A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9, Hampstead, Paddington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Manorial Government. (fn. 1)
In 1294 the abbot of Westminster claimed view of frankpledge, assize of bread and of ale, chattels, free warren, and all pleas in Hampstead as a member of Westminster in which he claimed all pleas which the king's sheriff exercised in the county except pleas and outlawry. (fn. 2) Courts were held on Hampstead manor by 1271. Free tenants, in 1312 excluding those holding in free alms, owed suit twice a year at the abbot's court in Hampstead. (fn. 3) In 1451 the farmer of Chalcots paid to be excused suit. (fn. 4) From the 13th century two principal courts were held each year: a view of frankpledge with court leet initially at Easter but, from the late 15th century, on Whit Monday, and a general court baron in autumn or winter, which, from the 1380s, was invariably in November. Courts were also held at other times. There were, for example, four courts in 1274, 1347, and 1354, six in 1299, and seven in 1298, but from 1378 there were generally only two; in the late 16th and the 17th centuries there was one court with view in May. During the 18th century special courts, for single tenurial transactions, became common.
An estimate in 1312 of £1 10s. as the average annual income from perquisites of court (fn. 5) was correct for the 13th and early 14th century although there was wide variation, between 17s. 10d. in 1288 and £3 19s. 5d. in 1290. In the late 14th and early 15th century the average was £2 3s. but it had dropped to £1 14s. in the early 16th century and was over-estimated at £4 6s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 6)
There is only one extant medieval court roll, for 1296. (fn. 7) Rolls purporting to be court rolls for 1572- 1705 (fn. 8) are more probably extracts, recording tenurial transactions, and many rolls from before 1690 were destroyed by fire. (fn. 9) Court books are complete from 1706. (fn. 10)
The court was held at the manor house, presumably in the hall, by the bailiff of Westminster, a monk, but the prior and bailiff held it in 1372 (fn. 11) and in 1459 the court was held at Belsize. (fn. 12) Early 16thcentury leases of the manor reserved wards, reliefs, and other perquisites and obliged the lessee to entertain the treasurer, steward, and other officials when he held courts in Hampstead. (fn. 13) In 1535 courts, with other profits of the manor, were the responsibility of the treasurer. (fn. 14) In 1550 the bishop of Westminster granted the bailiwick of Hampstead for life to William Sybrand. (fn. 15)
After the manor passed into lay hands the court was not leased with the rest of the manor but was reserved to the lord, whose steward, by the mid 18th century or earlier, was usually a London lawyer. (fn. 16) From 1720 to 1737 there was a dispute over the stewardship during which rival courts made admissions. (fn. 17) The bailiff still issued the summons to the courts, some of which from 1731 were held at Jack Straw's Castle, of which the bailiff was then the lessee. (fn. 18) By the 19th century the main court, if not held at the inn, adjourned there for lunch. (fn. 19) The main court met at the 'Hall house' in 1685 (fn. 20) and 18th-century leases preserved the lord's right to hold the court annually in the hall and parlour of the manor house. (fn. 21) In 1798, after most of the old manor house had been pulled down, the lease of the site reserved the right to hold an annual court there, as had 'anciently' been done. (fn. 22) Thomas Pool, the principal lessee, was obliged to offer his house for the courts but in 1800 he sold it (later nos. 19 and 21 Frognal Lane) and a new lease extinguished the lord's right of entry and with it, presumably, the right to hold courts. (fn. 23) Probably Pool's house (Manor Lodge, no. 40 Frognal Lane) was not yet finished and for a few years courts met at the easternmost of the Frognal houses, which therefore took the name Manor House. (fn. 24) Pool's house on the south side of Frognal Lane, for which he obtained a lease in 1810, (fn. 25) subsequently housed the main Whitsun court, and leases reserved the right to hold courts there. (fn. 26) In 1851 the house was called Manor Lodge. (fn. 27) Courts still met there in 1934, (fn. 28) but enfranchisements had long before reduced the number of copyholders and the public seldom attended. (fn. 29)
All courts were mainly and most courts exclusively concerned with tenurial transactions. In 1296 the courts also dealt with trespass, the taking of demesne wood, breaking the assize of bread and of ale, the default of customary works, and leasing without consent. The view of frankpledge considered the common fine, bloodshed, and receiving strangers. (fn. 30) Rentals were made at courts in 1372 and 1459, (fn. 31) 17th-century courts dealt with boundaries, (fn. 32) encroachments, and regulations about the heath, (fn. 33) and 18th-century courts punished the obstructors of footpaths. (fn. 34) Constables, headboroughs, and aletasters were elected at the view from the 17th to the early 19th century. (fn. 35)
A constable was recorded in 1558 (fn. 36) and by 1608 (fn. 37) there was one for Hampstead and one for Kilburn. (fn. 38) By the end of the 17th century a constable and a headborough or tithingman, who had been recorded in 1641, (fn. 39) were chosen for both Upper and Lower Side respectively at the May leet court. (fn. 40) The number of headboroughs had increased to nine by 1808 although there were still only two constables. (fn. 41) Special constables were also appointed, a list of over 100 being made in anticipation of a repetition of the violence associated with West End fair in 1819. (fn. 42) From the 17th century there were many requests to be excused the office of constable, often on the grounds of non-residence. (fn. 43) There were two aletasters in 1683. (fn. 44)
Several pounds included one at Hallwick in the late 14th and early 15th century, although they may have been enclosures for demesne cattle rather than manorial pounds for strays. (fn. 45) By 1619 the manorial pound was in High (Hampstead) Street. (fn. 46) In 1678 it was described as next Basil Herne's house, which suggests a site at the upper end of Slyes, on the west side of High Street. Herne was then granted the site (fn. 47) and in 1708 the site of the pound which presumably replaced it was again to be moved to a place assigned by the homage. (fn. 48) By 1754 it was near Jack Straw's Castle (fn. 49) and despite leave to move it again in 1761 (fn. 50) it was still there in 1762. (fn. 51) In 1787 its removal was presented and a new pound was built in a hollow east of Spaniard's Road opposite Whitestone pond. The jaw bones of a whale formed the supports of the gate until the early 20th century and the high brick walls survived until 1935, when the pound was the responsibility of the L.C.C. (fn. 52) The stocks, which by 1672 were maintained by the churchwardens, (fn. 53) and were used as late as 1831, stood at the bottom of Flask Walk next to the watchhouse. (fn. 54)
Belsize was called a manor in 1360 and released from all services, including presumably suit of court, to the demesne manor. (fn. 55) The title of manor continued long afterwards (fn. 56) but perquisites of court were not among its resources in 1535 (fn. 57) and there is no reliable evidence of courts. The grant at the Dissolution to the chapter of Westminster was of the manor of Belsize with its 'wards, reliefs, heriots, ponds, and views'. (fn. 58) In the 17th and 18th centuries there were disputes, especially over waste and impounded animals, between the tenants of Belsize and Hampstead manor, in which courts at Belsize were mentioned. Old tenants claimed that a Belsize court was held at a tenant's house, possibly the Red Lion, c. 1680, to which a jury was summoned from Paddington, and that cattle straying into St. John's Wood were impounded at Belsize. (fn. 59) Possibly the manorial rights of Lisson were attached to St. John's Wood, then held by the lessees of Belsize. A dispute c. 1682 between Lord Wotton, holder of Belsize and St. John's Wood, and the earl of Gainsborough, holder of Hampstead manor, about waste was resolved because they were relations and did not consider it worth a lawsuit. (fn. 60) During a further dispute over trees cut down on waste at Belsize in the 1720s, the representative of the chapter searched for court rolls at Belsize (fn. 61) but apparently found none. (fn. 62) Houses built on waste along the London road caused similar disputes in the 1770s, (fn. 63) 1791, (fn. 64) 1814, (fn. 65) 1817, (fn. 66) and 1819, when King's Bench decided that Belsize was a manor. (fn. 67) A point repeatedly in dispute was the pound at Belsize, which by the late 17th century (fn. 68) had been built by a tenant at the upper end of the lane near Belsize House. (fn. 69) In 1817 the pound was at the junction of Belsize Lane and the London road (fn. 70) and in 1819 it was admitted that the agent of the lady of Hampstead manor used it for his sheep. (fn. 71)
In 1522 the prior of St. John of Jerusalem leased his 'manor of Hampstead', reserving 'wards, marriages, reliefs, escheats, and goods and chattels of felons', (fn. 72) and for some time after the Dissolution the Shoot Up Hill estate was termed 'the lordship and manor of Hampstead'. (fn. 73) No courts belonging to the estate were held in 1535 in Hampstead, where tenants in the Middle Ages were probably subject to the manorial court at Lisson. (fn. 74) It is unlikely that courts were held at Chalcots, although it was termed a 'lordship' in 1640 and 1790. (fn. 75)
Parish Government To 1837.
Administration of obits was in the hands of churchwardens by the mid 16th century, (fn. 76) churchwardens for Hampstead first appeared at the bishop's visitation in 1598, (fn. 77) and a churchwarden was associated with the manorial constable in organizing the Protestation Returns of 1641-2. (fn. 78) The inhabitants of Hampstead were apparently acting in consort in 1648 (fn. 79) and by 1670, the date of the first extant churchwardens' accounts, the parish had replaced the manor as the main unit of local government, with the two churchwardens as its principal officers. (fn. 80) Most 17th- and early 18thcentury meetings were designated 'general parish meeting' and although some were called vestries there was apparently no distinction between them. Meetings of both descriptions were usually held in the church and attended by the parish officers and other inhabitants, varying in number between 7 and 17. Some parish meetings were held at inns, usually centrally sited ones like the White Hart or the King of Bohemia's Head. There were generally four meetings a year at the beginning of the 18th century, when rates were set, officers elected, and decisions taken about poor relief, apprenticing, expelling vagrants, prosecuting robbers, securing a water supply, purchasing surplices and pulpit cloths, and raising subscriptions to relieve distressed people outside the parish, such as French Protestants in 1686 and Turkish slaves in 1700.
There is a gap in the parish records from 1710 to 1746, (fn. 81) when the extant vestry minutes begin. (fn. 82) By that date all parish meetings were designated vestries and held at the workhouse. Their frequency increased from c. 7 a year in the 1740s to 9 by the 1780s, 11 by the first decade of the 19th century, and 17 by the 1820s, but declined sharply to only 8 in 1833. Most vestries attracted between 6 and 11 people although there were larger attendances: of 46 in 1754, 43 in 1759, and 50 in 1805 for the election of new beadles, of 160 in 1793 and 65 in 1819 for the election of the parish lecturer, of 104 in 1836 and 173 in 1842 when feeling was aroused over the poor law union.
From the institution of church trustees in 1744, an alternative authority, of doubtful legality until it was regulated by an Act in 1816-17, was created to deal with the church, (fn. 83) while the vestry continued to interest itself in and to some extent to finance church affairs. Although in 1827 the vestry stated that no church rate had ever been levied, rates were levied in 1785 and 1786 for the repair of the organ. In 1781 the vestry instructed the churchwardens to erect a weathercock on the church tower. In 1811 it passed a resolution to remove the organist, and in 1792 and 1819 it clashed with the minister over the right to choose the lecturer.
Apart from the poor, the vestry dealt with charities, boundaries, footpaths, policing, and such disparate problems as 'noxious insects' which infested the trees and hedges in 1782, obstruction by hackney coaches and other carriages in Hampstead town in 1783, and measures necessitated by the Napoleonic wars: enforcing a royal proclamation urging frugality in 1800, raising volunteers in 1805, and supplying boys for ships in 1808. In 1758 the vestry appointed a committee to look into the parish debts; others were set up in 1766 to deal with the course of a new path and in 1775 to draft a bill for lighting and watching the parish. By the 1790s the automatic response of the vestry to any problem was to appoint a committee.
The vestry and its officers were drawn mainly from farmers, tradesmen, and especially innkeepers. Many of the principal inhabitants did not attend (fn. 84) and in 1800 the parish obtained a local Act (fn. 85) to regulate its poor by setting up a board of guardians. The first board was named as Sir Richard Pepper Arden, Master of the Rolls, Thomas Erskine (later Lord Chancellor), Spencer Perceval (a lawyer and later Prime Minister), Gen. Charles Vernon, and nine other prominent inhabitants, together with the lord or lady of the manor, the resident minister or curate, the churchwardens, overseers, and any resident magistrates. Subsequent guardians had to be inhabitants paying rates of more than £30 a year elected by the existing guardians. The board could appoint its own officers and raise money by annuities or bonds payable out of the poor rates. The guardians also assumed control over charities. In 1834 there were some 60 guardians. (fn. 86) Although the Act assumed weekly meetings of guardians in the vestry, by 1816 they usually met once a month at the workhouse, with attendances of 5-14. (fn. 87) From 1801, however, they appointed three of their members as visitors, who held weekly meetings at the workhouse, usually also attended by the overseers and often by the curate, Charles Grant, at which the affairs of the poor were dealt with in great detail. (fn. 88)
In 1801 the copyholders met at the Long Room to consider their ancient rights to dig turf and soil on the heath. They continued to meet until 1813 or later and to set up committees to watch over threats to rights by the lady of the manor or others. (fn. 89) In 1812 the campaign against West End fair was begun by a resolution at the copyholders' meeting to raise the problem at the court leet. The vestry clerk joined the steward of the manor in an appeal to the lady of the manor and the J.P.s to suppress the fair (fn. 90) but complaints about it did not appear in the vestry minutes before 1816 and it was not until 1819 that the vestry appointed a committee to deal with it. In 1814, when considering the parish cottages, the vestry noted the opinion of the guardians of the poor and of the court leet. In view of the number of bodies with overlapping authority, it is surprising that there were not more disputes. In 1829 there was a clash between the vestry and the guardians over the treatment and especially the expense of paupers outside the workhouse.
The two churchwardens, one of them selected by the minister, and the two overseers were chosen at the Easter vestry and the two surveyors in December in the early 18th century, in September or October by the 1780s. In the 17th century apparently anyone could be nominated an officer (fn. 91) but after Capt. James Shuter was nominated in 1684 but excused on the grounds that his work as captain of trained bands required his presence in London, (fn. 92) nominations were confined to a relatively few individuals, many of whom performed all the offices in turn. Edward Snoxell, the demesne farmer, for example, was a headborough in 1686, later becoming an overseer and in 1699 churchwarden, in spite of being illiterate. (fn. 93) In 1784, a century after Shuter's case, the vestry resolved that it was 'but reasonable' that the burden of office should be borne indiscriminately and that those who wished to be excused should pay a fine of 10 guineas, whereupon the Hon. Henry Cavendish and Capt. Fountain North were fined for refusing nomination. In 1704 six sidesmen were chosen to assist the churchwardens and an additional, salaried, overseer was appointed in 1782. A request by the magistrates to increase the number of surveyors was turned down by the vestry on the grounds of expense although it did concede them an expense allowance.
In 1704 the parish meeting appointed a beadle to watch out for vagabonds and those who tried to settle without notifying the churchwardens. He was to be salaried and to receive a new hat and coat. The beadle's salary was increased in 1816, 1824, and 1825, when a second beadle, probably a relation of the first, was appointed. (fn. 94)
There was a parish clerk by the 1650s. (fn. 95) The appointment was in the gift of the minister, who dismissed the clerk in 1778 for indecent behaviour (fn. 96) and in 1799 was asked to replace a clerk of 'past and present immoral habits'. The parish clerk was usually excused rates and in 1806, when he was not occupying a rateable house, he was allowed a modest payment for officiating at the burial of paupers. In 1683 a parish meeting agreed to pay Thomas Middleton £2 a year to register all the parochial and manorial officers, draw up the parish accounts, and make a roll of the poor. Although he was not given a title Middleton seems to have been distinct from the parish clerk (fn. 97) and was presumably a precursor of the vestry clerk. From 1799 to 1827 the vestry clerk was William Masters, who was succeeded by John Masters, probably his son. From 1832 the vestry clerk was Thomas Toller, son of a lawyer who lived in Admiral's House. (fn. 98) From 1828 the vestry clerk was paid £150 a year. From Middleton's appointment until 1779 a record was kept of all the manorial and parochial officers. (fn. 99) Churchwardens had kept accounts at least since 1671, which were audited, and their accounts for the overseers and surveyors dating from 1684, probably drawn up by Middleton. (fn. 100) In 1705 the churchwardens and surveyors were instructed to bring their accounts to the parish meeting and the constables to keep an account of the watch. In 1753 all parish officers were to produce their accounts for inspection by the vestry before they were submitted to the justices. There were frequent irregularities. The accounts for 1773 and 1775 were not examined until 1780. Vestry minutes were to be kept in the vestry chest in 1793 and in the strong room at the workhouse in 1833. In 1814 a guardians' committee found that one overseer was bankrupt and two were insolvent. (fn. 101) In 1815 the overseers had not made up their accounts for seven years and in 1825 the churchwardens' accounts had not been produced for ten years. The surveyors, whose accounts were unsatisfactory in 1783, had in 1825 not produced theirs for even longer. In 1826 when the vestry eventually confronted the muddle, reporters from the Morning Herald and other newspapers attended meetings where accounts dating from 1800 were presented and it was revealed that Masters, the vestry clerk, had been withholding money and not keeping the accounts. The vestry was persuaded to make more allowances for expenses but by 1829 was regretting the large amount paid out of the poor rate for salaries and parish officers. In 1836, however, it appointed a collector of the highway rate, paid for by a poundage.
There was a rate of 4d. in the £ in 1698 and of 1s. in the £ for the year 1705. In the late 1720s it was 1d. 6d., reduced to 10d. by 1731. (fn. 102) By the mid 18th century the poor rate was levied four times a year and it was not until 1846 that it was reduced to twice a year. From 1s. 6d. a year in 1747-77, the rate increased to 2s. 3d. by 1780-1, but varied little between 3s. 4d. and 4s. in the years from 1804 to 1836. From £1,021 in 1776, (fn. 103) the amount raised by the poor rate increased to £1,175 in 1785, (fn. 104) £3,320 in 1805, and £5,403 in 1819. (fn. 105) Thereafter it fell to £3,537 in 1831 (fn. 106) but rose again to £6,909 by 1835. (fn. 107) By 1812 collection was a considerable problem. A committee was appointed and a paid collector employed but in 1826 there was an increasing number of small houses from which no rates were collected. Although it was then suggested that there should be some sort of composition with the owners, by 1834 rates were still seldom paid for cottages and about one sixth of all rates remained uncollected. (fn. 108)
In the 18th century over 90 per cent of the rate was spent directly on the poor, a proportion which contracted to 70 per cent by 1803 and 42 per cent by 1835 as more was spent on salaries, the militia, the police, and other expenses. (fn. 109) In the 17th and early 18th centuries most relief was in weekly pensions for widows, although the parish also paid for rent, clothing, sickness expenses, apprenticing, and nursing children. There were 23 people on the pensions list in 1705. The parish owned at least one poorhouse, in Pond Street, by 1670. It had another at New End by 1705, when it decided to move another widow's house, presumably a wooden hovel, from the heath to a position next to it. There was a parish house on the heath south of the old bowling green in 1714. (fn. 110) In that year Leonard Killett left the house next to it to the churchwardens for the use of the parish. (fn. 111) About 1730 the inhabitants subscribed to building a house on the waste at Belsize for a poor cobbler. (fn. 112)
By 1762 the parish owned two cottages on the heath, near Jack Straw's Castle, and had three cottages in Pond Street. (fn. 113) In 1778 the vestry permitted Sir Francis Willes to remove the parish houses from the heath, where he wished to enlarge his grounds, and rebuild them in the Vale of Health, which was done by 1779. (fn. 114) A similar request was made in 1813 by the purchaser of property next to the Pond Street cottages, and freehold brick cottages were built for the poor at the eastern end of Flask Walk. In 1821 the inhabitants of the Vale of Health petitioned for the removal of the poor houses there to a 'less respectable' area but a decision was postponed (fn. 115) and it was not until 1856 that all the parish houses were offered for sale. (fn. 116)
In 1729, alarmed at the cost of the poor, to whom they paid 2s. 6d. or 3s. 6d. a head a week, the parishioners took a long lease on an old house at Frognal, near its junction with the road later called Mount Vernon, where they opened a workhouse. For approximately 2s. a head a week, it housed, from 1734 to 1739, 14-33 paupers, mainly women and children. (fn. 117) A woman housekeeper and later a salaried master and mistress were employed and in 1755 the master was dismissed for neglect. In 1757 the workhouse badly needed repairing and the vestry abandoned it, paying weekly pensions instead, but after a year the lease was renewed and repairs were authorized. Other expenses included an apothecary to attend the sick poor and some education for the workhouse children. The workhouse grew some of its own food and there were various attempts to employ the inmates, in spinning mop yarn in 1788, and in 1797 a workshed was added to the premises. Flax was dressed in 1817, silk in 1822, and men and boys were employed on the roads in 1818. (fn. 118) Bad weather and a sharp rise in the price of bread caused great distress in 1795 and the vestry opened a fund to buy bread, rice, meat, potatoes, and coal. In eleven days in July it provided 1,346 people with loaves. At the same time the disrepair of the house at Frognal raised the question of the workhouse again. In 1800, therefore, the new board of guardians was set up to consider the whole question of the poor.
The guardians raised £6,000 by issuing debentures and purchased a house at New End, enlarged it, and opened it as the new workhouse, for many more than the 80 who could be accommodated in the old one. (fn. 119) In 1801 there were approximately 130 inmates, a number which fluctuated according to the season but rose to 155 in 1813, when there were also many requiring casual relief, and 174 in September 1814. (fn. 120) There were said to be strikingly fewer claims for admittance to the workhouse after the formation of a benefit society in 1802. (fn. 121) In 1803, when there were 117 in the workhouse, 140 received permanent and 98 occasional relief outside. (fn. 122) There was heavy expenditure on casual relief in 1824 because haymaking had been disrupted by rain. In 1832 the guardians relieved 168 outside the workhouse, compared with 133 within. (fn. 123)
Local Government After 1837.
In 1837 Hampstead was combined with six other parishes in Edmonton poor law union. The old local guardians continued to exercise financial powers and to employ a clerk and treasurer until 1900, having in 1800 issued debentures bearing interest for 100 years. (fn. 124) All other powers relating to its poor passed to a union board, on which Hampstead had six representatives. As the vestry protested at the time, those most eligible for the post of guardian worked in London and could not attend weekly meetings in Edmonton, 8-11 miles away in a direction unserved by public conveyance. Consequently Hampstead was under-represented and the poor were deterred from applying for relief. (fn. 125) Hampstead sought separation from Edmonton union in 1841, 1842, and 1844 and succeeded in 1848, after exposing the absurdity by which the Hampstead poor were made to walk daily to and from Edmonton to receive relief of bread and cheese and work in a stoneyard. (fn. 126) Hampstead then became a poor law authority in its own right, administered by guardians composed of the minister, overseers, churchwardens, resident magistrates, and 12 elected members who met once a week in the workhouse. (fn. 127) Under the Local Government Act of 1894 the guardians, initially 18 and later 21, were elected for wards. (fn. 128) In 1861 the guardians employed a master and matron of the workhouse, a medical officer of health, and a relieving officer and his assistant. (fn. 129)
Hampstead's workhouse at New End, with accommodation for 200, was used for the old and sick until 1842, when it was replaced by a new central workhouse at Edmonton. (fn. 130) The latter proved inadequate and the workhouse at Hampstead was rebuilt and reopened in 1847 for the sick from Hampstead and Hornsey. (fn. 131) The workhouse took all indoor paupers from Hampstead after 1848. Infirmary wards were added in 1870 and 1883, (fn. 132) giving a total accommodation of 441 by 1906. (fn. 133) The number of inmates rose from 259 in 1891 to 352 in 1911. (fn. 134) The total number of paupers relieved each year doubled from 1,216 in 1853 to 2,437 in 1888, (fn. 135) although the population increased five times. (fn. 136) From 1848 Hampstead raised money to enable some of its poor to emigrate to Australia. (fn. 137)
The spread of building confronted the vestry with additional problems: the blurring of a boundary in 1841, threats to the heath by the lord of the manor in 1846 and 1853 and by the New River Co.'s plan to build a reservoir in 1854, the need for a better water supply and sewerage system in 1852, the overcrowding of courts and alleys, and the general question of refuse disposal in 1854. (fn. 138) Under the Metropolis Management Act of 1855, (fn. 139) the old vestry was replaced by a restricted vestry of 33 members elected by householders occupying houses rated at more than £40 a year. The members, one third of whom were elected each year, choose one member as their representative on the M.B.W. (fn. 140) Hampstead sent two representatives to the L.C.C., which replaced the M.B.W. under the Local Government Act of 1888. (fn. 141) In 1873 Hampstead was divided into four wards: Town with 18 vestrymen, Belsize and Adelaide with 15 each, and Kilburn with 12. (fn. 142) By 1885 the numbers of vestrymen had been increased to 21, 18, 15, and 18 respectively (fn. 143) and by 1896 a new ward, West End with 12 vestrymen, had been created and the numbers of the others adjusted to 18, 12, 9, and 21. (fn. 144) The vestry met at the board room of the guardians in the workhouse until 1878 when a vestry hall and offices were built on the Belsize estate at Haverstock Hill. The red-brick and stone Italianate building, designed by H. E. Kendall, the district surveyor, and Frederick Mew, (fn. 145) was extended in 1896. (fn. 146)
Before the vestry hall was built, the vestry officers used the workhouse. They consisted of a treasurer, a non-salaried resident banker, of whom the first was John Gurney Hoare, a salaried vestry clerk, a resident solicitor, the first of whom was Thomas Toller, clerk of the old vestry, a medical officer, and a surveyor who was also inspector of nuisances and foreman of roads. (fn. 147) Charles Lord, who had come to Hampstead as a medical practitioner in 1827 and had been employed by the poor law guardians, was appointed joint medical officer of health and sanitary inspector and was to be an enlightened force in Hampstead's local government until he retired in 1879. (fn. 148) The collection of refuse was contracted out. (fn. 149) By 1863 the authority employed two rate collectors and a messenger. The main problem was sewerage and the surveyor's department had acquired a clerk by 1863 (fn. 150) and three clerks, an assistant surveyor, and an assistant inspector of nuisances by 1870. (fn. 151) From the early 1870s to 1896 a separate burial board was responsible for cemeteries but generally the 1880s and 1890s were decades of expanding activity by the vestry. (fn. 152) By 1889 the full board met once a fortnight and there were ten standing committees, Works, Highways, Sanitary, Finance, House, Tree, Mortuary, Records, Hampstead Improvement, and Assessment, which met in all 137 times a year, and ten temporary committees and sub-committees, which included Legal, Hampstead Heath Extension, Local Government Bill, Electrical, and Fortune Green, which met 46 times in the year. (fn. 153)
Factions were indicated by an increasing number of amendments to resolutions in the vestry during the 1820s. Radical classes were held in 1836 at the Yorkshire Grey (fn. 154) and in 1837 the followers of the Radical Joseph Hume made an unsuccessful bid to have their nominees appointed to the offices of the vestry and elected as guardians. Their policy of support for the Edmonton union and of higher spending was heavily defeated by the conservatives, who elected 'respectable tradesmen'. (fn. 155) In 1836 the vestry refused to challenge John Lund's obstruction of a footpath on the grounds that it was not desirable that ratepayers should pay for litigation 'in order to disturb a respectable inhabitant in the occupation of his property'. (fn. 156)
After 1855 the vestry was less open: the restriction of the electorate by the property qualification was reinforced by the activities of the Ratepayers' Association, founded in 1858. (fn. 157) Of the 33 vestrymen elected in 1855, 43 per cent were 'gentlemen', 30 per cent professional men, and 18 per cent shopkeepers. Over half came from Hampstead town, the new estates being poorly represented until the division into wards in 1873 ensured that local men represented their own areas. John Gurney Hoare died in 1875 and by the 1880s the few families which in earlier days had dominated parish government had mostly gone and local traders had much greater importance. From the 1890s, however, the upper classes, 'gentlemen', professional men, and businessmen, especially those with interests in the City, again became prominent, although they were drawn from areas like Belsize rather than Hampstead town. Among leading figures were Philip Hemery Le Breton, a barrister who lived in Milford House in John Street (Keats Grove) and served on the vestry until 1880, and Sir Henry Harben (d. 1911), chairman of the Prudential Assurance Co., who lived in Fellows Road on the Eton estate, a vestryman from 1874 to 1900 and first mayor of Hampstead. (fn. 158) Vestrymen included men interested in the history of Hampstead like F. E. Baines, a post office assistant secretary, who was chairman of 13 vestry committees between 1880 and 1891, and E. E. Newton, a tea merchant, who was a vestryman and town councillor from 1896 to 1914. (fn. 159) Hampstead was praised for its 'business-like management' by 'men of high character willing to serve'; party politics were little regarded. (fn. 160)
Under the London Government Act, 1899, Hampstead parish became a metropolitan borough with a mayor, 7 aldermen, and 42 councillors, 6 for each of 7 wards: Town, Belsize, Adelaide, Central, West End, Kilburn, and Priory. The borough officers were a town clerk and solicitor and his deputy, an engineer and surveyor and his deputy and assistant surveyor, a medical officer of health, a superintendent of roads, an inspector of sewers, an analyst, an accountant and his assistant, a sanitary inspector and five assistant inspectors, a chief electrical engineer and two assistants, a chief librarian, superintendents of baths and the cemetery, and three collectors. (fn. 161) The vestry hall became the town hall, which was extended in 1911 to a design by John Murray to house the municipal departments which had grown too large for their offices. (fn. 162) By 1938 accommodation had again become inadequate and the council contemplated replacing the existing buildings with a six-storeyed building. (fn. 163) The project was interrupted by the war and in the 1950s other buildings at Haverstock Hill held the housing and architect's departments, while the public health department was accommodated at Lancaster Grove and later at Avenue Road. (fn. 164) In the mid 1950s a site in the centre of the borough became available at Swiss Cottage. (fn. 165) Sir Basil Spence, chosen by the town planning committee, designed a civic centre to include a library, swimming baths, and assembly halls besides a council chamber, committee rooms, and an office block. (fn. 166) When the building was opened, however, in 1964, the need for a town hall had disappeared in the merger of the borough in Camden L.B. (fn. 167)
The electorate for the metropolitan borough was wider than for the vestry, including all occupiers of property and lodgers. More than 50 per cent of the electorate voted in the first election and 53.2 per cent in 1906, when the range was from 64.9 per cent in Town ward to 39.6 in Kilburn. The proportion declined to 30.4 per cent in 1919 and 27.1 per cent in 1931 but increased again to 43 per cent in 1945 and 1953, declining below 40 per cent in the later 1950s and 1960s. (fn. 168)
There were 98 candidates, of whom 55 were former vestrymen, for the first election of 1900; 26 of the first 42 councillors were former vestrymen. Although not elected on party lines, the councillors comprised 23 Conservatives, 13 Progressives, and 6 Independents, some promoted by the Ratepayers' Association, the Progressive Committee, and the Central Council for the Promotion of Public Morality. (fn. 169) The Non-Political and Progressive Association, active by 1904, chose candidates according to their record or qualifications for public service and in 1906 the Hampstead Middle Class Defence League was formed to 'resist extravagance'. (fn. 170) The first woman member of a metropolitan borough council, sponsored by Hampstead Women's Local Government Association, was elected for Belsize ward in 1907. (fn. 171) Two of the 25 Progressive councillors in 1903 and three of 13 in 1906 were working-class but thereafter councillors were all drawn from a middleclass background. (fn. 172) The first municipal election said to be fought on party lines was in 1906 when 29 Municipal and 13 Progressive candidates were returned, the latter mostly for Kilburn and Town wards. (fn. 173) Kilburn continued to return mostly Progressive candidates and was the first to elect Labour candidates, in 1918, (fn. 174) and in 1922 there were five Labour councillors, four of them for Kilburn. There continued to be a few Independent and Progressive councillors but most were Municipal Reformers. (fn. 175) In 1925 all the councillors were described as Ratepayers Association, Labour candidates failing even in Kilburn. (fn. 176) From 1928 to 1934 all councillors were sponsored by the Hampstead Municipal Electors' Association which was opposed to party politics. (fn. 177) To oppose its candidates, Hampstead Ratepayers Association was formed in 1934, the earlier ratepayers' association having presumably dissolved. The Labour party alone put forward its own candidates, of which it had 16 in 1937, although only 6, all for Kilburn, were returned in that year. (fn. 178)
The Municipal Electors' Association was dissolved in 1945 when the Conservative Association sponsored candidates for the first time. In that election Labour won 14 seats, 5 for West End and 3 for Belsize besides all the Kilburn seats. The Conservatives won all the seats except 2 in 1949 and thereafter dominated the council, although Labour gained seats in a second ward in 1962 and 1964. (fn. 179)
In 1965 Hampstead, much against its will, was combined with St. Pancras and Holborn in the London Borough of Camden. Hampstead formed seven ]wards, represented by 24 councillors. By c. 1980 one ward, Central, had gone and four new ones, Frognal, South End, Fortune Green, and Fitzjohns, had been formed, and Hampstead comprised 11 wards, represented by 59 councillors, out of a total 26 wards. The council and its seven committees met in Camden town hall in Euston Road, where the principal offices were housed, although the departments of the chief engineer, works, including parks, highways and street lighting, and car parks were housed in the old Hampstead town hall in Haverstock Hill. (fn. 180) Party politics at a local level became more acrimonious after the union of Conservative Hampstead and Socialist St. Pancras in Camden L.B. Although the Conservatives continued to dominate Hampstead, Labour won overall control of the council in each election except that of 1968. (fn. 181)
Hampstead became a parliamentary borough in 1885, one of its early M.P.s being E. Brodie Hoare (1888-1902), from the prominent Hampstead family. (fn. 182) Other M.P.s, who were generally longserving, included J. S. Fletcher 1906-18, a barrister who had been chairman of the board of guardians for 18 years and Hampstead's representative on the L.C.C., (fn. 183) George Balfour 1918-41, engineer and businessman, (fn. 184) and Henry Brooke 1950-66, Home Secretary and later Baron Brooke, who served on Hampstead council from 1936 to 1957. (fn. 185) Conservatives, under the title Unionist until the Second World War, won all the parliamentary elections except 1966. Labour candidates stood from 1918 and included in 1957 the West Indian David Pitt, later the first black member of the House of Lords. (fn. 186)
Parliamentary elections were much better attended than those for the borough. In 1906 a fairly high 82.1 per cent of the electorate voted, a proportion which dropped to 59 per cent in 1935, rose to 68.4 per cent in 1945 and 80.5 per cent in 1950 and dropped to just under 70 per cent in the late 1950s and 1960s. (fn. 187)