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'The Finchley Road - what image problem?' says Chief Rabbi of much maligned street

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 July 2013

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Nick Viner, chief executive of JW3, at a reception at the JW3 centre - Finchley Road's newest addition. Picture: Polly Hancock

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Nick Viner, chief executive of JW3, at a reception at the JW3 centre - Finchley Road's newest addition. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

The long maligned Finchley Road has an unlikely champion in Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

Built in the 1820s to bypass Hampstead, the four-mile road has something of an image problem and is now best known for its gyratory, six lanes of traffic and many a journalists’ favourite watering hole Ye Olde Swiss Cottage pub.

It is not, however, a destination for the arts.

But as the Finchley Road’s newest addition, the JW3 cultural and community centre, opened last week, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks gushed: “I never knew that the Finchley Road could feel so cultural, so Jewish, so everything!

“We really have taken the Finchley Road somewhere else,” he added.

The ringing endorsement came after an audience member described his late wife’s wish never to buy a house on the road again after estate agents blamed the “Finchley Road factor” for a struggle to sell the couple’s former property.

JW3 founder and philanthropist Dame Vivien Duffield protested: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Finchley Road!”

“If Boris [Johnson] was here, I would tell him what good we’re doing for it,” she said.

Fancy a visit, Boris?

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