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East Finchley High Road looking south towards the tube station
East Finchley shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Finchley & Golders Green|
|London Assembly||Barnet and Camden|
East Finchley is an area in the London Borough of Barnet, in north London, and situated 5.4 miles (8.7 km) north-west of Charing Cross. Geographically it is somewhat separate from the rest of Finchley, with North Finchley and West Finchley to the north, and Finchley Central to the west.
The land on which most of East Finchley now stands was once part of the Bishop of London's hunting ground, named Finchley Common, first recorded around 1400. The Bishop of London built a road through his land which weaved through what is now Market Place, The Walks, King Street and Oak Lane up to the north. As a result, pubs such as The White Lion, The Bald Faced Stag and The Five Bells (on East End Road), all of which survive today, sprang up to provide rest for the people using the road.
The area of "East Finchley Village" around Church Lane was west of the common and Bulls Lane (now Church Lane) dates back to at least the 17th century. With the coming of the Great Northern Railway in 1868 the area began to emerge, and property was built gradually between the 1870s and the 1930s. However, it was not until 1914 that a more recognisable East Finchley High Road and surrounding area was visible.
East Finchley tube station is marked by a well-known statue of an archer by Eric Aumonier in the Art Deco style. The archer is pointing his arrow towards the entrance to the tunnel which starts south of the station and runs for 17.3 miles (27.8 km) to the end of the Northern line at Morden. For many years this was the longest tunnel in the world. There was originally an arrow at Morden Station to match the archer at East Finchley, but this was stolen a few months after the station was opened.
The station is on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line which serves the city (via Bank) and the west end (via Charing Cross) with trains every 2-3 minutes. Buses also serve the high street with the 263 route going from Barnet Hospital to Highbury Barn; the 143 bus linking East Finchley to Archway and Brent Cross; the 102 from Edmonton Green, and the 234 serving Barnet (the Spires) from Highgate Wood.
Housing in East Finchley is diverse in its nature, encompassing many housing styles, from 19th-century terraced housing and 1960s council estates to large 30s houses to multi-million pound mansions on The Bishop's Avenue. The three eleven-storey tower blocks of Prospect Ring, near to the centre of East Finchley, are visible for miles around.
East Finchley has several state primary schools, including Our Lady Of Lourdes RC primary school, Martin Primary School (Ofsted Outstanding), and Holy Trinity Primary School. There are two secondary schools in East Finchley itself—Bishop Douglass RC High School (Roman Catholic and mixed) and Christ's College (boys only up to Year 11, mixed sixth form. The Archer Academy, a new non-denominational, non-selective community secondary school opened in East Finchley in September 2013 and is already oversubscribed.
Many local children attend schools elsewhere in the London Borough of Barnet. For those living in the direction of Muswell Hill to the east of the High Road, Fortismere School (mixed comprehensive, which falls under the London Borough of Haringey Local Education Authority) is an option and many East Finchleans also fall into the catchment area for Brookland Junior School, which neighbours Christ's College. The Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute's new facilities are on the High Road.
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Amenities and features
The independent Phoenix Cinema (once called the Rex and before that the Coliseum) is located on the High Road, and regularly shows films with more individual appeal than is the case with the cinema chains. It is the oldest purpose-built cinema in the UK (the only older ones having started life as theatres). Time Out, the arts magazine, describes the Phoenix as the best single-screen cinema in London. Film critic Mark Kermode has written that the Phoenix Cinema "remains the single most significant cinema in my development as a bona fide cinema obsessive."
There is a listed Neo-Georgian public library located on the High Road opposite Leslie Road. Behind the library are some award-winning allotments, owned by Barnet Council. Adjacent to these are the Fuelland allotments which are held in trust. The massive St. Pancras and Islington Cemetery is located on the High Road. Established in 1854, it is the oldest municipal cemetery in London and the largest. The Victorian painter Ford Madox Brown is buried there.
Opposite the tube station is Cherry Tree Wood, approx. 4.5 ha in size, and contains both woodland and grassland. Nearby parks include Coldfall wood to the north, and Highgate Wood, Queens Wood, and Hampstead Heath to the south.
In Evelyn Waugh's novel Scoop Lord Copper, owner of the newspaper The Beast, lived in East Finchley. "That evening, Mr Salter, foreign editor of The Beast was summoned to dinner at his chief's country seat at East Finchley".
Peter Sellers lived with his mother at 211b High Road, and in his Goon Show persona as Bluebottle was usually referred to as an East Finchley boy scout. Singer George Michael was born in Church Lane.
Sir Ronald Fisher was born in East Finchley. Gracie Fields lived in The Bishop's Avenue. Thomas Pierrepoint, the official British hangman in the early 1900s lived in Huntingdon Road, by chance not far where the 18th-century gibbet stood in Lincoln Road.
The poet, playwright and educator Clive Sansom was born in East Finchley in 1910. The musical comedy actress and picture postcard beauty Marie Studholme lived and died at Croftway in Finchley Road and Studholme Court was named after her.
- Martin Primary School
- The Archer Academy
- The Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute
- Kermode, Mark. It's Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive. London: Random House, 2010; page 26.
- "List Entry: East Finchley Library". English Heritage. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Cherry, Bridget; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1998). London. ([New ed.] ed.). London: Penguin. p. 122. ISBN 0-14-071049-3.
- "The Archer". Retrieved 2009-10-21.
- Book One Chapter 3
- Front Page Barnet4U
||Church End||North Finchley||Friern Barnet|
|Temple Fortune||Muswell Hill|
|Hampstead Garden Suburb||Highgate||Fortis Green|