My Hampstead: Michael Taylor on life in Hampstead and restoring St Stephen’s church for the community

09:00 30 June 2013

Michael Taylor at St Stephen

Michael Taylor at St Stephen's. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email

Michael Taylor, 71, chairman of the St Stephen’s Restoration and Preservation Trust, has lived in Hampstead for 52 years and in Lyndhurst Road for the past 30 years. After retiring from the Royal Institute of British Architects, he has spent the last 15 years restoring St Stephen’s, a Grade I-listed deconsecrated church in Rosslyn Hill, and opening it for community use.

What brought you to Hampstead?

I was brought up in Highgate Road but always wished we lived in “classier” Hampstead. Aged 18, I finally made it with a student flat-share and have been here ever since.

What is your favourite thing about the area?

The wonderfully varied 18th and 19th century architecture, from mansions to cottages, the Heath where I played as a child and the profusion of trees in the streets.

What is the worst thing about the area?

The loss of the village atmosphere over the last 40 years as essential family shops are forced out by rising rents, to be replaced by too many estate agents, phone shops and chain fashion stores.

If you were mayor for a day, what would you change?

I would restrain greedy freeholders from forcing essential services out of the High Street.

If you had £100 to blow in Hampstead where would you spend it?

In Waterstones bookshop which has excellent fine art, photography and poetry sections.

How would you spend your perfect Sunday?

Walk on the Heath, lunch at the Holly Bush pub, wander the oldest streets looking for blue plaques and who lived where, ending with a leisurely dinner at Villa Bianca restaurant.

What tips would you give to somebody moving into the area?

Shop and send your children to school locally (primary and secondary). Don’t develop your property – leave it as it is.

Where would you live if not in Hampstead?

Somerset, where my father’s forebears lived.

What would your epitaph say?

Michael Taylor restored St Stephen’s, Rosslyn Hill and gave it back to the community.


Latest News Stories

Victims of the contaminated blood scandal: (left) Nick Hirsch, (right, from top) Clair Walton and her late husband, Colette Wintle and Mark Ward

Timetable for settlement on NHS scandal has slipped yet again say campaigners - as they wait to see if cash is allocated in chancellor’s autumn spending review

The London Fire Brigade has put forward proposals to axe 13 fire engines to save £11million

‘While a new website would be welcome, this should not be done at the cost of frontline cuts’ says fire resources committee chief

Yesterday, 18:01
Khayerul Miah, pictured, and his brother have joined IS in Syria

The two young men from Kentish Town who left the UK to fight for Islamic State (IS) in Syria are former pupils of Acland Burghley School.

Yesterday, 16:46
The government says the HPV vaccine is safe and will protect against deaths from cervical cancer

East Finchley mother accuses pharmaceutical industry and government of ‘ignoring generation of sick girls’ as European Medicines Agency finds no link between illnesses and cervical cancer jab

Yesterday, 15:58
Carl Ryan, who is charged with misconduct in a public office, outside court (Picture: Central News)

A detective who faked records - including witness statements by Whittington Hospital staff - thwarted three investigations into serious sex assaults, a court heard.

Yesterday, 12:18
Firefighters from West Hampstead were called to tackle the large blaze in Finchley Road - which burned for 72 hours

West Hampstead and Hornsey fire stations could both lose an engine under controversial cost-cutting proposals

Yesterday, 10:04
Khayerul Miah, pictured, and his brother have joined IS in Syria

Two sons of a nursery teacher at a Kentish Town primary school have fled the UK to join the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Mon, 18:54
Counterfeit Amber Leaf tobacco pouches, fake duty stamps, and other packaging seized during the raid

Warning over danger to public health as illicit tobacco products worth £11,000 taken off streets

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Tesco - Every little helps

Would you like to have the opportunity to win a huge £2,500 to spend at Tesco? Well with this amazing prize you can do exactly that! MyOffers are giving you the chance to get your hands on £2,500 to spend on anything you desire may it be free weekly groceries for the foreseeable future, a new TV, home decoration or even a new sofa!

You could get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!

Here’s your chance to win one of the most feature-packed smartphones on the planet, from tech giants Samsung, The Samsung S6 Edge!

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder