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It is primarily a residential and shopping area, with several supermarkets and many restaurants. The artsdepot, a local community arts centre including a gallery, a studio and a theatre, was opened on 23 October 2004 in an attempt to revitalise the area, and in order to fill a gap created by the demolition of the Gaumont cinema and what had become an open-air market.
The area has mainly 19th-century housing, ranging from quaint Victorian cottages to substantially larger Victorian double-fronted houses. There is also a dominant Edwardian style toward Woodside Park and Nether Street, but with some modern houses—probably built between the 1930s and 1960s—towards Friern Barnet. There are some mansion-style properties on Friern Barnet Lane, and a development of luxury flats at Tally Ho Corner, above the artsdepot, with views over Mill Hill and Hertfordshire. There are few local authority estates in the area; the largest one, and still pleasant, is in Woodside Park where ex-Spice Girl Emma Bunton grew up.
The new North Finchley bus station opened in 2004; however, it closed several months later owing to safety issues, after a pensioner walked into the shelter through the wrong entrance, was hit by a bus, and died. The bus station was reopened in March 2007 after safety improvements had been implemented.
Balfour House bombing
On 26 July 1994 a bomb exploded outside Balfour House, a prominent building on North Finchley High Street and location of the offices of numerous Jewish charities. Earlier on the same day, a bomb had exploded outside the Israeli embassy. Two Palestinians, Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh, were subsequently convicted of carrying out the Finchley bombing.
An urban district of Finchley, part of the then county of Middlesex (since abolished) was created in 1894. In 1932 the Municipal Borough of Finchley was created, but in 1965 the municipal borough was abolished and its area became part of the London Borough of Barnet.
Media related to North Finchley at Wikimedia Commons