho Corner

Finchley is situated on a plateau, some 90 metres (300 ft) above sea level about 11 km (6.8 mi) north of Charing Cross and about 6 km (3.7 mi) south of Barnet. To the west is the Dollis valley formed by Dollis Brook which is the natural western boundary of Finchley.[1] Mutton Brook forms the southern boundary, joining the Dollis Brook to become the River Brent.

Geologically, Finchley is formed of three layers. 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 grew at the three corners, which evolved into Finchley's early population centres[5] corresponding to the three town centres in the area:

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

The residential areas West Finchley in postcode district N3 and Woodside Park in postcode district N12 are centred on their respective tube stations to the west of the area.

The area of London known as Finchley Road, around Finchley Road tube station, is not part of Finchley, but instead refers to a commercial district in Swiss Cottage, Camden. The area is named after a section of the A41 road, which eventually runs north to 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 UK.

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

The Archer, located on East Finchley tube station, is a 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) statue by Eric Aumonier of a kneeling archer depicted as if having just released an arrow. The statue La Délivrance depicts a naked women 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 is served by four London Underground stations, all on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line, which serves both the West End and the 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 Henly's Corner at the southern edge of Finchley.

North Finchley with its bus station serves as a major 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 team is Wingate & Finchley which plays in the Premier Division of the Isthmian League. It was founded as a specifically Jewish football club in 1946. The local rugby team is Finchley RFC. Finchley Cricket Club (founded 1832), plays in the Middlesex Premier League, with a pitch at Arden Field, East End Road, N3.[22] Finchley golf club on Frith Lane was designed by five-times Open Champion James Braid, the 18-hole, par 72 picturesque parkland course is regarded as the finest golfing challenge in North London. The course and clubhouse are located in a secluded and peaceful setting and can be easily accessed from Central London. The course is renowned for its pristine and fast greens. 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.

The Finchley Memorial Hospital, on Granville Road, North Finchley, is a small NHS hospital administrated by NHS Barnet, a primary care trust. Built with local donations in 1908 it was originally called Finchley Cottage Hospital, but renamed and expanded after the First World War as a war memorial.[24] A new hospital was built on adjacent land and opened in September 2012; the old hospital buildings were then demolished. London Ambulance Service responds to medical emergencies in Finchley. Policing in Finchley is provided by the Metropolitan Police Service. Statutory emergency fire service is provided by the 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 located 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 become 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 the eponymous 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 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 many 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:

  • In Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop Mr Garland, one of the principal characters, lives in "Abel Cottage, Finchley".
  • Bluebottle, a character in the 1950s BBC radio series The Goon Show, hails from East Finchley, where Peter Sellers who played Bluebottle used to live 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.

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 whilst 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. She lived at Brownswell Cottages on the High Road in East Finchley just south of the junction with the North Circular Road today.[29][30]

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

Harry Beck, an engineering draftsman who created the present London Underground Tube map in 1931,[31] 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 never lived in the area, instead preferring to live in Dulwich and Chelsea before and after 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.[32] 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.

  • Uganda Jinja, Uganda Since 1963[33]
  • France Le Raincy, France Since 1962[34]
  • United States Montclair, United States Since 1945[35]
  • Germany Siegen-Wittgenstein, Germany Since 1951[36]



  1. ^ a b c d Baker & Elrington (1980). "A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6". Victoria County History. pp. 38–55.. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  2. ^ Heathfield, John. "A short history of Finchley". The Finchley Society. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  3. ^ Nurse, Richard (2007-11-20). "Finchley and Friern Barnet". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  4. ^ Nurse, Richard (13/02/2008). "Finchley N3 Hendon Lane". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  5. ^ a b Weinreb, Ben; Christopher Hibbert. The London Encyclopedia. Julia Keay, John Keay (3rd ed.). Macmillan. pp. 290–291. ISBN 978-1-4050-4924-5. 
  6. ^ Nurse, Richard (13/02/2008). "Finchley N2 East End Road". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  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. ^ Baker, T F T; C R Elrington (1980). "Finchley Finchley Local government". British History Online. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  11. ^ a b "Historic Figures Margaret Thatcher (1925 - )". BBC. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  12. ^ Lowe, Rebecca (21 February 2010). "Green Party conference held in Finchley". The Times Series. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "Buses from North Finchley". Transport for London. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  14. ^ a b Crouch, Suzanne (10/09/2009). "Schools and Colleges". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  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. ^ "why wren academy". Wren Academy. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  22. ^ Lowe, Rebecca (10 December 2007). "Barnet cricket - 150 and not out". Times Series. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  23. ^ "Our supply area". Veolia Water. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  24. ^ "Honouring a century of care at Finchley Memorial Hospital". Times Series. Tuesday 21 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  25. ^ London Transport Museum artsdepot, 2006
  26. ^ Victoria Park, London Gardens Online
  27. ^ "The history of Avenue House Estate". Avenue House Estate. 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  28. ^ Nurse, Richard (13/02/2008). "Finchley N12 Fallow Corner". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  29. ^ "Early Social Reform Influences". Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  30. ^ "The Octavia Hill Society". The Finchley Society. September 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  31. ^ "Design Classics-The London Underground Map". BBC TV4. 
  32. ^ "Spike Milligan Statue Fund". Finchley Society. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  33. ^ Godleman, Mike (04/07/2007). "Town twinning Jinja (Uganda)". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  34. ^ Costello, Laura (2008-07-28). "Town twinning Le Raincy (France)". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  35. ^ Costello, Laura (2008-07-29). "Town twinning Montclair (USA)". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  36. ^ Godleman, Mike (2008-07-28). "Town twinning Siegen Wittgenstein (Germany)". LB Barnet. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Finchley. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.