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

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Nick Viner, chief executive of JW3, at a reception at the JW3 ce

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 - Credit: 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.


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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!”

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“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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