Friday, 13 June 2008
The days of a look out tower.
It is said that Hampstead tube station is the deepest tube station in London - it may or may not be true, but one of the reasons for the depth is that it runs under the top of the hill.
And just over the road, literally, is the corner of Holly Hill and Heath Street at the top of hampstead High Street and on that junction is the old Fire Station.
When you look at it it's hard to realise that it was the fire station and in the relatively recent past - but sure as eggs is eggs, it was. The idea of having a look-out on top of the building seems such an odd concept but when you look at the architecture it's obvious really.
Now it's just flats and the nationwide Building Society and of course a clock tower that doesn;t keep accurrate time!
The building was designed by one George Vulliamy and was opened in 1874. The site had been previously used for the police station.
However, the world of Fire Station locations had to move to keep up with the fast expanding population centres and the need for watch towers subsided.
So it was that in 1901 West Hampstead Station on West End Lane was opened, in 1915 the Belsize Station in Lancaster Grove opened and by 1923 Hampstead Station was closed.