Golders Green was a hamlet until the 1900s. Much of Golders Green was in a minor manor called Hodford (c1200s). Some have suggested that the name Golders Green may come from a 15th-century Goldherd's mill (located further south near Clitterhouse fields). However it is more likely to come from a local family called Godyere. The green itself probably developed during the 16th century, and was in use by 1612.
Hoop Lane was named after the 18th century Hoop Inn. At this time Golders Green was a hamlet of 16 houses dotted between Hoop Lane and the Brent river. In 1814 these houses were described as 'ornamental villas and cottages surrounded with plantations', most of which were built with bricks made in Golders Green. In July of 1829 the new Finchley Road turnpike was open as far as Golders Green. A horse bus ran regularly along the Finchley Road by the 1880s but seemed to have little impact on the hamlet.
Golders Green tube station opened in 1907 and the surrounding area developed into a suburb, with streets of semi-detached houses and a major shopping district by 1914. Golders Green's population grew from 4,465 in 1911 to 17,837 in 1931.
The Ionic cinema (now closed) and The Hippodrome both opened in 1913. The Refectory, now a public house, was opened in February 1916, and is thought by some to be the first ever restaurant to have its kitchens entirely powered with electricity. The War Memorial was unveiled in April 1923.
Golders Green is famous for its Jewish communities. There were Jewish family shops and homes by 1910, and by 1915 there were thought to be about 300 Jewish families. In 1913 the first public service was held in West Heath Drive.
Dunstan Road synagogue, Golders Green, was opened in 1922. Its most famous Rabbi is Rabbi Sacks, the current Chief Rabbi of England. By 1959 around a quarter of the population of the Borough of Hendon (which included Golders Green) was Jewish.
Golders Green has had many famous residents, including, Marie Lloyd, Desmond Tutu (curate at St Alban's church in the early 1960s), and Oliver Postgate, the children's programme maker, who was at school here.