During 2017, one of our Committee members, Nick McKie, spent many weeks at the British Library in Euston Road searching through national and provincial newspapers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for references to people and places in Friern Barnet, North Finchley and Whetstone.
Extracts from newspapers from the British Newspaper Archive were then transcribed by David Berguer and the results are shown below in PDF form. They give a fascinating picture of life in the area between 1700 and 1899 when farms and meadows abounded, stage coaches used to pass through the tollgate at Whetstone, and Colney Hatch and Whetstone were mere villages.
BOXING AT WHETSTONE
Before the introduction of the Marquis of Queensbury rules in 1867, boxing was a vicious and uncontrolled sport, with fights lasting anything from thirty to forty rounds and with some fights even ending in the death of one of the contestants. Whetstone was a centre for such fights which took place in nearby fields. Reports of some of the fights regularly appeared in newspapers.
CRIMES AND CRIMINALS
There are many reports of court cases which give us an insight into life at the time, when rape was a capital offence, children were sentenced to be birched and prison with hard labour was commmon.
PROPERTIES FOR SALE
Advertisements for property sales give us an idea of the size and contents of the more affluent houses.