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Proms at St Jude’s: Expert-led heritage walks to explore history of Hampstead Garden Suburb during festival

PUBLISHED: 16:01 04 June 2014

Thomas Radice, a trustee of the Proms at St Jude’s Music & Literary Festival, writes about a fringe aspect of the popular annual festival.

Proms at St Jude’s is more than a festival that happens to take place in Hampstead Garden Suburb.

To complement the artistic experience, we have included over the years a growing number of expert-led walks.

These explain the history and setting of the Suburb and its importance to the study of architecture, town planning and social policy.

Common threads are the lives of Suburb founder Dame Henrietta Barnett and her husband Canon Samuel Barnett and the links between their pioneering work at Toynbee Hall in the East End and the philosophy behind the creation of the Suburb.

This year we have an exceptionally full and varied programme. Apart from two in inner London, walks take place locally and are timed so that people can go on to enjoy other events in the festival.

We shall learn how Raymond Unwin – master planner of the Suburb and one of the first presidents of the Royal Town Planning Institute – influenced the development of town and country planning.

In other walks we shall be shown features of the Suburb, such as trees, gardens, allotments, tennis courts and domestic house design and how they reflect Dame Henrietta’s innovative (and sometimes eccentric) ideas.

Walks in the City and the East End, including a visit to Toynbee Hall, bring to life the places and experiences that influenced Dame Henrietta and her husband.

We shall also visit areas bordering on Hampstead Heath and the Suburb where important professional collaborators of hers and fellow-philanthropists made their homes.

We shall finish the week with a tour of old Hampstead – the home and stamping ground of so many artists, writers and musicians, including Constable.

For more details or to book tickets (£8 or £10), visit promsatstjudes.org.uk or call 020 3322 8123.

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