Hampstead on Sunday

We started today in leisurely fashion, walking down towards King’s Cross, where we had brunch at the Station Cafe. Then we crossed to St Pancras Station (King’s Cross and St Pancras stations sit side by side, built by competing railway companies in 1852 and 1868, respectively) to catch a bus onward to Hampstead.

The Great Northern Hotel (1854)
The Great Northern Hotel (1854)

Between the two stations is the Grade II listed Great Northern Hotel built in 1854. There were fears that this building might be demolished as part of the rebuilding of Kings Cross but it has now been refurbished and will reopen as a “boutique hotel”.

Christmas Fair, Hampstead High Street
Christmas Fair, Hampstead High Street

Hilly Hampstead High Street is usually a busy thoroughfare but today it was closed to motor traffic for the annual Hampstead Christmas Fair.

Photogenic reindeer
Photogenic reindeer

There were reindeer with whom to have your photo taken…

Donkey and pony
Donkey and pony

a donkey and a pony demonstrating advanced hay munching techniques…

Pretty goat
Pretty goat

and a handsome pair of rather plump goats, including this pretty female.

Horse sleigh rides
Horse sleigh rides

There were (wheeled) sleigh rides, though Santa’s little helpers seemed to have some difficulty turning the horse.

The roundabout
The roundabout

Others took their pleasure by going for a spin.

We thought of taking a coffee break but, as you can imagine, everywhere was packed. We turned off along Flask Walk and walked down the hill, thinking we might call in at a pub we know.

Wells and Camden Baths, 1888
Wells and Camden Baths, 1888

Our way took us past the old public baths and wash house, built in 1888, and now converted into rather picturesque dwellings.

Front door, Burgh House
Front door, Burgh House

We remembered that the historic Burgh House, built as a family home in 1704 and today a museum and art gallery and venue for cultural activities, has a rather nice cafe in the basement. refreshed by tea and a slice of cake, we continued down Flask Walk.

Willow Cottages
Willow Cottages

Flask Walk leads to Willow Road where these cottages stand. They were built between 1852 and 1862 for people who gathered watercress from Hampstead ponds.

plaque

Pedants like me might be interested in the “greengrocer’s apostrophe” in the name plaque, showing that this mistake is not modern but was being made at least by Victorian times.

2 Willow Road
2 Willow Road

This is where we were heading: to number 2 Willow Road, the Modernist-style house built for himself and his family in 1939 by Hungarian architect Ernö Goldfinger. The house is today in the care of the National Trust and visitors have the choice of exploring the building themselves or joining one of the tours led by a knowledgeable guide.

Photography is not allowed in the house so, unfortunately, I cannot show you anything of the interior.

Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath

Hampstead here borders on Hampstead Heath, where the trees were dressed in autumn colours. Away from the city streets, and despite the sunshine, there was a heavy frost in the grass.

Frost in the grass on the Heath
Frost in the grass on the Heath

The water in the horse trough was frozen. I think this is our coldest day so far.

Frozen trough
Frozen trough

The guided tour was quite long and afterwards I felt I needed to sit down and have coffee. We walked on down to South End Green and had coffee and toasted tea cakes at Polly’s Cafe.

Polly's South End Green
Polly’s South End Green

Night had fallen by the time we emerged, even though it was not that late.

Fruit and veg stall at Hampstead Heath station
Fruit and veg stall at Hampstead Heath station

There was still activity in the streets, such as this fruit and veg stall outside Hampstead Heath station, even though it was bitterly cold. I was happy to go to the bus stop. This is the terminus and the bus drivers stop for a rest. You’re lucky if the bus is already there but you may still have to wait for it to wake up.

Waiting for the bus to wake up
Waiting for the bus to wake up

Hampstead is always an interesting place to visit and the Christmas Fair added extra excitement. The Goldfinger house was interesting to visit, but I don’t I would feel comfortable living there. From a historical perspective, however, it was worth seeing.

Carved lizard on a gate
Carved lizard on a gate

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
This entry was posted in Out and About and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Hampstead on Sunday

  1. Toasted tea cake a childhood favourite

  2. AEJ says:

    That little goat is the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen!

  3. WOL says:

    I like the costumes of Santa’s helpers. A lovely white horse. Perhaps it’s shoes are causing traction problems on the pavement. And here all this time, I thought “Goldfinger” was a name made up by Ian Flemming. There is a book called “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” about punctuation and its correct and incorrect usage in which the author makes some rather pointed remarks about the “greengrocer’s apostrophe” — As a medical editor, I encounter such errors more frequently than you would think. I always thought it was a booby trap inadvertently built into most computers’ spellchecker — to save disk space, most spellcheckers’ glossaries do not include the plural spelling of words that simply add “s” — and when it comes across such words, it offers the apostrophe “s” as a suggestion — the inattentive choose it because they aren’t paying attention, and the under educated assume the spellchecker is smarter than they are — which is all too frequently true!

    I don’t wonder that it is getting dark so early. Sunset here is currently at about 5:30 pm, and you are quite a few degrees of latitude north of us. When I lived in Berlin, only slightly north of you latitudinally, there would be months during winter when it would be dark when we went to work and dark when we came home from work. As we worked rotating shifts (7-4, 4-midnight, midnight-7)and worked in a windowless building, we had to make a special effort to see the sun — not an easy task in that climate. We used to joke that it actually wasn’t the sun we were seeing, but God with a flashlight peeking under the cloud cover to see if we were still there!

    If you come to the bus stop when the buses are “resting,” do they let you get on the bus out of the weather to wait for them to wake up? Is that the bus driver in the yellow “visibility vest?”

    I love the lizard. It would make a great ornament for the top of a garden wall or the stone balustrade of a terrace. Reminds me of the lizard down the middle of the entrance staircase to Parque Guëll in Barcelona, although that one is a great deal more colorful. Great detail.

    • SilverTiger says:

      You are right to see a connection between Goldfinger and the James Bond villain. Ian Fleming was a neighbour of the architect and resented the fact that he had caused the demolition of a stand of Victorian cottages to make room for his house. Naming his villain “Goldfinger” was an act of revenge. The story is told here.

      Lynne Truss’s book quickly became famous though reception was mixed. While some applauded its authoritarian approach, others were repulsed by this. In Britain, attitudes to language tend to be liberal, regarding treatises on grammar as descriptive rather than prescriptive.

      Personally, I am irritated by misplaced apostrophes not because they are “incorrect” but because they are unnecessary and demonstrate a lack of logic on the part of the writer.

      There is, of course, one type of “greengrocer’s apostrophe” which has been foisted on us by foolish grammarians and which ought by rights to have been removed long ago. I speak of the apostrophe indicating the genitive case, as in “Peter’s book”. Adding an apostrophe here was a gross error and making it mandatory a piece of arrant stupidity. You could not find a better reason for mistrusting grammarians.

      Sleeping buses are locked and no one can board. We have to wait until the driver is ready to depart.

      Added later

      I forgot to mention that the man in the yellow hi-vis jacket is the dispatcher. I don’t envy him his job which involves standing in the cold for hours on end.

  4. I used to live in West Hampstead (or Kilburn as it’s known to all except estate agents) so this was a lovely reminder of those days. You did really well to stay out in that biting cold so long – my feet were frozen within quarter of an hour outside this weekend.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Oh, I don’t know: I think the name West Hampstead is a valid designation of a particular area. We used to go to a rather nice Italian restaurant there.

      I dressed very warmly for the expedition, putting on an extra layer. Going indoors from time to time also helped.

      I am glad the piece brought back good memories. Click on the tag “Hampstead” and you may find some more!

Genuine comments are welcome. Spam and comments with commercial URLs will be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s