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Hampstead Village

Hampstead Village still retains most  of its original village charm, despite some of the modern high street names creeping in. When McDonalds tried to open up a shop in the High Street, in a Grade II listed building, there was strong local opposition, and eventually they had to agree to a severely toned down frontage, so Hampstead's  McDonalds is like no other.

Hampstead's streets are narrow and hilly, with alleys and lanes leading off. Beautiful cottages and buildings are everywhere. There are 18 Grade II Listed properties in Hampstead High Street alone.

St John's, Downshire Hill, opened about 1823.

Painting by Lindy Newman

 

Hampstead Parish Church in Church Row

            

                           Painting by Lindy Newman                                                 Photo by Lindy Newman                                             Photo by Lindy Newman

Amongst the inmates of the cemetery are John Constable (painter),  Hugh Gaitskell (labour leader), Kay Kendall (actress), several members of the du Maurier family, John Harrison (inventor of the marine chronometer), and Anton Walbrook (actor).  The book "Buried in Hampstead",  (Camden History Society, 1986) also notes that the following are buried there: Jane Austen's aunt, Coleridge's grandchildren, Leigh Hunt's daughter-in-law, Lily Langtree's cousin, Shelley's son's father-in-law, Robert Stephenson's wife, Queen Victoria's chaplain, and Evelyn Waugh's parents, as well as such luminaries as the Head of the Skin Department of St Bartholomew's Hospital, the Improver of Railway Refreshments, the Defuser of an Enemy Mine on the Hungerford Bridge,  and a Singer in the First Performance of Haydn's Creation. 

Photo by Lindy Newman

Hampstead Parish Church Interior in Church Row

Hampstead Parish Church is unusual in this day and age, in that it always seems to be open and unlocked. I'm not a religious person, but even so, I am awed by the atmosphere in there; the sense of peace and silence is profound, even though you know the traffic is rushing by you and everyday life is going on frantically outside the doors.

 

        

                      Church Row from the graveyard, from the back and from the front
                      Photos by Lindy Newman

Heath Street from an old postcard

Church Row. 1905 postcard

 

Church Row in the snow.

Photo by Lindy Newman

 

Photo by Lindy Newman

Not a very good picture, I know, but the building on the left, painted grey, is the Everyman Cinema, which opened in 1933. Prior to that, it was the Everyman Theatre from 1920 on. Before that it was the Hampstead Drill Hall of the 3rd Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps.

 photo by Lindy Newman

Stanfield House

In 1855 this became the home of the grandly named "The Hampstead Public Library of General Literature and Elementary Science". Originally, it was at Mrs Dearmans' at  7 Gardnor Place, Flask Walk. It then moved to 60  Heath Street, before coming to Stanfield House, on the corner of Prince Arthur Road and Hampstead High Street. John Constable was one of its first subscribers. According to Mary Hill, (author & painter) at one point it had over 12,000 books. Originally, there were other houses adjoining it, but they are long gone. It is said that the road you can see in the front of the picture (Prince Arthur Road) was cut through from Heath Street to the High Street because of the visit of Prince Arthur of Connaught to open the Sailors' Daughter's Home.

This is Hampstead High Street looking down the hill towards Haverstock Hill, c 1902. The church on the right is the Hampstead Wesleyan, demolished about 1934. Tucked just out of sight, between the church and the shops, is Stanfield House.

Victorian post box in the High Street. This is a Grade II Listed building!

(photo by Camden Council)

Hampstead Brewery

The entrance to Brewery Mews in Hampstead High Street. The Brewery was in business from 1720 to 1921

Photo by Lindy Newman

 

Hampstead Town Hall on Haverstock Hill (now Interchange Studios)

There are two war memorials inside - one  to the 32 members of staff of Hampstead Borough Council who died in the First World War, and one for The Boer War, which I shall try to transcribe soon.

 

 

Burgh House

                                     

                                        Painting by Lindy Newman                                                                                                                         Photo by Lindy Newman

Burgh House is a Queen Anne, Grade I listed building, built in 1703.  At one time, it was the officer's mess of the Royal East Middlesex Militia. After the last war, which it was lucky to survive, it was bought by the local council. It is now the home of the Hampstead Museum of Local History.   One of the rooms is an art gallery with regular exhibitions, and you can hold your wedding ceremony in the beautiful, wood panelled music room. There is a delightful, prize winning terraced garden, originally designed by Gertrude Jekyll and maintained in her style, full of little nooks and crannies, with tables and chairs set up for the enjoyment of afternoon tea in the dappled shade. In the garden there is a little wooden handcart, painted with the name Henry Kippin. Henry Kippin was the local chimney sweep, the last of three generations of Kippins who swept the chimneys of Hampstead for a hundred years. He lived in Perrins Court, his house now being occupied by the Villa Bianca, an expensive Italian restaurant, which seems to have been there for as long as I can remember.

 

New Court

 

New End Primary School. Built 1906.

New Court is Grade 2 listed Victorian tenement blocks.  Once home to Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten and Boy George amongst others.
 

The Chalybeate Well in Well Walk

More or less opposite this well is a house called Wellside, (photo below) which has a plaque stating that it was built in 1892 on the site of the Old Hampstead Pump Room. In the early 1700s, Hampstead became a spa town to rival Bath and Tunbridge Wells. What had been the Assembly Room became a chapel, while the church was being rebuilt, and then became the Drill Hall for the Hampstead Rifle Volunteers.

Photos by Lindy Newman  
Cottages in Back Lane, leading from Flask Walk to Heath Street

Photo by Lindy Newman

The Bath house in Flask Walk. A listed building. Converted in 1981 into very, very expensive apartments. The writing along the frontage says The Wells & Campden Trust Bath & Washhouses 1888.

Photo by Lindy Newman

Painting by Lindy Newman

This is Fitzjohn's primary school, founded in 1954. The main building is long gone, but in the 1800s this was part of the Royal Soldiers' Daughters' Home, where the orphaned daughters of Crimean soldiers were trained for domestic service.

 

Photo by Lindy Newman

Keats House in Keats Grove, built about 1815. The poet Keats lived there from about 1818 to 1820. He wrote his famous "Ode to A Nightingale" sitting under the plum tree in the front garden.

 

                                                            

     

Photos by Lindy Newman

Fenton House, built about 1693. It is now run by the National Trust, and houses a collection of pictures, porcelain, furniture, and The Benton Fletcher collection of musical instruments, which includes a harpsichord used by Handel. The walled garden is absolutely beautiful.

Mount Vernon

Originally the Hospital for Consumption & Diseases of the Chest. Now very, very expensive flats.

Photo by Lindy Newman

A view of the infirmary block, erected in 1896, seen from Mansfield Place. This was originally the Hampstead Workhouse, but became the New End Hospital in WWI. Now, like Mount Vernon, it is very, very expensive flats

Photo by Lindy Newman

The Old Lock Up in Cannon Lane, used from about 1730-1830

Photo by Lindy Newman

 

The Holly Bush in Holly Mount, one of Hampstead's many old pubs. This one was built in 1643 and converted from the stables and outbuildings of Romney's house, which is behind it. Dr Johnson and Boswell both drank there, and, oh yes, apparently you can get a really good pint there, if you like that sort of thing. What ever your poison, it's like stepping back in time, with bare oak floors, wood and plaster walls and roaring fires.

Photo by Lindy Newman

 

 

This is Holly Hill, c1910, which used to be known as Cloth Hill. George Romney lived at No. 6 

Hampstead Observatory, Lower Terrace, Whitestone Pond, NW3

Way up Heath Street, just before you get to Whitestone Ponds, tucked away in a quiet cul-de-sac and on top of a reservoir, you will find the Hampstead Observatory.

The  Hampstead Scientific Society was founded in 1899 by P.E. Vizard, and the observatory has been on that site since 1910. The telescope used by the society is a 6" refractor made in 1898 by Thomas Cook of York and was presented to the society in 1923. Alongside the observatory is a weather station, which has been checked daily since 1910, providing the longest continuous record of meteorological readings in the country. The HSS is  an educational charity trying to spread the word of science, and they  organise monthly lectures at St Johnís church hall. It is open on clear Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings from mid-October to mid-April. 8-10pm Fri and Sat, 11am-1pm Sun. Free

 

Carry on up Heath Street, past the Observatory, and you come to Whitestone Pond, named for its 'white stone', or milestone. This is where the horses who had struggled all the way up the hill would get to drink and recover from their exertions.                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                       1905 postcard

 

 

At the small roundabout just ahead is the junction of North End Way and Spaniards Road. There stands Heath House, previously occupied by many illustrious people, notably Samuel Hoare in 1790. The house, its garden walls and railings are Grade II* listed. It is said that from its roof, you can see six counties on a clear day. It seems to have been empty for quite a long while.

Photo by Lindy Newman

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To the left of Heath House is Jack Straw's Castle - alas no longer a pub. It is reputed to be 443 1/2ft above sea level.

An old postcard of Jack Straw's Castle Hotel

 

On the right of Heath House, looking over the rooftops of the Vale of Health, is a spectacular view over London. My camera is not good enough to do it justice, but you can just about get the idea.

 

 

 

Photo by Lindy Newman

 

 

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