(about 1½ miles)
The annual Barnet Fair was so famous that it became part of Cockney rhyming slang - ‘Barnet’ means ‘hair’. There was also a regular livestock market near the church but by the 1850's there were so many mail and stage coaches using the town as a stopover that on market days it was badly congested and eventually the livestock market moved elsewhere. Some of the old inns that served the coaches and traders remain in the High Street and there are many other interesting buildings to be found in the town. For a comprehensive history click here
So, leave the station by the exit slope on the northern platform and walk up the path. Continue to Barnet Hill and cross Meadway. Soon you will catch sight of St. John’s on a island at the junction with Wood Street. This is the area where the market used to be held. The church was much altered in the 1870’s and inside there is a wealth of Victorian carving. Times when you can go into the church are on the website (link above). Continue down the High Street for a short while until you get to Union Street (first turning on left). This is a residential road, with cottages and small villas. At the end is Stapylton Road. Cross over and go left into The Avenue to track down the Leathersellers' almshouses. These are a sixteenth century foundation, partially rebuilt 1966, with splendid 1899 wrought iron entrance gates.
To find two more sets of almshouses cross The Avenue using the island and then turn right alongside Ravenscroft Gardens (once part of Barnet Common) until a gate into the park. Cut through to get to the zebra crossing. Go over this and reach Wood Street by turning left and walking towards the mini roundabout. Soon you will come to the Elizabeth Allen School founded 1725. The gable over the schoolhouse bears the date 1824 and although modernized, it retains some of its original charm. Cross over the road at the island to get to Garrett’s Almshouses(1731), a row of heavily restored terraced cottages, and then go a little further to find the grander Ravenscroft Almshouses. The wall piers proclaim the date 1679, but most of the buildings have been reconstructed over the years. Continue down Wood Street. No. 55 is an imposing eighteenth/nineteenth century pile that in Victorian times was a maternity hospital. There are many other old dwellings round here, some of the smaller ones having timber frames hidden under the stucco. No's.18 and 20 make a lovely pair.
Shortly you will pass the United Reformed Church with Ewen Hall – good examples of late Victorian Nonconformist architecture. Near the end of the road (south side) is the neat terrace which contains the local museum, well worth a visit - there is a good costume section in the basement. The museum backs on to the Old Court House Park (entrance nearby, at the side of the former Barnet Council offices). Don't miss No.15 at the end of the run of buildings - early eighteenth century with bow windows.
Photos: (click on image to enlarge)
No's. 18-20 Wood Street
St. John's Church
No.15 Wood Street
This is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings to be found in the areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the above link and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!