Hadley Green is about 24 acres in size. The road running through it was the only route north out of Barnet until the New Road (Barnet Road) was built in 1828.
The green was known by at least 1345. This makes it the oldest public open space in the London Borough of Barnet. Some buildings that were removed in the 1930s had 15th-century timbers.
Old Fold Manor house was established by a family of goldsmiths called Frowyk, in the 13th century, one of whom, Henry Frowyk, was Lord Mayor of London in the 15th century. Sir Roger Wilbaham built the almshouses just where Hadley Green Road turns into the Hadley Village in 1612, and was intended to house six old women of Hadley.
In the 17th and 18th centuries a whipping post, cucking stool and stocks existed on the green. They survived until they were accidentally burnt down in 1935 by the celebration bonfire for the jubilee of King George V.
Sir William Stamford built the manor house on at the edge of the Green in the middle of the 16th century. The green became public open space in 1818 after an unsuccessful attempt at enclosure by the lord of the manor.
The settlement at Hadley Green did not extend as far as High Barnet until the mid-18th century. Hadley Green proved popular to London merchants and other well to do people. Hadley was a short distance into London and, even in the days of horse transport, trips to and from London were quite quick.
Now many of the houses on the eastern edge of the green date back to the 18th century and earlier. Livingstone Cottage was the brief residence of David Livingstone, the African explorer and Missionary. It was here, on his first return to England in 1857, that he wrote Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa .
Frances "Fanny" Trollope, a famous early feminist, lived in the house called Grandon. Birt Acres, the film pioneer, lived at what is now Manor Cottage in the 1890s, and one of the earliest films made in the world (1895) records a hay cart crossing Hadley Green. Hadley Brewery existed in the top north-eastern corner of Hadley Green 1780 - 1969 (demolished in 1976).
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