Barnet Town

Barnet Town formed around the junction of Wood Street. St John the Baptist, in High Barnet, is situated at this junction and is the third church building on the site. The first church was built in the 11th century, the second was built in the middle of the 15th century with money left by John Beauchamp.

In 1875 the church was nearly totally rebuilt at a cost of £16,000, to designs by William Butterfield. The north aisle is all that remains of the 15th century church. There is a local belief that the tower is the highest point between itself and the Ural Mountains to the east.

Barnet High Street has been Barnet's main shopping area since at least the 18th century. John James Cowing opened a printing company on the High Street in 1805. His sons used the printing business to establish a newspaper, The Barnet Press in 1859. The paper moved from Barnet in 1986.

There were a lot of inns along the road, most, like the Green Man, providing for coaches. Many of these inns have gone now. In 1912 a cinema opened on the High Street called the Cinema Palace. It changed its name to Barnet Cinema in 1926. It was closed and replaced with a supermarket in 1959.

The Spires shopping centre was opened in 1989.  It was built on the site of a Methodist Chapel and the site of Barnet's old militia Barracks. The first Methodist chapel, further along the road, 1839, is now a Baptist chapel. When the second chapel, 1891, closed, the front of the building on the High Street was kept to form the entrance to the Spires shopping centre (1989). The Militia Barracks were built in the 1850s, and were used by the 12th Rifle (Middlesex) Volunteers.   Chipping Barnet Library was opened in 1991.

During the 1820s and 1830s a number of new streets were laid out leading off the High Street. Moxon Street, named after Thomas Moxon, was described as new in August 1825. Union Street, was built in 1837 and was so called as it led to the Union Workhouse. From 1889 to 1912 Barnet Town Hall was in Union Street. Both Union Street and Moxon Street had schools for non Anglican children by the 1830s and 40s.

Bath Place was originally Mary Payne's Place. For a while there was a gas works there until about 1874, when the works were converted into a swimming baths by a man called Daniel Schmidt. Later the site was used by Swains Photographic works.

Between St Albans Road and the High Street is a small alley called Nursery Alley. The Territorial Army drill hall was the site of a plant nursery from 1729 to 1937, originally run by a family called Emmerton, and then by a family called Cutbush.

In 1828 a new road was built from the top of Barnet High Street to St Albans. A new Anglican church was built along the St Albans Road in 1845, called Christ Church. By 1881, Salisbury, Strafford, Alston, and Stapleton roads were laid out. A dental factory opened in Alston Road in 1891.

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