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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°33′15″N 0°10′28″W / 51.5541°N 0.1744°W / 51.5541; -0.1744

Hampstead
Hampstead is located in Greater London
Hampstead

 Hampstead shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ265855
London borough Camden
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district NW3
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Hampstead and Highgate
London Assembly Barnet and Camden
List of places: UK • England • London

Hampstead is an area of London, England, located 4 miles (6.4 km) north-west of Charing Cross. It is located in Inner London. It is part of the London Borough of Camden. It is known for its intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical and literary associations and for the large and hilly parkland Hampstead Heath. It is also home to some of the most expensive housing in the London area, or indeed anywhere in the world, with large houses selling for up to £50m (2008).[1][2] The village of Hampstead has more millionaires within its boundaries than any other area of the United Kingdom.[3]

Contents

History

Roadworks on Heath Street in Hampstead around 1865, in Ford Madox Brown's painting Work.
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Etymology

The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon words ham and stede, which means, and is a cognate of, the Modern English "homestead".

Kenwood House, Hampstead

To 1900

Although early records of Hampstead 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 most successful and fashionable, its popularity declined in the 1800s due to competition with other fashionable 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 the London Overground with passenger services operated by Transport for London), and expanded further after the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway opened in 1907 (now part of London Underground's Northern Line) and provided fast travel to central London.

Much luxurious housing was created during the 1870s and 1880s, in the area that is now the political ward of Frognal & Fitzjohns. Much of this housing remains to this day.

20th century

During the 20th century, a number of notable buildings were created. These include:

Of these, the Hampstead Theatre relocated in 2003 to the present Swiss Cottage site (increasing capacity from 140 to 325 seats) and the Swiss Cottage leisure centre was closed for rebuilding in 2003 and reopened in 2006.

Cultural attractions in the area include the Freud Museum, Keats House, Kenwood House, Fenton House, The Isokon building, Burgh House, and the Camden Arts Centre. The large Victorian Hampstead Library and Town Hall was recently converted and extended as a creative industries centre.

Isokon Building, Hampstead

Though now considered an integral part of London, Hampstead has retained much of its village atmosphere and charm, with Hampstead High Street playing a vital role in the day to day life of a Hampsteadian.

On 14 August 1975 Hampstead entered the UK Weather Records with the Highest 155-min total rainfall at 169 mm. As of November 2008 this record remains.

Mark Pevsner, the grandson of Sir Nicholas Pevsner, described Hampstead as "a large collection of roads and passages which don't go in straight lines, houses of different ages, many of them good architecture but more often it's just the way they fit together, full of nice vistas and surprises. Hampstead is a huge collection of twists and turns."

Politics

Hampstead became part of the County of London in 1889 and in 1899 the Metropolitan Borough of Hampstead was formed. The borough town hall on Haverstock Hill, which was also the location of the Registry Office, can be seen in newsreel footage of many celebrity civil marriages. In 1965 the metropolitan borough was abolished and its area merged with that of the Metropolitan Borough of Holborn and the Metropolitan Borough of St Pancras to form the modern-day London Borough of Camden.

Hampstead is part of the Hampstead and Highgate constituency and since 1992 the member of parliament has been the former actress Glenda Jackson of the Labour Party.

The area has a significant tradition of educated liberal humanism, often referred to (often disparagingly) as "Hampstead Liberalism". The figure of the Hampstead Liberal was notoriously satirised by Peter Simple of the Daily Telegraph, in the figure of Lady Dutt-Pauker, an immensely wealthy aristocratic socialist, whose Hampstead mansion, Marxmount House, contained an original pair of Bukharin's false teeth on display alongside precious Ming vases, neo-constructivist art, and the complete writings of Stalin.[4]

The area is also home to the left-wing Labour magazine Tribune and the satirical magazine the Hampstead Village Voice. The local paid-for newspaper is the Hampstead and Highgate Express,[5] known locally as the "Ham & High". Hampstead is also covered by the borough-wide Camden New Journal.

Since October 2008 the area has been represented on Camden Council by Liberal Democrat councilor Linda Chung, elected in a by-election to serve alongside Conservatives Kirsty Roberts and Chris Knight.

Places of interest

Sites

The Viaduct on Hampstead Heath

To the north and east of Hampstead, and separating it from Highgate, is London's largest ancient parkland, Hampstead Heath, which includes the well-known and legally-protected view of the London skyline from Parliament Hill. The Heath, a major place for Londoners to walk and "take the air", has three open-air public swimming ponds; one for men, one for women, and one for mixed bathing, which were originally reservoirs for drinking water and the sources of the River Fleet. The bridge pictured is known locally as 'The Red Arches' or 'The Viaduct', built in fruitless anticipation of residential building on the Heath in the 19th century.

Local activities include major open-air concerts on summer Saturday evenings on the slopes below Kenwood House, book and poetry readings, fun fairs on the lower reaches of the Heath, period harpsichord recitals at Fenton House, Hampstead Scientific Society and Hampstead Photographic Society.

The largest employer in Hampstead is the Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, but many small businesses based in the area have international significance. George Martin's AIR recording studios, in converted church premises in Lyndhurst Road, is a current example, as Jim Henson's Creature Shop was, before it relocated to California.

The area has some remarkable architecture, such as the Isokon building in Lawn Road, a Grade I listed experiment in collective housing, once home to Agatha Christie, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Walter Gropius. It was recently restored by Notting Hill Housing Trust.

Museums

Keats House, Hampstead, where Keats wrote his Ode to a Nightingale

Theatres and cinemas

Pubs

Hampstead is well known for its traditional pubs, such as the Holly Bush, gas-lit until recently; the Spaniard's Inn, Spaniard's Road, where highwayman Dick Turpin took refuge; The Old Bull and Bush in North End; and Ye Olde White Bear. Jack Straw's Castle on the edge of the Heath near Whitestone Pond at the brow of the Heath has now been converted into residential flats. Others include:

  • Freemasons Arms, 32 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London, NW3 1NT[15]
  • The Duke of Hamilton, 23–25 New End, Hampstead, London, NW3 1JD[16]
  • Ye Olde White Bear, Well Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 1LJ[17]
  • The Holly Bush, 22 Holly Mount, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SGN[18][19]
  • The Horseshoe (formerly The Three Horseshoes), 28 Heath Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 6TE[20]
  • King William IV (aka KW4), 77 Hampstead High Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 1RE[21]
  • The Magdala, 2a South Hill Park, Hampstead, London, NW3 2SB[22][23]
  • The Garden Gate, 14 South End Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 2QE[24]

Restaurants

Hampstead has an eclectic mix of restaurants ranging from French to Thai. Notable and longstanding are La Gaffe, Gaucho Grill, Jin Kichi, Tip Top Thai, Al Casbah, Le Cellier du Midi and CrimeaJewel. After over a decade of controversy and legal action from local residents, McDonald's was finally allowed to open in Hampstead in 1992, after winning its right in court, and agreeing to a previously unprecedented re-design of the shop front, reducing the conspicuousness of its facade and logo.[25]

Churches

Schools

Film locations

Hampstead

Hampstead's rural feel lends itself for use on film; a notable example being The Killing of Sister George (1968) starring Beryl Reid and Susannah York. The opening sequence has Reid's character June wandering through the streets and alleyways of Hampstead, west of Heath Street, around The Mount Square. The Marquis of Granby pub, in which June drinks at the opening of the film, was actually The Holly Bush,[18] at 22 Holly Mount. Another example is The Collector (1965), starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, where the kidnap sequence is set in Mount Vernon.

The 1986 fantasy film, Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie, was shot, in large part, in Hampstead Heath.

The Heath

Some scenes from An American Werewolf in London (1981) are shot on Hampstead Heath, Well Walk and Haverstock Hill. Harry and Judith are killed in Hampstead Heath, behind the Priors on East Heath Road. Before David kills them, Harry and Judith get out of the taxi on East Heath Road at Well Walk.

More recently Kenwood House is featured in the in-film film set scene of Notting Hill (1999). Outdoor scenes in The Wedding Date (2005), starring Debra Messing, feature Parliament Hill Fields on the Heath, overlooking west London. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) features the old Hampstead Town Hall on Haverstock Hill. The cult film Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006) was filmed entirely on Hampstead Heath, covering various picturesque locations such as the 'Floating Gardens' and Kenwood House.

A musical specifically focusing on the area, Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (1968), tells the story of a young man's cycle journey around Hampstead. After crashing into a billboard poster, he falls in love with the fashion model depicted on it.

Transport

Hampstead has a major bus terminus known as Hampstead Heath (which is actually South End Green). Its most frequent service is Route 24 which for over 100 years has linked this area with the West End, Victoria and Pimlico (Grosvenor Road). Bus routes that currently serve Hampstead are:- 24 46 168 210 268 603 C11 and N5.

Nearest places

Hampstead High Street sign

Nearest tube stations

Hampstead underground station

The nearest London Underground stations are Hampstead and Belsize Park — on the Northern Line and Swiss Cottage on the Jubilee Line. The stations are within Travelcard Zone 2. Hampstead is the boundary with Travelcard Zone 3. Construction of North End tube station was started but not completed.

Nearest railway station

The nearest London Overground station is Hampstead Heath

Nearest hospital

Notable residents

Hampstead has long been known as a residence of the intelligentsia, including writers, composers, ballerinas and intellectuals, actors, artists and architects — many of whom created a bohemian community in the late 19th century. After 1917, and again in the 1930s, it became base to a community of avant garde artists and writers and was host to a number of émigrés and exiles from the Russian Revolution and Nazi Europe.

Past residents

Freud's sofa, at 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead

Current or recent residents

See also

References and notes

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  17. ^ "Ye Olde White Bear" FancyaPint.com (Retrieved 18 June 2009)
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  19. ^ "The Holly Bush" FancyaPint.com (Retrieved 18 June 2009)
  20. ^ "The Horseshoe" FancyaPint.com (Retrieved 18 June 2009)
  21. ^ "King William IV" FancyaPint.com (Retrieved 18 June 2009)
  22. ^ "The Magdala" FancyaPint.com (Retrieved 18 June 2009)
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  24. ^ "The Garden Gate" FancyaPint.com (Retrieved 18 June 2009)
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External links

London/Hampstead travel guide from Wikitravel


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to London/Hampstead article)

From Wikitravel

A pub in Hamsptead - very typical architecture of the area
A pub in Hamsptead - very typical architecture of the area

Hampstead is a district of north central London. The key sights are a wealth of under-stated historical attractions, and the magnificent open spaces of Hampstead Heath. Kenwood House is one of the most accessible of London's great Regency homes, John Keats has a museum devoted to his life and work at his former residence here, and the inspiration for many of John Constable's landscapes is all around you on Hampstead Heath. Combine those with some of the most interesting historical pubs in the whole city, and a vibrant restaurant and cafe scene, and Hampstead really does have much to offer the visitor.

Understand

The district includes Hampstead itself, Belsize Park, western parts of Highgate, Primrose Hill, Swiss Cottage and West Hampstead.

Hampstead Village, with its myriad restaurants, old pubs and cafes is an agreeable place to spend a day or two. The area retains much of its original village character, and Hampstead High St alone houses no less than 18 grade II listed buildings. This is one of the wealthiest sections of the city's inner boroughs, full of stately neighbourhoods and grand historic houses. You will also find some interesting, non-mainstream shopping, several repertory theatres and one of the best arthouse cinemas in London.

The nearby vast, open green spaces of Hampstead Heath are a major attraction for Londoners, but relatively few visitors know much about this wonderful remnant of countryside in the centre of London.

Hampstead is a district of great literary, artistic and thespian traditions, and former residents include Kingsley Amis, William Blake, John Constable, Ian Fleming, William Hogarth, John Keats, Anna Pavlova and Alfred Tennyson. Those traditions continue today, and Hampstead is the home of choice for many actors, musicians, writers and media personalities. The residents of Hampstead are acutely aware of the history of the neighbourhood they live in, and any changes in this area are subject to rigorous discussion and often, protest.

Belsize Park is in many ways a southward extension of Hampstead Village, and is made up of many similarly grand residential streets with the odd gem of a restaurant. This is also home to one of the largest and most famous hospitals in London, the Royal Free.

The western reaches of Highgate in the Dartmouth Park area, are inside the Hampstead district, and include the important tourist attraction of Highgate Cemetery, which houses the grave of Karl Marx amongst other notables.

Primrose Hill is a quiet, stately, residential area in the south of the district bordering Regent's Park. Due to the lack of through roads for traffic, this area seems miles away from the general rush and bustle of London, and forms something of an oasis of calm in what is a very central area.

West Hampstead is less grand, and was traditionally a blue collar housing neighbourhood. Inevitably though, gentrification from about 1990 onwards changed all that, and the area is now a favoured residential area by young professionals. Aside from some budget accommodation, there is little of interest for the visitor here though.

Map of the Hampstead district
Map of the Hampstead district

By tube

The district is served by the following tube stations:

  • Hampstead (Northern Line)
  • Belsize Park (Northern Line)
  • Chalk Farm (Northern Line)
  • Golders Green (Northern Line)
  • Swiss Cottage (Jubilee Line)
  • Finchley Road (Jubilee Line)
  • West Hampstead (Jubilee Line)
  • Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak stations are on the North London Line, and both are convenient stops for Hampstead Heath. Further west in the district, the North London Line also stops at Finchley Rd & Frognal and West Hampstead.
  • West Hampstead is also on the main Thameslink Line, allowing easy access from the English Midlands and from Brighton in the south of the country.
  • South Hampstead is on the London Euston to Watford main line with about 4 trains per hour stopping there.
  • Finchley Rd is a major bus route through London. Bus numbers 13, 139 and 82 all originate in central London and pass along the length of Finchley Rd, allowing easy access to Swiss Cottage and West Hampstead.
  • Hampstead and Belsize Park are less well served, with the only direct connection from central London being bus number 46, originating at Farringdon St.
  • Night bus N5 is an excellent and convenient way to get to Hampstead, Belsize Park and Golders Green, after a night out in the West End. Originating in Traflagar Square, this service makes its way north through King's Cross and Camden Town, before travelling through the district along Chalk Farm Rd, Haverstock Hill, Hampstead High St and North End Way. Runs approximately every 15 minutes from just after midnight until 6AM.

By road

The best advice for any visitors wishing to drive into Hampstead is, don't. This is a largely residential area, and there is virtually no on-street parking available. Residents' only parking spaces are guarded very jealously. With the public transport links being very good, there is little need for any visitor to drive into the district.

If you do insist on driving, there is a public car park on the south eastern edge of Hampstead Heath accessed from East Heath Rd, and this is convenient for visiting the heath. The "easiest" (the term must be used relatively as all routes are congested) routes in from central London are:

  • A41 north from Marylebone Rd at Baker St. The A41 becomes Finchley Rd in this district.
  • A4200 (Eversholt St) north from Euston Station to Camden High St, and then the A502 which runs through the heart of the district as first Chalk Farm Rd, then Haverstock Hill and then Hampstead High St.

Coming from the north, the A41, A502 and A598 all connect to the district from the A406 North Circular Rd, and thus from the M1 motorway.

Get around

Much of the district, particularly in Hampstead Village and Hampstead Heath, lends itself beautifully to walking.

  • Bus number 268 is a convenient, regular service that connects Golders Green, Hampstead, Belsize Park, Swiss Cottage and Finchley Rd in both directions. Stops are frequent in key areas such as Heath St, Hampstead High St, Haverstock Hill and Finchley Rd, and are not hard to find.
  • Bus number 210 is a useful service for getting to Kenwood House, close to Highgate Cemetery and Waterlow Park, and any other area along the extent of Spaniard's Rd and Hampstead Lane. It runs from Golders Green Station south down North End Rd, turns east along Spaniard's Rd, and then runs the whole length of Hampstead Lane before terminating out of the district at Finsbury Park. The return route is identical in reverse.
Keats House
Keats House

Many of the key historical sights are in a cluster within a ten minute walk of Hampstead tube station and therefore easily covered on foot. If you are planning a full day in the area, a morning visit to Hampstead Heath followed by lunch in Hampstead Village and then an exploration of the historical attractions, makes for a good itinerary.

  • 2 Willow Road, 2 Willow Rd NW3 1TH (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7435 6166 (), [1]. Th-F noon-5PM. A house designed by Erno Goldfinger in 1939 and regarded as an icon of modernist architecture. The contents are just as impressive as the house and include original works by Henry Moore and Max Ernst. Local lore has it that Hampstead resident of the time Ian Fleming, objected so strongly to Goldfinger's modernist design, that he named his famous Bond villain after him. £2.80-5.30.  edit
  • Burgh House and Hampstead Museum, New End Square NW3 1LT (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7431 0144, [2]. W-Su noon-5PM. This beautiful grade I listed Georgian building houses the Hampstead Museum which has an interesting collection of exhibits on the history of the local area. Free.  edit
  • Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Rd NW3 6DG (tube: Finchley Road), +44 20 7472 5500 (), [3]. Tu-Su 10AM-6PM, W 10AM-9PM, closed Mondays and national holidays. A contemporary arts centre focused on exposing new talent. Housed in a lovely Victorian mansion.  edit
  • Fenton House, Hampstead Gve, NW3 6SP (tube: Hampstead), +44 1494 755563 (), [4]. Sa-Su 11AM-5PM. A magnificent old house dating from 1667 which is administered by The National Trust. It is most famous for its globally important collection of early keyboard instruments, and there is also a fine collection of art and porcelain. Plays host to frequent recitals. £5.70.  edit
Karl Marx rests in peace in Highgate Cemetery
Karl Marx rests in peace in Highgate Cemetery
  • Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gdns, NW3 5SX (tube: Finchley Rd or Swiss Cottage), +44 20 7435 2002 (). W-Su noon-7PM. The former home of Sigmund Freud. A wide range of exhibits most famously including the psycho-analytic couch that all of his patients used. Freud was also an avid collector of antiquities and there is a fine collection on show of Greek, Roman and Oriental pieces. £6.  edit
  • Hampstead Parish Church (The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead), Church Row NW3 6UU (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7794 5808 (), [5]. Visiting should be OK in daylight hours, but check ahead if you are making a special trip. This is a rather lovely church building but it is the graveyard which will most interest visitors. Notable personalities buried here include Sir John Constable (artist), Hugh Gaitskell (former Labour Party leader and Chancellor of the Exchequer), Kay Kendall (actress) and several members of the du Maurier family. Tomb trails are available at the church.  edit
  • Highgate Cemetery, Swain's Ln N6 6JP, +44 20 8340 1834 (), [6]. East Cemetery: M-F 10AM-dusk, West Cemetery: only via guided tours Mar 1-Nov 30 M-F 2PM, Nov 1-Feb 28 Sa-Sun hourly 11AM-3PM, Mar 1-Oct 31 Sa-Su hourly 11AM-4PM. Take a guided tour of the overgrown Western Cemetery which gives it a special beauty and charm, or visit the East Cemetery unaccompanied where you will find the grave of Karl Marx. There are known to be at least 850 notable people buried at Highgate. It has been said that Highgate has the finest collection of Victorian funerary architecture in the country. Getting here by public transport is not straightforward. Go to Archway tube station and on leaving turn left and walk up Highgate Hill and past the Whittington Hospital until you get to St Joseph’s Church (obvious by its large green copper dome). Enter Waterlow Park on your left and go downhill across the park (past the duck ponds) to the Swain's Lane exit (below the tennis courts). The walk takes about 20 minutes. Alternatively, take bus 210 from Golder's Green station and tell the driver that you wish to be dropped as close as possible to Highgate Cemetery on Swain's Lane. This is about a 15 min journey. East Cemetery £3, West Cemetery tours £3-7..  edit
A Victorian Penfold post box in Hampstead High St. One of the few remaining anywhere, and a grade II listed building
A Victorian Penfold post box in Hampstead High St. One of the few remaining anywhere, and a grade II listed building
  • Keats House, Keats Grv NW3 2RR (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7332 3868 (), [7]. Nov 1-Easter F-Su 1PM-5PM, Easter-Oct T-Th 10AM-5PM. The great poet John Keats lived here from 1818 to 1820 until he travelled to Rome and died of tuberculosis, aged just 25. The house has been restored as a museum with period decor, furnishings and a collection of Keatsiana. Reopened in July 2009 after restoration. In the grounds you will the Heath Library which has a great collection of local books and periodicals, and provides free internet access. Free.  edit
  • Primrose Hill, off Regent's Park Rd NW1 (tube: Chalk Farm). A large open grassed hill just to the north of Regent's Park. Offers a free panorama of Central London. The views probably only bettered by those from Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath.  edit
  • Waterlow Park, Swain's Ln N6, +44 20 7974 8810, [8]. A secret jewel of a park. Beautiful landscaped grounds, hills, mature trees, lakes, a walled garden, visitor's centre, cafe, tennis courts, and children's playgrounds. Bequeathed to the public as a "garden for the gardenless" by Sir Sidney Waterlow in 1889. A visit here combines very well with Highgate Cemetery.  edit

Hampstead Heath

Totalling 320 hectares this is the largest green space in the inner districts of London.

Hampstead Heath, or just the Heath as locals call it, is not a park and has a very different character to the highly manicured Royal Parks in central London. This is a remnant of the great Middlesex Wood, which has somehow survived as commonland as the metropolis grew around it, and in that sense it is very unique. Its proximity to, and ease of access from, densely populated urban areas of London, have ensured that Hampstead Heath has a special place in the hearts of Londoners.

Looking south east from Parliament Hill Fields, Hampstead Heath
Looking south east from Parliament Hill Fields, Hampstead Heath

The heath has much to offer to the visitor, but is generally not that well known as a tourist attraction. If you are visiting the city and simply want some fresh air and calm natural surroundings, then there is no better choice than jumping on the tube and coming for an early morning walk here. Both Hampstead and Belsize Park tube stations are about 10 minutes walk from the heath. The North London Line rail station Hampstead Heath is right on the south western tip of the heath.

Hampstead Heath is administered by the City of London Corporation, and it is worth visiting their website where there are a number of useful trail maps [9], along with other visitor information.

Cultural References

There are a great many cultural references to Hampstead Heath, with perhaps some of the more notable being:

  • Sir John Constable painted numerous landscapes both from sitting in the upper level of his house at nearby Well Walk, and from on the heath itself. As you take in the splendid vistas over the heath, it is not difficult to see how Constable was so inspired here.
  • John Keats composed his great "Ode to a Nightingale" whilst sitting at the Spaniard's Inn and hearing the sound of a nightingale on the heath. The nightingales have sadly gone, but the heath still has a very healthy wild bird population.
  • CS Lewis was inspired to write "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" whilst wandering Hampstead Heath on a snowy winter's day.
  • In contemporary literature, Hampstead Heath is the setting for the village of Ham in Will Self's superb "The Book of Dave".
  • The cult movie, "Scenes of a Sexual Nature", was shot entirely on Hampstead Heath.

Orientation

Hampstead Heath is a large space, and visitors may find it useful to compartmentalise the different sections.

A tree-lined avenue off East Heath Rd, Hampstead Heath
A tree-lined avenue off East Heath Rd, Hampstead Heath
  • The main part of Hampstead Heath is bounded by Spaniards Rd and Hampstead Lane to the north, Highgate Rd to the east, the North London railway line to the south, and East Heath Rd and Spaniards Rd (again) to the east. A line of ponds runs along each side of the heath here: Highgate Ponds on the eastern side, Hampstead Ponds on the western side. The northern part of this section is occupied by Kenwood House, looked after by English Heritage and the only part of the heath not administered by the City of London Corporation. Parliament Hill forms the southern part of this section.
  • West Heath is across Spaniards Rd and North End Rd from the main section, and includes Golder's Hill Park, The Pergola and The Hill Garden, as well as large tracts of mature oak, hornbeam and birch woodland.
  • Sandy Heath is north-west of Spaniard's Rd and consists mostly of beautiful, mature oak woodland.
  • The Hampstead Heath Extension is north of Sandy Heath bordering suburban Golders Green, and consists mostly of sports pitches. Older locals still call this area the "gunsite" as it was exactly that during World War II, and was not cleared until the 1960s.

Specific attractions on Hampstead Heath

  • The Bathing Ponds, [10]. May 2-Sep 30 7AM-6.30PM, Sep 31-Apr 30 7AM-noon. There are three notable outdoor bathing ponds on the heath. The Men's Pond and Women's Pond are both part of the line of small lakes on the eastern edge of the heath known as Highgate Ponds, and the Mixed Pond is part of Hampstead Ponds on the opposite side. Swimming hours are seasonal, complicated, age-dependent and change frequently, so it is worth checking before making a special trip. £1-2.  edit
The Pergola, Hampstead Heath
The Pergola, Hampstead Heath
  • Golders Hill Park, North End Way, NW3 (tube: Golders Green then bus 210 or 268 to the entrance), [11]. 7.30AM to just before dusk (seasonal). A more formal tended area of the heath at its north western extremity. Has as a small aviary and zoo which kids always enjoy. Free.  edit
  • The Hill Garden and Pergola, North End Way NW3 (tube: Golders Green then bus 210 or 268 to the entrance of adjacent Golder's Hill Park), [12]. 7.30AM to just before dusk (seasonal). A quite beautiful hidden garden on West Heath, which is little known even to many Londoners. It was originally part of the gardens of 19th century Inverforth House built by Viscount Leverhulme (the then owner of Lever Brothers, now Unilever). The gardens are now common land and part of Hampstead Heath, and the most impressive feature is a restored timber pergola, covered with various climbing plants including roses, honeysuckle, clematis, wisteria and various vines. The pergola offers two stunning views from its north-western point. You can look straight out and over the heath's canopy and see nothing but mature trees. Alternatively, you can look down and see the beautifully manicured herb garden and the length of the pergola stretching out before you. The adjacent Hill Garden offers a complete contrast to the wildness of the pergola. The garden is beautifully manicured and is a favourite haunt for artists. The bench by the ornamental fish pond here gives a stunning view of Hampstead Heath with the towers of urban London as the backdrop. Free.  edit
Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath
Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath
  • Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane NW3 (tube: Golders Green then bus 210 which stops right outside), [13]. House 11.30AM-4PM daily, grounds 10AM-5PM daily. A splendid Regency house with enormous gardens and woodlands. The gardens alone are worth the visit and are a superb example of 18th century landscaping. On show at the house is art by masters such as Rembrandt, Turner, Reynolds and Vermeer, and the gardens have a very notable sculpture by Henry Moore. A regular program of outdoor opera takes place here every summer. Movie buffs will recognise Kenwood from Mansfield Park amongst other famous films. Administered by English Heritage, separately from the rest of Hampstead Heath. Free. A donation of £3 suggested.  edit
  • Parliament Hill, (southern side of the Heath between Hampstead and Highgate Ponds). This is a high part of the Heath with clear open vistas, and the views looking south over the city are quite wonderful. Highly recommended on a clear morning, when you can see from Canary Wharf in the east all the way to Battersea Power Station in the west.  edit

Do

Given its reputation as a centre of the arts, it is no surprise that Hampstead is home to three of London's better known repertory theatres and a truly top-class arthouse cinema. Evenings here certainly focus around those performing arts activities. One-off performances (sometimes at unusual venues) are also far from uncommon, so check local listings. A good place to look is the local weekly newspaper, the Hampstead and Highgate Express [14].

  • Everyman Cinema, 5 Hollybush Vale NW3 6TX (tube: Hampstead), +44 870 066 4777, [15]. One of London's most notable art house cinemas which offers a high quality experience. You pay for it, but the environment is very classy indeed. Has a sister cinema just down the hill in Belsize Park - The Everyman Belsize Park.  edit
  • Hampstead Theatre, Eton Ave NW3 3EU (tube: Swiss Cottage), +44 20 7722 9301 (), [16]. A repertory theatre that is about as far removed from glitzy west end productions as you could imagine. Dedicated to exposing new writing talent. Harold Pinter gained some of his earliest experience here.  edit
  • London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC), Ivy House, 94-96 North End Rd NW11 7SX (10 min walk from Golders Green tube station), +44 20 8457 5000 (), [17]. Offers the widest range of Jewish learning opportunities (over 75 courses a term) and Jewish cultural events in the UK. Frequent concerts are hosted here and this is the former London home of Anna Pavlova.  edit
  • New End Theatre, 27 New End NW3 1JD (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7472 5800 (), [18]. The home of the New End Theatre Company and Pluto Productions. Has a fine reputation for producing high quality dramas away from the commercial spotlight.  edit
  • Pentameters Theatre, 28 Heath St NW3 6TE (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7435 3648, [19]. Small, intimate theatre known for edgy, high quality productions. Located above The Horsehoe pub.  edit

Buy

Hampstead Village has long been known as a home of off-beat, independent shops. Sadly, that is less the case today than previously as spiralling rents have forced many independent retailers out of the area. Some do remain though, and the keen shopper will be rewarded by exploring the small lanes that lead off the main streets here.

Hampstead High St, Heath St, Rosslyn Hill and Haverstock Hill have a number of mid and upper market boutiques including Nicole Farhi, Gap, Karen Millen, Nine West, Kurt Geiger and Molton Brown.

The usual suspects amongst British high street retailers are well represented in the Finchley Rd and Swiss Cottage area.

  • Daunt Books, 193 Haverstock Hill NW3 4QL (tube: Belsize Park), +44 20 7794 4006 (), [20]. M-Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 11AM-9PM. A wonderful, old-style independent book shop which has a second branch up the hill at 51 South End Rd.  edit
  • Farmer's Market, Parliament Hill Fields (between the tennis courts and the school yard at the base of Parliament Hill). Sa 10AM-2PM. A regular farmer's market selling fresh organic produce every Saturday  edit
  • Hampstead Antiques Emporium, 12 Heath St NW3 6TE, +44 20 7794 3297, [21]. Tu-Sa 10.30AM-5PM, Su 11.30AM-5.30PM. More than 30 antique dealers permanently occupy this small arcade and adjacent courtyard. Several genres represented including furniture, paintings, toys and textiles.  edit
  • Hampstead Community Centre, 78 Hampstead High St NW3 1RE (tube: Hampstead), +44 Phone: +44 20 7794 8313. Sa 9AM-6PM. On Saturdays, turns into a mini-market selling a variety of things, including a second hand book stall with a fantastic selection.  edit
  • Keith Fawkes Books, 1–3 Flask Walk NW3 1HJ (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7435 0614. M-F 10AM-5.30PM, Su noon-6PM. A rare and antiquarian bookshop with a special focus on the great literary characters who lived in Hampstead. Also carries a huge stock of more run-of-the-mill secondhand titles. An absolute must for booklovers.  edit

Eat

Hampstead Village and Belsize Park are well known for a wide selection of quality restaurants and cafes. The local resident population here is notably demanding, so any places that make it long term will be serving good food and providing good service. The daytime sees a cafe culture perhaps as strong as anywhere in London, and in the evening, restaurants attract visitors fom all over London, as well as neighbourhood locals.

Elsewhere in the district, Primrose Hill has its own eating sub-culture centre around some chic outlets on Gloucester Avenue, and London's oldest vegetarian restaurant nearby. The West Hampstead and Swiss Cottage area has some good local restaurants.

  • Bangkok Thai Cafe, 17 New College Parade NW3 5EP (tube: Swiss Cottage), +44 20 7722 9605. daily 6PM-10PM. Exactly what the label says - a Thai cafe. Lightbites and fully fledged dinner courses. Mains £6-8.  edit
  • La Creperie de Hampstead, 77 Hampstead High St NW3 1RE (tube: Hampstead), [22]. daily noon-10PM. A crepe stall in front of the King William IV pub. A wide variety of tasty sweet and savoury crepes for under a fiver. Queues can get long at the weekends. Been around a long time and passes the longevity test.  edit
  • Jin Kichi, 73 Heath St NW3 6UG (tube: Hampstead, turn right, on the other side of Heath St), +44 20 7794 6158, [23]. 12:30PM-11PM daily. Really good value, no frills sushi restaurant. Set lunch from £8.  edit
  • Nautilus, 27-29 Fortune Green Rd NW6 1DT (tube: West Hampstead), +44 20 7435 2532. M-Sa 11.30AM-2.30PM, 5PM-10PM. A very well known fish and chip shop. The great British invention to either take away or eat in. Locals travel a long way to buy here.  edit
  • Parliament Hill Café, (off Highgate Rd between the tennis courts/bowling green and the bandstand), +44 20 7485 6606. daily 9AM to between 4AM and 9PM depending on the season. The only cafe actually on Hampstead Heath, and a nice place to stop for a drink or quick bite after exploring the heath.  edit
  • The Rosslyn Delicatessen, 56 Rosslyn Hill NW3 1ND (tube: Belsize Park), +44 207 794 9210 (), [24]. M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Deli which is very popular with Hampstead residents. Specialises in American products. Good range of sandwiches and salads made to order, or simply buy your own ingredients.  edit
  • Weng Wah, 240 Haverstock Hill NW3 2AE (tube: Belsize Park), +44 20 7431 4502 (), [25]. daily noon-10PM. This Chinese restaurant specialising in dim sum has been operating successfully from this address for more than 20 years. Eat in or order delivery anywhere in the Hampstead area. The lunch menu at £5-8 offers especially good value.  edit
Hampstead High St; home of perhaps the most discreet McDonald's anywhere in the world?
Hampstead High St; home of perhaps the most discreet McDonald's anywhere in the world?
  • Caffe Nero, 1 Hampstead High St NW3 1UN (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7431 5958 (), [26]. M-F 7.30AM-6.30PM, Sa 7.30AM-7PM, Su 8AM-7PM. Modern coffee shop just around the corner from Hampstead tube station. Serves decent coffee with cakes and savoury snacks at slightly lower prices than elsewhere in Hampstead Village. Part of a large chain.  edit
  • Carluccio's, 32 Rosslyn Hill NW3 1NH (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7794 2184 (), [27]. M-F 8AM-11PM, Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-10.30PM. Serves cheap and decent, if not terribly inspired, Italian food. Good value for this area. Also has a deli attached. Part of a large chain. £12-20 per head.  edit
  • Fratelli la Bufala, 45a South End Rd NW3 2QB (tube: Belsize Park), +44 20 7435 7814 (), [28]. M-F noon-3PM and 6PM-11PM, Sa-Su noon-11PM. Italian bistro with an extensive menu of pizzas and grill items. £15-20 per head.  edit
  • Freemason's Arms, 32 Downshire Hill NW3 1NT (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7433 6811, [29]. daily noon-9PM (bars later). A gastro pub offering both homely dishes and some more ambitious options. Good location only 1 minute walk from Hampstead Heath. Has a large open garden with many tables which is lovely in the summer. About £25 per head.  edit
  • Giraffe, 46 Rosslyn Hill NW3 1NH (tube: Hampstead), +44 871 3328828 (), [30]. M-F 8AM-11PM, Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-10.30PM. This is the original Giraffe, which has now gone to to be a very successful chain with 40 odd outlets in southern England. It still has the feel of a small independent restaurant and provides quality organic dishes. It is also child friendly, which might be a downside for a visit the morning after the night before. About £20 per head.  edit
  • Ping Pong, 83-84 Hampstead High St NW3 1RE (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7433 0930 (), [31]. M-F noon-11PM, Sa-Su 11AM-11PM. Well established modern Chinese restaurant. Dim sum is especially popular and therefore Sundays tend to get very busy and bookings are recommended. £12-15 dim sum set menus.  edit
  • Walnut, 280 West End Lane NW6 1LJ (tube: West Hampstead), +44 20 7794 7772 (), [32]. Tu-Su 6.30PM-10.30PM. Cozy, neighbourhood West Hampstead restaurant which serves up modern European fare at affordable prices. About £25 per head.  edit
  • Base, 71 Hampstead High St NW3 1QP (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7431 2224 (), [33]. Tu-Sun 8AM-10.45PM, M 8AM-6PM. Mediterranean bistro notable for both its food and its wine list. About £40 per head.  edit
  • Goldfish, 82 Hampstead High St NW3 1RE (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7794 6666. M-Th noon-10.30PM, F-Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-10PM. Asian fusion eatery boasts a menu that is distinctly modern Chinese, with main courses such as wasabi prawns, mocha spare ribs and pan-fry roasted duck with special curry sauce and apple salsa. About £60 per head.  edit
  • Odette's, 130 Regent's Park Rd NW1 8XL (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 20 7586 8569 (), [34]. Tu-Sa noon-2.30PM, 6.30PM-10.30PM, Su noon-3PM, 6.PM-10.30PM. Modern European cooking in the Primrose Hill district. Interesting set degustation menu for £60 per head.  edit
  • Sardo Canale, 42 Gloucester Ave NW1 8JD (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 20 7722 2800 (), [35]. T-Th noon-10.30PM, F-Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-10PM. An Italian (Sardinian to be more precise) restaurant in a lovely setting by the Regent's Canal. Although on the more expensive side, it is arguably worth it. About £50 per head.  edit
  • Cafe 79, 79 Regent's Park Rd NW1 8UY (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 20 7586 8012. M- Sa 8.30AM-6PM, Su 9AM-6PM. Simple vegetarian and whole food cafe with many vegan options also. Budget prices.  edit
  • Manna, 4 Erskine Rd, NW3 3AJ (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 20 7722 8028 (), [36]. daily 6.30PM-11PM, Su only noon-3PM. The UK's oldest vegetarian restaurant which has been in operation since 1966. That says a lot about the quality of the food, and the presentation and service are also top notch. About £40 per head.  edit

Drink

Historic pubs are widespread in this district and visitors will have few problems finding a good quality, rewarding option. A vintage of 200 years is by no means unusual for such establishments and many have colourful stories to tell.

This is not a district with any regular after hours nightlife, but it is not far down the hill to the neighbouring areas of Camden Town and King's Cross where there are many late bar and dance club options.

Hampstead Village and around

Among Hampstead's many pubs are a few traditional jewels, including:

  • The Flask, 14 Flask Walk NW3 1HE (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7435 4580 (), [37]. Bar hours: M-Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-10.30PM. The name dates from the 18th and 19th centuries, when Hampstead was known as an area with many freshwater springs and people went there to take the waters. The current building has been a pub since 1874. Two bar rooms and a separate dining area.  edit
The Holly Bush has been around since 1807
The Holly Bush has been around since 1807
  • The Holly Bush, 22 Holly Mount NW3 6SG (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7435 2892 (), [38]. Bar hours: M-Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-10.30PM. Been around since 1807 and an absolute traditional favorite. Two bar rooms with open fireplaces. Consistently rated as one of the best traditional pubs in the whole of London.  edit
  • The King William IV, 77 Hampstead High St NW3 1RE (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7435 5747 (), [39]. Bar hours: M-T 11AM-11PM, F-Su 11AM-midnight. London's oldest established gay pub and a pleasant place for a drink whether you are gay or straight. Three bar rooms and a pleasant, if small, outdoor beer garden at the rear. Right in the heart of Hampstead village.  edit
  • The Old Bull and Bush, North End Rd NW3 7HE (tube: Golders Green), +44 20 8905 5456 (), [40]. Bar hours: daily 11AM-11PM. This former farmhouse first gained a licence to sell liquor in 1721 and is the pub that gave rise to famous Victorian music hall song "Down at The Old Bull and Bush". Today it is a thriving pub and one which has modernised sympathetically. A great place to go for a drink and imagine the characters who have done likewise here over the past nearly 300 years.  edit
  • The Spaniard's Inn, Spaniard's Rd NW3 7JJ (tube: Golders Green, then bus 210 which stops right outside), +44 20 8731 8406 (), [41]. Bar hours: daily 11AM-11PM. Been around since 1585 and has just claims to be one of the most famous pubs in London. Keats, Shelly and Byron all drank here and Dickens mentions it in Pickwick Papers. Local lore has it that Dick Turpin used the pub and that his ghost still does. These days it is a decent pub with a real countryside atmosphere.  edit
  • The Engineer, 65 Gloucester Ave NW1 8JH (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 20 7722 0950 (), [42]. Bar hours: M-Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-10.30PM. Rather small pub with a cosy inside bar and lovely outdoor beer garden which gets busy in the summer. It is quite expensive compared to other local options.  edit
  • The Lansdowne, 90 Gloucester Ave NW1 8HX (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 20 7483 0409 (), [43]. Bar hours: M-F noon-11PM, Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-10.30PM. Local favourite with a lively bar downstairs and excellent restaurant on the first floor.  edit
  • The Pembroke Castle, 150 Gloucester Ave NW1 8JA (tube: Chalk Farm and walk across the bridge), +44 8721 077 077. Bar hours: M-Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-10.30PM. Intimate pub with a cozy inside bar and a very popular beer garden which gets packed in summer.  edit
  • The Princess of Wales, 22 Chalcot Rd NW1 8LL (tube: Chalk Farm), +44 8721 077 077. Bar hours: M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10.30PM. Traditional pub which offers a fine selection of beers and has a relatively broad food menu. Traditional jazz is played on Thursday nights. One of the more reasonably priced pubs in the area.  edit
  • The Sir Richard Steele, 97 Haverstock Hill NW3 4RL (tube: Belsize Park), +44 20 7483 1261 (), [44]. Bar hours: M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-10.30PM. Old fashioned London pub which runs a regular program of themed nights including some quite eclectic musical themes. Saturday is comedy night and especially popular. Named after the notable Georgian journalist and writer whose home was formerly on this site,  edit

Sleep

This is not a district well known for its accommodation options and few visitors stay here. The hotels that are available tend to be in the south of the district, although Hampstead Village itself does have a couple of good quality bed and breakfast options which are very much off the regular tourist path. In West Hampstead, there is a small cluster of budget bed and breakfast options.

  • Charlotte Guest House, 195-197 Sumatra Rd NW6 1PF (tube: West Hampstead), +44 20 7794 6476 (), [45]. Traditional B&B with 43 rooms ranging from singles to family suites. The cheapest rooms do not have private bathrooms. From £50.  edit
  • Dawson House, 72 Canfield Gdns NW6 3EG (tube: West Hampstead), +44 20 7624 0079 (), [46]. Budget guest house with 15 rooms including family options. A five minute walk to the West Hampstead stations. From £59.  edit
  • Dillons, 21 Belsize Park NW3 4DU (tube: Belsize Park), +44 20 7794 3360 (), [47]. Bed and breakfast in an old converted Victorian building in Belsize Park. Quiet and reserved residential neighbourhood but easy access to Hampstead Village. From £65.  edit
  • Hampstead Village Guest House, 2 Kemplay Rd NW3 1SY (tube: Hampstead), + 44 20 7435 8679 (), [48]. A real traditional bed and breakfast experience staying in an old family run house in Hampstead Village. A converted Victorian detached house furnished in the period style. Easy five minute walk to Hampstead Heath and the main local shops and cafes. From about £90.  edit
  • La Gaffe, 107-111 Heath St NW3 6SS (tube: Hampstead), +44 20 7435 8965 (), [49]. Charming boutique-type bed and breakfast accommodation above a restaurant and wine bar of the same name. Family owned and managed. From £85.  edit
  • Langorf Hotel and Apartments, 20 Frognal NW3 6AG (tube: Finchley Road), +44 20 7794 4483 (), [50]. Converted townhouse within walking distance of Hampstead Village. From £75.  edit
  • Palmer's Lodge Hostel, 40 College Cres NW3 5LB (tube: Swiss Cottage), +44 20 7483 8470 (), [51]. A high quality, multi award-winning hostel in a converted Victorian mansion. Has private rooms as well as a number of dorm options. Offers free WiFi, breakfast included in the price and nice touches such as serving free trade coffee only. Dorm beds from £21, double private rooms £77.  edit
  • Swiss Cottage Hotel, 4 Adamson Rd NW3 3HP (tube Swiss Cottage), +44 20 7722 2281 (), [52]. Converted Victorian townhouse with 59 rooms. Two minute walk to Swiss Cottage tube station. From £56.  edit
  • Belsize Library, Antrim Rd NW3 4XN (tube: Belsize Park), +44 20 7974 6518, [53]. Tu-W 10AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, closed M,Th-Fr,Su. A small public library run by Camden Council which offers free public internet access. The queues are often long though.  edit
  • The Internet Cafe, 235 Finchley Rd NW3 6LS (tube: Finchley Road), +44 20 7435 6000. daily 10AM-9PM. A small internet cafe offering light bites and drinks.  edit
  • Queen's Internet Cafe, 191 Queen's Cres NW5 4DS (tube: Belsize Park), +44 20 7485 1558. M-Sa 10AM-6PM. A rather quirky place which doubles as an internet cafe and a supplier of hair grooming products! Very friendly and a reliable, fast connection.  edit
  • Swiss Cottage Library, 88 Avenue Rd NW3 3HA (tube: Swiss Cottage), +44 20 7974 6522,, [54]. M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. A public library run by Camden Council which offers free WiFi and a limited number of desktop stations.  edit

Stay safe

This is a comparatively safe district of London. You are however still in the city, so be sensible, especially after dark. If you do run into any difficulties, these are the main police stations in the district:

  • Hampstead Police Station, 26 Rosslyn Hill NW3 1PD (tube: Hampstead), 0300 123 1212, [55].  edit
  • West Hampstead Police Station, 21 Fortune Green Rd NW6 1DX (tube: West Hampstead), 0300 123 1212, [56].  edit
  • Hampstead and Highgate Express (The Ham and High), 100A Avenue Rd NW3 3HF, +44 20 7433 0000 (), [57]. Very few London districts have their own proper local newspaper (as opposed to a free sheet), but it is no surprise that literary Hampstead does. A great source of local news, events and listings. Published each Thursday, and widely available at newsagents and other outlets throughout the district.  edit
  • Royal Free Hospital, 23 East Heath Rd NW3 1DU (tube: Belsize Park), +44 20 7794 0500, [58]. One of London's largest and most famous hospitals. Has a full A&E department.  edit
  • Camden Town with its wonderfully eclectic markets and shops, is just a couple of stops south on the Northern Line.
  • From the south of the district, you can easily walk to Oxford Street and elsewhere in the West End, through the lovely Regent's Park.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HAMPSTEAD, a north-western metropolitan borough of London, England, bounded E. by St Pancras and S. by St Marylebone, and extending N. and W. to the boundary of the county of London. Pop. (igoi), 81,942. The name, Hamstede, is synonymous with "homestead," and the manor is first named in a charter of Edgar (957-975), and was granted to the abbey of Westminster by Ethelred in 986. It reverted to the Crown in 15Jo, and had various owners until the close of the 18th century, when it came to Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson, whose descendants retain it. The borough includes the sub-manor of Belsize and part of the hamlet of Kilburn.

The surface of the ground is sharply undulating, an elevated spur extending south-west from the neighbourhood of Highgate, and turning south through Hampstead. It reaches a height of 443 ft. above the level of the Thames. The Edgware Road bounds Hampstead on the west; and the borough is intersected, parallel to this thoroughfare, by Finchley Road, and by Haverstock Hill, which, continued under the names of Rosslyn Hill, High Street, Heath Street, and North End, crosses the Heath for which Hampstead is chiefly celebrated. This is a fine open space of about 240 acres, including in its bounds the summit of Hampstead Hill. It is a sandy tract, in parts well wooded, diversified with several small sheets of water, and to a great extent preserves its natural characteristics unaltered. Beautiful views, both near and distant, are commanded from many points. Of all the public grounds within London this is the most valuable to the populace at large; the number of visitors on a Bank holiday in August is generally, under favourable conditions, about 100,000; and strenuous efforts are always forthcoming from either public or private bodies when the integrity of the Heath is in any way menaced. As early as 1829 attempts to save it from the builder are recorded. In 1871 its preservation as an open space was insured after several years' dispute, when the lord of the manor gave up his rights. An act of parliament transferred the ownership to the Metropolitan Board of Works, to which body the London County Council succeeded. The Heath is continued eastward in Parliament Hill (borough of St Pancras), acquired for the public in 1890; and westward outside the county boundary in Golders Hill, owned by Sir Spenser Wells, Bart., until 1898. A Protection Society guards the preservation of the natural beauty and interests of the Heath. It is not the interests of visitors alone that must be consulted, for Hampstead, adding to its other attractions a singularly healthy climate, has long been a favourite residential quarter, especially for lawyers, artists and men of letters. Among famous residents are found the first earl of Chatham, John Constable, George Romney, George du Maurier, Joseph Butler, author of the Analogy, Sir Richard Steele, John Keats, the sisters Joanna and Agnes Baillie, Leigh Hunt and many others. The parish church of St John (1747) has several monuments of eminent persons. Chatham's residence was at North End, a picturesque quarter yet preserving characteristics of a rural village; here also Wilkie Collins was born. Three old-established inns, the Bull and Bush, the Spaniards, and Jack Straw's Castle (the name of which has no historical significance), claim many great names among former visitors; while the Upper Flask Inn, now a private house, was the meeting-place of the Kit-Cat Club. Chalybeate springs were discovered at Hampstead in the 17th century, and early in the 18th rivalled those of Tunbridge Wells and Epsom. The name of Well Walk recalls them, but their fame is lost. There are others at Kilburn.

In the south-east Hampstead includes the greater part of Primrose Hill, a public ground adjacent to the north side of Regent's Park. The borough has in all about 350 acres of open spaces. The name of the sub-manor of Belsize is preserved in several streets in the central part. Kilburn, which as a district extends outside the borough, takes name from a stream which, as the Westbourne, entered the Thames at Chelsea. Fleet Road similarly recalls the more famous stream which washed the walls of the City of London on the west. Hampstead has numerous charitable institutions, amongst which are the North London consumptive hospital, the Orphan Working School, Haverstock Hill (1758), the general hospital and the north-western fever hospital. In Finchley Road are the New and Hackney Colleges, both Congregational. The parliamentary borough of Hampstead returns one member. The borough council consists of a mayor, 7 aldermen and 42 councillors. Area, 2265 acres.


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