How Did Finchley's Tally Ho Corner Get Its Name?

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 63 months ago

Last Updated 22 March 2019

How Did Finchley's Tally Ho Corner Get Its Name?
Tally Ho Corner, date unknown.

In the centre of North Finchley, at the junctions of Ballards Lane and High Road, is an area known as Tally Ho Corner. It's the sort of name that inspires joviality, whatever mood you're in, and demands to be said in such a way that you imagine an exclamation mark on the end, like its south-westerly cousin, Westward Ho!

So how did such an upbeat moniker come to be given to this patch of suburban London?

The name has been around since the 1830s, and is said to originate from the Tally Ho Coaching Company which apparently used to have stables in the area ('tally-ho' being the nickname for a fast, horse-drawn coach).

Little evidence of this company's existence is available today, but rumour has it that it ran coaches between London and Birmingham, a distance of around 110 miles, at a journey time of around 11 hours.

The 'Tally-Ho' London - Birmingham Stage Coach Passing Whittington College, Highgate, painted by James Pollard in 1836. Image from Tate, used under a Creative Commons licence

Because it was such a distance, several changes of horse were required throughout the journey. The company's stables at Tally Ho Corner, it's said, were home to 16 horses, and the first change of horse on the journey out of London took place here.

But is that really true?

In 2014, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, local events venue artsdepot ran an exhibition and history project called Tally Ho: A Place To Meet. Central to the exhibition was the question as to whether the Tally Ho coaching company ever existed at all.

Based on a lack of substantial evidence and the fact that Tally Ho Corner is not far enough from London to warrant a change of horses so soon, the curators leant towards the idea that the coach company was an urban myth. Visitors to the exhibition were left to make up their own minds.

Anyway, there's certainly no such coach company today, although there is a completely separate Tally Ho Coaches operating out of Devon.

Think you know how Tally Ho Corner got its name? Let us know in the comments below.