Category Archive: NW3

Mar 27

1762: Hampstead Town

This image illustrates Hampstead in the year 1762, showing notable buildings, inns and public houses. Source: T F T Baker, Diane K Bolton and Patricia E C Croot, ‘Hampstead: Hampstead Town’, in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9, Hampstead, Paddington, ed. C R Elrington (London, 1989), pp. 15-33. British History Online www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol9/pp15-33

Jan 20

Branch Hill Pond

Branch Hill Pond, which was covered in during 1889 because of the building of a covered reservoir, can still be seen as a distinct hollow in the heath which is still grassland even now. John Constable (1776-1837) came to Hampstead Heath in the late summer of 1819, seeking relief from urban London for his family …

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Dec 21

Whitestone Pond

Whitestone Pond lies 135 metres above the London Basin, and at the summit of Hampstead Heath marks the highest point in London. This area, lying above the pond, is the source of one of London’s “lost” rivers, the River Westbourne. These headwaters gathered to form the pond before heading off in a southwesterly direction. The …

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Nov 16

Farming in Hampstead

The demesne (land attached to a manor and retained for the owner’s own use) occupied the heart of Hampstead manor and parish. It was originally owned by Westminster Abbey. By 1539 the whole estate was leased to William Wrench. There were 296 acres of demesne farmland in 1646, little changed since 1312, but the acreage …

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Oct 01

Hampstead in 1900

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 …

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Aug 15

Belsize

Modern Belsize includes the manor of Belsize and the northern part of the Chalcots estate. This article summarises the history of the two estates and explains how in the second half of the nineteenth century Belsize was transformed from farmland and gentlemen’s country houses to a middle class suburb.    The Belsize Estate Belsize, or …

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Feb 21

Frognal, NW3

A road called Frognal runs from Church Row in Hampstead downhill to Finchley Road and follows the course of a stream which goes on to form the River Westbourne. The origin of the name of Frognal, first recorded in the early 15th century, is not known. The ‘house called Frognal’, lay on the west side …

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Feb 20

Erskine House

Erskine House is situated at Heath End, next door to the Spaniards Inn. Its most famous resident was Thomas Erskine (1750-1823). In 1912, Anne Maxwell wrote the book “Hampstead, its historic houses, its literary and artistic associations”. The rest of this post is taken from the book – any reference to “now” below refers to …

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Feb 17

Conduit Fields

The Conduit Fields (or Shepherd’s Fields) surrounded the spring which flowed from a source which lies underneath what is now Fitzjohn’s Avenue. They were a gloriously rural spot in Hampstead before, as is common to the suburban story, becoming covered in roads, asphalt, houses and gardens. Anna Mazwell wrote a delightful book, published in 1912 …

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Jan 16

The Great Hollow Elm of Hampstead

The Great Hollow Elm, an amazing old tree, stood at the summit of Hampstead Heath, probably near to the site of Jack Straw’s Castle. In 1653, the celebrated engraver Hollar depicted the “Great Hollow Elm Tree of Hampstead” and the engraving was depicted in Parke’s Hampstead which described the tree as “hollow from the ground …

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