Piecemeal building

The infant River Westbourne crossed, what in 1900, was still a boggy field..

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Article · * · ·
JANUARY
8
2015
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.

And rather than building housing in anticipation of demand - the inter-war model - often the Victorian way was to build simply according to immediate needs. Land was sold to a new owner and then a house was built. Sometimes the potential owners had used their building society savings to buy land and afterwards employ a friend or well-known local builder to build their house.

Thus, many seemingly uniform Victorian streets change their style half way along – a different looking house here and a unique building there.

The nineteenth century map of London is full of half-built streets – laid out roads, many houses there but otherwise still awaiting completion.

Builders also often left the “difficult” land to successors. The new North Circular Road found its route in the 1920s through undeveloped land which was already surrounded by new suburbs, because the River Brent took a route through boggy pasture for much of its length. Hence you can see this river next to the new road for much of its northwestern length – Henley's Corner, Brent Cross and points south.

And on this featured map from 1900 we see a Hampstead field as yet undeveloped, but surrounded by housing.

This branch of the River Westbourne which was originally called the Kelebourne here - rises just north of here and the field to the south of its source was very marshy. Once the price of land made this piece of potential real estate worthwhile, the field was build upon.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY


James Preston   
Added: 28 Apr 2021 09:06 GMT   

School
Was this the location of Rosslyn House prep school? I have a photograph of the Rosslyn House cricket team dated 1910 which features my grandfather (Alan Westbury Preston). He would have been 12 years old at the time. All the boys on the photo have been named. If this is the location of the school then it appears that the date of demolition is incorrect.

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Comment
Graham Margetson   
Added: 9 Feb 2021 14:33 GMT   

I lived at 4 Arkwright Road before it was the school
My parents lived at 4 Arkwright Road. Mrs Goodwin actually owned the house and my parents rented rooms from her.


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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

Comment
Vic Stanley   
Added: 24 Feb 2024 17:38 GMT   

Postcose
The postcode is SE15, NOT SE1

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Comment
Gillian   
Added: 17 Feb 2024 00:08 GMT   

No 36 Upper East Smithfield
My great great grandfather was born at No 36 Upper East Smithfield and spent his early years staring out at a "dead wall" of St Katharine’s Docks. His father was an outfitter and sold clothing for sailors. He describes the place as being backed by tenements in terrible condition and most of the people living there were Irish.

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Kevin Pont   
Added: 16 Feb 2024 20:32 GMT   

Name origin
Interestingly South Lambeth derives its name from the same source as Lambeth itself - a landing place for lambs.

But South Lambeth has no landing place - it is not on the River Thames

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C Hobbs   
Added: 31 Jan 2024 23:53 GMT   

George Gut (1853 - 1861)
George Gut, Master Baker lived with his family in Long Lane.
George was born in Bernbach, Hesse, Germany and came to the UK sometime in the 1840s. In 1849, George married an Englishwoman called Matilda Baker and became a nauralized Englishman. He was given the Freedom of the City of London (by Redemption in the Company of Bakers), in 1853 and was at that time, recorded as living at 3 Long Lane. In the 1861 census, George Gut was living at 11 Long Lane.

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Comment
Emma Beach   
Added: 18 Jan 2024 04:33 GMT   

William Sutton Thwaites
William Sutton Thwaites was the father of Frances Lydia Alice Knorr nee Thwaites�’�’she was executed in 1894 in Melbourne, Victoria Australia for infanticide. In the year prior to his marriage, to her mother Frances Jeanette Thwaites nee Robin, William Sutton was working as a tailor for Mr Orchard who employed four tailors in the hamlet of Mile End Old Town on at Crombies Row, Commercial Road East.

Source: 1861 England Census Class: Rg 9; Piece: 293; Folio: 20; Page: 2; GSU roll: 542608

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Comment
Simon   
Added: 15 Jan 2024 15:44 GMT   

Simon De Charmes, clockmaker
De Charmes (or Des Charmes), Simon, of French Huguenot extraction. Recorded 1688 and Free of the Clockmakers’ Company 1691-1730. In London until 1704 at least at ’his House, the Sign of the Clock, the Corner of Warwick St, Charing Cross’. See Brian Loomes The Early Clockmakers of Great Britain, NAG Press, 1981, p.188

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Born here
Jacqueline Mico   
Added: 14 Jan 2024 07:29 GMT   

Robert Bolam
This is where my grandad was born, he went on to be a beautiful man, he became a shop owner, a father, and grandfather, he lost a leg when he was a milkman and the horse kicked him, then opened a shop in New Cross and then moved to Lewisham where he had a Newsagents and tobacconists.

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Comment
Tom Hughes   
Added: 5 Jan 2024 14:11 GMT   

4 Edwardes Terrace
In 1871, Mrs. Blake, widow of Gen. Blake, died in her home at 4 Edwardes Terrace, leaving a fortune of 140,000 pounds, something like 20 million quid today. She left no will. The exact fortune may have been exaggerated but for years claimants sought their share of the "Blake millions" which eventually went to "the Crown."

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Hampstead

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.


LOCAL PHOTOS
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Swiss Cottage
TUM image id: 1455364693
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Soldier’s Daughters Home from the "Illustrated London News", June 19, 1858 The Royal School, Hampstead was founded in 1855 as the Soldiers’ Infant Home before becoming the Royal Soldiers’ Daughters’ School on this site in 1867. It was established "to nurse, board, clothe and educate the female children, orphans or not, of soldiers in Her Majesty’s Army killed in the Crimean War". The Daughter’s School, as described in 1902: "At the back a large extent of grass playground stretched out westward, and at the end of this there was a grove of trees. On one side of the grass is a large playroom built in 1880 by means of an opportune legacy, and on the other a covered cloister which led to the school, standing detached from the house at the other end of the playground. An old pier burdened with a mass of ivy stood up in the centre, the only remnant of this part of old Vane House. A portion of the ground was profitably sold for the frontage to Fitz John’s Avenue." The school site is now used as a senior campus of North Bridge House School.
Credit: The Illustrated London News
TUM image id: 1458756121
Licence:
Holly Walk, NW3
TUM image id: 1455451397
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Frognal, NW3
Credit: Google Maps
TUM image id: 1557403884
Licence: CC BY 2.0

In the neighbourhood...

Click an image below for a better view...
At Hampstead Heath station, a Stratford bound Overground train emerges from Hampstead Tunnel - the other end of the tunnel can be seen behind the oncoming train.
Credit: nick86235
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Soldier’s Daughters Home from the "Illustrated London News", June 19, 1858 The Royal School, Hampstead was founded in 1855 as the Soldiers’ Infant Home before becoming the Royal Soldiers’ Daughters’ School on this site in 1867. It was established "to nurse, board, clothe and educate the female children, orphans or not, of soldiers in Her Majesty’s Army killed in the Crimean War". The Daughter’s School, as described in 1902: "At the back a large extent of grass playground stretched out westward, and at the end of this there was a grove of trees. On one side of the grass is a large playroom built in 1880 by means of an opportune legacy, and on the other a covered cloister which led to the school, standing detached from the house at the other end of the playground. An old pier burdened with a mass of ivy stood up in the centre, the only remnant of this part of old Vane House. A portion of the ground was profitably sold for the frontage to Fitz John’s Avenue." The school site is now used as a senior campus of North Bridge House School.
Credit: The Illustrated London News
Licence:


Broadhurst Gardens in West Hampstead, photographed here in 2009, was home to Decca Studios. From the late 1870s building had spread on Spencer Maryon Wilson’s lands. Near the Metropolitan railway line was Broadhurst Gardens, where 116 houses were built between 1882 and 1894. The last ever Beatles single (’Now And Then’) was issued on 2 November 2023. Decca Studios on Broadhurst Garden famously turned down the Fab Four.
Credit: Geograph/Christine Matthews
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Church Row, NW3 Church Row is an eighteenth-century residential street. Many of the properties are listed on the National Heritage List for England. The writer H. G. Wells bought No. 17 in 1909 and lived there with his wife, Jane. The comedian Peter Cook bought No. 17 for £24,000 in 1965. Cook and Dudley Moore wrote their Pete & Dud routines in the attic.
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Finchley Road Metropolitan Railway station exterior (1910) Wood Lane station - the one confusingly advertised on the sign - was built near Shepherd’s Bush in west London to serve the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition and the 1908 Olympic Games.
Credit: London Transport Museum
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Flask Walk, Hampstead (1922)
Credit: Charles Ginner (1878-1952)
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Holly Walk, NW3
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Spedan Close
Credit: municipaldreams.wordpress.com
Licence: CC BY 2.0


St Johns Court (built 1938)
Credit: https://manchesterhistory.net/
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Frognal, NW3
Credit: Google Maps
Licence: CC BY 2.0




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