About Hampstead Garden Suburb
Lying north-west of Hampstead Heath, and seven miles from central London, Hampstead Garden Suburb's unique architectural heritage sets it apart from other north London neighbourhoods. An area with a semi-rural feel, its quiet nature and strong community spirit make it popular with families.
A short history
Described by the architectural historian Niklaus Pevsner as "that most nearly perfect example of the English invention and specialist, the garden suburb", Hampstead Garden Suburb was the vision of Henrietta Barnett. An Edwardian heiress and philanthropist, in 1907 she set about creating a utopian alternative to monotonous streets of Victorian terraced housing found across much of London. Together with the London County Council, she acquired the freehold on 243 acres of Eton College's land at Wylde's Farm created a model estate of houses for all types of backgrounds and incomes, separated by hedges rather than walls and set in tree-lined roads.
Fast forward 100 years and the area has moved away from its egalitarian roots, but a strong community spirit remains. Central Square, designed by the Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, lies at the highest point. According to stipulations laid down at the start, attractions such as pubs, cinemas and shops were not permitted, and are still not.
Green spaces and going out
There are two areas of woodland in the suburb, both of which are designated nature reserves: Big Wood and Little Wood, the latter is home to an open-air theatre established in 1920, which is used in the summer by The Garden Suburb Theatre Company. A small collection of shops and services lie Market Place while Temple Fortune, Golders Green and East Finchley provide a wider range.
Golders Green Underground station (Zone 3), on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line, is a 20-minute walk. Trains to the West End take 30 mins.
Did you know?
When threatened with closure in 2012, the library was rescued by the community and was re-opened by local resident Jonathan Ross.