Tuesday 29 September 2009

Pause, stop and dawdle on the Finchley Road...

The Finchley Road is much maligned and massively under-estimated.

Hidden away are gems and insights into the Eyre Estate (more to follow), the development of metro-land and the growth of traffic in a way that is captured in few other places. Now of course it's role as a main arterary road in and out of London and leading down to Swiss Cottage it has what i think is a strong sense of speed and movement about it...

The effect now is slightly odd and I would suggest it is under-appreciated.

So this is just one little building, tucked away with stunning marbled stucco's.

It's Canfield House and is, I think, the main stay of the old station buildings. I've tried a bit of digging on the origin of the name Canfield and not got hugely far- interestingly as we are not too far from Acol Road (a school of bridge) - Canfield is a card game but there appears to be no connection.

But for simple tastes such as myself the cherubs and the satyrs and the nature of the almost french style is realy nice. It's too easy when rushing out of the station, or dashing into Waitrose or up to the O2 Centre to miss it - pause, have a dawdle and look up - it's well worth it and as I say, slightly unlikely.

My instinct is it date to the 1930's and is a high quality frontage to what might actually be quite a cheap set piece brick construction and this is actually a faccia. Anyone out there know more?

Monday 28 September 2009

Polar Bears abound...

We're at 104 Finchley Road at one of the main junction points and yet this pub is almost lost in the noise maelstrom of the modern traffic flow of the Finchley Road.

The North Star was built in 1850 - one of the many watering holes that appeared as the route became more popular (from the 1830's onwards) - an alternative from either Watling Street (Kilburn High Road) or the windy routes up and through Hampstead.

It's a strong and dominant architecture but of course is now aligned with the route of the Metropolitan line which apparently runs a mere 3 feet under the cellar - from where the vibration and noise can be easily heard.

This has to be one of the nicest pub signs and for lovers of Philip Pullman surely worth a stop-off for a drink and picture?

The ironwork on the first floor balcony is original to 1850 and is the last bit that reflects this pubs role as a viewing and resting spot - the roof used to have a balustrade from which one could survey north west London - now the building feels decidedly low rise, but upon a time was a significant height in the local architecture.

Slight hiccup in service

A number of factors have come together to create a delaye in postings and comments and content.

For which apologies.

Poor timing for a blog that features as number 21 in the top Lib Dem Blogs really - sorry about that - let normal services resume...

I should just add that there has been a sustained thread throughout this blog about the local community, especially it's history and past and capturing the current festivals and images that i sense may never be caught again. However, there is a stark thread of comments from some that says that this lacks edge - political commentary essentially. I would just say that the blogosphere has quite enough views in and across it - my views and opinions are hardly lacking and I find that this format works for me.

I'm not sure my own views on world affairs or providing an almost newspaper commentary would be particularly helpful. I happen to think that if there was a greater emphasis on the local agenda I am pursuing that the global environmental crisis might be lesser and that communities might be stronger... but dear readers, I fear this blog isn't going to take a sharp turn in a different direction - it remains resolutely local. :-)



Sunday 13 September 2009

Gail's Party livening up the street!

Yes, it's the Hampstead Gail's street party - a great riot of colour, smells and tastes - lots of breads, cakes, sausage, homegrown direct marketed products.

It was yesterday (Saturday) in Hampstead (just off the High Street and Heath Street) and was absolutely packed.

Lots of children, families, older folks as well as the traders and performers.

A huge well done and thanks to Ran the owner of Gail's - I'm absolutely sure that small scale festivals such as this add to the atmosphere of a community like this and only for the better.

Once again thanks.

Saturday 5 September 2009

The Queen Consort is dead, long live the Pub!

We're on Adelaide Road in Belsize and there is - surprise surprise - the Adelaide Pub.


The building is actually very striking and quite dominant and stylist - I had a sense that it was mid victorian build and a bit of digging suggests that it is about 1850.

It's named after Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV.

She was born in Germany in 1792, married William in 1818 and was crowned Queen Consort in 1831. William had died in 1837 but the popular Queen Adelaide survived him for a further 12 years, eventually dying on the 2nd December 1849.

There then ensued a fashion that named a number of pubs after the widowed Queen. The name Queen Adelaide particularly came to popularity in 1850 (just after her death) - I haven't checked the births and baptism records but I suspect that along with the naming of pubs there was also the naming of children!


Thursday 3 September 2009

Don't panic, don't panic...

Not the most obvious picture in the world and it requires quite a leap of imagination but I'm told that this is a air raid shelter from World War II.

It's in the communal gardens of Cholmley Gardens, West Hampstead, and I'm told that there are a whole series of air raid shelters there.

They show themselves as slightly odd barrow-esq shapes in the ground structure with a still visible concrete ridge down the middle.


I can't say I know much more than that but as this week is the anniversary of the start of WWII for Britain I thought I'd try and reflect the theme.

For Cholmley Gardens http://www.cholmleygardens.co.uk/

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Charming - just totally charming

This blog has posted before about the Steele's pub, but just around the corner (almost behind) are the two mews named after Richard Steele.


Mews are quite common in this part of north London, but boy are these two charming and pretty. Dated to 1875 they are just lovely.

The cottage that preceeded the mews was demolished in the mid 1860's - it's quite possible that the arch that is dated 1875 is the last part of the construction over the previous couple of years.

This is just a gratuitous appreciation of them. :-)