|From:||Childs Hill (TQ250860)|
|To:||North Finchley (TQ263922)|
|Distance:||4.2 miles (6.8 km)|
|Meets:||A41, A407, A502, A406, A504, A5000, B1462, A1003, A1000|
|Route outline (key)|
The A598 is not the most exciting road but it does encompass the route that top 60s songwriter and producer Geoff Stevens might have taken in his song “Finchley Central” journeying there from Golders Green, instead of his route on the Northern Line changing at Camden Town.
Childs Hill - North Finchley
The A598 starts at Childs Hill as the straight-ahead option for northbound traffic on Finchley Road, while the A41 turns left into Hendon Way. In fact, originally the A598 and the southern part of the A41 were a single A-road, the A500. The A598 was given this number in the 1935 Road numbering revision, reusing a number that had been allocated to a road near Liverpool, when the A500 was diverted to Watford.
It is notable that once the Finchley Road becomes the A598 it narrows a lot and is only one lane each way for the most part.
Small turnings on the right are Briardale Gardens NW3 and Pattison Road NW2. Finchley Road itself and the roads on the left are NW2. The difference is more important than it may seem, as there is a much higher nostalgia of having an NW3 (Hampstead) postcode. These small roads on the right will take you towards the main part of Hampstead – you cannot turn right at the traffic light into Hermitage Lane (NW2) nor could you turn earlier into Platts Lane. On the left at the traffic light is Cricklewood Lane, the start of the A407 (or the end of it, whichever you prefer).
Continuing along ahead, the next traffic light is on West Heath Avenue and Dunstan Road, where a right turn takes you to Golders Hill Park, but the roads are unclassified. At this point, there is a small parade of shops leading to Golders Green Station, the junction with the A502. This junction is organised a bit like a mini-roundabout with signals in all directions, but straight ahead is fairly simple. We cross under the Northern Line and past the next traffic light of Hoop Lane, then we reach the busy shopping area known as Temple Fortune and on northward to Henlys Corner, another set of lights, where we will cross both the A1 and A406 in one go; although it's only one (very wide) road, signs claim it has both numbers.
There have been plans to make this junction grade-separated for at least the A406 and at one point there was a whole tunnel scheme planned and buildings were bought up, including the Henlys Garage on which the plans were based.
As we cross over the road is fairly quiet as we are now in a residential area; we did have two lanes for a short while merging into one. We are also now in Finchley. We cross the A504 Gravel Hill / East End Road and then Hendon Lane, which was the A504 until Gravel Hill, merges into us. That part of Hendon Lane is apparently the A5000 but it is not indicated anywhere as such, and for Southbound traffic on the A598 it is actually indicated as the A504, while for Eastbound traffic on the A504 it is indicated as the A598.
The road now gets busy again as we approach Finchley Central Station, and the junction with Nether Street, the B1462, on the left. The B1462 continues down to Holders Hill Circus and the B552, but Nether Street itself turns to the right and loses its classification but reemerges at Tally Ho Corner, the end of our road, and provides a useful rat-run. The A598 itself now becomes Ballards Lane, and has many pedestrian lights but no signalled junctions. Once we've passed the junction of Long Lane on the right it flows fairly smoothly up to the Tally Ho Corner gyratory in North Finchley, the junction of the A1000 and where the A1003 starts its journey Eastbound.
Given that the A1000 is the old A1 and the A598 is the continuation of the A41, this junction could be considered the alternative Fiveways Corner of North London (with Nether Street providing the fifth way).
Original Author(s): Earl Purple