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Hampstead is an area of Londonmarker, Englandmarker, located north-west of Charing Crossmarker. It is located in Inner London. It is part of the London Borough of Camdenmarker. It is known for its intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical and literary associations and for the large and hilly parkland Hampstead Heathmarker. It is also home to some of the most expensive housing in the London area, or indeed anywhere in the world, with large houses regularly listed for sale at over twenty million pounds. The village of Hampstead has more millionaires within its boundaries than any other area of the United Kingdommarker.



The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon words ham and stede, which means, and is a cognate of, the Modern English "homestead".

To 1900

Although early records of Hampstead can be found in a grant by King Ethelred the Unready to the monastery of St. Peter’s at Westminster (AD 986) and it is referred to in the Domesday Book (1086), the history of Hampstead is generally traced back to the 17th century.

Trustees of the Well started advertising the medicinal qualities of the chalybeate waters (water impregnated with iron) in 1700. Although Hampstead Wells was initially most successful and fashionable, its popularity declined in the 1800s due to competition with other fashionable London spas. The spa was demolished in 1882, although a water fountain was left behind.

Hampstead started to expand following the opening of the North London Railway in the 1860s (now the London Overground with passenger services operated by Transport for London), and expanded further after the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway opened in 1907 (now part of London Underground's Northern Line) and provided fast travel to central Londonmarker.

Much luxurious housing was created during the 1870s and 1880s, in the area that is now the political ward of Frognal & Fitzjohns. Much of this housing remains to this day.

20th century

During the 20th century, a number of notable buildings were created. These include:

Of these, the Hampstead Theatremarker relocated in 2003 to the present Swiss Cottagemarker site (increasing capacity from 140 to 325 seats) and the Swiss Cottage leisure centre was closed for rebuilding in 2003 and reopened in 2006.

Cultural attractions in the area include the Freud Museummarker, Keats' Housemarker, Kenwood Housemarker, Fenton Housemarker, The Isokon buildingmarker, Burgh Housemarker, and the Camden Arts Centremarker. The large Victorian Hampstead Library and Town Hall was recently converted and extended as a creative industries centre.Though now considered an integral part of London, Hampstead has retained much of its village atmosphere and charm, with Hampstead High Street playing a vital role in the day to day life of a Hampsteadian.

On 14 August 1975 Hampstead entered the UK Weather Records with the Highest 155-min total rainfall at 169 mm. As of November 2008 this record remains.

Mark Pevsner, the grandson of Sir Nicholas Pevsner, described Hampstead as "a large collection of roads and passages which don't go in straight lines, houses of different ages, many of them good architecture but more often it's just the way they fit together, full of nice vistas and surprises. Hampstead is a huge collection of twists and turns."


Hampstead became part of the County of London in 1889 and in 1899 the Metropolitan Borough of Hampsteadmarker was formed. The borough town hall on Haverstock Hill, which was also the location of the Registry Office, can be seen in newsreel footage of many celebrity civil marriages. In 1965 the metropolitan borough was abolished and its area merged with that of the Metropolitan Borough of Holbornmarker and the Metropolitan Borough of St Pancrasmarker to form the modern-day London Borough of Camdenmarker.

Hampstead is part of the Hampstead and Highgatemarker constituency and since 1992 the member of parliament has been the former actress Glenda Jackson of the Labour Party.

The area has a significant tradition of educated liberal humanism, often referred to (often disparagingly) as "Hampstead Liberalism".

The area is also home to the left-wing Labour magazine Tribune and the satirical magazine the Hampstead Village Voice. The local paid-for newspaper is the Hampstead and Highgate Express, known locally as the "Ham & High". Hampstead is also covered by the borough-wide Camden New Journal.

Since October 2008 the area has been represented on Camden Council by Liberal Democrat councilor Linda Chung, elected in a by-election to serve alongside Conservatives Kirsty Roberts and Chris Knight.

Places of interest


The Viaduct on Hampstead Heath
To the north and east of Hampstead, and separating it from Highgatemarker, is London's largest ancient parkland, Hampstead Heathmarker, which includes the well-known and legally-protected view of the London skyline from Parliament Hill. The Heath, a major place for Londoners to walk and "take the air", has three open-air public swimming pondsmarker; one for men, one for women, and one for mixed bathing, which were originally reservoirs for drinking water and the sources of the River Fleetmarker. The bridge pictured is known locally as 'The Red Arches' or 'The Viaduct', built in fruitless anticipation of residential building on the Heath in the 19th century.

Local activities include major open-air concerts on summer Saturday evenings on the slopes below Kenwood Housemarker, book and poetry readings, fun fairs on the lower reaches of the Heath, period harpsichord recitals at Fenton House, Hampstead Scientific Society and Hampstead Photographic Society.

The largest employer in Hampstead is the Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, but many small businesses based in the area have international significance. George Martin's AIR recording studios, in converted church premises in Lyndhurst Road, is a current example, as Jim Henson's Creature Shop was, before it relocated to California.

The area has some remarkable architecture, such as the Isokon buildingmarker in Lawn Road, a Grade I listed experiment in collective housing, once home to Agatha Christie, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Walter Gropius. It was recently restored by Notting Hill Housing Trust.


Theatres and cinemas


Hampstead is well known for its traditional pubs, such as the Holly Bush, gas-lit until recently; the Spaniard's Innmarker, Spaniard's Road, where highwayman Dick Turpin took refuge; The Old Bull and Bushmarker in North End; and Ye Olde White Bear. Jack Straw's Castle on the edge of the Heath near Whitestone Pond at the brow of the Heath has now been converted into residential flats. Others include:
  • Freemasons Arms, 32 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London, NW3 1NT
  • The Duke of Hamilton, 23–25 New End, Hampstead, London, NW3 1JD
  • Ye Olde White Bear, Well Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 1LJ
  • The Holly Bush, 22 Holly Mount, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SGN
  • The Horseshoe (formerly The Three Horseshoes), 28 Heath Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 6TE
  • King William IV (aka KW4), 77 Hampstead High Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 1RE
  • The Magdala, 2a South Hill Park, Hampstead, London, NW3 2SB
  • The Garden Gate, 14 South End Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 2QE


Hampstead has an eclectic mix of restaurants ranging from French to Thai. Notable and longstanding are La Gaffe, Gaucho Grill, Jin Kichi, Tip Top Thai, Al Casbah, Le Cellier du Midi and CrimeaJewel.


  • Christ Church, Hampstead Square, Hampstead, London, NW3 1AB
  • St John-at-Hampsteadmarker, Church Row, Hampstead, London, NW3 6UU
  • St John's Downshire Hill, Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London, NW3 1NU
  • St Mary's Chapelmarker, 4 Holly Place, Hampstead, London, NW3 6QU


Film locations

Hampstead's rural feel lends itself for use on film; a notable example being The Killing of Sister George (1968) starring Beryl Reid and Susannah York. The opening sequence has Reid's character June wandering through the streets and alleyways of Hampstead, west of Heath Street, around The Mount Square. The Marquis of Granby pub, in which June drinks at the opening of the film, was actually The Holly Bush, at 22 Holly Mount. Another example is The Collector (1965), starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, where the kidnap sequence is set in Mount Vernon.

The 1986 fantasy film, Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie, was shot, in large part, in Hampstead Heath.

The Heath
scenes from An American Werewolf in London (1981) are shot on Hampstead Heathmarker, Well Walk and Haverstock Hill. Harry and Judith are killed in Hampstead Heath, behind the Priors on East Heath Road. Before David kills them, Harry and Judith get out of the taxi on East Heath Road at Well Walk.

More recently Kenwood Housemarker is featured in the in-film film set scene of Notting Hill (1999). Outdoor scenes in The Wedding Date (2005), starring Debra Messing, feature Parliament Hill Fields on the Heath, overlooking west London. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) features the old Hampstead Town Hall on Haverstock Hill. The cult film Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006) was filmed entirely on Hampstead Heath, covering various picturesque locations such as the 'Floating Gardens' and Kenwood Housemarker.

A musical specifically focusing on the area, Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (1968), tells the story of a young man's cycle journey around Hampstead. After crashing into a billboard poster, he falls in love with the fashion model depicted on it.


Hampstead has a major bus terminus known as Hampstead Heathmarker (which is actually South End Green). Its most frequent service is Route 24 which for over 100 years has linked this area with the West Endmarker, Victoriamarker and Pimlicomarker (Grosvenor Road).Bus routes that currently serve Hampstead are:- 24 46 168 210 268 603 C11 and N5.

Nearest places

Hampstead High Street sign

Nearest tube stations

Hampstead underground station
The nearest London Underground stations are Hampsteadmarker and Belsize Parkmarker — on the Northern Line and Swiss Cottagemarker on the Jubilee Line. The stations are within Travelcard Zone 2. Hampstead is the boundary with Travelcard Zone 3. Construction of North End tube stationmarker was started but not completed.

Nearest railway station

The nearest London Overground station is Hampstead Heathmarker

Nearest hospital

Notable residents

Hampstead has long been known as a residence of the intelligentsia, including writers, composers, and intellectuals, actors, artists and architects — many of whom created a bohemian community in the late 19th century. In the 1930s it became base to a community of avant garde artists and writers and was host to a number of émigrés and Jewish exiles from Nazi Europe.

Historical Residents

Current or recent inhabitants

See also

References and notes

External links

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