Muswell Hill - a little bit respectable
On the site of Cambridge Gardens was the factory of the Cambridge Instrument Company which made scientific instruments.
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The name Muswell is believed to come from a natural spring or well (the Mossy Well
), said to have miraculous properties. The traditional story tells that a Scottish king was cured of disease after drinking the water. The area became a place of pilgrimage for healing during medieval times. The River Moselle, which has its source in Muswell Hill and Highgate, derives its name from this district; it was originally known as the Mosa or Mosella.
Solidly middle class and suburban, Muswell Hill comes with all the necessary trimmings: double income families, Range Rovers, designer-clad mothers, and au-pair girls by the score. Sober and respectable Edwardian terraces, many with lovingly preserved period details and well-tended gardens, are the order of the day.
The hill-top location offers wonderful views over the city; and the steep gradient gives the place an elevated air which sets it apart from the less refined places closer to sea level and more familiar with the bustle and grit of the capital.
As befits so well-established an area, Muswell Hill is well supplied with shops and restaurants, cafes and wine-bars. The Broadway is the main drag and has the usual High Street suspects, but there are also good specialist outlets selling books, antiques, hand-made toys, furniture and the like.
In 1964, two young Muswell Hill residents, the brothers Ray and Dave Davies, formed The Kinks. Categorised in the United States as a British Invasion band, the Kinks are recognised as one of the most important and influential rock groups of the era. The Davies' parents' home at 6 Denmark Terrace, Fortis Green, remains a magnet for rock music tourists.
In March 2013 Muswell Hill was named one of the five most desirable places to live in London in The Sunday Times 'Best Places To Live' guide.