Temple Fortune was once part of a Saxon manor called Bleccanham. The name Temple Fortune appears on a map dated 1754, but refers to the Knights of St John, who held land in Hendon around 1240. The 'fortune' means a small settlement ('tune') on the road from Hampstead to Hendon, arrived at before ('for') the main settlement of Hendon. By the end of the 18th century, Temple Fortune Farm was established on the northern side of Farm Close.
The Finchley Road (1829) replaced an earlier lane called Ducksetters Lane as a route to Finchley, and provided the first direct link to Golders Green and Childs Hill. A small hamlet grew around the junction of Bridge Lane and Finchley Road. Hendon Park Row in 1860s was a row of thirty small cottages built for the labourers of a local brickworks. These were mostly demolished around 1956, with the exception of number 14, and 42a Temple Gardens.
Anglican Deaconesses ran a small dame school and tin chapel in Hendon Park Row in the 1890s and 1900s, which developed to become St Barnabas (1915). By the end of the 19th century there were around 300 people living in the area, which included a laundry and a small hospital for children with skin diseases. In 1895 a Jewish Cemetery was laid out in Hoop Lane. Golders Green Crematorium was opened in 1902 (although much of it was built after 1905).
Temple Fortune Farm was removed to build the Arcade and Gateway House (c1911). Although the area had horse drawn omnibuses as early as the 1880s, it was the tramline of 1910 from Church End Finchley to Golders Green Station that led to house building in the area west of the Finchley Road. The Carmelite Monastery was established in Bridge Lane in 1908. Golders Green Police Station was opened in Temple Fortune in 1913.
The Catholic Church, St Edward the Confessor, Finchley Road, was built in 1916. Where Marks and Spencer is was once Orpheum Theatre (1930). It was intended to rival the Hippodrome in Golders Green. Famous people connected with the area are on the whole connected to the Aida Foster School of Drama (1929 - 1969), Finchley Road. Former students include Barbara Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor and Jean Simmons.