High Road, N12

Road in/near North Finchley, existing until now

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Road · North Finchley · N12 ·

High Road, N12 is part of the ancient Great North Road - leading from London to Edinburgh.

The road from London which came to be known as the Great North Road played an important part in Finchley’s history. 16th century London map John Norden’s belief that the ancient highway to Barnet followed the line of Friern Barnet Lane was perhaps correct, since Finchley wood originally presented a barrier to travellers and Finchley’s earliest settlement was not on the line of the later Great North Road.

The change probably took place during the late 13th century or the 14th.

The hamlet of East End grew up during the 14th century at the exit of the road from Hornsey park but it is uncertain whether the route then passed directly northward across the common, as it did by Norden’s time, or whether it followed East End Road through Church End and along Ballards Lane to Whetstone.

Pavage was granted to the townsmen of Barnet in 1347 on the road from St. Albans to Finchley wood and to two Highgate men in 1354 for the road from Highgate to the two crosses at Finchley, extended in 1359 to St. Albans. The highway from Barnet to the two crosses was mentioned in 1374 and a watercourse at the two crosses was obstructed in 1385. There were several crosses in Finchley: one next to the church, another near Bibbesworth on East End Road, the fair cross at Ballards Reding, and probably one at Whetstone. The southern portion of the road, from Hornsey park to East End, was called Newgate Lane by 1395 and the northernmost was Whetstone Street by 1439. The intermediate stretch across the common was usually known as the Barnet Road and later as the Great North Road or High Road, its course probably following the highest and best-drained land.

Two routes from the south ran to Church End: Hendon Lane in the south-west, called Finchley Hill in 1659 and 1814 and probably identical with the medieval Alcockes Lane, and Ducksetters Street or Lane, mentioned from 1475, which ran from Golders Green a little west of the modern Regent’s Park Road. The two roads joined just south of Church End, where in 1365 the road was called Church Street. The road continued north to Finchley common as Ballards or Barrow Lane, so named in 1424, probably from the Ballard family of c. 1300.

Main source: Finchley: Introduction | British History Online
Further citations and sources



North Finchley

North Finchley is centred on Tally Ho Corner, the junction of the roads to East Finchley, Finchley Central and Whetstone.

The name of the whole of the modern area covering North Finchley and neighbouring Whetstone was North End, a name first used in 1462.

The rapid enclosure of the countryside in the first years of the nineteenth century meant the end of Finchley Common in 1816, opening up North Finchley from urbanisation - this still took a while nevertheless.

21 cottages were built in Lodge Lane during 1824 and by the 1830s there were other houses - even a chapel by 1837.

By 1839 North Finchley had a blacksmith (on Lodge Lane and not the High Road).

In 1851 there was a regular bus service from the ’Torrington’ to Charing Cross and next came the local railway lines. Christ Church was opened in 1870 and a new parish was formed in 1872.

In 1905 the Metropolitan Electric Tramways started a route between Highgate and Whetstone - a tram depot was opened in Woodberry Grove. Trams and buses together promoted North Finchley’s development.
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