The Village of Hampstead, just four miles from the centre of London, first became famous in the early 18th century as a pleasure resort for its medicinal springs. It was claimed by doctors that the waters were a cure for most ailments. It was also famous for its magnificent surrounding views, standing as it does on an eminence overlooking the City of London. It had the distinction of having the highest pub in London - Jack Straw's Castle, alas no longer a pub. Other famous pubs include The Old Bull & Bush, immortalized in the old musical hall song Down At The Old Bull & Bush, and The Spaniards Inn, where Dick Turpin was supposed to have been a customer.
The magnificent views and the health giving springs brought Hampstead many famous inhabitants and visitors - John Constable, George Romney, William Hogarth, William Blake, Alfred Tennyson, Hugh Gaitskell, Anna Pavlova, and George Du Maurier - to name but a few. Hampstead apparently has more blue plaques than any other London suburb. John Constable is buried in Hampstead parish church, and in his lifetime painted many well known pictures of Hampstead and the Heath, which are hung in galleries all over the world. The picture shown is Trees at Hampstead, or the Path to the Church, painted in 1821. Wilkie Collins referred to Hampstead as a kind of suburban Nirvana.
Today, Hampstead is a dynamic and thriving shopping centre, successfully mixing modern and old, full of pubs, clubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, shops, and of course, best of all - Hampstead Heath.
Welcome to The Virtual Tour of Hampstead.
Please contact me if you spot any errors, or have any information you would like to contribute.
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Boundaries have changed over the years, so if you don't find what you're looking for on one page, you might well find it in the neighbouring parish.
I'm gradually acquiring resources, and I'm happy to do look ups if I can:
Hampstead & Highgate Directory 1885-6. This seems to cover Kilburn
and parts of Willesden, too.
Hampstead has a very active History Society - The Camden History Society - who are probably single handedly responsible for my interest in Hampstead history.
Email me: info (at) thevirtualtourofhampstead.co.uk
Tour of Hampstead