Times Group historians PERCY REBOUL and JOHN HEATHFIELD look back at the history of pubs in the area.

Our local pubs, some of them centuries old, have had to move with the times if they are to survive. Which poses the intriguing thought what would our ancestors have thought about today's pubs with their piped music, lager and alcopops, strange food dishes from foreign lands being served on an all-day menu?

No prizes either for guessing their likely reactions to the recent smoking laws and the presence of young women (some even unaccompanied) drinking in the various bars.

Residents have always been an important part of pub business but in olden times many pubs located on main roads depended to an extent on passing trade. Some even had a resident blacksmith. A horse that had lost or damaged a shoe has only three left thus such pubs were called the Three Horseshoes and one survives to this day on the corner of Friern Barnet Lane and High Road, Whetstone. Markets attracted customers and many pubs were located nearby. At one time Barnet had 21.

At East Finchley, around 1890, the market place boasted The George and the Windsor Castle while nearby were the Black Bess, Green Man, Bald Faced Stag, White Lion and Manor Cottage. Pub names are a study in themselves. Some proclaimed their loyalty to the crown thus, The Crown, King's Head, Queen's Arms, William IV, The Alexandra, Duke of York. Others honoured famous people or local dignitaries Lord Nelson, Sebright Arms, Lord Kitchener.

Yet others celebrated working life: Bricklayer's Arms, Joiner's Arms, Builder's Arms, Railway Tavern. Among the more unusual ones is the Adam and Eve (originally the Eve) at Mill Hill which, because of its illustration of the female form on the pub sign, was locally called the rude pub'. Many pubs are proud of their history and some even have an illustrated display explaining their origins.

As we know from our own times, it is not uncommon for a pub to change its name. The Cardinal's Hat, in High Street, Barnet, became successively The Antelope, the Red Lion and the Dandy Lion. Similarly, the Mitre has been the Busshe, Rose & Crown, The Rose and The Man. There has been a tavern on this site since before 1449 which, as far as we know, makes it the oldest pub still in use.

Pub hours were restricted in the First World War to reduce the risk of drunkenness among factory workers making munitions. For the same reason, the strength of beer was reduced.

We need to remind ourselves that pubs were not popular with everyone. There were those who for various reasons, sometimes religious, fought what they saw as the evils of drink. In 1665, for example, some of the people of Totteridge stayed up all night praying and drawing a petition to the Justices of the Peace saying: "Never in the memory of man had any common ale house been allowed to set up amongst them, there being no usual road through the village to any place or market.

"Nevertheless, a licence had been recently granted to one John Bernon to sell ale... He is by profession a tailor and clerk of the parish and able to earn a competent living thereby if he would apply himself to his calling, his wife is a lusty woman also able to work for her living. The said alehouse is of no other use than to debauch the neighbourhood and other servants of the parish, being a disorderly tipping house, receiving and entertaining idle persons and suffering them to continue and sit drinking there, not only on ordinary days but on Sundays also, and many times at unreasonable hours in the night and is a harbour for vagrants and vagabonds."