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A Chat about Barnet and its history

By S. H. Widdicombe.  Vetry Clerk of Chipping Barnet. 1912.

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In Chapter 8 of Oliver Twist is partly set in Barnet.  “Oliver limped slowly into the little town of Barnet” … “every other house in Barnet is a tavern, large or small”.

Dicken’s dictionary of London (1879): “Barnet. – A pretty and still tolerably rural suburb, but on the north side of London and on clay. Perhaps the best situation on that side and standing high, its fell name being, in fact, High Barnet. Locally it is considered “the highest ground between London and York.” In September (4th to 6th) there is a huge horse and cattle fair, one of the most important in the kingdom. The best part of Barnet, from a residential point of view, is the ring of villas round the common. Rents, compared with those in choices spot on the south side, fairly moderate, From King’s-cross, Ludgate-hill, Moorgate, and Broad-street (about 37 min.), 1st, 1/6, 2/6; 2nd, 1/2, 1/10; 3rd, -/9.”
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Google Books > Oliver Twist Wikipedia > Oliver Twist Dicken’s Dictionary of London (1879) > “Barnet” Video on Dickens in Barnet (Borough)

Arkley View / Box 25

During World War II, over 1500 Voluntery Interceptors listened across the country and beyond, to the airwaves generated from abroad.  These messages, transmitted in morse code, were noted down and sent to Box 25, Barnet, Hertfordshire (Arkley View) where enemy morse code was matched up and passed on to GCHQ.  Volunteers at the National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park say that 60% of the input to Bletchley Park was from Voluntary Interceptors.   It wasn’t until 1979 that they were told, via a BBC programme, about the role they played in the war.

Map of Arkley – Overlaid with known locations Old Map of Arkley (1960) > arkley-view BBC: Wartime Radio The Secret Listeners (1979) Tom Howie Interview (at 35min 25sec) Radio Wars Book (Abrutat) at Barnet Library Radio Wars Book (Abrutat) at Amazon Radio Wars Book (Abrutat) Youtube Video at RSGB 2021

Wrotham Park

A private house.  No access to the General Public.
“To the north of Hadley is our very own stately home, Wrotham Park, a Palladian mansion designed by Isaac Ware in 1754 and built by Admiral John Byng, the fourth son of Admiral Sir George Byng.  It is a private house and is still owned by the Byng family. It is open to the public by appointment on Open House Weekend in September each year. ” (source: Barnet Society)
Image: (source). High Living Article

Foundling Hospital Barnet

“Barnet Foundling Hospital (BFH) was located on Monken Hadley Common. The smallest of six country branches of the Foundling Hospital in London (FHL), it housed 40 children from December 1762 until March 1768. Managed by Prudence West, a local ‘inspector’, living in Barnet High Street, it was the only hospital not to be run by a board of male governors. More than two hundred children were cared for in the local area over five years by ‘nurses’ (foster parents)…” (source) > foundling hospital barnet Monken Hadley Common Trust Book: A Caring County (Gear, King) Wikipedia > Foundling Hospital

The Universal British Directory (1790)

Page 271 – Barnet

Battle of Barnet Banners

High Street Barnet EN5 5XP

Barnet Museum volunteers have created over 90 replica banners representing nobles who fought at the Battle of Barnet.   View the battle of Barnet Banners, along the High Street and in the Spires.  Download the list of Banners from the Barnet Museum website and see which ones you can spot. > banners

Paul Baker’s Guided Walks

Phone: 07506 761294

A series of historical and fun guided walks in Barnet. Barnet Ghosts; The Battle of Barnet; Charles Dickens in North London; Georgian Monken Hadley; Historical High Barnet; Mill Hill; Hampstead Garden Suburb; East Barnet Village; Barnet pubs, churches; Historical Finchley, Special ghost walks for Halloween. Walks are usually at the weekend. They meet at various points around the Borough of Barnet. Walks also in London. High Living Review (March 2016)

Hadley Green Drinking Fountain

Hadley Green Road EN5 5PP

Originally installed and opened in August 1885 by local benefactor Ann Pagent, it was restored and opened again in April 2023 campaigned for by local shopkeeper Peter Wanders in April 2023.

BBC London Article (March 2023) Barnet Society Article (Apr 2023) Watch BBC London Video (March 2023) Further Information & History

Multiple Sclerosis Care

“Most High Barnet residents are familiar with the Marie Foster Centre – awaiting demolition for redevelopment – but few probably realise that when opened in 1973, the 30-bed hospital in Wood Street was the first purpose-built home in the country for young people suffering from multiple sclerosis.” (source: Barnet Society)

Barnet Society Article (2018)

Kelly’s Directories – Barnet

Kelly’s Directory was a trade directory in England that listed all businesses and tradespeople in a particular city or town, as well as a general directory of postal addresses of local gentry, landowners, charities, and other facilities. (Source)

Online – Barnet Council Online – University of Leicester

Hadley Highstone Monument

Junction of Kitts End Rd & Great North Road Barnet EN5 4QQ

The monument is a sandstone obelisk which was originally put up by Sir Jeremy Sambrook in 1740. It reads “Here was fought the famous battle between Edward IV and the Earl of Warwick April 14th Anno 1471 in which the Earl was Defeated and Slain“.

Listing on Historic England Listing on Imperial War Museum Website > Hadley Highstone Watch YouTube Video

Barnet Medieval Festival

Byng Road Barnet EN5 4NP

London’s largest medieval weekend will take place at Barnet Elizabethans RFC. The Festival will be commemorating the Battle of Barnet with a special programme of battle re-enactments, gunnery and archery displays, living history encampments, music and dance, a medieval market and children’s activities. High Living Review (June 2018)

Gothic House / Radio House

A private residents. No Public Access.

Reuters Century, 1851-1951 (source): “Emergency quarters were set up at Barnet on the outskirts of London; Reuters had purchased a private house onthe fringe of London’s telephone network and on the route of the land cables from central London to the radio station at Leafield.”

Book: Reuters’ Century, 1851-1951 Aubrey Higgs (Flickr Photos) Aubrey Higgs (Flickr Video)

Shakespeare – Henry VI Part 3 (approx. 1591)

Act 5, Scene 1. Earl of Warwick: “Alas, I am not coop’d here for defence! I will away towards Barnet presently, And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou darest.”

(found via “Greater London: A narrative of its history, its people, and its places (1885)” Chipping Barnet: p319)
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Quote on Open Source Shakespeare Greater London: A narrative of its history, its people, and its places Henry VI, Part 3 on Wikipedia

Barnet Market

Barnet Market Stapylton Road Barnet EN5 4LN

“On 23rd August 1199 King John issued a charter for a market in Barnet to the Lord of the Manor, the Abbot of St. Albans, John de Cella.” – fobm. Friends of Barnet Market Wikipedia > Barnet Market & Fair 800 years of Barnet Market (Book at Library) High Living Review

Julia Hyde

“… left a bequest of £10,000 to establish “a literary institute and reading rooms” for the people of the parishes of Monken Hadley and Chipping Barnet” (source)
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High Living

Your online guide to life in and around Chipping Barnet