St Mary’s Chapel, now known as St Mary’s Church, is a Grade II* listed Roman Catholic church.
St Mary’s was the first Catholic church to be built in Hampstead after the English Reformation of the 16th century. The Abbé Jean-Jacques Morel, a refugee from the French Revolution, was its first pastor. The little chapel was completed in less than a year and opened its doors to worshippers for the first time in August 1816.
By this time with the final defeat of Napoleon, the majority of French refugees in Hampstead had returned to France and the congregation numbered about a hundred on a regular basis although these numbers were increased in the summer months by itinerant Irish hay-makers who worked in the fields around the village. Education was a priority for the Abbé Morel and he undertook the religious education of both boys and young women at several private Catholic schools in Hampstead. Sometime after the building of the chapel in Holly Place, two schools, one for boys and the other for girls, were set up next to the presbytery and was supported by subscriptions from wealthier parishioners.
St Mary’s Church is located near the top of the hill at Holly Place on Holly Walk, nestled in a row of Georgian houses between Church Row and Mount Vernon. No taller than houses numbered 4 and 5 to either side, the Church’s distinctive façade with bell tower and statue of Virgin and Child was designed by architect William Wardell as the first addition to the original building at the time the law was changed to allow bells to be rung from Catholic churches in 1852.
The sanctuary is decorated with tile mosaics and the painting of the Assumption of Our Lady was a gift from one of the founders of the chapel, George Armstrong, on behalf of his only daughter Frances Hall. This painting can be seen in the earliest photograph of the interior dating from 1878.
In the 19th century a school was built behind the church but demolished in 1907, the land being used to build the present day sanctuary and side chapels. Considerable repairs were made to the presbytery (rectory) in 1978 so that the upstairs now houses the pastor and downstairs a parish centre. The church was closed during 1990 for major building repairs removing the ceiling to reveal the roof timbers that adorn the church today.
St Dorothy’s Convent is nearby at 99 Frognal. Previously it was home to one of St Mary’s more notable parishioners General Charles de Gaulle who lived there with his family for about a year during the Second World War. The Sisters of St Dorothy’s organise CCD classes for children of the parish who are not attending Catholic schools. South of the Church, the buildings now at numbers 1 and 2 Holly Walk were part of the St Vincent’s Convent and Orphanage in the 1800s
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Hampstead though now considered an integral part of London, has retained much of its village charm.
Hampstead is on a steep hill and the tube station platforms are the deepest on the London Underground network, at 58.5 metres below ground level. It has the deepest lift shaft on the Underground.
Although early records of Hampstead itself can be found in a grant by King Ethelred the Unready to the monastery of St. Peter's at Westminster (AD 986) and it is referred to in the Domesday Book (1086), the history of Hampstead is generally traced back to the 17th century.
Trustees of the Well started advertising the medicinal qualities of the chalybeate waters (water impregnated with iron) in 1700. Although Hampstead Wells was initially successful, its popularity declined in the 1800s due to competition with other London spas. The spa was demolished in 1882, although a water fountain was left behind.
Hampstead started to expand following the opening of the North London Railway in the 1860s (now on the London Overground), and expanded further after the tube station opened in 1907.
LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
6 Ellerdale Road: 6 Ellerdale Road is a house built by the Arts and Crafts movement architect Richard Norman Shaw for himself in the period 1874 to 1876. An introduction to Hampstead by G.E. Mitton (1902): This text originates from "The Fascination of Hampstead" by Geraldine Edith Mitton (published 1902) Anna Freud Centre: The Anna Freud Centre is a child mental health research, training and treatment centre. Bracknell Way, NW3: Bracknell Way is a small alleyway, usable only by pedestrians Branch Hill Pond: Branch Hill Pond which was fed from a spring which was also the main source of the Westbourne. Bull and Bush: The Old Bull and Bush is a Grade II listed public house near Hampstead Heath in London which gave its name to the music hall song ’Down at the old Bull and Bush’. Devonshire House Preparatory School: Devonshire House preparatory school is based in four large Victorian houses in Hampstead. Everyman Cinema: The Everyman, in Heath Street, Hampstead, opened as a cinema on 26 December 1933. Fitzjohn’s Primary School: Fitzjohn’s Primary School is a community primary school, established in 1953. Freud Museum: The Freud Museum is a museum dedicated to Sigmund Freud, who lived there with his family during the last year of his life. Great Hollow Elm: The Great Hollow Elm stood at the top of Hampstead Heath. Hampstead: Hampstead though now considered an integral part of London, has retained much of its village charm. Hampstead Town: This article first appeared in ’A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9, Hampstead, Paddington’. Hampstead tunnel: Hampstead Tunnel, 1166 yards long, was built as part of the Hampstead Junction Railway, and opened on 2 January 1860. Hare and Hounds: The Hare and Hounds was the northernmost public house in Hampstead. Keats House: Keats House is a writer’s house museum in a house once occupied by the Romantic poet John Keats. Netherhall House: Netherhall House is a catered intercollegiate halls of residence for men, founded in 1952. New West End: New West End was created in the 1840s on the Finchley Road. Pentameters Theatre: The Pentameters Theatre was founded in 1968 and is 60-seat venue and is a fringe theatre, located above the Three Horseshoes public house in Hampstead. Piecemeal building: The infant River Westbourne crossed, what in 1900, was still a boggy field. Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel: The Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel is a place of worship and a member of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, the umbrella organisation for British Unitarians. Rosslyn House: Rosslyn (Roslyn) House, which stood between Wedderburn and Lyndhurst Roads, was one of the last of the famous old Hampstead houses to be destroyed. Shepherd’s Well: Shepherd’s Well, whose flow was thought to be nearly as pure as distilled water, is the source of the River Tyburn. Source of the Kilbourne: The easternmost branch of the River Westbourne rises just south of the centre of Hampstead, St John, Hampstead: St John-at-Hampstead is a Church of England parish church dedicated to St John the Evangelist. The Academy School: The Academy School is an independent preparatory school for boys and girls aged between 6 and 13. The Royal School, Hampstead: The Royal School, Hampstead, was an independent girls’ day and boarding school. The school educated girls aged 3-16. Two streams meet: Somewhere beneath the basement of 16 Frognal, NW3 two tributaries of the River Westbourne meet. University College School: University College School, generally known as UCS, is an independent school charity situated in northwest London. Whitestone Pond: Whitestone Pond is the source of one of London’s lost rivers, the River Westbourne.
John Rocque (c. 1709–1762) was a surveyor, cartographer, engraver, map-seller and the son of Huguenot émigrés.
Roque is now mainly remembered for his maps of London. This map dates from the second edition produced in 1762. London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751. His widow continued the business after his death.
The map of Hampstead covers an area stretching from the edge in the northwest of present-day Dollis Hill to Islington in the southeast.
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