Back in the early 1900s, philanthropist Henrietta Barnett might have set out to build a utopian community of homes for “all classes of society and standards of income”, but today, the perfectly preserved Arts and Crafts homes here are, understandably, some of the most expensive in the Capital – though many have passed down through generations of the same family.
Photography by Emmanuelle Peri
An ode to HGS
Aston Chase’s Mark Pollack on what makes the leafy corner of London he calls home so special
I moved to Hampstead Garden Suburb from Little Venice shortly after my wife and I married some 30 years ago. I aspired to live here largely due to the close proximity of the green open spaces: the Heath Extension, Hampstead Heath, Kenwood, and Golders Hill Park – not to mention the numerous other open spaces and recreational areas. It’s the perfect place to raise a young family, offering a sense of living in the country, while being less than 20 minutes by car from Baker Street.
Most of Hampstead Garden Suburb is a Conservation Area and is effectively governed by The Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust who, like English Heritage, can sometimes thwart property owners’ ambitions, but the legacy is a wonderfully unspoilt area with soft green borders and architecture that’s largely unchanged from Henrietta Barnett’s original vision, namely a model community with beautiful houses in a verdant landscape representing the bestof English domestic architecture of the early twentieth century.
Genuinely my favourite street in the Suburb is the one I’m fortunate enough to live on, Wildwood Road. It snakes around the Heath Extension with houses directly facing the Heath and others backing onto it – with some houses also benefitting from views over Hampstead Golf Course to the rear. We have a few celebrity neighbours and past residents include Elizabeth Taylor, who publicly stated that the happiest days of her youth were spent running through the woods and on the Heath opposite her home on Wildwood Road.
For some, the absence of shops and transport facilities on the south side of Hampstead Garden Suburb is a shortcoming, but I love the fact that it’s largely unspoilt and the recent lockdownshave only highlighted what a privilege it is to live here. I never tire of walking on the Heath Extension – historically with our kids and beloved Miniature Schnauzers, and in more recent times, with my daughter’s French Bulldog. But my favourite location is at the foot of Heathgate, just beyond The Great Wall, from where the Heath Extension rises ahead of you for as far as you can see, and it is so easy to get lost in the beauty of nature and appreciate the views, which have barely changed over the past 125 years or so.
Take 3: Street hearts
Designed by Lutyens, this picture-perfect square is flanked by two imposing churches, St Jude’s with its domineering spire and the Byzantine Free Church
Sweeping around the top of the Heath Extension in a beautiful arc, the neo-Georgian homes here enjoy uninterrupted views of the green space
Built in Queen Anne style with hipped roofs, the red brick houses at the end of this pretty cul de sac are set back, giving it the impression of a village square
Meet the locals: Debra Kacher, Owner, dk Interiors
Living and working in Hampstead Garden Suburb has major benefits. A quiet conservation area surrounded by beautiful green spaces, it provides fantastic opportunities to experience nature, at the same time as offering wonderful local amenities as well as easy access to those in the centre of town. We’re also close to the north circular and the M25, which is so helpful when it comes to getting to our many clients spread across London and beyond!
Being an interior designer, no two days are the same. Depending on the demands and status of each project, we can be on site one day, designing in the studio the next, sourcing materials or meeting clients after that…
I normally start the day with a little exercise, either at Pilates by the Green, based in the Market Place, or walking my beloved dog on the Heath Extension, or at Bigwood, Kenwood or on Hampstead Heath itself. It’s a good opportunity for some quiet time to gather my thoughts, plan the week ahead or just mull over current projects, envisaging our design direction and finding inspiration. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful natural green spaces all maintained to the highest standards. The Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust’s objective is to maintain and preserve the architecture and character of the area, so we often need to consult with them on planning applications. We have a huge appreciation for the local architecture and draw a great deal of inspiration from the surroundings we live and work in.
Errands get fitted in before work starts or at the end of the day, whether that’s dropping off the dry cleaning at Jacksons in Temple Fortune or food shopping at Waitrose and M&S. We’re really lucky to have shops like Bekem’s for specialty food items, Sherrads for delicious baked treats and Amber Rose for flowers. Supporting local businesses, especially small independent ones, is vital. I’m also a regular at the local post office in the Market Place on Lyttelton Road. I pop in regularly to send out samples to clients and suppliers and the friendly service there is so welcome. But one of my most frequented local businesses has to be Medivet, which is also in the Market Place – our dog is their best customer!
Sourcing for our projects can take us all over London and beyond, so my Mini is like a second office and maintenance is key – I’m a frequent customer at Grays Tyres in Temple Fortune. Some of our most tried, tested and talented suppliers are right on our doorstep, though. Our directory includes Parquet Flooring in Temple Fortune, which supplies a huge range of wood flooring finishes and colours. We also have a great relationship with the guys at Topps Tiles, for whom nothing is ever too much trouble.
My background was in fashion before a career change 15 years ago led me to interior design, and clothes are still high on my priority list, so a detour to Paulie and Genevieve in Temple Fortune counts as major retail therapy!
I spend most of the day with clients or the team at meetings, site meetings on the various projects, sourcing for existing and new projects or tied to my desk with admin. All of which means going out for lunch is a rare occurrence, but when I get the opportunity, I do love sushi from Atari-Ya, and Totally Espresso or Piacere do great salads.
I switch off after work over a local dinner and drinks with friends at The Coffee Cup in Hampstead, which is a very old favourite and just a stone’s throw from the Suburb. I’m also a fan of The Bull and Bush pub and The Everyman Cinema.
Recommended: Local heroes
If you’re looking for a sweet treat, this family run bakery and café more than satisfies. Dating back to 1952, Sherrards is a much-loved establishment that offers an array of handmade cakes, biscuits and pretty pastries. “Sherrards is one of the reasons why Hampstead Garden Suburb is so popular,” says Chris Cooper from Dexters. “It’s a great place to pick up a coffee and a slice of cake, and it’s perfect for a weekend treat.” And while the colourful patisserie counter is guaranteed to make your mouth water, there’s a full menu of delicious savoury lunch offerings to be had, too.
18 The Market Place, Falloden Way, NW11 (020 8455 2111; sherrardsbakery.co.uk)
Bekem’s Food Store, NW11
The very definition of a local convenience store, BEKEM’S is handily located on Market Place and offers quality and widely sourced foodstuffs, including kosher and vegan, organic and gluten free. It’s also a one-stop shop for toiletries and household necessities. “This mini supermarket is a treasure trove of goodies,” says Vivienne Harris from Heathgate. “From the usual food and homewares, to a great variety of fruit and veg that’s not often seen in the smaller shops… I think they stock everything one could need and they’re a pleasure to shop from.”
40-42 The Market Place, NW11 (020 8458 9288; bekemsfoodstore.co.uk)
Daniels Bakery, NW11
Serving up some of the best bagels in north west London is this traditional kosher bakery on Hallswelle Parade near Golders Green. Litchfields’ Charles Bobroff is a fan, telling us that Daniels has “a wide variety of the freshest bakery items, from homemade breads to rolls, pastries and cakes.” While the delicious smell of baked goods is likely the thing that draws you in, there’s freshly cooked traditional dishes, quiches, salads and much more to tempt your tastebuds, too. Why not treat yourself to a slap-up takeaway lunch?
12-14 Hallswelle Parade, NW11 (020 8455 5826; danielsbakery.co.uk)
PHGH Doctors, NW11
Glentree’s Trevor Abrahmsohn nominates GP partners Dr Leora Harverd and Dr Karen Grossmark as his local heroes, wishing to “shine a beacon on the excellent work they are doing for the community, as the unsung heroes of the day.” When the doctors signed the contract to become the First Vaccination Covid Hub in Barnet they were filled with a sense of commitment and excitement. They collaborated with Drs Sherry Taylor and Luisa Pettigrew and within a matter of days, got the show off the ground. There was so much to plan in so little time. “It’s like organising a wedding for 1,000 guests, week in week out, for nine months – but without the canapés!” says Dr Harverd. “But we are blessed with the most committed team of volunteers to help navigate the flow of people and retired GPs and dentists along with Hatzola, the paramedics who are vaccinating hundreds each shift. There is such an upbeat atmosphere during the 12 hour shift that it takes to vaccinate 1,200 people. Patients are so grateful, as receiving their first vaccine has given them hope to think about getting back to some sort of normality.”
23 Temple Fortune Lane, NW11 (020 8209 2400; phgh.co.uk)