Finchley: Who was Harry Beck?

First appeared in the December 2009 issue.

By Bardia Khorshidian

Henry Charles Beck, better known as Harry Beck, is the man responsible for the design of the current London Underground network map. This achievement is extremely noteworthy, since his map is not accurately representative of the geographical locations of its constituent stops and stations. Beck’s map is topological – a simplified map which eliminates unnecessary detail such as scale and distance between stops, while maintaining the overall relationship between stations.

Beck’s design has remained largely unchanged since its original publication in 1933. A copy of his original map can be found on the southbound platform of Finchley Central station, alongside a plaque in his memory. Another plaque, organised by The Finchley Society in 2003, adorns his former residence at 60 Courthouse Road. Finchley Central was Beck’s local station, despite the fact that he lived just a stone’s throw from West Finchley station. This is because West Finchley station, which opened in 1933 for LNER steam trains, was not served by London Underground trains until 1940, well after the publication of Beck’s map.

Beck went on to design two versions of a topological map for the Paris Metro, but his designs were rejected. His London map has been recognised as a design classic, and can be found emblazoned on a vast range of merchandise peddled mainly to tourists, on the streets of London and even on the internet. The map is synonymous with London and is now recognised the world over.

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Finchley: Computer corner – Manage your inbox

This article first appeared in the December 2009 issue

By Andrew Taylor

My inbox is very manageable now as I have devised a method that will work for not only Outlook users but many other email clients (programs for reading emails) as well.

The idea is simple but you need to work at it for the first few weeks.

It is in two parts: the first part is for everybody, and the second part is for those who have their emails sent to their mobile phones.

First of all, create a folder called Delete 7 days’ or whatever you feel would work with you.

Then make a filter that moves emails that you need to read but do not need to keep directly to that sevenday folder. For those emails which you don’t need to read but might want to look at later – for example, Vistaprint sends me weekly offers but I only need to look at them when I actually need some printingmake a filter which marks these emails as read and posts them directly to the sevenday folder.

These two sets of filters, after a month of building them as the emails arrive in my inbox, now take care of more than half of all the emails I receive. About once a month I remember to go in and delete all emails over seven days old!

For emails I need to read, I have set up filters to keep them unreadbut which move them straight to the folder where I want them filed. This saves a little time and ensures they always go to the same folder. I then read the unread emails already filed in the right folders.

The second part of my plan is for those who have their emails sent to their mobile phones

If you have a smartphone and need to have certain emails go to your mobile phone when you are away from the office, then you need to keep those messages in your computer’s inbox so you can read them when out and about. You cannot file these into any folder until after you have read them or you won’t see them in your inbox on your smartphone.

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Finchley: Telephone scam – a warning

This article first appeared in November 2009
by Andrew Taylor

This telephone ‘scam’ has been doing the rounds.

A ‘representative’ of BT informs you that he is disconnecting you because of an unpaid bill. He demands a small payment immediately or you face paying £118 to re-connect. The caller gives his name and phone number – 0800 0800 152. If you sound as if you don’t believe him, he offers to demonstrate that he is from BT by telling you to hang up and try phoning someone, and that he will disconnect your phone to prevent this.

And he does! Your phone goes dead. No engaged tone, nothing – until he phones you again. But it’s a trick – he never hangs up, so you don’t get a dial tone.

Andrew – we need an explanation here I think. Am I right in presuming this is how it’s done?

I think this is right.  If you initiate a call, only you can disconnect it.  DL.

He asks if that is enough proof that he is with BT. He then asks for payment by credit card there and then.

The police recommend we all tell as many people as we can about this scam. The fact that the phone goes dead would probably convince some people it’s real, so let as many friends and family be aware of this. The sad thing is that it will certainly fool the elderly and vulnerable

Sounds a bit patronising, especially if (like me) you’re a 65-year old who is quite capable of biting back.  I suggest something along the lines: “it may deceive some people who are both elderly and vulnerable”.  DL.

. Obviously, once they have your card details there is nothing to stop them cleaning out your account.

You can check all urban myths at This one, according to them, is real.

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Finchley: Making our neighbourhood safer

Appeared in our December 2009 issue
By Laura McGuinness

According to the Metropolitan Police website, the crime rate in the N3 area is average. In September this year there were 94 reported crimes in Finchley Church End. Residential burglary accounts for most of these crimes, closely followed by reports of antisocial behaviour and theft from cars. Fortunately, few of the reports involved violence and none of the violent incidents could be classed as serious.

It’s a similar story in East and West Finchley. The lowest crime rate in the vicinity was found in Totteridge, whilst Mill Hill suffered the highest, although even there the crime rate is still deemed to be ‘average.

Although Barnet may have no more or less to worry about than any other London borough, it is still comforting to know that the local police are actively searching for ways to stamp down on crime.

The Safer Neighbourhood scheme has been running throughout London for the past three years. The teams in N3 have been listening to the concerns of local people and have been working hard to try to solve the issues raised.

The Safer Neighbourhood Team is about getting to the heart of the community, building confidence so that crime intelligence is shared, being a visible presence on the streets and targeting the problems that are considered to be the priorities on the ward,” Sergeant Alison Preece told The Finchley Arrow.

Recently the team has

David – decided to remove this as I couldn’t find it on the A-Z and Laura didn’t know where it was either!

Robin Lane NW4 is near Westchester Drive, but isn’t shown on any map I’ve seen.  It’s mentioned at, apparently in the belief that it’s in Church End, but it isn’t so we’re right to exclude it.  DL

encouraged dog owners to be more responsible, carried out several drugs raids and participated in the Junior Citizen scheme at Avenue House, teaching ten-year-olds basic safety skills including first aid and stranger danger.

Concerns about antisocial behaviour on Ballards Lane led the West Finchley Safer Neighbourhood team to work with shop owners to identify the offenders. They then organised football matches in Victoria Park which have successfully kept these young people occupied.

“We have also tried to be more accessible to the public and we now hold a ‘drop in’ surgery once a month at Avenue House and Hasmonean Boys School,” Sergeant Preece told The Arrow. “I genuinely believe we are making the streets safer for residents”.

With Christmas just around the corner opportunist burglary is likely to rise. The police are campaigning to raise awareness and to help residents keep their homes safe at Christmas time.

They are also warning people not to leave presents under the tree and to keep house keys and handbags out of sight. “Report anything suspicious. Do not be afraid to ring us, we are very approachable and we like to meet people on the ward,” Preece advises.

To find out more about the Safer Neighbourhood scheme or how to contact your local team, visit

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