Cobley’s Farm

Farm in/near North Finchley, existing until 1905

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Farm · North Finchley · N3 ·
December
7
2017

Cobley’s Farm, also known as Fallow Farm, stood near to the "elbow" of Bow Lane.

Cobleys Farm - 19th century watercolour
The area of Fallow Corner and of Cobley’s (Fallow) Farm (so called by the 17th century) was first recorded in 1429. By the 18th century there was a small hamlet of houses and the access roads from these to the main road formed the distinct Bow Lane. The route of the road was originally part of a lengthy track leading across from Muswell Hill through Coldfall Wood to the northern portion of Church End. Bow Lane, which was named for its shape, was constructed in 1814 after the enclosure of Finchley Common.

Opposite Cobley’s Farm it diverged, the northern portion ultimately doubling back to the Great North Road from Fallow Corner in the form of a "bow," and the western portion proceeding across the fields of the farm to Church End, reaching Ballards Lane by the side of Willow Lodge. The northern of these two branches was known as Fallow Lane.

Fallow Farm was in the possession of the Cobley family in the year 1680. An earlier lease of the farm is in existence, dated 1648. Originally a small farm at the northern corner (Fallow Corner) of Finchley Common, it was gradually expanded by the enclosure of common land. It attained its greatest dimensions as a result of the Enclosure Acts of 1814.

Cobley’s Farm was of considerable extent, occupying the full stretch of land from the Great North Road to Ballards Lane and to Short Lane - the name of the last lane has now vanished.

Between 1806 and 1827 the clown Joseph Grimaldi lived here. It was whilst “ghost writing” Grimaldi’s memoirs that Charles Dickens probably first stayed at the farm during 1836 and 1837. Later, in 1843, he returned and wrote portions of Martin Chuzzlewit, conceiving the character of ’Sairey’ Gamp whilst out walking in Finchley.

The farm continued in the possession of the Cobley family till the closing years of the nineteenth Century. The then owner, Mr Richard Cobley, removed to Cheshunt on the death of his mother. He continued to visit the farm and supervise the work thereon till the buildings were pulled down and the farm broken up for development.

The farm’s fields were released for building, as the Etchingham Park Estate, between 1878 and 1920.

The sale of the farm and the mooted arrival here of electric trams prompted a spate of activity at Fallow Corner in the very early years of the 20th century. Neighbouring Wimbush Farm was sold and its farmhouse demolished. The 13-acre grounds of another large house, Fallow Lodge, were divided into 101 plots and built on. Fallow Court Avenue was laid out around it.

The farm as a working entity halted in 1905.

In 1903 a county school opened and in 1908 a cottage hospital, which was extended in 1922 and renamed Finchley memorial hospital. The few remaining gaps were built on around this time, including the site of Fallow Farm’s farmhouse. Fallow Cottage was sold in 1939 to Wood and Wallers, who knocked it down and built flats on its site.

Note: Article largely derived from "The Finchley Press/Muswell Hill Mercury & Highgate Post" on 20 May 1927


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Cobleys Farm - 19th century watercolour
User unknown/public domain


 

North Finchley

North Finchley is centred on Tally Ho Corner, the junction of the roads to East Finchley, Finchley Central and Whetstone.

The name of the whole of the modern area covering North Finchley and neighbouring Whetstone was North End, a name first used in 1462.

The rapid enclosure of the countryside in the first years of the nineteenth century meant the end of Finchley Common in 1816, opening up North Finchley from urbanisation - this still took a while nevertheless.

21 cottages were built in Lodge Lane during 1824 and by the 1830s there were other houses - even a chapel by 1837.

By 1839 North Finchley had a blacksmith (on Lodge Lane and not the High Road).

In 1851 there was a regular bus service from the ’Torrington’ to Charing Cross and next came the local railway lines. Christ Church was opened in 1870 and a new parish was formed in 1872.

In 1905 the Metropolitan Electric Tramways started a route between Highgate and Whetstone - a tram depot was opened in Woodberry Grove. Trams and buses together promoted North Finchley’s development.
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