Hendon, Barnet

A socially graduated residential district situated three miles north-west of Hampstead

Hendon Central Station

Exca­va­tions have revealed Roman remains from c.ad300 and Hendon’s name (which means ‘at the high down’) was first record­ed in 959, when it was a ham­let on the brow of Grey­hound Hill.

The ancient manor and parish of Hen­don cov­ered over 8,000 acres, main­ly wood­land that thrived on the heavy soil, with small set­tle­ments in the clear­ings. The manor belonged to West­min­ster Abbey from the 10th to the 16th cen­tu­ry and, as the for­est was cut down, hay­mak­ing became the chief activ­i­ty.

The farm­house at Church Farm was built around 1660 and was until recent­ly a local his­to­ry muse­um. At the time of writ­ing, Bar­net coun­cil is offer­ing the grade II* list­ed build­ing for sale on the grounds that it is ‘sur­plus to require­ments’.

Dur­ing the 18th cen­tu­ry Brent Street acquired sev­er­al grand hous­es, along with the Bell Inn and a clus­ter of shops around the junc­tion with Bell Lane.

Hen­don rail­way sta­tion was orig­i­nal­ly called West Hen­don when it opened in 1868. Mod­ern Hen­don took form dur­ing the late 19th cen­tu­ry as the ham­lets around the sta­tion, Brent Street and Church End began to coa­lesce.

A dis­tinct social polar­i­ty emerged between the wealthy vil­las in the Par­son Street and Sun­ny Gar­dens area and the work­ing-class ter­raced hous­es fur­ther down the hill.

The for­mer Ambas­sador cin­e­ma, now a ‘fit­ness & well­be­ing gym’

By the 1890s Brent Street had become Hendon’s main shop­ping cen­tre. Hen­don Cen­tral sta­tion opened when the Lon­don Under­ground exten­sion to Edg­ware was com­plet­ed in 1923. Short­ly after­wards came the con­struc­tion of the arte­r­i­al roads that criss-cross the dis­trict, bring­ing indus­try and new hous­ing, espe­cial­ly along the North Cir­cu­lar.

In 1931 Hen­don was Britain’s most pop­u­lous urban dis­trict. The Hen­don tech­ni­cal insti­tute was estab­lished in 1939 and has evolved to become the pri­ma­ry cam­pus of Mid­dle­sex Uni­ver­si­ty.

Dur­ing the late 1950s and ear­ly 1960s the coun­cil pulled down and rebuilt much of the hous­ing stock, pre­serv­ing the social gra­di­ent that begins in the dis­ad­van­taged low­lands of West Hen­don and ris­es to the com­fort­able undu­la­tions of Hold­ers Hill. Just over 30 per cent of the res­i­dents of the Hen­don ward are Jew­ish.

Hendon’s greatest claims to fame are both located on the Colindale side of the M1: the Hendon Police College has been instructing London’s cadets since 1935, while what remains of Hendon aerodrome is now home to the RAF Museum.

Postal district: NW4
Population: 18,472 (Hendon ward, 2011 census)
Stations: Thameslink (Hendon, zones 3 and 4); Northern Line (Hendon Central, zones 3 and 4)
Further reading: Hugh Petrie, Hendon and Golders Green Past, Historical Publications, 2005
Website: Hendon and District Archaeological Society


View larger OpenStreetMap

* The picture of Hendon Central station, on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright David Howard, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.