was the conduit by which Finchley urbanised northwards.
is an ancient road which was probably named after the Ballard family of about 1300. It did not always run north to the High Road and for many centuries it terminated near where Victoria Park
Finchley’s earliest settlement grew up around the church on the edge of the boulder clay at Church End
, where there was well-water and the land (282 ft. at the church) was far enough from Dollis brook to be safe from flooding. Houses were mentioned in the earliest records, from the 13th century. Conveyances often involved land in Hendon and Finchley, and settlement may have spread northward from Hendon along Hendon Lane and Ballards Lane
. Meadow land along Dollis Brook bordered arable, although probably not open-field, land.
There were a few houses near the church, including the rectory. To the west, on the edge of the gravel, was the medieval Grotes farm. Ballards Lane
and Nether Street
, each with its medieval houses, carried the settlement northward. Early houses included Kentesgarden (1398), Warren’s Gift (1489), the church-house (1547) and clerk’s house (1561), and the ’ancient’ Holly Cottage, all in Church End
. A house was built at Abbottesgarden in Ballards Lane
between 1467 and 1498. Others in Ballards Lane
included Bakers (1501), perhaps the later White or Grove House which Henry Stephens, inventor of the ink and father of Henry Charles Stephens, bought in 1844. Little Angells (1633), and Critchendell House (17th century) were also in Ballards Lane
In 1614, 28 people in Church End
, Ballards Lane
, and Nether Street
were assessed for poor-rates. In 1664 31 were assessed for hearth tax in Church End
and Nether Street
, the largest houses being those of Richard Utber (17 hearths) and widow Hayton (11). Ballards Lane
was assessed with Whetstone.
Much building or rebuilding took place from the 17th century. In Ballards Lane
a cottage was described as newly built in 1646. Sellars Hall was pulled down in 1680 and rebuilt soon afterwards, and Gibbs was described as newly built in 1690. The Red Lion had been built by 1717, Finchley Hall by 1719, and Willow Lodge in 1727. The King of Prussia, formerly the King’s Head, was licensed by 1731. A new house and coachhouse stood on the site of a cottage in Ballards Lane
in 1765 and Cornwell House was built on the site of Critchendell House in 1795. Wentworth Lodge replaced an earlier house in the early 19th century.
In 1756 a raised way was constructed from the end of Ballards Lane
to the High Road, then the Great North Road, making North Finchley a junction. This suggests that Ballards Lane
had already become a link in a route from London via Hendon to the Great North Road.
Londoners had been attracted to Finchley since the Middle Ages, to invest in land and also as residents. In 1625 a citizen moved there to avoid the plague and there were many like Sir Thomas Harris who lived in Ballards Lane
in 1775. About the time of the enclosure, Finchley was described as small but respectable, with many detached buildings, and also as a straggling village. There were many elms, especially around Nether Street
, and weatherboarded cottages alternated with more substantial brick and stuccoed houses.
There was a beer house in 1814, licensed to provide gunpowder and shot, near the junction. The name Tally Ho
came in the 1830s when a coaching company of the same name based a staging post of 16 horses on the corner. But it was later, with the enclosure of Finchley Common after 1816 and the creation of the Finchley Road turnpike along Ballards Lane
in the late 1820s, that beginnings of a suburb were sparked.