Whetstone, London

Coordinates: 51°37′34″N 0°10′17″W / 51.6260°N 0.1715°W / 51.6260; -0.1715
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Barnet House: previously Barnet council offices, originally the Ever-Ready building, dominates the centre of Whetstone.
Whetstone is located in Greater London
Location within Greater London
OS grid referenceTQ265935
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtN20
Dialling code020
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°37′34″N 0°10′17″W / 51.6260°N 0.1715°W / 51.6260; -0.1715

Whetstone /ˈwɛtstn/ is a suburb of London, in the London Borough of Barnet, bearing the postcode N20. It is served by an Underground station called Totteridge and Whetstone (Totteridge being to the west of Whetstone). Whetstone is around 7.8 miles North of Charing Cross and is a settlement in the London Borough of Barnet, previously part of the Borough of Finchley prior to the 1960s. The combined areas of Totteridge and Whetstone was, at the outset of the 21st century, found to be the 63rd-richest of the more than 9,000 wards of the United Kingdom.[1]

The High Road is the A1000, formerly known as the Great North Road, parts of it still bear this name.[2] Until the late 19th century its tiny developed area was one of two main settlements in the ancient parish of Friern Barnet, the other being Colney Hatch. It was thus the northernmost settlement in the Ossulstone hundred. Whetstone is also the northernmost part of the parish of Finchley.


Early history[edit]

In medieval times the Hospitallers had a settlement nearby in Friern Barnet probably where Friary Park is now and alongside the old road to London. In 1340 the Bishop of London opened a gate into his park (the Highgate) which enabled a straight road across Finchley Common along the ridge there. The Hospitallers' settlement moved further west and became known as West Town, also known variously as "le Weston" (1398), "Wheston" (1417), and "Whetstonestret" (1439).[3]

It the northernmost settlement in the Ossulstone hundred.

Until the late 19th century its tiny developed area was one of two main settlements in the ancient parish of Friern Barnet, the other being Colney Hatch. Friern Barnet remained its ecclesiastical parish and its civil form was at that time giving way to urban and rural districts, in this case Friern Barnet Urban District.

The Whetstone[edit]

The Whetstone
The Griffin pub with the Whetstone visible in the left foreground

John Heathfield of the Friern Barnet & District Local History Society writes that according to the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, the stone outside The Griffin public house commonly known as the Whetstone, is a mounting block, and if so "it would have been connected to the toll gate erected by the Whetstone & Highgate Turnpike Trust about 1730."[4][better source needed]

An historic legend regarding the whetstone itself tells that the stone was used by soldiers on their march towards High Barnet (approx. 3.5 miles north of Whetstone) in preparation for the battle of Barnet in 1471.

He also states that the earliest evidence for the existence of the stone is a photograph taken in 1861 which shows it much closer to The Griffin than it is now. The stone was moved to its present location when the toll gate was removed in 1863.[3]

Until the late 19th century this was the northern hamlet, centred on a crossroads, of the medieval parish of Friern Barnet which stretched 3 miles (4.8 km) south-southeast and was half as wide as long. The very rural parish until then had one other main population centre, equally a hamlet, Colney Hatch.[5]

Transport in Whetstone[edit]

Whetstone has transport links with a national rail station on the Welwyn Garden City branch of the Thameslink network (Oakleigh Park Station, approx. 1 mile East of Whetstone high road), a TFL London underground station (Totteridge and Whetstone) and numerous TFL buses headed towards Walthamstow, Highbury, High Barnet, Brent Cross, Arnos Grove, Highgate, Muswell Hill, Edgware, Winchmore Hill, Trafalgar Square and Colindale.

Buses that serve Whetstone include the 125 from Winchmore Hill to Colindale, the 234 from Barnet, The Spires to Archway, the 263 from Barnet Hospital to Highbury Barn, the 383 from High Barnet to Finchley Memorial Hospital via Friary Park, the 34 from Walthamstow to Barnet Church, the 251 from Arnos Grove to Edgware, the 326 from Brent Cross to High Barnet and the N20 from High Barnet to Trafalgar Square.[citation needed]


Whetstone is the northernmost part of the Finchley plateau. Whetstone lies about 312 feet (95 m) above sea level.[citation needed]

Swan Lane Open Space is a park in south Whetstone and the Dollis Valley Greenwalk along the bank of Dollis Brook passes through it.


Stations in the area are:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Living in Whetstone". Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  2. ^ "SABRE: A1000". www.sabre-roads.org.uk. The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Whetstone Notes", John Heathfield, Friern Barnet Newsletter, No. 57 (April 2014), p. 4. Archived 26 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Transport for London
  5. ^ A P Baggs, Diane K Bolton, M A Hicks and R B Pugh, 'Friern Barnet: Introduction', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6 ed. T F T Baker and C R Elrington (London, 1980), pp. 6-15. Part of the Victoria County History collaborative professional historians' project. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol6/pp6-15

External links[edit]

Media related to Whetstone, London at Wikimedia Commons