A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9, Hampstead, Paddington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.
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SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES.
There were three alehouses in Hampstead in 1552 (fn. 1) and three after suppressions by the justices in 1630. (fn. 2) Victuallers were often prosecuted for keeping disorderly houses in the 17th century, (fn. 3) when offences included Sunday drinking in 1641 (fn. 4) and a quarrel resulted in death in 1653. (fn. 5) Alehouses nonetheless multiplied: after several had been suppressed at the petition of the minister and others, a further nine innkeepers remained to be investigated in 1667. (fn. 6) Licences for Hampstead and Paddington were to be renewed only if one of the justices lived nearby in 1673. (fn. 7)
Since Hampstead was not on a major road from London, it lacked large hostelries for travellers. (fn. 8) The number of inns rose with the exploitation of the wells and of Belsize House but thereafter remained fairly constant throughout the 18th century. Thirtyfour alehouse keepers were licensed in 1723, (fn. 9) 30 in 1726, (fn. 10) 37 in 1730, (fn. 11) 34 in 1751, 1760, and 1770, and 27 in 1800. (fn. 12) They included the licensees of two coffee houses in 1730 (fn. 13) and, soon afterwards, of the Long Room connected with the wells. (fn. 14) Most of the identifiable inns were in Hampstead town, but a few were on the road from Camden Town or on the heath, and at North End, West End, or Kilburn.
New inns were built to serve the 19th-century suburbs. (fn. 15) In 1845 there were 25 inns listed under Hampstead and another 5, of which 3 were on the Hampstead side of High Road, under Kilburn. (fn. 16) By 1872 there were 44 in all, including 2 called hotels and a few across the St. Pancras boundary towards Kentish Town. (fn. 17) In 1889, despite the disappearance of some old names as a result of the 'town improvements', (fn. 18) there were still 44 inns listed. (fn. 19)
Many 18th-century inns, in addition to those connected with the wells and their attendant attractions, were resorts of Londoners. The popular Chalk Farm tavern or Stag and Hounds, often treated under Hampstead, stood just inside St. Pancras parish. (fn. 20) Mother Huff's tavern was recorded on the heath, near the Elms, in 1680 and was mentioned in a play printed in 1706. It had different licensees in 1723 and 1730, although Mother Huff herself in 1728 had moved only recently to the Hoop and Bunch of Grapes at North End. (fn. 21) The Chicken House, opposite Vane House, in 1807 was an old building said by tradition to have been visited by James I and to have been a hunting lodge of James II; (fn. 22) it may have been licensed only for a few years c. 1760-70. (fn. 23) On the heath Jack Straw's Castle and the Spaniards, both of them in 1807 'known to every citizen of London', were popular by the mid 18th century. Jack Straw's Castle, apparently of 17th-century origin and thought to bear a generic name for a farmworker rather than to commemorate the rebel, was probably the 'Castle on the heath' mentioned in Clarissa Harlowe. (fn. 24) The Spaniards, a tollgate inn astride the Finchley boundary at the entrance to the bishop of London's estate, perhaps had an early proprietor of Spanish origin. Its pleasure gardens, with an artificial mound and mechanical tableaux, were depicted by Chatelaine in 1750. (fn. 25)
The Lower Flask, in Flask Walk, rebuilt in 1873-4 as the modern Flask tavern, (fn. 26) and the Upper Flask, in Heath Street, (fn. 27) owed their names, if not their existence, to the exploitation of the wells. Both figured in Clarissa Harlowe, the Lower Flask as 'a place where second-rate persons are to be found, occasionally in a swinish condition'. (fn. 28) In contrast the Upper Flask brought Hampstead its most influential and distinguished gatherings, earning a comparison with Parnassus, (fn. 29) by serving as a summer meeting place of the Whig grandees' Kit-Cat club. On the club's dissolution c. 1720 the Upper Flask continued as a tavern until the 1750s, when it became the residence later called Upper Bowling Green House, which made way in 1921 for Queen Mary's maternity hospital. (fn. 30) Closer to the springs, in Well Walk, was the Green Man, licensed in 1751, perhaps connected with an earlier Whitestone tavern and demolished in 1849 to make way for the Wells hotel (later tavern). (fn. 31)
A well was publicized as early as 1653. (fn. 32) The depiction of a well and bucket on tokens of 1669 and 1670, with inscriptions recording 'the well in Hampstead', perhaps referred merely to a shop near the village well or to a tavern, rather than to the sale of medicinal waters. (fn. 33) Celia Fiennes, however, likened the water from a Hampstead spring to that of Tunbridge Wells or Bath in 1697 and visited Hampstead in 1698 probably in order to sample it. (fn. 34) Chalybeate springs were included in the 6 a. conveyed to the parish by Susannah Noel in 1698 (fn. 35) and were immediately exploited by the new Wells trustees, who in 1700 advertised that flasks were on sale at several places in London. (fn. 36) Water was also distributed locally by a widow, Elizabeth Keys, although she was excluded with other vendors under an agreement of 1701, leasing the land and all springs except the upper or head spring to John Duffield. Inhabitants were free to drink or take away the waters every morning, while Duffield, in addition to his rent, was to undertake building work. (fn. 37)
Although the head spring was near Bath pond (later in the garden of Willow House) and was retained by the trustees, the main well was some 100 yards lower down the hill. There, the slope being less steep, Duffield laid out the amenities of a spa, along the southern side of a promenade, Well Walk. The chief building was the Great Room, for assemblies, with its east end partitioned off as a pump room, where a basin held the waters. Concerts and dances were first advertised for the summer of 1701. The Great Room stood at the entrance to the modern Gainsborough Gardens and soon afterwards there were also a row of raffling shops, for bets, a tavern, and Well Walk chapel, all to the west. To the south were gardens, with an ornamental pond and a bowling green. Duffield's enterprise allowed the world of fashion to combine the quests for health and pleasure. So successful was he that in 1705, the year of Beau Nash's first visit to Bath, a comedy called Hampstead Heath was played at Drury Lane. London was shown as deserted in favour of Hampstead, where 'the cards fly, the bowl runs, the dice rattle'. (fn. 38)
Soon afterwards the entertainments began to deteriorate, perhaps mainly because rough crowds could easily make the journey from London. The music was interspersed with popular entertainments, (fn. 39) including acrobatics and comic turns, and by 1709 there were complaints about swindlers and prostitutes. (fn. 40) Duffield raised money by conveying much of his interest to William Luffingham, to whom in 1719 he made a new 21-year lease without the consent of the lord or the trustees. Expedients failed to halt the decline, which was hastened by highway robberies, by complaints from the inhabitants, and by the sudden rise to popularity of Belsize. (fn. 41) Defoe c. 1724 found that ladies who valued their good name were avoiding Hampstead, although there were still many visitors. (fn. 42) The conversion of the Great Room into a chapel of ease by Luffingham's sublessee William Hoar in 1725 (fn. 43) marked the end of the first and most colourful phase in the history of the wells.
A briefer and more lurid fame was enjoyed by Belsize House, (fn. 44) where in 1710 Lord Chesterfield's tenant Charles Povey opened Sion chapel, offering cheap weddings with no further charge if couples should dine in the gardens. The chapel closed c. 1720 (fn. 45) when Povey subleased Belsize to James Howell, a speculator soon satirized as 'the Welsh ambassador'. A ballroom was lavishly furnished, (fn. 46) concerts and walks in the grounds were announced, in 1721 a visit was paid by the prince and princess of Wales, and for one deer hunt in 1722 there was an attendance of between 300 and 400 carriages. The attractions of promiscuity, racing, and gambling quickly enabled Belsize, renamed the Wilderness, to outrival Vauxhall. In 1722, however, Howell was publicly accused of profiting from a 'scandalous lewd house', and unlawful gaming was suppressed. Fashionable patrons thereupon moved away, although entertainments, including music and athletics, continued at least until 1745, when a foot race was advertised. The mansion was then left empty until its rebuilding. (fn. 47)
Meanwhile an attempt had been made to revive the appeal of Hampstead wells. After litigation, which had been started in 1726 over arrears claimed from Luffingham and others by the parish overseers, the trustees were reconstituted in 1730. The raffling shops disappeared but the bowling green survived, while the fountain and basin were probably moved to the Wells house, a small building by the tavern. Such a move would have brought them nearer a second Long Room on the north side of a westerly extension of Well Walk, next to Burgh House. (fn. 48) In 1734 John Soame, who ascribed the waters' first popularity to Dr. Gibbon (d. 1725) of Burgh House, dedicated a treatise to the wells' new proprietor John Mitchell. Himself a physician of Hampstead, Soame considered its waters far more efficacious than those in fashion at Islington. (fn. 49) Further building took place in 1735, probably by Henry Vipand as part of the Long Room's structure, and a separate ballroom was put up a little to the east. (fn. 50) The village was then ranked, after Scarborough, Bath, and Tunbridge Wells, as one of the politest places in England. (fn. 51) The physician John Arbuthnot (1667-1735) spent half his mornings at the Long Room in 1734, when Alexander Pope visited him, (fn. 52) but Hampstead thereafter prospered as a sedate middle-class resort rather than as a fashionable spa. (fn. 53) Assemblies continued to be held in the 1770s, when the young Samuel Rogers danced with 'a great deal of good company' (fn. 54) and the heroine of Evelina endured some ill-bred attentions at a ball in the Long Room, a place 'without any sort of singularity and merely to be marked by its length'. (fn. 55) The Long Room was licensed for public entertainments from 1751 or earlier until 1802, the licensee from 1769 to 1781 being a vintner, Robert Simmonds. (fn. 56) It was still used for musical recitals in 1800. (fn. 57)
Later efforts to publicize the curative properties of the waters were made by two doctors, John Bliss and Thomas Goodwin. The first in 1802 praised the waters of Hampstead, which allegedly had been growing in reputation again over the past twenty years, and of Kilburn. (fn. 58) The second in 1804 had recently discovered a saline or purgative spring, like those at Cheltenham, near Pond Street. (fn. 59) Neither advertisement had much success. The village soon afterwards acquired its own assembly rooms in Holly Bush Hill, leaving the Long Room to become part of a private residence, Weatherall House, and the ballroom to become Lasted Lodge; both buildings were replaced by municipal flats in 1948. (fn. 60) The waters had fallen into disuse by the mid 19th century, (fn. 61) although a local guidebook claimed that they were still sampled by visitors, as a tonic for general debility. (fn. 62) A fountain on the south side of Well Walk, in front of a house replaced by nos. 42 and 44, remained active until it was affected by drainage work. A new fountain, 'recently erected' in 1876 on the north side at the foot of Well Passage, thereafter supplied a trickle of mildly chalybeate water, attempts to provide a more lavish flow being frustrated by warnings about impurities. (fn. 63) It no longer supplied water in 1986.
Kilburn wells were merely an 18th-century adjunct of the much older Bell inn. The chalybeate spring in Abbey field was encased in a brick reservoir dated 1714 but apparently not exploited until 1742, after Hampstead's waters had become known. The Bell's proprietor advertised his extended gardens, refurbished house, and great room for polite public entertainments in 1773. Visitors were given an 'eminent physician's' account of the waters but little was recorded of their use, which had ceased by 1814. The brick reservoir survived the rebuilding of the Bell in 1863 but had been built over, behind the corner of Belsize Road, by 1896. (fn. 64)
The 19th-century Hampstead assembly rooms, (fn. 65) near the top of Holly Bush Hill, consisted of the house built by George Romney, which was acquired by Maria Elizabeth Rundell, a widow whose husband had been leased an older house by Romney. Having acquired all Romney's adjacent properties, Mrs. Rundell in 1806 conveyed them to trustees for the assembly rooms, apart from her own residence, which was sold separately. The trustees in 1807 leased a cottage and stables for 21 years to Thomas Lovelock, who was to put up a new building, (fn. 66) thereby creating the Holly Bush tavern as an appendage of the assembly rooms. The rooms, which were not managed by the innkeeper, included a ballroom and card room. (fn. 67) They remained in use, latterly more as a public hall than as an elegant social centre, until the opening of the new vestry hall in 1878, thereafter being taken over by the Constitutional club. (fn. 68)
Kilburn town hall and assembly rooms were opened by a speculator, Thomas Bate, in 1876. His ornate Gothic building at the west end of Belszie Road included two halls, to seat 800 and 250, and was intended for dances, exhibitions, and public meetings. It also housed a club from 1877 until it was taken over for the Theatre Royal. (fn. 69)
Tea gardens, with their attendant amusements, remained popular for most of the 19th century. The Spaniards, where Charles Dickens placed the arrest of Mrs. Bardell in The Pickwick Papers of 1836, (fn. 70) still had its gardens and bowling green, although without the mound and other embellishments, in 1876. (fn. 71) It was the subject of controversy in the early 1960s after a proposal by Finchley council to demolish the tollhouse on the east side of the road in order to improve the flow of traffic. An early victory for conservationists was marked in 1967 by the building's conveyance to the G.L.C. and its repair by the Hampstead Heath and Old Hampstead Protection Society. (fn. 72) Jack Straw's Castle in 1837 still had its tea gardens and in 1876 had for long been favoured by artists and writers. (fn. 73) They included Washington Irving c. 1824 (fn. 74) and Dickens, who from 1838 often read manuscripts to his friends over dinner there. (fn. 75) By 1914 it was associated with theatrical figures, boxers, and many local clubs. (fn. 76) As a three-storeyed building with bay windows, it was given a castellated addition soon after 1834; after damage in 1941 it was rebuilt to a controversial design by Raymond Erith and Quinlan Terry, with white weatherboarding and battlements, in 1962. (fn. 77)
The garden of the Bell at Kilburn, with grottoes and summerhouses, was popular c. 1840, when patrons could watch the trains speed by. (fn. 78) At North End the Bull and Bush, dated traditionally from c. 1645 but probably from c. 1700, in 1876 furnished a rare example of 'the old Hampstead tavern garden'; the inn was reconstructed in 1924, a few older windows being retained. (fn. 79) The Wells tavern in 1876 also had tea gardens, although much smaller than those of its predecessor the Green Man. (fn. 80) At the Vale of Health there were tea gardens, scornfully described by Dickens, from 1841 or earlier until the Second World War. (fn. 81)
Other inns had particular attractions. In Haverstock Hill the Load of Hay, so named by 1723 (fn. 82) although said once to have been called the Cart and Horses, had a varying reputation. Its boisterous landlord Joe Davis (d. 1806) was widely caricatured in prints and patronized by the nobility, (fn. 83) whereas Washington Irving remembered it for its rowdy Irish haymakers. (fn. 84) In 1863 the Load of Hay was rebuilt and from 1965 until 1974 it was called the Noble Art in honour of the Belsize boxing club and of a gymnasium behind used by the British Boxing Board of Control. (fn. 85) The Swiss Cottage tavern had a former pugilist, Frank Redmond, as its first landlord in the early 1840s and became famous as the starting point for foot races along Finchley Road. After much alteration a new building was finished by 1966; it was in the original style, that of an alpine chalet, made popular after the opera Le Chalet was performed in Paris in 1834. (fn. 86) Nearby the Britannia in Fairfax Road, built by 1872, was used by many sports clubs early in the 20th century. A new building was opened on the other side of a roundabout, at the corner of Hilgrove Road, in 1971. (fn. 87)
A playhouse, recently built and presumably patronized by visitors to the wells, was suppressed in 1709 at the instance of the vicar and other inhabitants. Further suppression, however, was needed in 1710 (fn. 88) and again in 1723. Plays thereafter were probably performed only by amateurs until in 1805 'Gyngell's theatre of mirth and mechanism' appeared at the Square, in a booth. A new theatre was advertised in 1817 at the assembly rooms, where, although no permanent theatre was established, concerts took place at least once a month until 1829. (fn. 89) Music and dancing were licensed at several inns with tea gardens: at the Bell in Kilburn High Road from 1840 or earlier, (fn. 90) at Jack Straw's Castle from 1856, (fn. 91) and at the Bull and Bush, made famous through 'Down at the old Bull and Bush' sung by Florrie Ford, from 1867. (fn. 92) Entertainments were also licensed at the Yorkshire Grey off High Street, demolished during the 'town improvements', (fn. 93) the Duke of Hamilton at New End, the Cock and Hoop at West End, closed in 1896 after a temperance workers' campaign, (fn. 94) and mid 19th-century taverns in south Hampstead: the Eton in Adelaide Road, the North Star in College Villas Road (later College Crescent), and the Prince Arthur in Boundary Road. (fn. 95)
The Theatre Royal, Kilburn, was opened in 1886 in the place of Kilburn town hall, which itself had been licensed for music and dancing. It was altered in 1895, to hold 514, was known by 1903 as the Kilburn Empire Theatre of Varieties, no. 256 Belsize Road, (fn. 96) and was still a theatre of varieties in 1910, although used also as a cinema, later called the Kilburn Palace, by 1909. (fn. 97) Nearby the New Empire Theatre of Varieties was built in 1907 as a music hall and circus at nos. 9-11 the Parade, Kilburn High Road. An ornate three-storeyed building, topped by a balustrade, urns, and a central statue, it seated 1,913 (fn. 98) and contained animal traps and pits which survived its conversion into a full-time cinema, the Kilburn Empire, in 1928. (fn. 99) Kilburn was so popular as a place of entertainment that on the sale of the Grange (formerly Oak Lodge) in 1910 Sir Oswald Stoll proposed a Coliseum on the lines of his London theatre in St. Martin's Lane, only to be baulked by Hampstead borough council. (fn. 100)
Concerts and plays by Hampstead societies took place in several halls in the late 19th century, including the assembly rooms, advertised in 1872 as being for the first time under the same management as the Holly Bush hotel. (fn. 101) Later the new vestry hall, the new drill hall in Holly Bush Vale, and Hampstead Conservatoire at Swiss Cottage were often used, (fn. 102) although Hampstead dramatic society staged its productions in London theatres. (fn. 103)
The Everyman theatre was opened by Norman MacDermott, with help from private contributors, in 1920. A conversion of the Holly Bush Vale drill hall, which had come to be used as a 'shady palais de whist', it had a steeply raked floor and seating for 300. After an experimental three months of repertory there were longer runs of new plays, (fn. 104) whose success made the Everyman a hunting ground for commercial managers. (fn. 105) Despite furthering many theatrical careers, including that of Noel Coward in the first performance of his Vortex, (fn. 106) MacDermott was always short of money: the building work had been expensive and Hampstead's residents did not provide many of the bookings. New partners took control in 1926 and there was a temporary closure in 1929, followed by the establishment of a guild with Sir Gerald Du Maurier as president and in 1931 of the Everyman theatre club. The lease was nonetheless sold for the building's conversion into a drama school and then into a cinema, which opened in 1933. (fn. 107)
The Embassy theatre was opened in 1928, when the premises of Hampstead Conservatoire were adapted by Andrew Mather. After two changes of control and the establishment of a playgoers' association in 1930, the Embassy school of acting opened there in 1932. After war damage, the building was reopened in 1945, with a capacity of 678, and sold to the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1956. There were 338 students in 1986, when public performances were held in a theatre seating 278. (fn. 108)
German Jewish refugees opened the Little Theatre at no. 37A Upper Park Road in 1940. (fn. 109) Hampstead Theatre Club spent its first season, 1959-60, at Moreland hall behind the Everyman cinema. (fn. 110) Served by a permanent company called Theatre West, the club moved in 1962 to a prefabricated civic theatre, seating 160, at Swiss Cottage. (fn. 111) The site, next to the new library, was proposed in 1965 by Camden L.B. as a home for the National Youth Theatre, which later opened in Euston Road (St. Pancras). (fn. 112) Each show at Hampstead theatre was individually casted in 1986, when there was seating for 173 and all Camden residents were honorary members of the club. (fn. 113) The small New End theatre used no. 27 New End, formerly a mortuary, from c. 1975 until 1986. (fn. 114)
A moving picture show, as distinct from magic lantern shows in the basement of the drill hall, was recalled as having been held c. 1901 at the Y.M.C.A.'s premises in Willoughby Road. (fn. 115) Early open-air shows took place on Hampstead Heath, to judge from photographs of 'Biddall's Electric Show' and of a booth labelled 'Queen's Cinematograph'. (fn. 116) The ornate Frognal Bijou Picture Palace, opposite Finchley Road station at no. 156, was opened in 1911 with seating for 240. (fn. 117) The cinema, which was distinct from Keith Prowse & Co.'s Bijou hall at no. 167 Finchley Road, survived residents' protests against Sunday opening. (fn. 118) From 1921 it was in turn called O'Dett's picture house, the Frognal, the Casino, next to a dance hall of the same name, and the New Frognal, which had closed by 1933. (fn. 119) Kilburn Electric Palace was opened in 1910 at no. 10 Kilburn High Road, (fn. 120) where it survived in 1911 and 1912. Kilburn Picture Palace and Theatre of Varieties, which had been built as a theatre, continued as the Kilburn Palace at no. 256 Belsize Road until 1941. (fn. 121) A Biograph theatre was open at no. 236 Kilburn High Road from 1911 to 1913. It was replaced by Kilburn Grange cinema, seating 1,300 and with a dome over its entrance at the corner of Messina Avenue, in 1914. The building was a cinema in 1977 but housed a night club, the National, from 1978. (fn. 122)
In Hampstead town no. 64 Heath Street was converted into a cinema for the New Eldorado Co. in 1910. (fn. 123) The El Dorado functioned as 'a crooked little cinema by the side of Cornick's yard' in 1913 (fn. 124) and presumably was renamed Hampstead Electric Palace, at no. 64 Heath Street from 1914 to 1916. (fn. 125) Hampstead Picture Playhouse, a 'luxurious hall' in Pond Street, drew large audiences in 1914. (fn. 126) Called the Playhouse after the Second World War and the Classic from 1966, it was altered in 1968, when it was the oldest cinema in Hampstead, (fn. 127) and was refurbished as Cannon 1, 2, and 3 in 1986. The borough's best known cinema opened in 1933, after the Everyman theatre had been acquired and converted by James Fairfax-Jones, a solicitor. (fn. 128) As a specialist cinema, showing mainly foreign films, the Everyman remained open in 1986.
The Kilburn Empire, a full-time cinema from 1928, was renamed the Essoldo c. 1950 and survived until 1971. Alterations then spared only the stage area, the exterior being clad in sheet metal and a small cinema, the Classic, built inside the auditorium. (fn. 129) As a result the most imposing relic of Kilburn High Road's places of entertainment was the former Gaumont State cinema, opened in 1937 on the Willesden side and serving in 1986 as a bingo club. (fn. 130)
The Odeon, Haverstock Hill, south of the town hall, was designed in 1934 by T. P. Bennett & Son and taken over before its completion by Oscar Deutsch. It had a lavishly decorated auditorium and served as Deutsch's chief London advertisement until his opening in 1937 of the Odeon, Leicester Square. (fn. 131) Closure followed the sale of the lease by the Rank Organization in 1972. (fn. 132) The Odeon, Swiss Cottage, immediately south of the Swiss Cottage tavern, was opened in 1937. A plain brick building, it was designed in the Birmingham office of Harry Weedon and was unlike most of London's Odeon cinemas. (fn. 133) Its total seating of 1,740 was reduced by nearly half in 1973, on its conversion into three cinemas, which remained open in 1986. (fn. 134)
Horses were raced in 1732 at Hampstead, where in 1733 a three-day August meeting on the heath was advertised, each race to consist of several circuits around 'the mile course'. (fn. 135) The course was said to have been on the later West Heath, probably starting at the foot of Flagstaff Hill and reaching to North End. (fn. 136) As late as 1853 a road across the top of the heath was a 'race ground' on Sundays, although probably only in reference to donkey drivers. (fn. 137) The hiring of donkeys and pony chaises caused concern by 1825, when the vestry was advised against prosecution, since no wilful damage was done. (fn. 138) There were said to be 100 donkeys daily on the heath in 1836. Soon their popularity inspired cartoonists and attracted Charles Dickens and even, in the early 1850s, Karl Marx, who rode with more fervour than skill. (fn. 139) The M.B.W. sought sites for donkey stands when it took over in 1872; 45 were built near the Vale of Health and 60 at the foot of Downshire Hill. Residents soon petitioned against Sunday rides, in 1873 the drivers' noisy plying for trade led to their being licensed, (fn. 140) and in 1876 their alleged unkindness contributed to the establishment of a Hampstead branch of the R.S.P.C.A. (fn. 141) Few drivers were left by 1907, when they were remembered as gipsylooking people who married only among themselves. (fn. 142) Horses continued to be exercised on the heath: there were many summonses for 'furious riding' and in 1882 the M.B.W. was accused of neglecting the north-west part of the heath, which was supposed to be maintained for riders. (fn. 143)
Many other sports were practised casually on the heath, until in 1882 the M.B.W. set apart 80 a. and banned playing on West Heath. The board claimed that its Act of 1877, authorizing the regulation of all games, nullified the protection of traditional rights which had been enshrined in the Hampstead Heath Act, 1871. The vestry protested, however, and G. W. Potter staged a cricket match, which led to litigation ending in the vestry's victory in 1883. (fn. 144)
Cricket was played in 1794 by Hampstead and Kentish Town against Highgate 'on Highgate common', in 1796 by Hampstead and Highgate against the Middlesex Thursday club at Lords, and in 1802 against the M.C.C. on Hampstead Heath. (fn. 145) Batsmen also played trap-ball south of Jack Straw's Castle, without authority, in 1833. (fn. 146) An unauthorized booth was set up on the heath, by the landlord of the Green Man, for a cricket match in 1840. (fn. 147) The ground in a hollow on West Heath, where G. W. Potter's team defied the M.B.W., was laid out in 1822. (fn. 148) Another early ground lay possibly near East Heath Road behind the Pryors but more probably was the Trap-ball ground, at the end of Well Walk opposite Foley House, which was gradually abandoned after a footpath had been cut across it on the draining of a swamp near the Vale of Health pond. Hampstead Albion cricket club, formed in 1837, reestablished in 1861, and afterwards called Hampstead United, still played on the Trap-ball ground in 1876, (fn. 149) as did other teams, (fn. 150) but there was little room for players there in 1907. (fn. 151)
The Eton and Middlesex cricket ground was created at the north-west foot of Primrose Hill c. 1858 by Samuel Cuming, perhaps partly to add to the attractions of the district which he was building up. It was approached at first along the line of Elsworthy Rise but was shifted westward towards the south end of Harley Road in the 1870s, as Elsworthy Road was started. (fn. 152) Several metropolitan and suburban clubs used the ground in 1890, when it was about to make way for Wadham Gardens. (fn. 153)
A mid 19th-century Hampstead cricket club existed by 1851 and may also have been known as Adelaide or Adelaide Road club. It was limited to 60 members and had a field on the north side of England's Lane which was built over in 1870, whereupon the club closed or amalgamated. A 'tradesmen's cricket field' lay west of the club's 'subscription' field in 1865. (fn. 154)
A succeeding Hampstead cricket club originated as the third St. John's Wood club in 1867, (fn. 155) using the Eton and Middlesex ground until 1870. It moved near St. Mary's church in Belsize Road and became St. John's Wood (Hampstead) cricket club in 1871, when it probably absorbed the nearby Belsize club. The name was changed to Hampstead in 1877 after a move to Lymington Road, where a ground was leased from the lord of the manor. A pavilion was to be built in 1879 and was replaced by a large clubhouse after the freehold had been bought in 1924. (fn. 156) Hampstead cricket club limited its numbers to 200 full and 50 lawn tennis members in 1880. (fn. 157) It was considered the most important of the local recreative clubs by 1890, having already witnessed the highest score yet made, (fn. 158) and in 1949 was claimed to have produced more fine players than any other noncounty club in England. (fn. 159)
Other cricket clubs included the Spaniard's, started in 1870, and the North End, both active in 1872, and Hampstead United and Park (Hampstead) in 1876. (fn. 160) The Alert started its fourth season in 1880, when there were also the Heath Nondescripts, Adelaide, and Haverstock United clubs. (fn. 161) Hampstead Alert, playing at Gospel Oak, Crescent and Haverstock clubs, on the Eton and Middlesex ground, Hampstead Montrose, and the wandering Hampstead Nondescripts existed in 1890. (fn. 162) Maitland cricket club, established in 1899, played on Parliament Hill and on the heath until 1915. (fn. 163) In 1907 the heath, much of which was too hilly for cricket, might accommodate as many as six matches at the same time on a Saturday afternoon. (fn. 164)
Hockey was played as early as 1874, by a Hampstead team against Richmond, but perhaps only intermittently until 1890. A hockey section of Hampstead cricket club, which had played at Lymington Road, became independent in 1894 as Hampstead hockey club, hiring a ground at Acton and from 1895 until 1939 at Richmond. Well known players, some of whom joined from the cricket club, made Hampstead London's leading hockey side before the First World War. After its re-establishment in 1950, the club first used grounds at Cricklewood, then at Boston Manor, Brentford, and from 1959 Hornsey cricket club's grounds at Crouch End. (fn. 165)
Lawn tennis was presumably played at Hampstead cricket club in 1878, when the proposed admission of lady members for tennis was defeated. Tennis players paid separate subscriptions by 1880 and more land was leased for them, at the west end of the ground, in 1881. Five hard courts were provided for the cricket club's flourishing tennis section on the building of the new clubhouse in 1925. (fn. 166)
Cumberland lawn tennis club, founded in 1880 in Regent's Park, from 1903 played at Alvanley Gardens. A company was formed in 1922 in order to buy the freehold, which adjoined the cricket ground in Lymington Road, and a clubhouse was built in the 1920s and later enlarged. In 1927 the Cumberland inaugurated an annual tournament, which was open to any player until 1985 and remained one of the season's earliest outdoor events in the annual preparations for Wimbledon. (fn. 167) There were 1,300 members, half of them full tennis members, and 11 tennis and 4 squash courts in 1986.
Several other clubs existed in the 1920s and 1930s, when lawn tennis was very popular. (fn. 168) In 1930, in addition to courts at the Imperial sports ground in Blackburn Road, there were eight clubs off Haverstock Hill, besides a Hampstead hard court lawn tennis club nearby in Glenloch Road; all save one survived in 1939. (fn. 169) Seven clubs played near the reservoir in Gondar Gardens, West Hampstead, by 1925 and six in 1930; they included clubs from Gospel Oak and Paddington. (fn. 170)
Hampstead athletic club was formed in 1880 and active in 1905. (fn. 171) Belsize boxing club was also formed in 1880, to help protect local ladies, and trained for nearly 50 years across the Marylebone boundary at the Eyre Arms. As perhaps the oldest amateur boxing club in the country, it was revived in 1965 on being allowed to use the British Boxing Board of Control's new gymnasium behind the Load of Hay. (fn. 172) A widely illustrated mid 19th-century gymnasium on Primrose Hill was at the southern side, outside the parish, (fn. 173) but a gymnasium adjoined Hampstead's first public baths, opened in 1887. (fn. 174) The Wigmore Harriers, for cross-country running, were established in 1885 and had their headquarters at Jack Straw's Castle in 1925. (fn. 175) The Hampstead Harriers were founded in 1890. (fn. 176)
Belsize and Hampstead were among the county's ten leading rugby football clubs which declined to join the new Football Association in 1863. (fn. 177) The Rugby Football Union in 1875 included the Belsize club, with a ground 'at the back of Belsize Road' and dressing room at the Britannia, and Hampstead, with a ground near Heath Street and dressing room at the Roebuck. (fn. 178) Hampstead Wanderers rugby football club was established by 1895 and active in 1910. (fn. 179)
Hampstead football club originated in 1887 as the Crescent club, playing on fields near St. Mary's church. After moves to Neasden, north Paddington, Brondesbury, and Queen's Park, it first entered for the English Cup and played on Kensal Rise athletic ground, for the season of 1896-7. The name was changed to Hampstead Crescent in 1891 and, to proclaim itself the leading local club, which regularly fielded four teams, to Hampstead in 1897. (fn. 180) Hampstead Druids was started in 1892, playing on the old Eton and Middlesex cricket ground, then at Willesden, at Neasden, and from 1897-8 at Willesden Junction. (fn. 181) Both clubs were reported in Hampstead Football News, a monthly paper with unpaid contributors and distributed by members of the teams, from 1897 until 1899. (fn. 182)
Football was also played by an earlier Crescent club and South Hill Park club in 1876, both with grounds at Clapton and both apparently short lived. (fn. 183) Rosslyn Park played in 1880 (fn. 184) and, as did a Haverstock team, in 1889. (fn. 185) Hampstead's 'old rivals', West Hampstead, had a new ground at Willesden Green in 1898. (fn. 186) Clubs active in 1910 included Hampstead, Hampstead Druids, both of them members of the Amateur Football Association, Kilburn, Kilburn Marlborough, Hampstead Corporation Athletic, Hampstead Grove, and West Hampstead. (fn. 187) Hampstead's ground was at Claremont Road, Cricklewood, in 1930. (fn. 188)
Skaters traditionally used ponds on the heath. A club formed in 1867 skated on Viaduct pond from c. 1876 until c. 1890, when it moved to a private pond near the Spaniards. (fn. 189) Whitestone pond, the most easily frozen, was often used when other ponds were patrolled as unsafe. (fn. 190)
Belsize skating rink, partly covered and with a refreshment room, was opened in Lancaster Road (later Grove), Belsize Park, by Stanley and Walter Bird in 1876, but temporarily closed because of litigation over the use of patented skates. (fn. 191) Hampstead skating rink, on the west side of Finchley Road at Swiss Cottage, was opened soon afterwards. (fn. 192) Both rinks were refused music and dancing licences, on the grounds that they might be turned into music halls. (fn. 193) The first apparently was short lived. The second in 1882 was to be rebuilt as a clubhouse, adjoining shops along Finchley Road and with a rink behind. It also offered lawn tennis, since the lessee P. R. Conron complained of courts on the nearby grounds of Hampstead cricket club. The site of the Swiss Cottage rink was taken in 1887 for the municipal baths. (fn. 194)
Roller skating was newly popular in 1910, when Hampstead Roller Skating Pavilion ended its first season at the council's Finchley Road baths and Hampstead Palace roller skating club, with a rink in a former tram depot in Cressy Road, held its first annual dinner. (fn. 195) The Cressy Road rink was placed under a freshly formed Hampstead skating club in 1911, when the rival establishments continued to advertise. (fn. 196)
A cycling club, the Clarence, was described as the oldest of its kind in Hampstead in 1890, when the Pegasus cycling club was formed and when there was a Belsize tricycle club (fn. 197) which dated from 1882. (fn. 198) Hampstead cycling club held its third annual dinner in 1895. (fn. 199) The Clarence and the Pegasus had their headquarters at the Railway hotel, West End, and the Red Lion, Kilburn High Road, in 1905, when there was also a Hampstead Freemasons' social and cycling club. (fn. 200)
Hampstead golf club was established in 1893. It was leased a nine-hole course at Winnington Road, Finchley, which it later extended and bought and where it remained in 1986. A clubhouse was burnt down in 1929 and replaced in 1933. (fn. 201) Hampstead school of golf, which also had a tennis ground, was in Harben Road in 1939. (fn. 202)
Open-air bathing, chiefly in the fourth or most northerly of the Hampstead ponds, caused accidents and scandal. (fn. 203) Nearly 39,000 bathers were reported in 1875 (fn. 204) and c. 1,600 a day in 1876, when the vestry asked the M.B.W. to ban them or make the pond safe. (fn. 205) The L.C.C. had recently deepened the pond and built a bathing shelter in 1894. (fn. 206) Women were allowed to use it, and also Parliament Hill (Highgate) pond, on one day a week by 1905; having been excluded from Parliament Hill, they could use it twice weekly in 1930, shortly before several days were assigned for mixed bathing. (fn. 207)
Other sports clubs included ones for swimming and badminton, at the Finchley Road baths, and for lacrosse, playing at Edgware, in 1914. (fn. 208) Squash courts were built by Hampstead cricket club in the 1920s. (fn. 209) Hampstead squash and rugby fives club opened c. 1933 at no. 81 Belsize Park Gardens, in purpose-built premises, with social facilities, which were taken over in 1967, 1983, and by Ragdale health club in 1985. (fn. 210) A bowling green was also maintained by Hampstead cricket club until 1939. (fn. 211) From 1880 Hampstead lawn billiards and skittle club played pell mell or lawn billiards, a game reputedly introduced from Flanders at the Restoration, at the Freemasons' Arms, which was reputed c. 1953 to have England's last surviving court. (fn. 212)
Military events took place in the 18th century on Hampstead Heath, as in 1716 when horsemen of the county militia mustered there (fn. 213) and in 1750 when new cannon were fired for practice. (fn. 214) A little known corps of light cavalry was formed at Hampstead under a captain who was commissioned in 1796, but apparently it trained with troops from other parishes rather than locally. (fn. 215) The earliest infantry corps, the Loyal Hampstead Association, was formed in 1798 under the engraver Josiah Boydell and disbanded in 1802. After a proposal that Hampstead, Marylebone, and Paddington should together furnish one division, Hampstead Loyal Volunteers were formed in 1803, again under Boydell. They numbered c. 500 men in 8 companies in 1807-8 and were disbanded in 1813. (fn. 216) Their target ground on East Heath by 1808 was used by companies from outside the parish, to the anger of residents. (fn. 217)
A new volunteer force was recruited in 1859, training in the paddock of J. Gurney Hoare's house, the Hill, and in the winter in the Holly Bush assembly rooms. It joined corps from Highgate and Hornsey to form the 2nd Administrative Battalion of the Middlesex Rifle Volunteers in 1860 and was officially entitled the 3rd Middlesex (Hampstead) Rifle Volunteers in 1862. The corps was enlarged to two companies in 1860 and, after drilling in different schoolrooms, took a lease of the former pump room and chapel in Well Walk in 1862. It was reduced to one company and a subdivision in 1864, having attracted little support in Kilburn, and failed to raise a detachment in Hendon in 1866. Popular shooting matches were held regularly at Childs Hill, where a range was opened in 1860, and the house next to the drill hall was taken as a club room in 1877. The Hampstead corps ended its separate existence in 1880, on becoming A and B companies (Hampstead Detachments) of the 3rd Middlesex Rifle Volunteers, (fn. 218) later the 1st and in 1908 the 7th Volunteer Battalion of the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment). (fn. 219) After the surrender of the drill hall for demolition in 1881 the Hampstead detachment had smaller premises in High Street, in 1886 suitable only as a club. (fn. 220) A hall had been built in Holly Bush Vale by 1890 and was shared with the East Middlesex Militia, becoming the Everyman theatre in 1920. (fn. 221)
Hampstead monthly dinner club, the oldest of the primarily social clubs, was founded at the end of 1784. The diners, who contributed to a poor box, met at the Long Room in Well Walk, occasionally at the Red Lion or the Bull and Bush, and from 1807 in the new assembly rooms, where they were supplied by the landlord of the Holly Bush. Bets were sometimes laid and celebrations held to mark national events. Ballotting was introduced for members in 1788 and those elected in 1799 included the Lord Chancellor (Lord Loughborough), the Master of the Rolls (later Lord Alvanley), and Spencer Perceval. The last dinner, after the club had lost much of its prestige, was held in 1859. (fn. 222)
Hampstead Conversazione society met monthly during the winter at the assembly rooms from 1846 until 1872. In addition to lectures, it provided art exhibitions which for limited periods were open free to all residents. (fn. 223)
The Athenaeum club, which, despite its name, was social rather than literary, in 1877 occupied the hotel which had been built c. 1869 near the Vale of Health tavern. (fn. 224) The owner Henry Braun was convicted of selling alcohol without a licence in 1880, when he claimed that 1,200 'members' had been added during the past year. (fn. 225) Although the Salvation Army used part of the building in 1882, Braun remained in 1886. His establishment presumably continued as the Anglo-German club, with 500 English and 700 German members in 1908, when unlicensed sales were again reported, until the First World War. (fn. 226)
Philanthropic work was begun by the PhiloInvestigists, a group of townsmen formed in 1781 for discussions 'to improve the understanding and mend the heart'. Funds were collected for charity, leading to the foundation in 1787 of a Sunday school, from which Hampstead parochial school was formed. (fn. 227)
An amicable society met at the King's Head in 1796. (fn. 228) Hampstead parochial benefit society, foreshadowed in suggestions published by the vestry in 1799, was established in 1802. Intended 'to place charity on the basis of industry', it was claimed to differ from all other benefit societies in being sustained by the chief inhabitants, who subscribed from 1 to 10 guineas a year and were called guardians, and by members who paid three classes of contributions. (fn. 229) A female friendly society had been established by 1814, offering similar sickness, death, and pension benefits. (fn. 230) It may have been absorbed into the older society, which met at the assembly rooms in 1844. (fn. 231) Hampstead benevolent society, which apparently superseded the benefit society, may have been a separate foundation. In 1848, in its nineteenth report, the benevolent society recorded that it had relieved 846 applicants during the year; all relief was in kind, in the form of food, sheets or blankets, and weekly orders to tradesmen for food or fuel. (fn. 232) The society, which urged Sunday worship on recipients, survived in 1854 and was presumably the benefit society which met at the Flask in 1863 and was dissolved in 1869. (fn. 233) Hampstead Charity Organization society was established in 1868, to coordinate relief work, and later helped to secure municipal grants. It was renamed in 1907, when there were 56 associated agencies, and in 1938. Its successor, Camden Council of Social Service, staffed citizens' advice bureaux in 1985. (fn. 234)
Hampstead Bible society, auxiliary to the British and Foreign Bible Society, was founded in 1816. It had William Wilberforce as vice-president from 1826 and still flourished in 1890. (fn. 235) A local branch of the Church Missionary Association was founded in 1829 and one for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts in 1845. (fn. 236) Hampstead Temperance society had well attended meetings in 1872 (fn. 237) and Hampstead Vigilance society, to promote public morality, existed by 1888. (fn. 238)
Mutual aid associations spread, some being branches of national bodies. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows established their first lodge, at the Flask, in 1830, the Freemasons had a lodge from 1853, and the Ancient Order of Foresters a court from 1858. (fn. 239) Hampstead savings bank was opened in 1848 and had 677 depositors by 1854. (fn. 240) It was presumably the penny bank at no. 1 Wells Buildings, High Street, in 1885. (fn. 241) The South End provident society, at the White Bear, and the Gardeners' philanthropic society were both established in 1849. (fn. 242) Many other friendly societies met in public houses: the United Brothers, Birmingham, and the St. John's Wood and Kilburn Provident Investment society were both recorded in 1845, (fn. 243) the Friends of Labour loan society in 1861, (fn. 244) with branches for Kilburn in 1864 and Maitland Park in 1866, and four more loan or building societies for Kilburn and branches of the Star Bowkett building society between 1864 and 1867. (fn. 245) Hampstead working men's club opened at a reading room in the New Buildings in 1872 (fn. 246) and South Hampstead working men's club was in Fleet Road by 1880. (fn. 247)
A subscription library opened as Hampstead public library of general literature and elementary science in 1833 in Flask Walk, whence it moved in 1840 to no. 91 High Street. Its first committee included several Unitarians and there were eminent shareholders, but support declined in the 1840s with competition from the circulating libraries. The books, from which controversial works were excluded, were moved to an existing reading room in Heath Street in 1849 and came near to being sold after failures to revive support in 1872 and 1877. A new committee introduced graduated subscriptions, took rooms at Cavendish House, High Street, in 1882, and, as membership rose, obtained a lease of Green Hill House, renamed Stanfield House, at the corner of Prince Arthur Road, in 1885. Free lending started in 1887 (fn. 248) and the library and reading rooms were opened free on Sundays in 1889, when lecture rooms were also available. (fn. 249) As Hampstead public or subscriptional library and literary institution, it thus was a forerunner of the municipal libraries opened in the 1890s. (fn. 250) It survived at Stanfield House until 1966, when the Christian Scientists, who had had reading rooms there since 1953, took over the building. (fn. 251)
Mid 19th-century Hampstead was not noted for its public intellectual and artistic life. Residents were accused in 1874 of failing to maintain a literary and scientific institution, presumably in reference to the vicissitudes of the subscription library, and to support any private venture to amuse or instruct them. (fn. 252) More energy was spent on such practical aims as holding down the rates (fn. 253) or restricting the spread of building. The Commons Preservation Society, whose agitation led to the Metropolitan Commons Act, 1866, included among its original members Gurney Hoare and Philip Le Breton, the two leading campaigners to save the heath. (fn. 254) A local cultural group, the Kyrle society, appointed a subcommittee to safeguard the heath, although a permanent Hampstead Heath Protection society was not formed until 1897. (fn. 255) An amateur musical society met at private houses in 1876. (fn. 256)
Activities multiplied in the 1880s. Hampstead choral society gave its first classical season in 1879 (fn. 257) and Hampstead vocal society performed by 1890. (fn. 258) Hampstead musical club entertained at Jack Straw's Castle, Hampstead string band at dances in the drill hall, (fn. 259) and Rosslyn Hill brass band, founded as early as 1866, on summer Saturday evenings on the heath. (fn. 260) Hampstead Conservatoire of Music and School of Art was founded in 1885 and promoted modern English composers in 1890. With Cecil Sharp as director from 1896 to 1905, it was used for lectures and concerts: (fn. 261) West Hampstead Choral and Orchestral society performed in 1900, for its ninth season, and Sharp gave his first lecture on folk song there in 1903. (fn. 262) By 1906 the conservatoire had been amalgamated with the London Academy of Music. (fn. 263) Hampstead Mandoline and Guitar orchestra was founded in 1904 and New West End (Hampstead) orchestra in 1905. (fn. 264)
Hampstead Dramatic society had its first season in 1879 and Hampstead Art society, exhibiting at the town hall, in 1894. (fn. 265) Hampstead Chess club existed by 1885, as did Belsize Chess club in 1888, and met at Stanfield House until the 1950s. (fn. 266)
Scholarly enthusiasm also grew. Hampstead Antiquarian and Historical society was founded in 1897 and first met, at the town hall, in 1898. Sir Walter Besant was president and the local historians Thomas Barrett and G. W. Potter were members. (fn. 267) Publication of learned articles in the society's Transactions from 1898 to 1904-5 and more literary ones in its Hampstead Annual from 1897 to 1905-6 quickly made Hampstead appear superior to other suburbs in the richness of its historical associations. (fn. 268) Hampstead Astronomical and Scientific society was founded in 1899, having been given a telescope which it placed on a site on East Heath granted by the L.C.C. (fn. 269) The society, which met at Stanfield House, was divided into astronomical, photographic, and natural history sections. It opened an observatory and meteorological station on top of the covered reservoir near the summit of the heath in 1909. (fn. 270) The shorter lived Hampstead Selborne and Archaeological society also met at Stanfield House by 1910. (fn. 271)
Debating and political societies were formed, in addition to such pressure groups as the ratepayers' association and committees to protect amenities. (fn. 272) A meeting chaired by the vicar resolved that a local Conservative association was to be set up in 1835, with Viscount Stormont as president and Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson among its vice-presidents. Although probably abortive or short lived, it was claimed as a forerunner of the later Conservative association. (fn. 273) The Sylvan Debating club held an annual dinner in 1872. (fn. 274) Hampstead Parliamentary Debating society was founded in 1883 and met weekly during the winter at the vestry hall until 1888, with 500 or more members. The society was moribund, for lack of a Conservative opposition, in 1890 but revived in 1891 as the Hampstead Parliament, which reproduced the procedure of the House of Commons. (fn. 275) It met at the blind school, Swiss Cottage, in 1910 and 1939 and, (fn. 276) as 'the oldest local parliament in the kingdom', at the town hall c. 1953, shortly before its dissolution. (fn. 277)
Hampstead Constitutional club opened in the former assembly rooms in Holly Bush Hill in 1886. (fn. 278) It was founded by Conservatives of Town ward to combine social entertainment with politics and in 1898, with over 400 members, was 'what a really militant Unionist club should be'. (fn. 279) The premises were sold in 1928, with the adjoining inn, and converted into the private Romney House. (fn. 280) Kilburn and West Hampstead Constitutional club, at the corner of Kingsgate and Dynham roads, was planned in 1886 and open by 1888. (fn. 281) The Conservative association was at no. 4 College Villas (later no. 36 College Crescent) by 1888, with a habitation of the Primrose League, and remained there in 1986. (fn. 282)
Hampstead Liberal association in 1880 was formally separated from a branch of the Middlesex Liberal Association which had also served Willesden. (fn. 283) Hampstead Liberal club was also formed in 1880, at no. 13 High Street, (fn. 284) and was at no. 1 Downshire Hill in 1885, no. 31 High Street in 1888, and no. 24 Heath Street from 1889. (fn. 285) Hampstead Liberal and Radical association, a recent amalgamation of separate bodies in 1886, (fn. 286) met at no. 9 Swiss Terrace in 1890. (fn. 287) The Liberal union was at no. 16 Upper Park Road and Kilburn Liberal club, largely social, in Belsize Road by 1888, when the Social Progressive club, 'a socialist organization', had rooms at no. 2 Perrin's Court. (fn. 288) Lectures at Oriel hall, Heath Street, were organized by the local branch of the Fabian Society in 1908. (fn. 289) Hampstead Liberal association and Hampstead Labour party, both of which had several later changes of address, were in Heath Street and Mill Lane respectively in 1925. (fn. 290)
In 1925 it was claimed that no other part of London was so intensely organized as Hampstead for intellectual and social clubs. (fn. 291) They so multiplied that by 1952 there were 9 roughly classified as general or literary, including Hampstead Parliament and the subscription library. Five more were devoted to art or films, 8 to ballet or drama, 12 to music, 13 to politics, and at least 26 to sports. Among over 60 others were Hampstead Scientific society, with its observatory, Hampstead Heath and Old Hampstead Protection society, and many branches of national organizations. (fn. 292) Lectures and exhibitions were held in 1953 by Hampstead Artists' council, founded in 1944, and Hampstead Literary circle, while many societies formed a federation called Music and Arts in Hampstead, through which they received municipal sponsorship. (fn. 293)
More recent organizations included the Hampstead Historical society, followed by the Camden History society, which was founded in 1970 with help from Camden L.B. and which published the annual Camden History Review from 1973. (fn. 294) Camden Arts centre, with an exhibition gallery and teaching centre, was opened by the council in Arkwright Road after the central library's move to Swiss Cottage. (fn. 295) It housed Hampstead Artists' council, Camden Arts trust, and Arkwright Arts trust in 1986. (fn. 296) Local preservation or welfare groups, with constitutions dating from the 1970s, included the Vale of Health society and the Adelaide, Boundary, Hampstead, Primrose Hill, and West Hampstead community associations in 1986. (fn. 297)
The weekly Hampstead and Highgate Express was founded at Hampstead in 1860. (fn. 298) Known as the 'Ham and High' and vigorously independent, it was edited for c. 35 years from 1862 by George Jealous, whose neighbour's schoolboy son Alfred Harmsworth, later Viscount Northcliffe, wrote for the newspaper c. 1880. (fn. 299) Ownership passed to trustees in the 1930s, then to the Goss family, and in 1964 from Arthur Norman Goss to Home Counties Newspapers, of Luton. For many years the paper was produced at Hampstead's only printing works in the former Baptist chapel, Holly Bush Hill. The staff moved in 1961 to new offices in Perrin's Court, where, although printing was done at Luton, it remained in 1986. (fn. 300)
The weekly Hampstead Record (fn. 301) in its opening leader in 1889 pointed out that the only established local newspaper was shared with another district (fn. 302) but itself was renamed the Hampstead and Highgate Record and Chronicle in 1918 and the Camden and Hampstead and Highgate Record and Chronicle in 1963, before incorporation with the Hackney Gazette. Parts of Hampstead were covered from 1868 by the Kilburn Times, still published from Kilburn Lane, Willesden, in 1986, and from 1880 by the South Hampstead Advertiser, which continued under different titles, including St. John's Wood, Kilburn, and Hampstead Advertiser and Hampstead News, until its incorporation with the Camden Journal in 1971. Shorter lived newspapers included the Kilburn News from 1882 to 1883, the Kilburn Post and its successor the Post from 1886 to 1901, and the Hampstead Gazette in the 1920s and 1930s.