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The Finchley Road is a 4.5-mile (7-kilometre) main road in Central London. Its southern half, in which it gives its name to the centre-west part of Hampstead has two current railway stations including the name Finchley Road. It is a designated arterial road with double standard road width or greater.
The original route, now the A502, ran from Camden Town along what are now Chalk Farm Road, Haverstock Hill, Rosslyn Hill, Heath Street and North End Road to Golders Green where it joins Finchley Road. It had two steep hills either side of Hampstead Village, and was difficult for horses with carriages to negotiate when muddy. The Finchley Road Act was passed in 1826 and the new turnpike road was completed in 1835.
The new route (now the A41) started from what was then called the 'New Road' (the first London bypass) and is now Marylebone Road, and ran north, first along what are now Park Road and Wellington Road, and becomes Finchley Road at St. John's Wood tube station. It goes north through Swiss Cottage, then turns slightly north west, forming an unofficial boundary between Hampstead and West Hampstead, and then turns north again at Child's Hill. The A41 diverges westward and Finchley Road becomes the A598. It continues past Golders Green Underground station (where it meets the old route), through Temple Fortune to the North Circular Road, crossing it at Henlys Corner, where it becomes Regents Park Road (perhaps after the southern end of the route). This continues as Ballards Lane through Finchley Central to North Finchley. There it joins the former Great North Road (now the A1000).
Tolls were collected at a tollgate at Childs Hill.
- Stagecoaches, first omnibuses and shelved tramway proposal
In 1856 as many as ten stagecoaches a day ran along Finchley Road, serving Swiss Cottage, where the Atlas Line, a business of these, had started about six years before.
Omnibuses reached the area north of Swiss Cottage by way of Finchley Road as far as Finchley Road station before 1880. Later omnibuses were extended along Finchley Road to meet others from Edgware Road along West End Lane, continuing north to Childs Hill and Hendon. Motorbuses had replaced horse omnibuses by 1911.
Plans for an extensive network of tramways, along Adelaide and Finchley Roads, were dropped after opposition from the council, ground landlords, and residents.
Local railway stations
Hampstead is served by Finchley Road Underground station and Finchley Road & Frognal railway station, 435 metres apart on the North London Line (London Overground). The road has as such become the colloquial name for the part of Hampstead between West Hampstead and Hampstead-on-the-Hill which is centred on Hampstead Underground station.
- Weinreb, Ben; Christopher Hibbert (2008). The London Encyclopaedia. Julia Keay, John Keay (3rd ed.). Macmillan. p. 291. ISBN 978-1-4050-4924-5.
- Baker, T F T; K Bolton, Diane; E C Croot, Patricia (1989). Elrington, C R (ed.). 'Hampstead: Communications', in A History of the County of Middlesex. 9 (Hampstead, Paddington ed.). London. pp. 3–8.
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