Join us to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act 1871
- Credit: Ken Mears
The passing of the Hampstead Heath Act 1871 preserved the original Heath as a public open space. It was a significant moment in the protection of the Heath as we know it today. After decades of rapid urbanisation and expansion, the role of green spaces in being the lungs of the capital was legally established.
The individuals who led the fight to protect the Heath and elsewhere, also became founder members of new organisations to protect the nation’s built and natural environments, beginning the tradition of volunteer engagement which still flourishes.
Today, the Heath, along with other open green spaces within and around London, is home to a wide variety of sometimes rare and endangered plant and animal species, as well as being vital to the health and well-being of millions of Londoners.
The 150th anniversary of the passing of the Hampstead Heath Act is an opportunity to tell the story of how the Heath and other open spaces were preserved for the benefit of the public.
As well as exploring how the Heath has changed over time as a result of this protection and use. Along with the role we can all play in ensuring it remains as a protected wild habitat for the species that live there and the people who visit it every day.
From Wednesday 23 June to Sunday 8 August 2021 an outdoor exhibition focusing on the Heath anniversary will be on display at East Heath, near the entrance to Hampstead Heath Overground Station.
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The exhibition looks at the passing of the 1871 Act and celebrates the wonderful features and activities you find on the Heath today.
On Sunday, June 27, to celebrate the 150th anniversary, Heath Hands are organising a Community Fun Day around the Parliament Hill Bandstand which will include a kite flying event organised by the Heath and Hampstead Society and an art workshop and activities arranged by Burgh House.
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Hampstead RFC will be at the Parliament Hill Athletics Track between 10.30am to 1.30pm providing free junior Rugby taster sessions. At the Parliament Hill bandstand live music from Mini Beat Music, the London Youth Folk Ensemble and Mad Dog Bites will run between 2-5pm.
Everyone is welcome and there is no need to book. Just turn up and celebrate the Heath. Please bear in mind that due to Covid-19, we will be asking people to not gather in groups of more than 30 and Covid Secure arrangements will be in place.
On Tuesday 29 June, the date which marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Hampstead Heath Act, everyone is invited to an informal Community Celebration. From 5.30pm onwards bring your own picnic to enjoy at your favourite spot on the Heath.
Please remember to meet in groups no larger than 30 and maintain social distancing with anyone outside your household. While enjoying this event, we can also all help care for the Heath by taking our waste away with us to recycle or dispose of at home.
Also look out for our historic characters who will be appearing at a number of events over the summer, as they enjoy a day working at or visiting the Heath in the late 1800s.
I hope you will be able to join us on the Heath over the summer to celebrate the 150th Anniversary. Everyone is invited to use #Heath150 on social media. For further information on the events planned, please visit: cityoflondon.gov.uk/hampsteadheath
Anne Fairweather is chair of the City of London Corporation's Hampstead Heath Management Committee.