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Church Farm East Barnet

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This is the oldest part of Barnet. There may have been a small hamlet before the church was built. The Church of St Mary's is a medieval building. The church originally belonged to the Abbey at St Albans and was possibly built in the 1140s.

The small tower connected to the church was put up in 1829. It has been suggested that the ancient manor house was close to the church. During the dissolution of the monasteries the manor was taken over by the crown and quickly sold off.

The distinct white building on the other side of Oak Hill Park is Oak Hill House. Oak Hill House was built around the 1790s and is the last of a number of large houses in East Barnet. In the graveyard of St Mary's is an extraordinary gothic monument to Sir Simon Haughton Clarke (who lived at Oak Hill House and died in 1832).

The house was described as having 12 bedrooms and farmland with a herd of cows when it was sold in May 1890. In 1928 the house and gardens became a theological college. The farm was sold to East Barnet Council in 1930, who converted 70 acres of it into a park opened in October 1933. Cows were still grazed on the small amount of land at Oak Hill House into the 1960s.

In 1860 Colonel William Gillum, a veteran of the Crimean War, purchased Church Farm for use by a school for destitute boys from London who had not been involved in crime. Church Farm School was run as an industrial boarding school where the boys were taught ordinary lessons as well as a trade so that they could become shoe menders, tailors and farm workers.

There were originally only four boys when Church Farm School opened, but by the 1930s the number of boys at the school had risen to over a hundred. East Barnet developed from a rural area into a suburb and the Church Farm School was moved in 1937.

Between the First World War and the Second World War much of the area around Russell Lane was redeveloped. In June 1929 Trevor Hall was auctioned with three acres for building. Now only the lodge to Trevor Hall survives.

Trevor Hall had been rebuilt several times, but in 1860 it was rebuilt to designs by Philip Webb, who is considered to be the first Arts and Crafts architect. In February 1934 Gallants and Russell Farm were sold to New Ideal Homesteads Ltd, and developed into housing around Russell Lane.

Contacts

  • Local Studies Centre
  • Hendon Library (first floor), The Burroughs, London NW4 4BQ
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  • Tel: 020 8359 3960
  • Email: library.archives@barnet.gov.uk

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