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Featured articlesKilburn Park
Kilburn Park station was opened on 31 January 1915 as the temporary terminus of the Bakerloo line’s extension from Paddington. The area of Kilburn Park was developed in the 1850s somewhat south of the area then known as Kilburn in the fields west of the Edgware Road. The "Park" in the name was simply an invention by the developer, James Bailey.
Bailey had teamed up in a consortium of five developers who in 1850 bought 47 acres from owner the Reverend Edward Stuart. The consortium laid out roads and sewers and divided the site among themselves, subletting to smaller firms who built a few houses each.
The isolated, muddy location failed to attract many buyers and the estate remained incomplete for several decades. Properties were soon subdivided, some containing as many as six households in the 1870s.
Kilburn Park was finally complete in the late 1880s.
During the first decade of the twentieth century, the London & North West Railway planned a tunnel between Queen’s Park and Euston. While a surface line was built instead along the same route, the idea ...
Treherne House was built in the mid eighteenth century, The house had been built on Treherne Croft. a triangular shaped piece of land, four acres in extent. It was leased out as early as 1353 to Geoffrey le Fowler and then went through many hands until the eighteenth century.
By 1704 Treherne Croft was associated with Hillfield, to its north, and was held by Charles Herriott who conveyed the estate, a house, garden, and nearly 17 acres to Henry Binfield in 1720.
Treherne House was built sometime between 1720 and 1762. It was probably rebuilt in the late 18th or early 19th century when it became a grand house, having a seven-bayed main section with attics and central porch and a large b ay-windowed wing.
By 1807, Thomas Kesteven occupied Treherne House.
The sculptor Robert Shout was living at the house by 1835. In a letter to Sir Robert Peel (in which he fulminated against the high levels of land tax) he described himself as ‘possessed of independent property, consisting of land a...
A local West Hampstead builder, Thomas Potter, constructed Cedars in 1878. It was put up next to West End Green but under a decade later, new buildings were going up throughout West Hampstead. This corner, owner by Potter, became known as the Cedars Estate.
28 houses and a Methodist church were built on the estate fronting Mill Lane in 1886-7 and seven blocks of flats in West End Lane in 1894.
Holmdale Mansions were built in Holmdale Road in 1904 and Cavendish Mansions at the east end of Mill Lane about the same time, when the Cedars, which had become a school, was demolished.
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Vauxhall Station early 1900s.
Vauxhall at the turn of the twentieth century. Vauxhall bus station, in the twenty first century, is a centralised area where all of the local buses serving Vauxhall may be boarded. And these days it has a photovoltaic roof supplying much of its electricity and is the second busiest London bus station, after that at Victoria.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Vauxhall was a gloomier affair. This photo, taken from roughly where the number 2 and 36 stop on their way to Victoria, shows the mordern top of Bondway at its junction with South Lambeth Place.
The modern road system has transformed Vauxhall. The late nineteenth century road layout contains unfamiliar names: Bond Street, Archer Street. South Lambeth Road no longer curves up to the Vauxhall Tavern. The landscape abounds in breweries and pubs.
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Cannon Hill, NW6
Cannon Hill is a road in Fortune Green, NW6 Charles Cannon, a dye merchant who lived at Kidderpore Hall, converted an old footpath into Cannon Hill, and West House and Wellesley House were built west of the junction of Finchley Road and West End Lane.
One of the tributaries of the Kilbourne (downstream becoming the Westbourne) ran beside the original footpath and this before it was culverted became known as Cannon Stream.
E. J. Cave, one of the district’s most prominent Victorian builders, built the Cannon Hill estate where Marlborough, Buckingham and Avenue Mansions were built in the triangle formed by Cannon Hill, Finchley Road, and West End Lane in 1896-1900.
Conductor Sir Adrian Boult lived at at 78 Marlborough Mansions on Cannon Hill and has a blue plaque to his memory there. Nigel Balchin, the novelist, died in 1970 also in Marlborough Mansions.
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Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance
Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance is the traditional starting point for the Notting Hill Carnival.
During a meeting of the London County Council on the 14 March 1911, the chairman read out a letter containing an offer from politician and ex-council member Emslie J. Horniman:
"Recently I have been able to secure nearly one acre of land, which I consider suitable to lay out as a public garden, with sand-pit, etc., and, having now completed the purchase, I have much pleasure in offering the same to your council, and am ready to make over the freehold, the only condition being that the land be dedicated in perpetuity to the people of London as a recreation-ground. I propose to clear the land and lay out same at my own expense."
Emslie Horniman lived in Chelsea but was inspired to create the park which today bears his name in North Kensington by Sister Ruth, a local nun who worked with the poor of Kensal Town. Emslie Horniman was interested in the arts and gave the commission to design the park to the architect Charles Voysey hence the name ‘Voysey Garden’....
Flitcroft was a 50 acre estate at Fortune Green and West End, named after its owner in the 18th century. At the core of Flitcroft was 28 acres of land left by Rachel Farby in 1626 to a certain William Clark. In 1756, it was bought by an agent for the architect Henry Flitcroft (or Fleetcroft).
Flitcroft farmhouse lay just north of West End Green but the estate was effectively managed by Flitcroft from his house at Frognal Grove, Hampstead.
By 1866, the estate has passed to Mary Ann Porter. The 20 acres north of Fortune Green was sold to the parish for a cemetery in 1874.
The rest of the estate was given over to the builders in the 1880s. Although the name Parsifal Road was approved in 1883, no houses went up there until the 1890s but Hackney or New College, a brick building with majolica dressings designed by W. P. Manning, was built at the eastern end in 1887.
The National Standard Land Mortgage and Investment Co. constructed Ingham and Burrard roads between Fortune Green Road and Finchley Road in 1885 and 64 small terraced hou...
Abchurch Lane, EC4N
Abchurch Lane was first mentioned as Abbechurche Lane in 1291. The name is perhaps a corruption of Upchurch as the church is on slightly rising ground.
In the early 17th century the lane was renowned for the cakes referred to in John Websters Northward Hoe (1607) and sold by Mother Wells who had her shop here.
In the later part of the century and in the early 18th century it was even better known for the French eating house Pontacks whose exact site is uncertain. This was patronized by Evelyn. Wren and Swift.
The new King William Street which was built in the 1830s cut the lane in two.
In 1855 excavations for a sewer revealed an 11-metre length of Roman ragstone wall, probably running northwards up the middle of the lane from its junction with Nicholas Passage.
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The Railway pub is a standard Victorian pub with a musical secret. Returned to the original name of The Railway after a change to the Rat & Parrot for a few years it is located on the corner of Broadhurst Gardens and West End Lane.
In the legendary Klooks Kleek venue above the pub, Jimi Hendrix jammed on stage, Stevie Wonder played to packed crowds, Tom Jones drank and Eric Clapton had his guitar stolen there. The club was a key component of the capital's early 1960s - the Rolling Stones played and supergroup Cream recorded its first live album there.
Klooks was an old Victorian drawing room, some 20 metres square and unlike other venues had no stage at all.
In the 1970s, the club was renamed The Moonlight and U2 played their first gig outside Ireland there.
The venue is no longer used for music.
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Fortune Green lies to the north of the ancient village of West End. The first recorded mention of the green itself came in 1646 as a small area of manorial 'waste' where local residents had the right to graze animals, dig turf and play sports.
In 1820 about a third of the land in the north east corner was enclosed. Nine cottages were built for labourors and laundresses, who were allowed to keep drying poles on the Green for fourpence a year. At the southern tip of the Green is a fountain erected by the Cattle Trough and Drinking Fountain Association. Even as late as 1870 the Green was still surrounded by open fields; however, the expansion of London was beginning to encroach. By the 1880s a local residential building boom was underway after the opening of West Hampstead's underground station (1879) and overground station (1888).
In 1891 the Green was put up for sale for development. But local residents formed the Fortune Green Preservation Society to prevent it being sold, and to maintain the residents' rights of recre...
Pickering Place, SW1Y
Thought to be the smallest public open space in London, Pickering Place is perhaps most famous for being the location of the last public duel in England. The courtyard still contains original gaslights and has an unspoilt Georgian feel. In the 18th century this square was notorious for its gambling dens, bear baiting and duels. Rumour has it that Beau Brummel, close friend to King George IV, once fought here.
Berry Brothers and Rudd, located here, is thought to be Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, having traded from the same shop for over 300 years. Berry’s was established in 1698 by the Widow Bourne, whose son-in-law, James Pickering built Picking Court as it was then known in 1731.
Pickering Place was the final location for the embassy of the Republic of Texas. The Republic of Texas then covered modern-day Texas as well as parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming and existed from 1836 to 1846 when it was annexed by the United States.
Other residents have been the author Graham Greene who kept a set of rooms overlooking the courtyard and Lord Palmerston who live...
Two streams meet
Somewhere beneath the basement of 16 Frognal, NW3 two tributaries of the River Westbourne meet. The road called 'Frognal' follows the route of one of main branches of the River Westbourne - this branch being called the 'Kilbourne'.
Downstream it will flow through Kilburn, Bayswater and Knightsbridge - giving each of those places, indirectly, their names.
But up here in the hills of Hampstead, the infant river flows beneath modern residents of 19th century houses.
Below the house with the address of 16 Frognal, the lay the junction where the main Kilbourne stream, flowing downhill beside Frognal, met a smaller tributary which began in a boggy area beneath the future Netherhall Gardens.
This can be seen on the 1870 map where the marker shows the spot.
Further along its course, the Kilbourne will meet the Cannon Stream flowing down from Whitestone Pond and, combined, form the Westbourne.
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Cock and Hoop
The Cock and Hoop Inn was standing on the corner of West End Lane and Fortune Green Road by 1723. Before the 1880s, this area was known as West End. The census shows a gradual population increase in West End from 212 residents in 1801 to 563 people in 1871.
Not much had changed in the intervening years. The few mansions were still occupied by wealthy tenants. Meanwhile workers’ cottages and tenements clustered round the Green with the local farmhouse, the Old Black Lion beerhouse (established 1751) and Cock & Hoop pub nearby. The three drinking establishments were still only serving to a total population of just over 500 in the 1870s.
In 1896 the authorities closed the Cock and Hoop when it was discovered that the named licensee, Mr Robinson, had been dead for four years.
The Cock and Hoop was pulled down and Alexandra Mansions built on its site in 1902.
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Orange Street, WC1R
Orange Street disappeared from the map to be replaced by St Martin’s College of Art (now Central Saint Martins). It was in the south-east of Bloomsbury, originally leading diagonally from Red Lion Square to Vernon Place across Kingsgate Street The actor and author Francis Waldron died at his home here in 1818.
At 9 Orange Street (later renumbered 20 Orange Street) was a pub called The Three Kings. By 1900, a fire station had appeared on the Theobalds Road junction.
The creation of Kingsway in 1905 did for one half of Orange Street as Kingsgate Street disappeared under new buildings.
Andrew Johnstone’s London Commercial Guide, and Street Directory (Barnard & Farleg, 1818) lists Orange Street in its heydey:
Length 110 yards —No. of Houses 10.
1 Deacon, Benj. Past. cook & confect.
2 M‘Crery, J. Carriage lamp manufactory
3 Ryley, Rowland, Fishmongers & sales.
4 George, Wm. Boot and shoe maker
5 Edwards, David, Writing desk maker
6 Denne, John, Watch & clock maker
The Black Lion
The Old Black Lion was established in 1751 as a beer house. The village of West End had a beerhouse, the Old Black Lion, and surprisingly for such a small village, two pubs, The Black Horse established in 1751 and the Cock and Hoop.
Beerhouses differed from taverns in that they could on;y serve beer to their patrons.
The Black Lion was rebuilt in 1912 and outstayed both nearby rivals. The Black Horse fell out of the running in the 1860s with the Cock & Hoop closing in 1896.
As West Hampstead built up, newer rivals took their place. The Black Lion remains though.
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In the last half of the nineteenth century, a white house called Canterbury was built on the then southern fringes of West End. Two white Italianate houses were built in the 1860s by the Greenwood brothers, contractors working on the Midland Railway: Sandwell House near Lauriston Lodge and Canterbury House opposite, on Jacksfield.
House building began in the last years of the 1890s on the adjacent Treherne and Canterbury estates, both having been sold. Two large blocks of flats were subsequently built. Canterbury Mansions was built on the site of Canterbury House.
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Decca Studios was a recording facility in Broadhurst Gardens. The Beatles failed their audition with Decca Records here on 1 January 1962, and subsequently signed with Parlophone.
The site being the Town Hall originally, the building in Broadhurst Gardens London NW6 started off as The Falcon Works, an engineering company and was converted to a recording studios in 1933 for Crystalate Records. In 1937 the company was bought out by Decca and Broadhurst Gardens became the company's third and final home base. The building housed three main studios.
Many popular songs and albums were recorded at Decca Studios (for example, John Mayall's 1968 Blues from Laurel Canyon and five albums by the Moody Blues). Britain's leading Big Band, Ted Heath (bandleader) and his Orchestra recorded a succession of outstanding big band jazz records at Broadhurst Gardens for Decca during the band's peak years from 1945 until Heath's death in 1969. David Bowie recorded his first single, Liza Jane, at the studio in 1964. The studios al...
Fortune Green was originally part of the district of Hampstead but became physically separated from it by the building of the new turnpike road (now Finchley Road) in the 1830s. The name of Fortune Green is derived from foran-tune meaning in front of the tun, probably an inn in the area.
Originally Fortune Green was a patch of manorial waste, now in the north of the ward, where local residents had the right to graze animals, dig turf and play sports. The Green dwindled considerably in the 19th century when the lord of the manor granted enclosure rights for about a third of the area.
Lying on the south-west side of the Finchley Road, Hampstead town council decided to build its overflow cemetery here in the 1840s.
The arrival of the Midland Railway in 1871 brought rapid development and many large houses were demolished in favour of higher density buildings. Victorian residential buildings display considerable variety in their design and detail and there are a number of large distinctive red brick mansion blocks, most of which have remained unaltered.
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On the west side of West End Lane, Charles Spain bought 5 acres and between 1829 and 1838 built York Villa. Oaklands Hall was possibly built due to a sale of land behind York Villa in 1860:
To be sold, pursuant to a Decree of the High Court of Chancery, made in causes of Lance v. Aglionby, and Lance v. Elyard, with the approbation of the Master of the Rolls, by Messrs. Farebrother, Clark, and Lye, at Garraway's Coffee-house, Change-alley, Cornhill, on Tuesday, the 7th day of August, 1860, at twelve o'clock at noon : A. valuable freehold iuclosure of building land, situate in West-end-lane, Hampstead, about midway between the Edgware and Finchley Roads, sloping down from Westend-lane, to which it has a frontage of above 800 feet, and extending back for a depth of about 1056 feet to the rear of Royston Hall, Royston Lodge, and other residences and grounds in the Edgware-road and abutting on the grounds of York Villa and West End House, the whole containing 17A. SB. OF. The Hampstead and City Junction Railway passes close to the property.
Endell Street, WC2H
Endell Street, originally known as Belton Street, is a street that runs from High Holborn in the north to Long Acre and Bow Street in the south. The land on which the southern part of Endell Street is built was originally owned by William Short, who leased it to Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox, in 1623–24. Lennox House was built on the site which eventually passed to Sir John Brownlow who began to build from 1682.
Belton Street was created, named after the Brownlow’s country seat in Lincolnshire, Belton House.Henry Wheatley writes that the southern end of the street from Castle Street to Short’s Gardens was originally known as Old Belton Street, the northern end from Short’s Gardens to St Giles, was known as New Belton Street.
In the seventeenth century, Queen Anne is supposed to have bathed in the waters from a medical spring there at a site known as Queen Anne’s Bath.
The modern Endell Street was created according to the reforming plans of architect James Pennethorne.
Charles Lethbridge Kingsford states that the street was built in 1846 when Belton Street was wide...
Hampstead Tunnel, 1166 yards long, was built as part of the Hampstead Junction Railway, and opened on 2 January 1860. The Hampstead Junction Railway (HJR) "was intended principally to enable local passenger traffic on the North London railway to extend west to Kew and Richmond without the need to pass through Camden station and Primrose Hill Tunnel, where enormous traffic on the London and North Western's main line presented a serious obstacle to the running of local passenger trains at frequent intervals".
Congestion near Camden Town led to the promotion of the HJ.R which opened a northerly bypass through Gospel Oak and the central part of Hampstead to rejoin the main line at Willesden. Stations were opened in 1860 at Hampstead Heath and Finchley Road (from 1880 Finchley Road & Frognal). The line was tunnelled between Hampstead Heath and Finchley Road, burrowing under the hill of Hampstead, the highest point in the London area north of the Thames.
Gradients on the line rise from each end to a high point in Hampstead Tunnel. The steep rise in and out of Hampstead by roa...
The infant River Westbourne crossed, what in 1900, was still a boggy field. After the First World War, builders got themselves organised in suburban London. The Metropolitan Railway had bought vast swathes of adjacent land to its tracks and sold them on the developers to build “Metroland” estates. This pattern held sway throughout London, north and south.
Whether Kenton or Kenley, 1920s and 1930s housing looks very similar - homogeneous estates in a then-fashionable style which were well provided with bathrooms and other features inside and the areas designed with “all mod cons” too – shops, schools and parks.
The scale of suburban growth was staggering – the countryside started at Gospel Oak and White City before the First World War. Before the Second World War, just 25 years later, the new housing reached as far as Edgware and Hounslow.
It was not always this way. Before 1914, London was built one street at a time. Builders would not buy a whole farm but just a field – maybe two fields but maybe parts of a field...
Jeremy Jepson Ripley built a house and coach house after 1814, with a large garden north of Lauriston Lodge. The Ripley estate was originally part of the Gilberts Estate, with its house at West End Lane still occupied in 1874 by Thomas Ripley.
It disappears from maps in the 1880s.
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Coventry Street, W1D
Coventry Street is a short street connecting Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square. On the London Monopoly board, it was named after the politician Henry Coventry, secretary of state to Charles II. There is historical evidence of a road linking Haymarket with Wardour Street in 1585, roughly in the present location of Coventry Street. This pre-dated Leicester Square, and ran as far as St. Martin’s Field, stopping short of St. Martin’s Lane.
Coventry Street was constructed in 1681 as a thoroughfare between the two places. Henry Coventry had previously built a house in this location, and renamed it Coventry House in 1670. The house was described as "a capital messuage with divers outhouses, Gardens, Yards. … capable of being greatly improved." Coventry died in 1686 and the house was demolished four years later, to be replaced by a group of smaller houses. The land to the north of the street was partly owned by Colonel Thomas Panton, and partly by the Earl of St Albans. John Ogilby’s 1681 map of London shows Coventry Street built up on both sides.
The street had been designed for commercial and entertainment purposes, rather than a place of residence. F...
Tenter Ground harks back to the seventeenth century when this patch of land was surrounded by weavers’ houses and workshops and used to wash and stretch their fabrics on ’tenters’ to dry. The ground was established by the French Protestant Huguenot weavers, who had fled to Spitalfields from Catholic persecutors in France during the seventeenth century.
This area was bounded in the seventeenth century by Lolesworth field and the Wheler estate on the north, Wentworth Street and the hamlet boundary on the south, Rose Lane on the east and Bell Lane on the west. The bounding streets on the south, east and west were built up by the 1640s and the northern boundary was formed into the south side of White’s Row in about 1650. The central plot of ground remained open, however, until the second decade of the nineteenth century and was the last part of Spitalfields to be formed into streets.
In 1550 the area had, like the later Fossan and Halifax estates to the east and west, formed part of two closes in the Manor of Stepney lying between Hog Lane (Middlesex Street) and Brick Lane. By about 1642 it was, like the Fossan estate, held on lease by William...
Hampstead Cricket Club
Hampstead Cricket Club moved to its Lymington Road site in 1877. Cricket had been played in Hampstead for a long time before this ground was leased from the lord of the manor. A pavilion was built in 1879 and was replaced by a large clubhouse after the freehold had been bought in 1924. Hampstead Cricket Club limited its numbers to 200 full and 50 lawn tennis members in 1880.
It was considered the most important of the local recreative clubs by 1890, having already witnessed the highest score yet made, and in 1949 was claimed to have produced more fine players than any other noncounty club in England.
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West End House
West End House, once in open countryside, became surrounded by railways. In 1655 William Hitchcock, merchant tailor, sold a new house, described in 1687 as a mansion house on the west side of West End Lane, to William Bennett, another London merchant. Bennett's house was probably also known as the "White House", which passed to Norwich Salisbury by 1692 and to Richard Limbrey in 1743.
To the north of it another house was held by three generations of Wachters, London merchants, possibly Jews, from 1649 to 1686.
The White House had by 1774 been replaced by West End House, which, as a result of the straightening of West End Lane, stood back from the road. The property, with other West End estates, passed in 1796 to Maria Beckford, whose family, which included William Beckford (1709-70), Lord Mayor of London, had occupied a house nearby since 1762 or earlier. The house was occupied by Miss Beckford from 1807 to 1810, by the marchioness of Headfort from 1815 to 1825, and by the Hon. Henry Frederick Compton Cavendish in 1842.
Mill Lane, looking east (1900s)
Mill Lane is one of the major thoroughfares of West Hampstead. Mill Lane was originally called Shoot-up-Hill Lane. The present name is derived from a mill which stood on the Edgware Road. It was burnt down in 1861, owing to the friction caused by the high velocity of the sails in a gale.
By the turn of the twentieth century, sections of Mill Lane had become filled with shops and small businesses.
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