Friday, 19 December 2014

The Barnet Eye Advent Calendar - Friday 19th December

Today we are in Finchley, Finchley Central to be more precise! Did you know that Finchley Central has been immortalised in song by the New Vaudeville band? I hadn't realised that the station was such a romantic setting! Originally released in 1967, perhaps this classic should become the Finchley Anthem!

Today is black friday, the day of the year when most people are admitted to hospital with alcohol related medical issues. As it is the last friday before Xmas, many of us hit the bottle. Of course, most of these injuries do not happen to habitual alcoholics, it is those who are not used to drinking a lot who walk in front of buses and fall down the stairs at Farringdon Station. There are however some of us who will come to terms with the fact that we have been drinking too much and it is time to change.

For many, the charity which we turn to is Alcoholics Anonymous. If you are worried and want to speak to AA about your drinking, here is your local Barnet Contacts - - just remember, having a problem is nothing to be ashamed about. If you feel you may need help or counselling, the sensible thing to do is to get it. Dealing with any addiction is never easy or simple. There are many problems as wetake the road towards recovery. Having a good support network is the best way to succeed.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

All I want for Xmas

Sadly the world is full of people who know the price of everything and the value of absolutely nothing at all.

The Barnet Eye Advent calendar Thursday 18th December

So only a week to go until Christmas Day. Today we focus on Barnet. Perhaps the thing Barnet is best known for is it's use as Cockney Rhyming slang for hair! Today we look at the reason for this, Barnet Fair, with a video from 1931 of this long standing event in the local calendar.

And for todays charity, we look at the excellent Barnet Museum - There are many historic facts about Barnet that you can learn from a visit. They say about themselves

About us
Barnet Museum is a free local history Museum in North London run by volunteers. The Museum’s collection contains hundreds of artefacts reflecting the history of Barnet and those that have lived there, dating from the Bronze Age to the present day. There is also an extensive archive, and we are a centre for local and family history research.

The Museum focuses on Chipping Barnet, East Barnet, New Barnet, Hadley and the surrounding districts.

The Museum opened in March 1938 to house and make available to the public the growing collection of the Barnet Record Society (now Barnet Museum & Local History Society) which had been founded in 1927 to record and preserve Barnet’s history. The Museum building is an attractive early Georgian house in the heart of Chipping Barnet, and is part of Wood Street conservation area. The Museum is a registered charity (no.295950) and accredited Museum.


If you’re interested in volunteering at Barnet Museum, please get in touch at or come in to the Museum. Volunteers do a whole range of jobs including welcoming visitors, manning our shop, helping visitors with research, cataloguing our collection, keeping our garden tidy, cleaning the museum, etc.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Barnet Eye Advent Calendar - Wednesday 17th December

Here we are at the 17th day of Advent. There is a saying that the Devil makes work for idle hands. We look at both sides of that coin today. 

So you think things used to be so much better than they are today? It's a myth we all sometimes subscribe to. We say "The kids today are so much worse than we were". Well when you actually research the truth, it is not always so cut and dried.

Check out this video, filmed in Cricklewood Train depot in 1969

For many of us, football hooliganism was something predominantly of the mid 1970's but as you can see, it was alive and well in the swinging 60's. The video refers to the "Home secretary and British Rail wanting to do something about it". Well the problem of football special trains was comprehensively stopped by the Conservative government of the mid 1990's who abolished British Rail and with it football specials. I only ever once travelled on a Football Special. That was in 1975, with some friends who were Spurs fans, to watch them play my team, Manchester City at Maine Road. Spurs lost 5-1 and were relegated. The bar on the train was ransacked and missiles were thrown at unsuspecting passengers on the platforms as the train sped through. I was 13 at the time and found it all a bit scary. I doubt I'd let my 13 year old son go on such an excursion on his own today. How times have changed.

Of course, such acts have always been carried out by a tiny minority. We hear about the bad things they do, but we rarely hear of the good things and the hard work for the community carried out by many.

One organisation that does sterling work and we are only too keen to promote is TS Broadsword, based at the Welsh Harp, which offers young people the chance to experience many forms of naval an water based training -

Their website says


The Sea Training Corps is a voluntary youth organisation for Boys and Girls. It aims to develop qualities of self-discipline and leadership, and provides a service to the community. We believe this is an important function in today's multicultural and multi-faith society, and that we are helping to develop good citizens for the future. Our organisation is run on Naval routines and traditions.

Broadsword is a Self Help/Self Financing Group, and has a long wish list needed for it to progress, expand, continue and to develop further in order to support the vitally important work it carries out voluntarily for Youth and the Community. To this end any Donation, however small or large, would be very gratefully received and formally acknowledged. Donors kind enough to donate for running costs will be sent a set of Professionally Audited signed Annual Accounts. Donors kind enough to donate for a specific project or items of equipment etc. will be sent receipts and invited to inspect any purchases. All donors will be welcome to visit T.S. Broadsword either officially or un-announced.

If you'd like to donate to their work, just click here -

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

The Barnet Eye is a long term supporter of TS Broadsword, it's aims and its activities. If you have children who are interested in experiencing something more challenging than watching X Factor, I'd heartily recommend getting them to have a look at TS Broadsword.  They are currently organising a Snowden Challenge in 2015, if that appeals to you, get in touch.

Lets focus on the good things our young people do and support those who make it happen.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Barnet Eye Advent Calendar - Tuesday 16th December

So as we continue on our trip around the Borough, looking for items of interest, we take a little trip down memory lane to Golders Green. Golders Green is famous for many things, not least the Hippodrome. I had hoped to find some video footage of Jimi Hendrix seminal gig there in the mid 1960's, sadly I couldn't. What I did find was this fascinating video of Ernest Bevins funeral at Golders Green cemetary.

For those of you who don't know too much about Ernest Bevin, after Winston Churchill, he is probably the man who did most to help the Allies defeat the NAZI's. Bevan was the minister for Labour in the wartime coalition, drafted in by Churchill as a Trades Union Leader who deeply opposed pacifism and NAZI politics. Bevan organised the British workforce and despite the UK having afar smaller population than the Germany, British wartime production far outstripped that of Germany. This was achieved by ruthlessly forcing everyone who could work into employment. 48,000 conscripted servicemen were diverted into working in the mines, being dubbed Bevin Boys. After the war, Bevin took a leading role in the Labour Government of the day, playing a very important role in the founding of NATO.

It is interesting to see the crowds lining the streets. Can you imagine such a reception for any of the current cabinet or the cabinet of the Blair/Brown era?

There are many fine charities in Golders Green, doing all manner of great work. One which I've supported for many years is - if you don't know what they do, this is what there website says

Creating Income and Livelihood opportunities for the Rural Poor

At International Development Enterprises UK, we work with farmers and aspiring entrepreneurs living in poor rural areas all over the world. With them, we create income and livelihood opportunities that empower them to create a better future.

We believe that it is not enough simply to give handouts to those in dire need. IDE helps some of the worlds poorest people to build lives and wealth for themselves. Giving people the tools to lift themselves out of poverty is not only an admirable goal, but it is also in our interests as well, as it means that they become self sufficient. If you have a few spare pennies this Christmas, why not help someone else build a better future for themselves?

Monday, 15 December 2014

A very important message for you to share with your friends

The Barnet Eye Advent Calendar Monday 15th December

Woo Hoo - only ten days until Christmas! And here we are at the Barnet Eye still going strong with our Advent Calendar!

Today we have a rather quaint video showing "new police training methods" from the old police training centre at Hendon. This was in the days when policemen looked like Policeman and there was not a shred of body armour in site. The days when villains said "It's a  fair cop guv" and didn't pull out  a knife and stab the arresting officer as all too sadly seems to be the expected outcome today if a villain isn't given a good Tazaring.

And as we are in Hendon, we focus on a really great little charity, one which can he;p transform the lives of the people it helps. We are focusing on the Hendon Branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind -  something which we think is a brilliant cause.

For many people with issues of vison a guide dog can transform  lifestyles and give freedom and independence. especially at Xmas, please consider  a donation. Their Twitter hashtag is




Guest Blog - Barnet Council Consultation on support for poorest residents - by of Megan Jarvie (CPAG) and Joanna Kennedy (Z2K)

By Megan Jarvie (CPAG) and Joanna Kennedy (Z2K),

In an unexpected move recently, Barnet council announced it was re-opening the consultation on its proposed reduction in Council Tax Support for the borough’s poorest residents.  This decision follows a grass-roots campaign across London and a recent landmark judgement by the Court of Appeal.

Council Tax Support is used to reduce the bills of the poorest residents.  It was introduced in April 2013 to replace national Council Tax Benefit.  Under the old scheme, if you weren’t working, you didn’t pay Council Tax.  However, schemes were localised with a cut to funding, and now Barnet’s unemployed, disabled and lowest paid are expected to pay.

Back in July, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K) published A New Poll Tax? - detailed research into the impact of the abolition of Council Tax Benefit in London.  At that time, Barnet’s 8.5 per cent Minimum Payment meant those out of work were paying about average for London.  Even despite this relatively low charge, however, many of Barnet’s poorest residents have struggled to keep up with those payments, and over 4,100 had been served with a court summons and charged legal costs which effectively doubled their annual bills.

What we didn’t know then was that Barnet’s ruling group of councillors had plans to increase that charge to 15 or even 20 per cent.  To be fair, unlike Harrow or Waltham Forest which have also proposed increases, Barnet’s consultation did at least include the option of keeping the Minimum Payment at 8.5 per cent.  But it didn’t explain how that figure had been arrived at in the first place, what the impact of the current charge has been or give respondents the option of scrapping the charges completely.  Someone in the Town Hall has clearly realised a fresh consultation is the only way to avoid a legal challenge.

Z2K and CPAG recognise that this policy is driven by the Government’s “localisation” of Council Tax Benefit and the accompanying 10 per cent cut in funding.  We also appreciate that local authorities are now facing further cuts to their funding.  However, when other London boroughs, like Merton, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster, have been able to find the savings to make up this shortfall, it is deeply worrying that Barnet has not only passed the cut straight on to its poorest residents, but is now considering doubling their bills next year. 

No-one likes to pay tax.  But it is a widely-supported principle that people pay tax according to their means.  The breach of that principle is what was so contentious about the “Poll Tax” a generation ago.  In its localisation of Council Tax support, the Government has reintroduced the Poll Tax by the back door – dumping responsibility and blame on local councillors.  That’s why Z2K and CPAG is asking all those standing at next year’s General Election to make a commitment to call for the restoration of a fully-funded nation system of Council Tax Benefit.

In the meantime, we urge councillors here in Barnet to reject the proposed increase in charges for 2015/16, and if they are unable to lower it, at least keep it at the current 8.5 per cent.

Barnet Council have opened a consultation on council Tax Support, it can be found here.


The authors of this blog are Megan Jarvie (CPAG) and Joanna Kennedy (Z2K) campaign groups. Guest blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye.