We started out at the Hampstead Tube station and headed over to Church Row. Below is a photo in 1906 and then a one taken last summer.
What I love about it is how cute and quaint it looks. But I had no idea how unchanged it has been over the centuries. Hampstead prides itself on being a unique and charming Georgian village. Even with the High Street big name stores and contemporary adornments creeping in it still retains is quaint village feel. This road, Church Row is definitely a perfect example as it still has the original posts for the old oil lanterns that used to hang on the gates. It also has the original gas lamps which have been refitted for electricity but still retain a timeless feel.
Another thing I love about this street are the doors - well, the window panes above the front doors. Way back when houses were not numbered so the panes of glass above the front doors had to be different. The residents of each house had calling cards with the design of the glass on them so when callers came they could identify the house. Very cool. Here's one of my favourite doors:
From there we walked over to one of the favourite watering holes in London: the Holly Bush. It was built in 1644 and converted from teh stables and outbluiding of Romney's house (which is behind it). Many famous folks have hoisted a pint or two in this fanastic old pub - it's absolutely quaint with it's bare oak floors, plaster walls and roaring fire. When our group of about 40 descended upon it it filled up fast - it's rather large and it was already full but we all managed to have our pint!
Speaking of famous people A LOT of famous people have lived or do live in Hampstead including: Dickens, Keats, Hogarth, Dick Turpin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Poppins (well, his creator), Boy George, Peter Cook, H.G.Wells, Daphne Du Maurier, George Michael, Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton, George Orwell, Sigmund Freud and a host others. 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. Interesting.
Many came up to the hills of Hampstead - which is this highest point in London to escape the disease infested streets of central London. It was considered a spa town with its clean water and fresh breezes. I find this ironic as I've had more colds, flus and oh, asthma since I moved here!
From here we went by Burgh House, Ridley Scott's house, and turned a corner to Admiral's House. This was the inspiration for Mary Poppins and the author, P.L. Travers used it as the inspiration for the book.John and Winifred Constable moved to Admiral's House in 1916 after living at 15, Brompton Square for the two years following their marriage. John had been advised by his doctor to find a house with a garden so that when his eyes prevented him from writing he would be able to work outside and not wander around busy London streets. The house had been re-named Grove House during their time but was still known to them and other local residents as Admiral's House. It was built during the reign of George III and occupied by eccentric former naval officer called Fountain North. He constructed two decks on the roof, a main deck and a quarter deck, and mounted cannons all round them from which he fired salutes on the King's birthday and to celebrate Naval victories (sound familiar?). His cabin, built like the stern of a ship, still existed, high up in the air. There was an acre of garden, since built upon. Through the garden ran a tunnel which was said to communicate with the Heath, and was alleged the escape-way of Dick Turpin.
Hampstead Scientific Society. Our guide went in and asked if we could take a peek. They said yes and we all walked up the steps and waited our turn to go inside the tiny round building with a domed room and take a look through the telescope at Orion's belt. I asked if the roof still rotated and the man in charge pulled on some ropes to show us how the roof still moved around, 'Good ole' Victorian engineering,' he cheerfully announced.
The next point was the highest point in London - Whitestone Pond. There is an original marker which shows that it's exactly 4 miles from center London (Charring Cross I think). The pond was original ramped so weary horses could trot right in for a drink, and the dirty wheels of the carriages could have a quick wash before heading into town - presentation was everything! Here is an old postcard of that:
London Walks Tours, who were our guides, if you have the time and are in London - it was fantastic!