Whetstone, London

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Coordinates: 51°37′34″N 0°10′17″W / 51.6260°N 0.1715°W / 51.6260; -0.1715

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 often lumped together as Totteridge & Whetstone. This combined area is the 63rd richest area in the UK[citation needed]- an acclamation which can be credited to Totteridge Lane, a long road home to many multi-millionaires. The High Road, the main road in the area, is the A1000 and part of the traditional Great North Road from London to Edinburgh.



Whetstone originated in medieval 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.

There were early 19th century buildings opposite the Griffin pub [1] on the corner of Totteridge Lane, but they were demolished in 2001 and replaced by a new Boots the Chemist.

It is thought that Whetstone was named after the whetstone used to sharpen knives and other tools, a chunk of which is located on the High Road, on the pavement outside the Griffin pub (see picture). Some references [source??] question this and suggest the stone was placed there as a mounting block for climbing on to horses as the Griffin was a coaching inn. It is also said that the name Whestone is merely a corruption of an old Anglo-Saxon name [quote?]. Legend has it that it was used by soldiers about to fight in the Battle of Barnet.

Churchill and Hess

Whetstone may have been the venue for a secret meeting between Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess during World War II. A local newspaper[1] 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.

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