The Manor of Belsize dates back to 1317, with the name is derived from French bel assis meaning 'well situated'.
Rosslyn (Roslyn) House, which stood between Wedderburn and Lyndhurst Road
s, was one of the last of the famous old Hampstead houses to be destroyed.
Mulys, later called Grove House, Shelford Lodge, and Rosslyn House, was occupied by the Fellows family from c. 1723 to c.1777.Licence:
It changed to its final name when it became the property of Alexander Wedderburn, first Earl of Rosslyn, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain in 1793.
He added a large oval room which held the library and disguised the shape of the original house. Rosslyn left in 1803 and in 1808 the house, a newly planted orchard, and 21 acres, were occupied by Robert Milligan (d. 1809), a West India merchant. There were also houses for a gardener and a coachman.
It was noted for its magnificent avenue of Spanish chestnuts said to have been planted in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Elizabethan relics have been found in the vicinity.
Rosslyn House was sold in 1816 to the undertenant and remained in parkland until it was demolished between 1896 and 1909.
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A handsome antique print - a gardener is at work in the grounds. Engraved from an original study by William Henry Prior and originally produced for the part-work "Old and New London" (London : 1873-1878).
William Henry Prior (1812-1882)
Belsize Manor was built by Daniel O'Neill for his wife, the Countess of Chesterfield, in the 17th century. Urbanisation took place largely between 1852 and 1878, by which time it extended to Haverstock Hill
. After World War I, the construction of blocks of flats began, and now a great many of the larger houses are also converted into flats.
underground station was opened on 22 June 1907 by the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway as an intermediate station on its line from Charing Cross to Hampstead. It is served by three lifts and there are 219 steps. The station was designed by Leslie Green and has his familiar facade of ox-blood faience with four round arched windows. It remained largely untouched until the late 1980s when the lifts were replaced and a new ticketing system installed.
It was during the 1930s that Belsize Park
contributed most to the artistic and intellectual life of Hampstead. Artists associated with the Mall studios included Dame Barbara Hepworth from 1927 to 1939, her first husband John Skeaping and second Ben Nicholson from 1931 to 1939, and Henry Moore, who lived at no. 11A Parkhill Road
from 1929 to 1940. They were members of Unit One, a group of artists and architects founded in 1933 by Paul Nash (1889-1946), who lived at no. 3 Eldon Grove from 1936 to 1939. Sir Herbert Read, the poet and art critic, who lived in 1934-5 at the Mall studios, which he described as a 'nest of gentle artists', published the group's manifesto, a theory of modern style.
Another centre was no. 37 Belsize Park
Gardens, meeting place of MARS, an architectural group, and home of Jack Pritchard, who founded Isokon, a firm making modern furniture designed by people like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, refugees who brought a European dimension to the abstract design movement in the arts. Others included Piet Mondrian, the Dutch painter, who stayed with the Pritchards before moving to no. 60 Parkhill Road
(1938-41). Pritchard also commissioned Wells Coates in 1934 to build the Isokon or Lawn Road
flats, partly to house artistic refugees, on a site which he owned. Built in concrete in a functional style, the flats came to be recognized as 'a milestone in the introduction of the modern idiom into London'.
In World War II, a large underground air-raid shelter was built here and its entrance can still be seen near the tube station at Downside Crescent
. The area on Haverstock Hill
north of Belsize Park
underground station up to Hampstead Town Hall and including part of a primary school near the Royal Free Hospital was heavily bombed.
these days is a lively area with many restaurants, pubs and cafés along Haverstock Hill
and also England's Lane.
Glossary: A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9
, edited by C R Elrington.