Totteridge (Finchley N20)
Totteridge was, until 1965, in the county of Hertfordshire. The old district's northern and southern boundaries are distinct, Folly Brook in the south and Dollis Brook to the north and east. The name Totteridge is Saxon in origin and means Tata's ridge, but the earliest records are from the 13th century. There is an ancient yew tree in the church yard of St Andrews that is thought to be at least a thousand years old. The lord of the manor was originally the Bishop of Ely.
The area became attractive, being well connected to the Great North Road and London, to merchants and others from the city, and from the 16th through to the 19th century a number of large houses and estates were established.
The parish registers, kept since 1570, mention various trades more associated with towns, such as druggists, soap makers and clothes makers, as well as farmers. The Priory at Totteridge is a 17th-century house with 19th-century alterations. It was never a religious foundation (the name is 19th century).
The population was small, remaining in the hundreds, and even declining a little after the opening of the railway station in 1872. Until the 1900s the number of houses remained low, but the arrival of the trams and private cars in the 1900s opened the district to an affluent commuting population.
A large section of the eastern part of the parish developed into semi-detached housing and by the 1930s a great many large, detached houses had been built along Totteridge Common and Barnet Lane. There were even some suburban streets, such as Oaklands Road, Northcliff Drive and Grange Avenue. Post-war green belt laws stopped the further development of Dollis Valley and Totteridge Valley, which now provide pleasant rural walks.
Famous people of the area include the Puget Family, a notable family of dissenters who provided a chapel and school for the area, and were responsible for the construction of the first brick bridge over the Dollis in 1804. Ironically the other famous individual, Cardinal Manning, was the first Roman Catholic primate of England. Harry Vardon, the famous golfer and winner of the American Open, worked at South Herts Golf Club.
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