The Virtual Tour  of Hampstead

West Heath

Sandy Heath

Hampstead Village

East Heath


Hampstead Family History



The Hampstead Chronicles

Being anything I notice, or feel moved to comment upon, in Hampstead and its environs

November 2008

Highgate Cemetery has claimed the title of Europe's favourite resting place, beating other famous cemeteries like the Cimitiere du Pere-Lachaise in Paris and the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague.

August 2008

Reading  my local paper today - The Hampstead & Highgate Express -  there was mention of a Horatio Henry Edwards of East Finchley who had died in 1908, and claimed to be the rightful heir to about half the land upon which New York City stands.           

I found this on the net:


There is (says a New York cable message which appeared in the Sydney Sun on Octobe 28) a man in New Zealand who reckons that Manhattan Island, at the mouth of the Hudson, is his. Horatio Edwards is the man who puts forward this big claim, and he has written to a firm of New York lawyers, whom he desires to take his case in hand. At Mr Edward's estimate the property is worth £30,000,000. The claimant asserts that he was the heir of Robert Edwards, who came to New York when a boy, and subsequently, bought 65 acres of marsh land in the central part of New York. This property was afterwards leased to the Government for a term of 99 years. It was then subleased, and finally sold. The lawyers are now investigating Mr Edward's claim.

I also found Horatio Henry Edward's death on free bmd in 1908 aged 55, and found him with his parents, Robert W & Jane M in the 1861 and 1851. In the 1851, Robert was the landlord of The Clissold Arms.

Does anyone know what happened here? I'd love to know.

July 2008

Hampstead Village Voice - our very own satirical magazine!

Funny and subversive - or brazenly defamatory, libellous and scurrilously misleading, according to the Ham & High!

Not available online or by mail order (yet!)  but there is a blog to read, and a website at

Witanhurst is the biggest house in London - except for Buckingham Palace. A 90 room Grade II Queen Ann Mansion in Highgate, it has just been bought for £50m by the Mayor of Moscow's wife. Apparently it has a window for every day of the year. Imagine! 

June 2008

The Woodcraft Folk is an educational movement for children and young people, which aims to develop self confidence and activity in society, and to build a world based on equality, friendship, peace and co-operation. If only!  Check out their website at

A London Soldier buried in an unmarked common grave in Highgate Cemetery has been found to be Corporal Robert Grant, who won the Victoria Cross for bravery in the Indian Mutiny in 1857. After the war he became a policeman in Kentish Town. When he died , his wife couldn't afford a funeral. Now, thanks to local historians, 141 years after he was buried,  he's getting a fitting ceremony and a headstone to honour his memory.

The Friends of Hampstead Cemetery are in dire need of your help. Their lottery award could be in jeopardy unless they can match the funding by their own fundraising efforts. There's an awful lot to maintaining these old cemeteries. If your relatives are buried there, you might think of making a donation, or an annual subscription of £5 to help them. Please send by post to: The Secretary, The Friends of Hampstead Cemetery, The Lodge, 69 Fortune Green Rd, London NW6 1DR. Or you can donate without even getting out of your chair by Paypal. Email for details.

The Railway Hotel, West End Lane was a famous music pub in the 60s and 70s, with clubs variously known as Klooks Kleek, The Starlight and  The Moonlight. Legend has it that The Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Eric Clapton, and Led Zep, to name but a few, have all played there. The current owners want to turn it into flats. Next Thursday is the planning deadline to object to Camden about the proposals.

Blind Factory to close. Sadly, the factory in Willesden Junction that has provided employment for blind and partially sighted people for many years is to close due to council funding cuts. Does this compute? Is it cheaper to stop giving the grants, or to pay income support/housing benefit/council tax benefit to some 33 people probably for the rest of their lives. I'm afraid it seems that the council knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.

June 6th 1958 There is mention again in the Ham & High that Hampstead has the highest rate of suicide in the British Empire. Why can this be?

From an article in The Times, Monday, Jul 25, 1955, sent to me by Maureen:

Possible reasons why Hampstead usually has the highest suicide rate in England & Wales are discussed by Dr Dennis Geffen, the medical officer of Health, in his report on the health of the Borough in 1954. The results of his analysis suggest that the excessive rate of suicides in Hampstead over the average arises chiefly from personal factors, and may be associated with the type of population who leave their own home town to go to London in search of jobs.

In 1950 Hampstead had the highest rate (about 60% over the average in London as a whole) - 287 suicides in a million of the population, followed by Holborn (270 a million), Burnley (259), Eastbourne (258), and Westminster (257). Dr Geffen goes on to say that with the exception of Wandsworth all them adjoin to form the north west section of the County of London..... These borough have other things in common, such as a large number of people living in lodgings, boarding houses  and rooms, and the presence of an excess of females, students and elderly people....

I must enquire as to the current situation.

American Red Swamp Crayfish have been found in a pond on Hampstead Heath.

Would you Adam and Eve it! Another developer is proposing similarly inappropriate building works to the recent Fitzroy Farm development, also sending huge trucks down Millfield Lane. Residents can comment on the plans at the council's planning website at We've been fighting for the heath since the days of Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson in the 1840s.  Will it never end!

Ye Old White Bear, New End Square is up for sale. Licensed premises currently for sale in Hampstead are Mojama, Tabby Cat Lounge, Bombay Blueprint, Toast and Bar Room Bar. I think we can do without all those, but - please - let's not lose the historic Old White Bear, which has been there since about 1700.

May 2008

Billy the Kid & the Hampstead Resident: John Henry Tunstall (1853 - 1878) lived in Belsize Terrace in 1871. He emigrated to Canada, ending up as a rancher in New Mexico. His murder ignited the Lincoln County War. See for the full story. David Thomas, a historian in New Mexico, is currently working on a book on the life and times of John H. Tunstall. Watch this space for details on publication.

The London Canal Museum is looking for people who used to work on the waterways, either on boats or barges, or as lock keepers or people to worked to maintain the routes. They want your memories, before it's too late. Call Mr Keene at 0207 7713 0836 or email if you have anything to contribute.

An Irish Magnet The famous Galtymore, the Irish dance hall on Cricklewood Broadway, is closing down after 56 years to become flats and shops.

H G Wells' house in Primrose Hill is put on the market for £3.25 million. I don't think he could have predicted that!

Lloyds Bank is closing  This beautiful Grade II listed building in Rosslyn Hill, by Victorian Architect Horace Field is to close and be turned into a restaurant. As if we didn't have enough already. Makes a change from very very expensive flats, I suppose.

Highgate Cemetery needs YOU!! Members are needed for Friends of Highgate Cemetery, a charity dedicated to keeping the cemetery going

Camden Council Vandals In the 1840s it was Lord of the Manor of Hampstead, Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, trying to build on the heath. Now, it's Camden Council allowing inappropriate building works to take place.

This is the campaigning website for the opposition to the outrageous development of Fitzroy Farm. Fitzroy Farm is just across from the Ladies Pond on Millfield Lane, and its development will have a dramatic impact on the lane, the pond and the edges of the Heath. If it goes ahead the building works will operate for the next two years with huge amounts of construction traffic constantly driving up and down the small lane affecting the pedestrians, runners, cyclists as well as the whole delicate environment.

STOP PRESS!!!! A Victory for common sense!! Camden has now refused permission, in the face of mounting opposition.

Restoration of the Euston Arch? Built in 1838, and taken down stone by stone in 1962. This decision caused outrage at the time, but now the Euston Arch Trust is campaigning for its return. I suppose we should be grateful that it was at least  saved, so that the possibility for its return exists. You could email Network Rail  if you feel strongly about this.

Abnormally high proportion of suicide in Hampstead reported on 25th April 1958 Double the national average for the rest of the country, for seven years running. I wonder why that should be? Any ideas?

Highgate Cemetery Europe's Favourite Resting Place
The owner of half of New York??
Hampstead Village Voice
The Woodcraft Folk
A Victoria Cross Medal winner
The Friends of Hampstead Cemetery need you!
The Railway Tavern
Willesden Factory to Close
Suicide again!
American Red
Swamp Crayfish
Another inappropriate development planned
Ye Old White Bear
Billy the Kid and the Hampstead Resident
The London Canal Museum
An Irish Magnet
H G Wells' house
Lloyd's Bank is closing
Highgate Cemetery Needs YOU!!
Camden Council Vandals
Restoration of the Euston Arch?
Abnormally high proportion of suicide in Hampstead reported on 25th April 1958
The past is another country


The Virtual Tour of Hampstead
East Heath, Sandy Heath, West Heath and Hampstead Village

Hampstead Family History
Churches and Schools
Extracts from the Hampstead & Highgate Express
The Workhouse
1881 census Residents of Hospital Buildings (formerly Smallpox Hospital) Hampstead
1881 census Residents of Hampstead Workhouse
Gravestone pictures and Monumental Inscriptions
Benevolent Institutions
Marriages St John's Hampstead
Baptisms St John's Hampstead
Burials St John's Hampstead
Names from the War Memorial
Hampstead Cemetery, Fortune Green
The Historical Register for 1720
Public Houses & Taverns and their licensees
References to Hampstead residents on A2A
Hampstead policemen
Can you help........?
Hampstead Workhouse 1851 Census Transcription

The Past is another country. They do things differently there

From the Hampstead Borough Directory 1962-3

Only 45 years ago, but another world!

Telephone numbers were still evocative sounding exchange names like HAMpstead 1234 or PRImrose Hill 3456
Baths and wash houses were widely available. Adults - 1s 3d, children under 15 -  9d. Bachelor washing facilities every Monday and Thursday from 6pm to 9pm.
Shops still closed early on Thursday afternoons.
There were four cinemas in Kilburn (now only one) and four in Hampstead (now only one) with names like The Classic, Essoldo, Playhouse, Gaumont.
Advertising was restrained and dignified.
Dispensing chemists offered a night emergency service, were often open til 8pm daily, including Sundays
There were "High Class" Fishmongers, poulterers, greengrocers and butchers everywhere. Now there's only the ubiquitous supermarket.
There were still Furriers in Hampstead and West Hampstead.
The Avoca House Hotel  (Licensed) in Belsize Park offered 120 rooms (30 with private bath), GPO phone, and could be contacted by telegram at Avocatel, NW3. The Clive Hall Hotel in Fellows Road offered bed and breakfast from 21/-. The Manor Court in Fitzjohn's Avenue was more expensive at 25/- with Hot and Cold in all bedrooms, and a tv lounge.
The Hampstead Secretarial College offered "A thorough Training in very pleasant surroundings". The Hampstead School of Speech and Drama offered private tuition in Public speaking, chairmanship and radio & tv technique.
There was Forsters (founded 1790) coffee and tea merchants, groceries and wines at 73 Hampstead High Street, as well as The Coffee & Tea Warehouse at 2 Flask Walk, "who are the only solely Coffee & Tea specialists in Hampstead. Who, therefore, in addition to the normal exotic blends sold by enthusiastic general grocers, have perfected  many reasonably priced family teas and coffees that you can live with the whole year round" according to their advertisement.
Even in 1962 there were far too many estate agents - 10 pages of them - some of them names I recognise today, but many gone to the wall or swallowed by bigger fish.
Howards of Hampstead at 173 West End Lane offered free deliveries daily of fresh horsemeat, liver and fish (human consumption quality) Gorta Radiovision Service, agents for Philips, Pye, Pilot etc offered record players and tape recorders. Another advert  stated categorically  that "In Hampstead one buys records  at  The Music Shop" at 2 Swiss Terrace. Seymour Vision at 98 Mill Lane offered tv rentals from 8/6 weekly and attractive HP terms on all radio, television and radiograms.

West Heath

Sandy Heath

Hampstead Village

East Heath


Hampstead Family History