Saturday 28 February 2009

Daytrip to the cockney seaside of London?

We're down on the far eastern border of Hampstead Heath on the Highgate Road...

It's a part of the heath that when you use if regularly you know it well and if you don't go there often then it takes you by surprise.

The key element is the stunning view up the heath (towards the white marker stone) looking north west (towards Harrow?) and the great green expanse of the heath really opens up and looks just - well breath taking - pic below.

But there is also the entrance and the lovely clutter of shops around the Swain's Lane junction. On the side of the first building up the road - that abuts the heath - is this great wall mural (above right and building in tree next to it).

It has a faded grandeur about it and to my mind recalls the days of the late victorian and early edwardian daytrips to Hampstead Heath.

You can almost close your eyes and cast yourself back to noise and bustle of the weekend trips, when the heath was known as the London Cockney seaside - a real treat and day-out.

Now it's less focussed in that way and needs sort of spruce up - not to make it clinical but to make the entrance more defined and more suitable to the showing off of the view and making sure it's maintained in a way that is in keeping with the rural tradition of the heath.

I'm a member of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee and take a pretty close interest in the workings and maintenance - without a doubt we are lucky beyond calculation for this vast green lung here in NW3...

Friday 27 February 2009

Quick look, before it's lost in the refurbishment

A piece of old Kilburn has been unveiled unexpectedly this week.

It's HARRIS FURNISHINGS - on the High Road a whole swathe of shops on the Camden side have been cleared (just opposite the Golden Egg/Priory Park Road) ready for the redevelopment and down have come the current set of signs...

Hidden underneath is the paint transfer of the previous occupant...

Does anyone out there remember the store and can help with a date?

Judging by the fotn style it's prob 80's, but looking for leads and clues.


Wednesday 25 February 2009

A number of ideas for a good picture

Is this interesting, photographic or just curious?

It could be an entire project but as I mooched down the Kilburn High Road I was struck by the numbering of properties and the range of fonts and formats...

So here is the outcome of that mooch and that thought.

It's from the residential gate (275) before Brondesbury Medical practise up to Moran's the building merchants (293)...

And before someone cries fowl on the numbers, there is no 291 - it's the passage to Drakes Courtyard.

And the pictures immediately to the left on the residential gate I thought were different and as it was such a stunning day the reflection of 275 was really nice as a picture. Aaaaahhh :-)

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Where the street has a great name...

This is all part of my preparation for the history tours I do in the spring and summer.

But the great weather gave me the chance to do some snapping on Saturday.

In a way they are just pictures, but I realise that in taking these pictures and placing them on this blog we end up creating and capturing the history and the value of the local community.

Street name signs have a unique effect on the local area and the range of plaques, cast iron names and the tile lettering.

Monday 23 February 2009

America's first radical?

Not sure why this one feels obscure but it does - up in Hampstead we have Vane Close.

It's just by the Royal School on Hampstead High Street, just down from Greenhill.

And tucked away under the tree that grows over the corner of the street is this plaque.

Now I'm a bit of a history fiend but Harry Vane fell out of my knowledge and so a bit of digging has been in order to find out more:
- who
- when
- why

All of which made me realise that there are substantive characters who just pass through history - successful, significant and noted and yet without credit or any household status today... Ad amidst all of this he is cited as being Amercia's first radical!

Quite why precisely he was executed is pretty unclear other than he had fallen out with King and execution was an accepted means of removal. All pretty gim really!

Tuesday 17 February 2009

When 'street art' amuses you...

This is one of the better bits of street art (graffiti?)around.

This is clearly a genre - Banksy and others now - or perhaps more of an industry...

This pic is captured in England's Lane, Belsize Park and I think it's very funny.

Note the CND badge which has become incredibly iconic over a relatively short period of time. Amazing where that crops up in pictures and badges and now - in graffiti.

Friday 13 February 2009

The housing boom of the 1880's

It's not the most obvious feature and I have found I've walked past on more occasions than not without reacting, but here on England's Lane is Chalcot Gardens.

It's set back and 'protected' by a brick wall with a sort of sealed gateway effect on which is mounted an old plaque. (if you double click on the pictyure on the left it should open up and the words are much more legible larger!)

Chalcot Gardens came about in 1880, as part of the great development of the Eton College Estate that is now Belsize, Belsize Park and the Chalcots Estate itself.

The 'first six' were built in 1881 in 'Queen Anne' style. Another eight houses were built nearby in 1882-3 in Chalcot Gardens, where additions were later made to no. 16 by C. F. A. Voysey.

Eton Road has a long tradition of being occupied by artists.

Other artists included Robert Bevan (d. 1925) at no. 14 Adamson Road from 1901, Arthur Rackham at no. 16 Chalcot Gardens 1903-20, Duncan Grant at no. 143 Fellows Road c. 1910, and Stanley Spencer for a short time in Adelaide Road.

This unusual name of Chalcots is described as being related to habit, and whilst of Olde English origins, is associated with the Romans. The derivation is from "ceald-cote", which means "the cold house", an unusual distinction at a time when all houses lacked any warmth!

It seems more likely that the name refers to the location, particularly as it has been suggested that wherever a Roman road existed - ye olde Kilburn High Road (Watling Street and now the A5), so did a place called "Calde-cote", the Romans preferring to construct their roads along the windy uplands, making them more difficult to attack and less prone to flooding.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Building and re-building programme

Back on the theme of plaques locally - here's a nice little one from South End Green, Hampstead.
It's on the railway bridge above the start of the Frognal tunnel.
Reconstructed & widened in 1969 replacing
a 28ft wide cast iron bridge built in 1864
Borough Engineer & Surveyor
K.P Harman BSc (Eng) C. Eng., F.I.C.E., F.I. Mun. E.
Leonard Fairclough Ltd"
I think as local government today is increasingly about the provision of services, it's often easy to forget the scale of change and owenership of a local authority in previous decades - this half co-incides with the shift from the Borough of Hampstead to Camden. All good stuff.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

West Hampstead's night time economy

One of the dominant features of West Hampstead today is the social networks that percolate down West End Lane.

It feels like a veritable fortress of successful thiry-somethings (and fourty-plus things!) who like life and add a great youthful vigour to proceedings in this part of town.

One of the consequences, however, is that the night-time economy moves and almost literally changes very quickly.

Here on the corner of Inglewood Road (?) we have the forthcoming attraction of The West Hampstead Alice House Bar...

It's become quite a fashionable haunt being brilliantly located on West End Lane and close to the highly residential streets immediately behind it (Sumatra, Dennington Park Road etc.)

West Hampstead has really changed over time and now has actually few traditional watering holes - the Lion has spruced up, but with this exception there are very few old style boozers - leaving just The Alliance and The Railway really.

It is effectively just opposite my favourite haunt - the Wet Fish Cafe which still trumps most places for quality, charm and atmosphere...

Monday 9 February 2009

Ye olde sat nav... on Haverstock Hill

We're on Haverstock Hill for this one with the early form of Sat Nav

The old milestone just down from the Sir Richard Steele

It marks the spot "4 miles from the post office ____north"

I think that this is the Post Office in St Martin le Grand (Street's of Belsize 1991).

It's incredibly charming and i think important as historical feature. Interesting is the lack of net wear considering that this is prob mid/late Victorian (I would guess it's c. 1860/1870) and climate change has seen more erosion in the last ten years than over the previous hundred!

If you are out for a walk then take this in on your travels... it's to be appreciated.

Saturday 7 February 2009

Cycle surgery being treated for burns

It's never good news when you have a fire but our sympathies and best wishes go out to Cycle Surgery here in West End Lane.

It's a great lcoal shop, much used by the increased number of local cyclists.

Come on back to full operational Health Cycle Surgery - we need and want you.

Friday 6 February 2009

Sainsbury's and those plastic bags again

I guess it didn't take long, but after a period when my local Sainsbury's took the plastic bags off of public display they have put them back.

Considering how effective and determined they are about offers such 'as buy one, get one half price' etc I find it difficult and annoying that they don't apply the same level of effort to making the area plastic bag free.

The reality is that shop assistants and staff, driven by a lack of managerial political will and a negative consideration of the environment are perpetuating the production and free distribution of plastic bags.

Even when the bags were not on display the assitants were still offering them up keenly and I had to almost fight to not have my shopping put in new bags.

What's the solution?
  • Sainsbury's should lead the way responsibly and pro-actively.
  • They should remove platic bags from view
  • They should have their staff to say - 'please re-use these bags' - if they do hand them out.
  • They should encourage people to bring bags back at the next shop (often the following day).
  • Kilburn Sainsbury's and others should have the bag recycling point restored.
  • They should stop abdicating their responsibility.

I think the time is looming for some direct action to shame sainsbury's into action - their ongoing sustatined and deliberate trashing of the environment cannot carry on like this.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Inside the tube station...

I'm not sure that when Kilburn Park tube was built in 1915 that the impression of a hobbitt hole was intended.

But the architecture has an amazing level of charm - due to the cavernous tunnelling effect of the round.

Of course what is evident from these pics and day to day use of the station is the need for a serious lick of paint - at first I thought the station had been prepared for a new paint job - but nothing has happened for so long.

I have blogged about the station earlier on but the charm of this station continues to ooze out.

I can't help but think that there is a case for some kind of florist or grocers or fruit stall outside the tube station, but not sure at all how these things get made to happen.

I've been told by a mate of mine that you need permission to take pictures inside tube stations so enjoy the sedition whilst it lasts. :-)

Tuesday 3 February 2009

The view up here is pretty 'new'

The school in New End, Hampstead is one of the delights of Hampstead village not least because of the range of noise the playground gives off during the day. The effect is stimulating and cheery...

These two pics - taken almost from above the school - from one of the neighbouring blocks - shows the size and the scale of the building and just how striking it was.

T.J. Bailey was a noted British architect who led the London School Board architects department in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Other schools he designed include:
Paxton Primary School, Woodland Road 1887
Durand Primary School, Kennington 1888
Rosendale Primary School, Rosendale Road 1890
Gipsy Hill Primary School, Gipsy Road 1896
Santley Primary and Secondary Schools, Santley Road 1898

This actual building was opened in 1906 and has been serving pupils brilliantly ever since.

Currently housing a Primary School and a Nursery it accommodates boys and girls from 3 to 11 years.

There's a piece by Marc Mullen from the Ham and High on the web that alludes to the pre-school history of the school foundation:
"The school was an interesting story before it even opened.The London Schools Board (LSB) took over three schools on private sites and immediately condemned them, leaving 640 children without a school.

In 1900 LSB's failed in its attempt to buy a site next to Burgh House, where housing block Well House now sits.But in 1903, with the help of the newly formed Hampstead Council, LSB used a compulsory purchase order to buy the land just off Streatley Place for the school.

Architect TJ Bailey, designer of more than 200 school buildings in the late 19th century, drew up the plans for the school, which opened in 1906."

The building is Grade II listed and the register reads as follows:
"Primary school. c1906. By TJ Bailey and the LCC Architect's Department, Schools Branch. Red brick; front of yellow brick with red brick pilasters and dressings. Gabled old tile roof with stone capped brick stacks. Edwardian Baroque style.

"EXTERIOR: 4 double height stories, 4-window range central block flanked by projecting wings of 8 stories and attics with 2-bay facades. 2 semicircular arched entries to centre, with triple keystones, divided by pilaster with scrolled pediment over stone plaque. Central block has brick pilasters with stone triglyph friezes from second floor level to segmental-arched stone frieze beneath moulded stone cornice; tall brick parapet. Red brick flat arches to transom and mullion windows with small panes.

"Projecting wings have square-headed doorways set in wide stone architraves with bracketed flat hoods. Red brick flat arches to paired 4-pane sashes set between brick pilasters with stone triglyph capitals carrying semicircular arches of Flemish gables with carved stone coping and carved stone oeil-de-boeuf windows.

"Red brick rear elevation with grouped windows having small panes to centre, the top floor with pediments. Projecting wings have brick pilasters with stone triglyph capitals at angles supporting ashlar piers with shaped cornices flanking large segmental-arched Ipswich windows with tall alternating red brick and stone voussoirs and carved Baroque-style keystones; hipped roofs with segmental dormers and tall finials. "

Monday 2 February 2009

Remember the great snowfall of 2009?

And as I look out of the window it is still snowing.

I have put a set of pics up on my facebook profile: Ed Fordham so have a look there...

But hey, London may have ground to a halt but it aint half beautiful and look good under a scene of snow and calm.

And London without traffic - where you can walk in the road, enjoy the expanse of the area - it's so much better and nicer and quieter and...

The snow does make it trickier for bicycles however, and I nearly fell down the road - but it is fun!