Did you know that the first soldier to be killed in World War One was from Finchley? Or that the Old Bohemia cinema in North Finchley was converted into an observaton balloon-making factoryduring the conflict?

These are just some of the fascinating facts you can learn on a new walk, Finchley Goes to War, devised by London Blue Badge Guide and Finchley resident Mark King.

Mark and a number of his fellow tour guides have devised a series of walks to bring the Home Front alive all over the country.

“I looked at places in the area and thought ‘What is the First World War lens through which this can be seen?’ explains Mark, 58. “The more I looked into what was here, the more I uncovered, it was extraordinary what the bulidings were used for, what was happening here during the war. The signs are still there to see.”

The walk starts at Finchley Memorial Hospital, which existed before the war, but was upgraded and dedicated to the memory of the people who’d lost their lives and served the nation.

Mark will, of course, focus on John Parr, the first soldier to die in the British Army in World War One, who was brought up in Finchley Central and moved to North Finchley, from where he enlisted. Part of the proceeds from the walk will go towards the fund to erect a memorial to Parr.

“Who knew all these stories were there on our doorstep to discover?”