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A Potted History of East Finchley – A Talk to the Finchley Society Preamble [Slide S00 title] I realise my talk is a little ambitious for the time allowed, so in case I need to leave bits of it out I have put the text of this talk on the web site for download. This leaves you free to concentrate on what interests you with no need to take notes. I’m afraid I’ll have to read my talk as there is too much material for me to memorise! None of the material of this talk is original research – it has all been gleaned from local history books. Particularly helpful I found these [Slide 00a sources]. Also useful were the Godfrey edition Ordnance Survey historical maps of the area and the Victoria County History. Although most of this talk is about East Finchley, the early period naturally includes all Finchley. Although intended to be chronological, this talk will depart from that to follow some threads through to modern times. So let me start by asking how many of you live in East Finchley? [Slide S01 early eastenders] Do any of you recognise any of these people as one of your ancestors? This sort of service industry had a significant part to play in early East Finchley, as did Grays. But let’s start from the beginning. In the mists of time [Slide 02 – anglian ice] We start about ½ million years ago when the Anglian ice age pushed down from the north. As well as diverting the Thames towards its present path it left a deposit of boulder clay, or till, roughly triangular in shape. Finchley was the southernmost deposit, as this slide shows: [Slide 03 anglian till deposits] Here is a close up from the geological survey map, with Finchley’s boundary added. [Slide 04 Finchley geomap] Melt waters flowing west into the Thames washed away gravel to form the valleys of the Dollis and Mutton Brooks, while other waters drained northeast towards the River Lea, leaving behind the characteristic tilted triangle we know as Finchley. Once the ice receded, the land was colonised by dense forest. The patchy boulder clay was poorly drained and the area was almost impenetrable. Stone Age travellers left some sparse evidence of passage, from early Stone Age flint tools in the centre of the triangle, to late Stone Age flints around Muswell Hill but there is no evidence of any settlement. The nearest prehistoric track-way was probably the early route of Hampstead Lane, which formed Finchley’s southernmost boundary. The Romans tended to avoid these northern heights, constructing main roads Watling Street and Ermine Street in the valleys either side. They did visit the area, leaving coins and pottery quite close by. [Slide 06 Church Estates] As this slide shows, by the time of the Domesday Book, the church owned most of Middlesex. In the eight hundreds, the Saxon King gave the area of Finchley and Friern to the Bishop of London as a resource for his diocese, attached to his Fulham Estate. As a result, Finchley gets no specific mention in the Domesday Book. In a similar way, neighbouring Hornsey was attached to Stepney, also owned by the Bishop. The Bishop’s interests in Finchley were transferred to Hornsey in 1491, which is why early administrative maps show Finchley as part of Hornsey.  [Slide 07 middlesex hundreds] The county of Middlesex was divided into 6 administrative units known as “Hundreds” and Finchley was in the Hundred of Ossulstone, centred on London and
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with its court moot near Speakers Corner, marked by Oswald’s stone. The Dollis Brook formed the boundary between the hundred of Ossulstone and the neighbouring hundred of Gore. The Hundreds were dissolved in 1841. Development begins [Slide 08 Geomap2] Returning to the triangle, or a simpler version [Slide S09 early access] Because of the patchy nature of the terrain, instead of a compact town developing, small groups of dwellings sprang up where the land was suitable for clearing and working. Access probably came from the southwest along what is now Hendon Lane, so the first settlement originated there, just above the flood plain. It included a church and later became known as Church End. Many of these settlements were along the southern edge of the triangle and a track developed to connect them, along the better-drained slopes above what we call the Mutton Brook. This track, from Church End to the East End was given many names, including Ducksetters Lane Road, Hunters Green, Finchley Road and Manor Road and today we know it as East End Road. Another track followed the crest above the Dollis Brook but does not concern us today. The large swathe of less accessible land on the opposite fringes of the triangle remained largely undeveloped. These wastes of the Manor of Finchley were later known as known as Finchley Wood, or eventually the common. It was a source of raw materials and ‘commoners’ were able to gain rights of access for collecting brush wood for heating, or beechnuts for fodder (pannage). As clearings arose, rights extended to grazing (herbage). There were many conflicts between the Bishop and Finchley men over pasture rights vs. timber protection. A string of small settlements also grew up along the edge of the common, including Cuckold’s Haven at Red Lion Hill. [Although originally belonging to the Bishop, the Manor was leased on. The family of Adam de Basing, a Lord Mayor of London and friend of Henry III, owned it from 1248 for a hundred years; the Allen family held it from 1627 until 1830. It is often referred to as Bibbsworth, after the Lord of the Manor in the 1400s] The Bishops Park (1200s to 1400s) [Slide 10 Hornsey Park] By the 1200’s the Bishops had established a hunting park of 1070 acres across the south of Hornsey and Finchley, Hornsey Park, stretching from present day Spaniards Inn in the west, to Highgate Gatehouse in the east and East Finchley to the north. Turners Wood, Bishops Wood, Cherry Tree Wood and Highgate Wood are vestiges of this park, which was bordered by a ditch and hedge to keep the deer in (part of this hedge remains in the corner of Lyttleton Playing Fields; the boundary hedge is clearly visible on the 1894 OS map) and there was a hunting lodge, visited by kings, in the centre near the present day club house of Highgate Golf Club. The moat remaining from the lodge is marked on the 1895 ordnance survey map. The park ceased to be used for hunting by the 1500s and the Hunting Lodge is shown as a ruin on the 1610 Middlesex map of John Norden. [Slide 11 John Norden 1610] The area was parcelled out in 1788. The High Road is built (1300’s) [Slide 12 Early Finchley] Until the 1300s Finchley was a back-water as the main route to the north passed through Colney Hatch. It was difficult passage, and the Bishop allowed a new road to be built across his hunting park from Highgate (remembered by the Gatehouse pub) to the East End of Finchley. The new road left the park at a new gate (hence Newgate Hill), located roughly where the Northern line crosses the High Road today, and above it on the hill was the hamlet of Park Gate. A bridge was built over the Mutton Brook (Hanson Bridge). The first recorded toll
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collection was in 1321. Subsequently the road was extended across the Common via Brownswell, the only settlement on the common, avoiding the East End settlements and rejoining the original route at Whetstone. It remained virtually un-built on until the late 1800s, and a haunt of highwaymen until enclosure in 1816. A permanent gibbet was erected near the intersection with present-day Lincoln Road in the 1700s. East End was ideally placed to service the needs of travellers and eventually grew larger than Church End. The new road improved East End’s opportunities for trade. Later it would stimulate the Hog Market and allow better access to London for the hay and other products. Returning carts carried the soot and manure and gave rise to the “Dirthouse” where the Old White Lion now stands. Story of the Finchley Charities in EF originates in the 1400s so, at this point, I’ll digress here with a thread. As the first accurate map of Finchley I’ll use the enclosure map to illustrate where these gifts were located. [Slide 13 finchley charities map] Thomas Sanny and Five Bells A settlement arose by a triangular patch of common land known as Hunts, Hunters or Bells Green that stretched along East End Road from the present-day Five Bells pub to Church Lane and Long Lane. There is mention of an ale house in 1484 when a Thomas Sanny was fined for not putting enough hops in his beer. Twenty years later, a Thomas Sanny donated a large piece of land with dwellings (including the ale house) to the church for the good of the poor in return for the singing for the soul of himself and those of his parents, wife and children. The land stretched from East End Road all the way to the present-day passage known as The Walks. Originally known as Manypenyes, Stukefield and Foreryders the two large fields became known as Homefield and Poor Toms. The organisation that owned and ran the property on behalf of the church, along with many other gifts for the poor, became known as the Finchley Charities. The first recorded licensee of the Five Bells was in 1751. In 1803 the Vestry wished to convert the building for use as a poor house and it was rented out to them. However the Vestry was unwilling to keep the building in a proper state of repair and relinquished it. The building was demolished and replaced by cottages, a new pub being built in its present-day location to the west, outside the charity land. The Five Bells became known for bare-knuckle boxing in the 1840’s and heavyweight champion Gem Mace trained there. The present building dates from 1868 following a major fire. Most of the charity land was used for grazing and haymaking, but in 1829 a parcel of it fronting East End Road was leased for the construction of Homefield House. In 1865 the coming of the railway cut the land in two, and in 1891 land on the corner of Stanley Road was leased for building. In 1914, a large part of Homefield was let to the Finchley Presbyterian Lawn Tennis Club, and then the East Finchley Congregational Church Sports Association, before being taken over by the Borough Council as a sports ground, then sold to Middlesex County Council as Stanley Road Playing Field. In the 1920s a plot on the Walks end was leased to Burton Bakeries. In 1964 land on Poor Toms was sold to Middlesex County Council for the building of Holy Trinity School. Homefield House evolved into Homefield Garage and was demolished in 1973, one year after Homefield Cottages. The town houses in ‘Ashburnham Close’ date from 1976 and Homefield Gardens followed in 1979. Pointalls Related to the Sanny’s were the Hayne family, East End farmers, an eight-acre parcel of whose land, known as Pointalls, (shown on the enclosure map as plots 347 and 348) was in the possession of the Finchley Charities before 1561. In addition to the two fields, known as Great
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and Little Poyntells, the property included two tenements and some almshouses. On enclosure in 1816, a further 5 acres was granted to the Finchley Charities by the award (Plot 92) located on the corner of Oak Lane and the High Road. This plot was subdivided, providing Oak Cottage, Edgell Cottage and Leicester House fronting the roads and the remaining part became allotments. In 1863 Edward Sayer, having built his house, The Grange, on land to the south, took a lease of the rest of Pointalls to prevent building next door. He had formerly lived at Oak Lodge. In 1882  Mr. Sayer signed a petition from local inhabitants requesting that the Pointalls Fields be given to the Parish as a recreation ground but this was rejected by the Trustees. A new block of almshouses was completed in 1895. The old site, having been cleared, was let to the School Board to be used for gardening classes. In 1918 Finchley Urban District Council requisitioned the land to turn it into allotments. And in 1920 the Trustees proceeded to lease the allotments to the Pointalls & District Allotment Association and who continued to use part of the site until 1967. Oak Cottage was demolished in 1965. Leicester House became home to a nursery and landscape gardening business called Kewgardia. [Slide 14 Kewgardia]. Meanwhile, new almshouses were built in 1958, and 1966 . In 1971 the Borough of Barnet purchased much of Pointalls Field and the plot fronting the High Road, for the development of Vale Farm Estate, enabling the Charities to build further almshouses. Now we can return to the main thread of our story. [Slide 15 Rocque map EF] Finchley in the 1700s is delightfully captured by the Rocque map. It shows the main road pattern, much as it is today, and the slopes of the triangle are shaded. Pigs were probably always a part of life in East End because of the common. However, in the early 1700’s Thomas Odell opened a hog market next to the George, which he also built. Pigs sold on Monday were penned behind the George from Saturday. The market developed a national reputation and lasted until 1869. Many of East Finchley’s public houses were licensed in the 1700s - the Fleur de Lys/Dirthouse/White Lion in 1716, the Bald Faced Stag in 1738. The Five Bells was licensed in 1751 but is mentioned as far back as 1484. Enclosure of the Common Despite the High Road, Finchley remained a largely rural community, with not more than 250 households at the best of times until the early 1800’s, when several factors coincided which were to change the face of East End beyond recognition, as this graph of population shows. [Slide 16a Population graph] These were: the enclosure of the common in 1811-16, the improvements in road transport bringing booming London closer, the railway in 1867 and the decision of the Ecclesiastical authorities in 1875-9 when demand for homes rose, to release land in East Finchley on 99 year leases. From then on, East Finchley development was fuelled by speculative development. The first was the enclosure of the common. By the 1700s encroachment had already started to take place and by 1800 the Common was virtually denuded. The land was wet, poorly drained and covered with furze and pollarded trees, and grazed by sheep and pigs. It was ripe for development. On 4 April 1811 an act for ‘inclosing land in the Parish of Finchley’ was introduced into the Commons and in 1816 the remainder was enclosed. [Slide 17 Enclosure Map again] Three solicitors were given the work, which included, in addition
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to the enclosure of the main areas, the settlement of the boundaries between Finchley, Friern Barnet and Hornsey and the allocation of the road verges. Roads were reduced to 33ft without exception. In East Finchley this included Hunts Green, the triangular area between Stanley Road, East End Road and Church Lane. A new 20ft wide road was to be constructed, paid for by Finchley parish, and in return the parish was awarded a gravel pit. In the apportionment, 15% of the land (139 acres) was sold to defray expenses (including 120 acres to the Regents Canal Company for a reservoir, and the strips of land along the roads,) the Rector of Finchley then received 13% in lieu of glebe and tithe. Thomas Allen as Lord of the Manor of Bibbsworth received 11%. The Bishop received just 5% for his remaining interest in Finchley Manor, and the rest was divided proportionately among the freeholders, copyholders, and lessees of which the largest allotments were to John Bacon, a wealthy landowner who also owned East End House (10%) and the Marquess of Buckingham (5%). The Earl of Mansfield as lessee of the demesne woods received 2% The Regents Canal Company sold on 16 acres immediately to James Frost as Strawberry Farm and he subsequently bought the rest (75 acres meadows and 17 of woodland) in 1820 when the reservoir scheme was abandoned and the reservoir drained. Frost pioneered fire resistance in buildings, which he demonstrated in Hawthorn Dene, one of the villas he built at Strawberry Vale. Here is an early photo [Slide S18 strawberry vale]. The other villas were demolished to make way for the housing estate in 1975. There was an obligation to provide for the poor; 1 acre and 1 rod were rented out in North End to provide money to compensate the poor for loss of rights. 15 acres were set aside for ‘fuel lands’ whose rent was to be used for buying fuel for the poor. These were overseen by the wardens of the Church and the Finchley Charity (not Charities) was set up. After some shady dealings, the land became allotments in 1889 and passed to the jurisdiction of the Finchley Charities in 1892. As we have already seen, a further 5 acres was granted to the Finchley Charities directly New Streets – the first ‘blip’ [Slide 19 EF OSmap 1865] A consequence of enclosure was to give impetus to road building  Prospect Place (1825) was the first new road to be built and joined East End Road to Hogmarket. Cottages were built there in 1841 and Chapel Street, named after the Congregational Chapel on the corner, cut across the old common in 1853. In a room behind the chapel, was started East Finchley’s first primary school, the British School. After the chapel fire, it became a board school and moved to Long Lane in 1884 (Alder School) then in 1913 to what is now Martin Schools. East End resident Anthony Salvin (more on him later) was appalled at the morality of the workers in East End and was largely instrumental in East End getting its own church, Holy Trinity on Bulls/Bull Lane and a Church Trade School on East End Road, now the Bobath Centre; both designed by Salvin and built in 1846-7. Bull Lane became Church Lane soon after. Part of the stimulus was the growth of non-conformism – it was much easier to attend a local chapel such as the one on Chapel Street than to walk all the way to Church End. A similar competition occurred over the schools. Holy Trinity school moved to its current location in 1964. This building programme was nothing compared with what was to follow, so let’s pause to look at the 1865 Ordnance Survey map, further. It shows East End (note, still East End) as a rural community, after the initial post enclosure boom but before the railway and major expansion. Buildings were located in two main strands – a posh one along East End Road and a naff one
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along the edge of the former common, and, very thoughtfully, a gap between them left for the future railway! The church is located between the two strands in open country. Notice that the reservoir outline is still noticeable, divided into fields. Some early photos show the contrasts of the two strands of East End. [Slide 19a east end road][Slide 19b red lion hill] [Slide 19c marketplace]There was still little development on the High Road, although the two new roads are there. Park Place [Slide 19d park place] Gradually, from the 1500s onwards, East End Road had became home to most of East Finchley’s large elegant villas set in their large grounds, suitably distanced from the naff working class hovels that had sprung up along the edge of the common and far enough away from the dirt and smells of the hog market. Shortly after enclosure, these were supplemented by four villas built on a large south-facing field at the southern corner of the High Road and Fortis Green that had been part of High Reding until the Bishop sold it in 1800. Known collectively as Park Place there were four grand houses. From the High Road these were Fairlawn, Cranleigh, Park Hall and Summerlee. Then, in 1835, just across the border in Hornsey, Anthony Salvin and his brother in law purchased a field and built two elegant Italianate villas Springcroft and Colethall (later Uplands). These developments proved relatively short-lived; and had been demolished to develop housing in less than 100 years, starting with the largest, Park Hall, which lent its name to development estate. Another significant house built at this time was the Grange, on Oak Lane in 1863, equally short- lived, as we shall see. A tale of two cemeteries Two cemeteries sprang up on farm land and were opened within a year of each other. Both cemeteries were designed by Barnett and Birch In 1853 the Parish of St Pancras bought 87 acres of former Horseshoe Farm alongside the High Road and the first interment took place in 1854. Some of this land was sold to Islington, but in 1877 a further 94 acres was bought and shared between them. Meanwhile 47 acres of land adjacent to East End Road on what previously been known as Newmarket Farm was bought by St Marylebone Burial Board in 1854 and the first interment took place in 1855. The crematorium only followed in 1937. Workhouses and Laundries Opposite EF cemetery from 1864 was the Convent of the Good Shepherd. In 1873 it included a Magdalene asylum for fallen women. The women had to labour in silence 52 weeks of the year in a laundry, symbolically washing away their sins. They were forced to bind their breasts, had their heads shaved and were regularly humiliated and beaten. Census returns show that many of those locked away in East Finchley’s asylum were little more than children, some as young as 13. As the demand for laundries diminished the institution became less viable. Following a fire in the 1970s most of the buildings were demolished and replaced by Bishop Douglass School and the Thomas More estate. Where Briar Close is now, was Philipe Lane, more often called Green Lane. It joined up East End Road with Long Lane until the railway bridge was demolished in the 1960s. For a while, between 1808 and 1835, it had been called Workhouse Lane as a building there was rented as Finchley’s workhouse.
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The railway arrives Further impetus to development came from the railway. The Edgware and Highgate railway was built by Great Northern Railways as a feeder line for their main service out of Kings Cross and it cut East Finchley in two in 1867. The route continued via Church End Finchley, Mill Hill East and the Hale to Edgware. The station opened as East End (Finchley) and changed to East Finchley in 1886. In 1872 a new branch was opened from Finchley Central to High Barnet. Hectic development [Slide 20 EF1873] The OS map of 1873 shows little change except for the arrival of the railway. Building really got going from 1875-9 when the Ecclesiastical Commissioners released land in East Finchley on 99 year leases. [Slide 21 EF1894] Early developments were between Long Lane and East End Road. The largest area of development was the Park Hall Estate, which included almost all the common land to the east of the High Road up as far as, but not including Creighton Avenue. The roads and services were designed and built as an entity but local builders bought small lots on auction for speculative development. By 1895 about one third of the High Road terraces were in place and the 1911 map [Slide 22 EF1911] shows almost all, including the County roads, Beresford and Kitchener Roads and half of Leopold Road built or under construction, as was most of the High Road. [Slide 23 The High Road]. East End is now called East Finchley! South of Church Lane was developed later. The present day Phoenix Cinema first opened its doors in 1912 after Fairlawn and the rest of the High Road was developed, around the time that British and Colonial Films had a studio further up the High Road. EF gains some independence Finchley became an Urban District Council in 1895 and was divided into 3 equal sized wards in 1899. East Finchley ward then stretched from the Spaniards Inn to Little Wood and Green Lane to Squires Lane and Strawberry Vale brook. Finchley became a Borough in 1933, and in 1951 the three wards were subdivided. Modern East Finchley ward has lost the Garden Suburb and everything north of the North Circular Road. Manufacturing While much work in East Finchley was to service the needs of travellers and of London (soot and manure out of London was swapped for hay and coal into London at the Dirthouse, located below the station) some manufacturing took place. Hamilton Walter Dickinson founded a car manufactory on East End Road in 1909, now a carpet warehouse, and cricket bats were made off Church Lane, now Hobbs Green. Pottery and bricks were made at the site where Baronsmere and Park Hall Roads are today. The largest employer, however, was the Simms Factory. [Slide 30 the grange] Simms motors bought the Grange (six acres) in 1919 but only started production in 1926. [Slide 31 CAV factory] In this aerial view you can see the Grange on the corner, and Pointalls allotments adjacent. As a Lucas CAV factory it closed in 1991. Before this the Grange for a brief period had been a piano factory. The area is now the Finches housing estate. The demise of the villas [Slide 32 EER villas] From the turn of the century those elegant villas in their large grounds along East End Road began to be sold for development, to be replaced by religious establishments or housing estates. East End House became a convent as far back as 1864, and Sedgemere House, which had dog kennels and a cattery, was sold to developers in 1901 and pulled down to make way for Sedgemere Avenue, a development of maisonettes for rent to gentle folk.
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The largest house, Knightons, first mentioned in 1598, was sold for development in 1921, now the site of the Sisters of Nazareth. Prospect House followed in 1929. The next to go was Cromwell Hall. Not the first on the site, it was renamed Cromwell Hall by Edward Butler in 1827 after Richard Cromwell, son of Oliver Cromwell and Lord Protector of England for about a year. Richard Cromwell in fact stayed next door towards the end of his life in a house later named Belle Vue. Belle Vue was pulled down to make way for Cromwell Close in 1959/60. Meanwhile Cromwell Hall, the much larger estate in Gothic Revival style, was home to some colourful characters. In the late 1800s the Butler family led an extravagant lifestyle; a Miss Butler used to drive hectically around in a Brougham, paying her bills in sovereigns drawn from a bag. There was a large greenhouse – the highest and widest single span roof at the time – from which came bananas, oranges and lemons. The house passed to the Honri family. Percy Honri was a well-known musical entertainer in music hall fashion, married into a family that owned and ran theatres and with children that were entertainers too. When the recession came, Honri turned the estate into a commercial concern, with a restaurant, shops and a putting green but to no avail. The estate was sold off and replaced by Abbots Gardens in 1932- 35. [Slide 32a Elmhurst] The last house to go originated from the late 1500s; initially called The Elms, then Elmhurst. It was occupied from 1833 to 1857 by Anthony Salvin, architect of Tudor and Gothic style country houses and restorer of castles, including work at Holy Island, Windsor, Newark, Carisbrook, Caernarvon and Alnwick Castles and the Tower of London. Elmhurst was demolished in 1939 and Elmshurst Crescent and Pulham Avenue were built in the grounds after the war. The green space in front of the house was left for the public, opposite the triangle of green created in the 1960s by the demolition of Causeway Cottages for a projected road widening scheme. [Slide 33 Causeway cottages]. The only house remaining, former home of the Rew family, is the Old House (now Fairacres). David Smith did some research recently, and discovered another illustrious resident. [Slide 34 sangers farm] A vestige of rural Finchley remained in Park Farm, next to Knightons. A colourful occupant was ‘Lord’ George Sanger, circus owner, who wintered his animals at the farm. When on the road, his circus train was said to be 2 miles long and included 10 wild beast wagons full of lions, tigers, bears and others. In 1911 he was murdered in a brawl at the farm initiated by a disgruntled employee. The funeral route from Finchley to Holborn Viaduct was lined with people sheltering under black umbrellas from torrential rain. Park Farm was demolished as recently as 1959. Hampstead Garden Suburb comes to East Finchley [Slide 35 path to hampstead] At the turn of the century, when much of East Finchley’s corner of the Finchley triangle was built up or projected, the valley of the Mutton Brook remained mostly rural, as this path to Hampstead shows. The imminent arrival of the tube railway in Golders Green spurred Henrietta Barnett into a bid to protect the area from piecemeal development. Eventually all the land in Hendon belonging to Eton College would be developed as an enlightened housing experiment, using the Heath Extension as an amenity on its doorstep. Contracts were signed in spring 1907. Before the central squares (designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens) were complete, the HGS Trust acquired from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners a lease on land in neighbouring East Finchley (Bibwell), stretching down the hill to the Mutton Brook and up the other side. Little and Big Woods were trimmed to fit in, and opened to the public. The development spread to most of the remaining rural land up the valley, to The Bishop’s Avenue, to East Finchley Station and up
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as far as East End Road, as this map of 1936 shows. [Slide 36 EF 1936] The cricket ground has gone and almost all the suburb is there, with the exception of some of the Sunshine houses around Ludlow Way. Development of Elmhurst and Belle Vue would follow. New Trunk Roads In the twenties, new trunk roads were constructed, effectively isolating East Finchley from the rest of Finchley. The North Circular Road through Finchley was constructed as a job creation scheme throughout the 1920s, following the line of the Brent Brook and Strawberry Vale Brook, which were put into culverts. The Ministry of Transport in 1923 announced plans for a Barnet Bypass cutting though Hampstead Garden Suburb, following the Mutton Brook and the work was completed by 1928. East Finchley’s boundary along Squires Lane was subsequently moved down to the North Circular Road. Cherry Tree Wood By the exit from the former Bishops’ Hunting Park was a wood where the Mutton Brook flowed though a waterlogged area known as the ‘Quag’. By 1894 the Ordnance Survey map of East Finchley shows that much of the Quag had been obliterated by the railway. At that time the Wood was known as Dirthouse Wood, after the building opposite, the forerunner of the Old White Lion. The boundary with Hornsey cut diagonally across the wood, with most of it on the Hornsey side. Watercress beds are clearly marked but had disappeared by the time the 1911  map was published. The Wood was bought by Finchley Urban District Council from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1915 and opened to the public. Subsequently it was renamed Cherry Tree Wood, presumably from its position by Cherry Tree Hill (also known as great North Road, formerly New Gate Lane) rather than from the trees it contained, and the Finchley/Hornsey boundary was rerouted around the outside in 1930 along with other changes. The northern boundary of the original hunting park, dating back to the 1200s, remains as the northern boundary of the Wood. Glebeland (90acres) was acquired in 1932. The tube arrives The underground was taken into public control in 1933 and plans to link the Northern line at Highgate were resurrected. The Northern line was extended in a tunnel from Highgate to a new East Finchley station in 1939 and on to Barnet by 1941. Plans to double and electrify the line from Finchley to Edgware and on to Bushey and electrify the line from Finsbury Park were interrupted by the war and never resurrected. Apart from the single track to Mill Hill East, electrified during the war for access to the army barracks, these lines were closed down, leaving us with the Northern line familiar to us all. East Finchley’s famous Archer by Eric Aumonier was unveiled in 1940. East Finchley towers The old centre of East Finchley around Market Place suffered extensive bomb damage in November 1940. The whole area was redeveloped in the late 1950s and early 1960s, resulting in the three high-rise blocks that can be seen for miles around. Aveton Road and Chapel Street disappeared and the remaining shops on Market Place migrated to the High Road. At least one building survives, as this photo shows, [Slide 37 Sorting Office] … … and this one didn’t [Slide 38 congregational church] The imposing Congregational Church/Chapel on the corner of High Road and East End Road that had replaced the burned down chapel in 1878 was replaced by Viceroy Parade. Tony Roberts 2009
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