North End Way, NW3


North End Way is the name for the southernmost section of North End Road - running from Hampstead to Golders Green.

North End Way runs through an area once known as Littleworth.

The advertisement for Old Court House in 1839, a detached residence with extensive views, suitable for a ’family of respectability’, could have applied to any of the houses along North End Way. Old Court House was used as an estate office during the 1850s and 1860s although there is no evidence that courts were held there but the other houses continued as substantial family homes.

In 1841 the inhabitants of the former Littleworth in other houses included merchants at Fern and Heath lodges, a banker at Hill House, a clergyman at Camelford Cottage, a solicitor at Crewe Cottage, and several described as ’independent’. A major-general lived in Fern Lodge in 1851 and his widow and daughter were still there in 1890.

From 1872 until 1890 or later Heathlands was the home of Hugh M. Matheson, the Far Eastern merchant.

By 1890 Sir Richard Temple, Bt., had built Heath Brow on the site of Crewe Cottage.

The elder Samuel Hoare’s widow Hannah lived in Heath House which remained with the family until c. 1911 but was leased by 1876. It was occupied from 1888 by Sir Algernon Borthwick, later Baron Glenesk (1830-1908), the newspaper proprietor, and by 1911 by Edward C. Guinness, Viscount and later earl of Iveagh (1847- 1927), the philanthropist. When he left for Kenwood in 1919, Guinness was succeeded by his third son the statesman Walter Edward Guinness, later Baron Moyne (1880-1944).

The second residence of the Hoares, Hill House, was occupied after the younger Samuel’s death successively by his sons John Gurney (d. 1876) and Francis until 1895. In 1896 Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt., John Gurney’s son, sold it to George Fisher, who rebuilt the house. He sold it in 1904 to William H. Lever, later Viscount Leverhulme (1851-1925), the soap manufacturer, who made further additions, including a ballroom and art gallery, and acquired the neighbouring Heath Lodge in 1911 and Cedar Lawn in 1914. Heath Lodge was demolished and Thomas Mawson designed grounds for the combined estate.

Cedar Lawn, which served as a hospital during the First World War and subsequently as a maternity home, was demolished in 1922. In 1925 the whole estate was bought by Lord Inverforth (1865-1955), the shipowner, and the new house named Inverforth House.

In 1941 a land-mine destroyed Heathlands and Heath Brow and damaged Jack Straw’s Castle and Heath House. Jack Straw’s Castle was rebuilt in 1962.

Heath House was repaired, occupied from 1971 by Peter King, the publisher, and, despite its sale in 1977 to a property developer, survived as a ’large, square, somewhat grim-looking Georgian house of brown brick’.

In 1948 the Hampstead Heath Protection society bought the site of Fern Lodge and presented it to the LCC, which itself compulsorily purchased the site of Heathlands in 1951, the combined ground being opened to the public as part of the heath in 1955. The L.C.C. bought the site of Heath Brow in 1953 as a car park for visitors to the heath, and in 1955 part of the former garden of Heath Lodge, which it opened to the public in 1963. Lord Inverforth left his estate in 1955 to Manor House hospital. Old Court House survived, a square building with a central portico and wings, dating from the early 18th century and refaced later in the century; it was converted to old people’s flats in the 1960s.

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