Monday 31 August 2009

It is a garden, but it's not at all strange...

If you haven't seen this before it's a fascinating bit of open space and history.

We're in Hampstead on Rosslyn Hill nest to the Royal Free Hopsital and it's called the Heath Strange Garden. And sure enough quite literally it's a small garden that was the site of the Old Hampstead General Hopsital and is named after the man who founded that hospital in 1902 - Dr Heath Strange!

Dr Strange lived at 2 Belsize Avenue, Hampstead, and is buried in Highgate Cemetary (I haven't been to track the grave down yet). Heath was married and he and his wife had four children none of whom themselves had children.

Dr Strange's great-nephew has a website here

An obituary can be found here

Further however, is the fact that the garden is so completely hidden and really quite charming. It feels as though it is above the car park and is slightly tucked away - I think overlooked by Bartram's Convent in Rowland Hill Street (the brown building in the background in the picture below right).

Also there however are the former plaques that were on the old hospital buildings

and then


Princess Christian was quite a coup as the person to open the hospital and if you read here biog she's quite a noise in the world of nursing at the turn of the previous century.

Here is the location of the garden on google maps

if you zoom in it's the garden shaped like a figure 8 and you can see the large white plaque that I assume previously was atop the old hospital building entrance.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Don't close our community off at the weekends, please

Okay - I featured the building of the West Hampstead Thameslink rail-bridge the other day and that progresses along quite visibly.

However, whilst the massive investment in the transport network in London continues (much of it driven by a desire to get the service up to scratch ready for the 2012 Olympics) there is a series of knock-on effects.

One of these has been to cut off transport access to the North London Overground Line and also the Jubilee Line virtually every weekend in this part of north west London.

It has become something of a regular feature with vast legions of rail replacement buses being laid on and no station services. The consequence has been that for where I live in West hampstead and Kilburn we have been increasingly cut off. Well, there has been a lot of unhappiness and chuntering and last night local traders decided to act. They called a meeting and resolved to try and get some attention for the effect these sustained closures are having.

Now I can't help but think there are a range of issues here:
- the communications from TfL about what is happening is dreadful: up goes the notice and across come the gates.
- the staff placed there at weekend and the bus drivers included often don't have a full brief in quite difficult circumstances
- more and more the extent to which West hampstead and Kilburn in particular have been hit businesses and shops are seeing a very real drop in trade and they are very very worried for their livelihood.

So here's the petition

And I thought I would start the conversation on here:

  1. could some of the closures move into the week rather than being all forced to the weekend?It's having the effect of cutting us off from the rest of London.
  2. Do we as Oyster Card holders have rights as shareholders to quiz and questions and get some answers to our concerns and make sure our voices are heard. Does TfL have the capacity to hear what we are saying?
  3. Are the closure entirely necessary? More and more we are all hearing stories that in fact the whole of the line is being shut when in fact work is only happening on a small stretch and that semi-permanent closure at weekend has become the operational norm. This was part illustrated by the fact that the Jubilee was miraculously opened for the U2 concert last weekend...
  4. is there another way of this work being handled, are the councillors and Council fully in the loop, and what is the consequence for all of the other developments - Iverson Road, West End Lane and the constant talk of development and housing...

Last year I brought Lib Dem campaigner and MP, Transport Spokesman, Norman Baker to West Hampstead and we had a very good meeting with the incredibly constructive Peter Field from TfL - picture above right - Norman, myself and Peter). Now we hope to turn to Peter again for some help, answers and movement... watch this space.


Friday 14 August 2009

Slip of the camera...

The statue to Sigmund Freud is a real delight - interesting, poise, character and similarity - all captured in this bronze just at the bottom of Fitzjohn's Avenue and the start of Belsize Lane.
It's on the land associated with the Tavistock NHS clinic
Freud was ground breaking in his theories and publicity for his theories and is one of the few people who's name has slipped into such widespread use in the laguague
Of course the crucial link with this location is that Freud - along with his wife Martha (this post listed Anna his daughter by mistake - see comment below) - lived at 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead (of which more to follow). But that's why there is such a strong local link.
The number of residents who have a strong tradition of fleeing the persecution of Nazi Germany, regenerating the rich Jewish culutures here and developing the strong liberal tradition of arts and science make the local area what they are today.
Sigmund's house is preserved and accessible - full details here:

Thursday 13 August 2009

Taken from my pocket

I took this pic. almost from my pocket during a meeting and when flicking through the photo album couldn't work out what it was...
After a bit of squinting and memory delving I realise that it's the interior roof of the newly restored St Stephen's on Rosslyn Hill, NW3.
The brickwork in this former church is pretty stunning and I now have a mental note to get in there with a tripod and a good zoom lense...
But until then, here's just a small taster of the quality and complexity of the architectural brick and stonework inside St Stephen's.

Sunday 9 August 2009

Here's the access we've been waiting for...

Usually I concentrate this blog on historical things that have hung around and survived or on things that happened and can stillbe traced back or seen today. A couple of times I have captured everyday scenes to find them changed the following week or month.

This is a scene (or three) that I passed and thought would be of interest. Already a few weeks later the site has moved on in development so here goes the pictures I got...

It's the construction of the lift and bridge at West Hampstead Thameslink station - this will give access to the station for those with physical disabilities and also direct from Iverson Road.

This should also have the effect of easing the pedestrian access along the incredibly tight bit of pavement along the bridge on West End Lane. It does of course come with the building of the flats along Iverson Road and thereby probably some tree felling... more of that in the local planning process.

But for most people the crucial element is enhancements to West Hampstead Thameslink - considering the crucial nature of the station for the City and Brighton and also to Luton Airport Parkway this should make it easier for those with cases.

I wonder if these enhancements will also see the end of the really trciky issue of the early morning trains saying they are coming in on one platform (on which you can be waiting) t find it comes in on a completely different one and you don't have time to cross the platforms and so miss your train... has happened to me once an several others a lot. Bit of an old carnard a frustrating example of 'it's early so it doesn't matter'.

Friday 7 August 2009

Thanks to all the residents who won this campaign

The news is out that Hampstead police Station is to stay open for now - the recession as well as the political and residential pressure finally won the day.

There is, as the Ham and High wisely observes, a queue of people wanting to take the personal credit.

I'm highlighting one elderly resident here who was a resident in the days when Police Officers lived in the station from 1915-1922: Marguerite Greenland. The station was built in 1913.

The story here is that the canmpaign has been going on for a long time - over 8 years at least, and the current concern blew up in 2005 - since then and indeed since this piece of coverage - Mrs Greenland has passed away. But this post is a small thank-you to her and all the residents who joined the campaign.

It was a success - for now. Thanks again. Ed

Monday 3 August 2009

It's Woolworths, but probably not Kilburn's

One of the great claims to fame for Kilburn is the credit brought to it by Ian Dury.

His first band (and though it's a bit unfair it was his band) was KILBURN AND THE HIGH ROADS.

Although many of the band members were from and hung around Harrow, clearly Kilburn was a dominant part of the NW London entertainment scene.

Being a collector and fascinated by the local area I've been out and boguht copies of the two albums that relate to this story.

The first (pictured left) is the album Wotabunch, 1978 Warner Brothers Records - sleeve design by Tony Littler FMM.

The second is the Ian Dury album New Boots and Panties, 1977 Stiff Records - recorded at the Old Workhouse on The Old Kent Road.

The second (pictured right) is taken outside a shop that is opposite Woolworths (see the reflection) and is often attributed to being on the Kilburn High Road.

Three problems with this - the first is Kilburn High Road is much wider than such a reflected IMHO, second it isn't directly attributable to Kilburn and third it is thought that where Kilburn's Woolworth's was is not opposite a shop like this...

Anyone in easy and direct contact with Dexter Dury to check it out - perhaps he remembers where this picture was taken with his Dad?

Sunday 2 August 2009

Loving Hampstead Lido

The Hampstead Lido is just great - but to my mind is beginning to show it's age.

It's approaching it's 71st birthday having been opened on 20th August 1938. rather bizarrely the opening was done by a slightly puzzled and bemused Stanley Rous, Secretary of the FA (Football Association)

Designed by London County Council Architects Harry Rowbotham and T Smithson is was only one of 13 Lido's built by LCC and was said to have been the most expensive to build. It is of course in the art deco style and cost £34,000 to build.

Today it's still a great facility - the pool is immaculately clean and the water clear - and even in the bitterest winter there are still early morning swimmers - for my part I don't swim well so avoid even the warmer months for dipping.

I love this picture I captured a while back - it has a certain 'little britain' quality to it... :-)

Saturday 1 August 2009

Our history is literally under our feet...

It's sad I know, but I get really excited when I find little gems like this...

It's a locally made and branded manhole cover!

Regular readers will know that we have sort of been here before

But when I think of Holly Hill, which I know pretty well, the idea of visualising a foundry making manhole covers is pretty unlikely.

Now it's a very pleasant, prosperous residential area with Junior boys School and is the main access to The Holly Bush Pub and Fenton House.

So finding this just in the street, is West Hampstead was really nice - the case for carrying my camera around is pretty compelling - if you like this sort of thing!