Dollis Walk refurbishment started, awaiting further funding between the Fursby Ave and Dollis Road section.

Dollis Valley Green Walk

Dollis Valley Greenwalk was voted for by the public to receive one of the ten grants of up to £400,000 from the Mayor of London’s Help a London Park Scheme.

The Mayor of London’s scheme, Help a London park (external link) was established to invest £6million in improving the quality and safety of London’s parks.

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bookside Walk footpath before works Before    Brookside walk footpath after works After

The Phase 1 footpath improvements are now complete and can be seen at:

Brook Farm Open space (Totteridge Ward), from Totteridge lane to Western Way

Brookside Walk (Finchley Church End and Hendon Ward) from Hendon Lane to Bridge Lane

Brent Park (Hendon Ward) from Bell Lane to North Circular Road


Footpath works (Phase 2):

Windsor open space – works currently programmed for September 2011, subject to consultation

Although the full stretch of the Dollis Valley Greenwalk has been surveyed, due to financial restrictions, some areas of footpath cannot be repaired as part of this project. Areas such as the Fursby Avenue to Dollis Road section, have been identified and will be a priority once further funding becomes available.


The next stage of works is to carry out repairs and maintenance of bridges along the length of the walk.All the bridges have been inspected and works will vary from complete replacement to health and safety works including new handrails and repair to uneven surfaces.

More information may be seen on their website

Posted in History, Nature. Comments Off on Dollis Walk refurbishment started, awaiting further funding between the Fursby Ave and Dollis Road section.

The disappointing case of Barnet Council, HADAS and the Church Farmhouse Museum.

The following letter has come to our attention and as we believe that the recipient would like to remain anonymous, We have omitted his name, otherwise the letter is exactly as it it, other than we have emboldened certain parts for your attention.

Dear xxxxxx

Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) has since its foundation in 1961 had close association with the Museum in Greyhound Hill. We have had displays at the museum and have donated a display case. One of our collections was lodged at the museum. In addition, we have on a number of occasions had excavations in the museum grounds and have involved local schools in some of these. In 2010, we dug in the grounds and also, with council permission, opened up two second world war air raid shelters in Sunnyhill Park at the back of the museum. The Hendon Times published information on this and included encouraging and complimentary comments from Councillor Rams.

On 3rd December 2010, the council started a consultation period of 6 weeks on a proposal to close the museum, a period covering Christmas and the New Year, and the school holidays. The documents for this were not published until 17th December. It was stated that local organisations connected to the museum were notified. Somewhat surprisingly this did not include HADAS. Once we discovered the situation, we consulted a number of other groups and contacted the council to declare an interest in taking over the running of the museum.

However, in order to do this we needed information on what we were taking over. Details of the rent that would be charged (a piece of vital information) was not forthcoming, there was no inventory of fixtures and fittings, no inventory of the collection either in the form of up-to-date accession lists or identification marks on the objects. The use of the building for other purposes as well as a museum proved problematical with issues around disability access and toilet facilities. Solving these issues needed a lot more time.

We sought meetings with the council staff to discuss these points, and this meeting took place on  3rd March. Details of recent museum operating costs were sent to us on 14th March, but no information regarding the possible rental arrangements. On 14th April, we were advised that the council would give us three months starting from 1st April to develop a business case, but that we should submit our proposals by 31st May. This period included 5 bank holidays. No information regarding rents was provided. We again requested that information but as at 27th April, it was still not available.

Meanwhile, the museum had closed on 31st March, and the Curator made redundant. Visiting the site, we found that a number of items had been consigned to a skip, and we then discovered that items were being offered to another museum without our knowledge.

In order to get the necessary volunteer and financial support we needed to be able to tell residents and potential supporters, at a minimum, how much it was going to cost per annum and then we needed an adequate timeframe to prepare an acceptable proposal. The lack of relevant information made this an impossible task. As a result we have reluctantly and sadly come to the view that we were unable to proceed with preparing a proposal to run the museum.

We have been extremely disappointed by the apparent lack of interest, co-operation and urgency displayed by the Council and its staff. HADAS hope that that despite our withdrawal the museum and, more particularly, the Grade II* listed building will be maintained and kept safe in the care of the London Borough of Barnet as it has for over 60 years.

Don Cooper
HADAS – Chairman

We are trying hard to be non-political but in the case of the Church Farmhouse Museum, of which one of our volunteers is/was honorary secretary of the Friends of the Church Farmhouse Museum, and is very unhappy at the way the museum has been forced to close, even though a voluntary body was willing to take it over.

Posted in Barnet Council, Buildings, Education, History, People, Politics. Comments Off on The disappointing case of Barnet Council, HADAS and the Church Farmhouse Museum.

Proposed Northern line extension – public consultation begins

Transport for London and developer Treasury Holdings are starting a public consultation to hear local residents’ views on the proposed private-sector funded 3km extension of the Northern line from Kennington to Battersea Power Station. The public consultation starts today (Monday 9 May) and finishes on Friday 17 June.

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy supports an externally funded extension of the Northern line to support development in the surrounding area. The Tube extension is part of a package of transport measures that would enable the regeneration of the GLA’s wider Opportunity Area which covers Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea.

When I first saw this I thought, “Great! They’re connecting Mill Hill East with Edgware” but alas this is not to be. In 1935, there were plans for the Northern line (then known as the Morden-Edgware Line) to connect Finchley Central with Edgware, and to extend further to Bushey Heath and a new depot at Aldenham. Thus creating three extra stations at Brockley Hill, Elstree South and Bushey Heath.

The work was started but shelved during the second world war, but a lot of the land is still available, but an equal amount has been built over so I fear these plans will never come to fruition. After the war, the introduction of the Metropolitan Green Belt meant that residential houses couldn’t be built on the land so the need for stations was removed. Whatever happened to the green belt – Elstree is a thriving communities.

Posted in History, Transport. Comments Off on Proposed Northern line extension – public consultation begins

Avenue House appoints present trustee Andy Savage to chairman of AHET

Photo of Andy Savage

Andy Savage - AHET Chairman

The Trustees of the Avenue House Estate Trust are pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Savage, Executive Director of the Railway Heritage Trust, to the role of Chairman of the Avenue House Estate Trust, following the retirement of Bill Tyler in March this year.

Andy is a long-term Finchley resident, and member of the Trust. He brings to the Trust a lifelong experience of voluntary work in the heritage sector, particularly through his involvement with the Ffestiniog Railway. In his present post he is responsible for awarding grants to improve the condition of listed buildings on the national railway system. He has held a number of senior positions in the rail industry, and was, until the end of 2009, Deputy Chief of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, part of the Department for Transport

Andy says: ‘I am honoured to be appointed to this post, and would like to pay tribute to the work of Bill Tyler, who has led the Trust for a decade, most recently through the crisis caused by the loss of tenants. Now that the Trust has got over the worst of these problems, I look forward to working with my fellow Trustees, the staff of the Estate, and the Friends of Avenue House to develop the Estate for the benefit of the people of Finchley. My prime aim is to rebuild the Trust’s business and reserves. I am sure that we can achieve this, and that the Estate has a bright future.

I would also like to particularly thank our Estate Manager, Janett Durrant, for her ongoing work for the Trust, especially in such a difficult time, and for agreeing to remain with the Trust until the end of September, despite her wish to retire. This has given us time to find a worthy successor to her, and we hope to announce an appointment shortly.’

Avenue House is a grade 2 listed building, and is set in grounds of some 10 acres in the centre of Finchley. The Estate was left to the former Finchley Urban District Council by Henry Stephens, the ink manufacturer, in 1918. It is now run by the Avenue House Estate Trust, on a 125 year lease from the London Borough of Barnet. The Trust maintains the Estate and operates it for the benefit of the people of Finchley, in line with Stephens’ wishes. It does this with virtually no revenue support, using the income from letting rooms in the house, and donations, to cover the maintenance and operating costs of both the house and the grounds. The Trust opens the grounds to the public free of charge during daylight hours every day of the year.

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It could be argued that this is nothing to do with Finchley – but it could be!

In fact, it affects all of us.

The following video was shown to a Sony Annual Shareholder Meeting in 2009. I have only just come across it and am still undecided as to whether it is exciting, or frightening. But of one thing I am sure of, the information contained within the video affects us all, whether in Finchley UK, Finchley in the USA, Finchley in India or Finchley in China.

An unbiased and helpful assessment of AV versus First Past the Post.

Photo of Paul BinksBy Paul Binks

Alternative Vote, “Yay” or “Neigh”

We’ll be asking ourselves whether to vote Yay! Or Neigh! on May 5th. But do we know enough to be content with our decision. Vociferous publicity is there to aid us, but with so many factions contradicting each other and unqualified celebrities being wheeled out for support, it’s like separating the wheat from the chaff to make sense of any of it.

The last time we were given this chance was in 1931 and we may have to wait as long for another. I’ll try to aid this process by separating fact from fiction.

Despite the perception that AV is a modern system, AV was actually devised by an American Robert Ware in 1871. As a Governmental election tool it was first used by the Colonial Territory of Queensland in 1893. It has been used in the Presidential election of Ireland, regional US elections such as California and our own main political parties’ leadership contests as well a host of others. But it’s only used by three National Governmental Elections; the Melanesian States of Papa New Guinea and Fiji along with our Colonial cousins in Australia. With Democracy being the superior form of Governance in the World this statistic seems peculiar and even stranger in that Australia and Fiji want to abandon the system altogether.

Looking at the systems may shed some light on this.

Most will be aware that AV works by listing candidates in preferential order starting from 1 to whatever number of candidates are standing. If a candidate achieves at least 50% of the 1st preferences then the contest is over and an MP elected. If not then the candidate who came last in the count is omitted and the 2nd preferences of those that voted for they are redistributed. This continues until a candidate achieves 50%.

First past the post (FPTP) works by each voter having one vote and whoever has the most votes wins.

The strongest argument for AV is that MPs will be more representative of their communities with a stronger mandate. This will strengthen the bond with the MP and dissipate the controversy surrounding their decisions. The problem arises when a MP attains say 15% of their votes from 4th or 5th preferences in a contest where they came 3rd initially. How credible could they be?

This will discourage diametrically-opposed debate as parties narrow their positions to win favour from supporters of the middle and the floating voter. A more well-round politics would be more representative of the country. But to have a balanced viewpoint there must opposing views.

In time there would be less to distinguish between the politics which would lead to a surrendering of traditional tribal positions, favouring a selection based on candidates whom are most trustworthy, or rather who are the most convincing performers. We only have to look at the Governorship of California to imagine this scenario.

Elections will appear like fairs as candidates trade their principles to appeal to non-partisan voters. This has been suggested as politicians working harder for their constituents. However, this referendum is upon us only because of the public backlash against the expenses scandal and the association with the Global recession which lead to the first hung parliament since 1974. If this period has taught us anything it’s that we are yearning for politicians with solid ethics and are preparedness to maintain these through adversity.

Tactical voting would be a thing of the past for those in marginal seats. Although the outcome would still be the same, but relying on a voter’s 2nd preference. This point has no relevance other than determining a party’s total support nationwide which would only be useful in a proper Proportional Representation system.

The great advantage is that parties would be able to present several candidates without fear of splitting the vote. This would present power to the grassroots. For examples, Tories could choose a traditional or a Neo-Conservative if they wish.

The heart of this debate is Democracy. There will be many voters who have a clear vision of the community they wish and will choose one preference only. They will be penalised if their preference does not win as they will have no further influence, leaving all others to determine the outcome. Some will have more votes than others.

In contradiction, it has been said that AV will end the hopes of extreme parties gaining a foothold. This could be true, but the supporters of extreme parties will influence the contest even if not by first choice. Winston Churchill expressed his fear of this when campaigning at the last referendum in 1931, stating “AV gives the greatest influence to the most worthless votes for the most worthless candidates.”

Maybe it’s a price worth paying, but do we want a society where no parties can ever break through our ancient landscape? As the BNP would be obliterated so would the likes of the Green Party and UKIP. It should be debate that discourages the contemptible from making a breakthrough, not the system, if we are democratic.

Finally we must consider the implications. The party coveting the central ground would improve its standing by taking seats from the left and right which will create continuous Hung-Parliaments and mean less conviction and more compromise.

It has been said that Politics would become more accountable but the exact opposite could be true. Manifesto pledges can be omitted under the guise of not being part of Coalition agreements. This becomes a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card for any inconvenient or out of favour policy. In some cases they genuinely will be undeliverable as we have recently seen with the Lib-Dems failure to abolish University tuition fees. Either way Coalition partners will have carte-blanche privileges to redefine their Governorship from that promised to the voter.

In summary, AV has advantages and disadvantages. It’s clearly not flawless but then neither is our current system otherwise we would not be having this debate. But the key question is whether this is better than what we have and is it more democratic?

[Ed – Whatever you vote, be assured this is going to have to stay with us for a long time so I guess we should vote for whatever will be best for Britain rather than what will be best for our party.]

HADAS (Hendon and District Archaeological Society) wins prestigious London Archaeology award

HADAS has won the 2011 Ralph Merrifield Award for London Archaeology, presented by the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS).

This award was given for the work HADAS has undertaken in the field of post-excavation analysis.

A training programme was created in 2003 under the title “Post-excavation: Analysis of materials from the Ted Sammes archive” and resulted in the publication in 2006 of a book “The Last Hendon Farm: The archaeology and history of Church End Farm”.

This was followed by a series of related courses, all tutored by a co-recipient of the award, Jacqui Pearce BA, FSA, MlfA, of the Museum of London Archaeological Service (MOLAS).

HADAS is currently presenting the latest course in the series entitled “Looking at Finds: A practical course in post-excavation analysis”. This is also expected to result in a book about Church Terrace, Hendon, provisionally to be published later this year. The award was presented at the LAMAS Archaeology conference on Saturday 9th April 2011 by the new LAMAS President Professor Martin Biddle, OBE, FBA. HADAS is an amateur archaeological society based in the London Borough of Barnet and is a registered charity.

The Society was founded in 1961 by Themistocles Constantinides to investigate the Saxon origins of Hendon and since has grown to over 200 members covering the whole of the London Borough of Barnet, and addressing all archaeological periods. Its two declared objectives are to undertake archaeological and historical research, and education for the public benefit, with particular reference to the London Borough of Barnet.

The first excavation in 1961 was at the ruins of Church End Farm, near the parish church of Hendon St. Mary’s. Further excavations have included the West Heath Mesolithic camp site at Hampstead, Roman Hendon, medieval Chipping Barnet, and the probable Roman site of Sulloniacis at Brockley Hill.

In addition to undertaking archaeological investigations, HADAS also organises visits to sights of archaeological and historical interest across the UK, and a series of expert lectures throughout the year.

For further information contact: Don Cooper Chairman, HADAS Tel: 020 8440 4350 Email:

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