Whetstone, London

From Academic Kids

Whetstone
OS Grid Reference:Template:Gbmappingsmall
Administration
Borough:Barnet
County:Greater London
Region:Greater London
Nation:England
Other
Ceremonial County:Greater London
Traditional County:Middlesex
Post Office and Telephone
Post town:LONDON
Postcode:N20
Dialling Code:020

Whetstone is a place in the London Borough of Barnet, bearing the postcode N20. It is to the east of Totteridge, and these areas are frequently lumped together as Totteridge & Whetstone. This combined area is the 63rd richest area in the UK - an acclamation which can be credited to Totteridge Lane, a long road home to many multi-millionaires, some previous residents being celebrities such as Samantha Fox.

Whetstone was named after the stone used to sharpen knives and other tools, a chunk of which is located on the High Road, on the pavement outside the Griffin pub. Legend has it that it was used by soldiers about to fight in the Battle of Barnet.

The High Road, the main road in the area, is the A1000 and part of the traditional Great North Road from London to Edinburgh.

History

Whetstone originated in mediaeval times. It was an important staging post for stagecoaches going north from London. There has been an inn on the site of the present Griffin pub for centuries, though the present building dates from 1928. The buildings to the left of the pub (viewed from the High Road) are late 15th century.

Churchill and Hess

Those interested in 20th Century British History may be interested in the revelations regarding Whetstone being the unlikely venue for a secret meeting between Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess during World War II. A local newspaper unearthed a letter in Barnet Council's planning archives which states that Hess was brought to Tower House, 17 Oakleigh Park North, for interrogation after he made his infamous trip to Scotland in 1941.

The letter mentioning Hess dates from January 23, 1987, and was written by the owner of Tower House, a Mr W Jones, to inform his neighbours of his plans to demolish the building and erect luxury apartments on the site. It reads "We purchased 'Tower House' in 1953 and have operated from here ever since. It was built many years ago as a private house. In 1939 it was a boys' boarding school. During the war it was at different times a blood transfusion centre, a fire service station (hence the corrugated iron sheds) and a prisoner of war cage (Hess was brought here for interrogation after he flew to Scotland). After that it was unoccupied and derelict until we took it over."

Many historians are sceptical, and it was said that Churchill and Hess never met, but others say that knowing Churchill's temperament, he might have been fascinated and intrigued to meet Hess. It has been said that there would have been far more suitable venues, but after all, aren't secret meetings supposed to be secret?

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