The Northern Line arrived at Finchley Central on 14th April 1940 – a station had first opened here in 1867 on the Great Northern Railway as part of their route from Finsbury Park to Edgware. It was transferred over to the Underground as part of the ambitious Northern Heights Plan which would have seen the full route to Edgware passed onto the Northern Line. In the end it only got as far as Mill Hill East as the project halted during the Second World War before finally being axed in 1954.
Finchley Central was due to be rebuilt to the designs of Charles Holden but the shelving of the Northern Heights Plan put paid to that. As a result, the station’s Victorian buildings remain, giving it the air of a rural rail station. The recent addition of step-free access here in 2008 saw the installation of a very modern looking oblong box containing the lift down from the footbridge to the platforms.
Finchley Central is the terminus of the Mill Hill East shuttle service – outside of the peak periods, no direct trains into Central London operate on that small branch so onward travel requires changing here.
The Pub: Catcher in the Rye, 317 Regents Park Road, N3 1DP
The pub is a short five minute walk from the station. From leaving the ticket office, walk up Chaville Way then turn left onto Regents Park Road where you’ll find Catcher in The Rye a few minutes along the road. If nothing else, the pub certainly wins when it comes to originality – this is definitely the first place I’ve come across named after J.D Salinger’s 1950s iconic coming of age novel!
Inside, the pub is set on two levels with the area around the bar slightly higher than the room to its side. The walls have stripped back brick work with a mixture of modern looking art and pictures of Old Finchley hanging on it. There are plenty of plants and flowers brightening up the place. The Rye also has a good few comfy sofas which help give the place a cosy air to it. It had a couple of TVs showing the BBC News channel when we dropped by. It was quite quiet here on our visit but then again, it was relatively early on a Saturday afternoon.
On the ale front, they had both Greene King IPA(China’s favourite!) and Old Golden Hen. Food wise, it was solid fare with the occasional gastropub line creeping into the menu – rustic cut chips with cheese being an example – but hey at least they do cheesy chips unlike some gastros which turn their noses up at them! I was also a fan of Sussex Pork Sausages being on the menu. Sadly we were unable to get food on our visit as the chef for the lunchtime shift was off ill, so the rustic cheesy chips had to wait.
Catcher in the Rye is a decent pub with a very memorable name. Certainly worth popping into if you live in these parts of North London.