Hampstead Garden Suburb: Expensive, exclusive and alive with the sound of music
- Credit: Archant
One of London’s most exclusive areas is full of green spaces, Arts & Crafts architecture and musical interludes
Hampstead Garden Suburb is in the London Borough of Barnet and spans the postcodes of N2 and NW11. It is in the Finchley and Golders Green constituency. The total Council Tax bill that the smallest properties in Band A would expect to pay is £931.38. Properties in the average Band D should receive a bill of £1,397.07. The most expensive homes in Band H pay £2,794.14.
Home to around 13,000 people, some of the most costly properties in the capital can be found in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Smaller homes include the flats in the iconic Waterlow Court off Hampstead Way; a central lawned garden surrounded by one-bedroom dwellings, originally intended for single women. It was designed by the Arts & Crafts architect Baillie Scott. Characterful cottage-style terraces dominate the streets around Willifield Way, and there are semi-detached houses in roads such as Hill Top. Huge detached properties can be found around The Bishops Avenue, Winnington Road and Ingram Avenue.
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The average price paid for a two-bedroom flat in Hampstead Garden Suburb is ££834,635; for a semi-detached home it’s £1,575,188; and for a detached house it’s £3,304,230.
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Often quoted as the best state girls school in the country, Henrietta Barnett occupies an impressive Queen Anne-style building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens on Central Square. Entrance is selective and fiercely competitive. The new Archer Academy and the established Christ’s College are the other state senior schools. There are two state infant schools: Garden Suburb Infant (rated good by Ofsted) and Brookland Infants (rated outstanding), which often draws parents to the area. Independent schools include Kerem House, a Jewish primary, and Annemount, an infants’ school for ages three to seven. Both are rated outstanding by Ofsted. The Institute also offers Adult Learning at the Archer Academy.
Part of Hampstead Garden Suburb’s charm stems from its semi-rural atmosphere. The downside of this is that the area is not overly endowed with public transport. The nearest tube stations are Golders Green and East Finchley, both on different branches of the Northern line. The H2 bus provides transport within the Suburb.
Landmarks and history
In 1907 Dame Henrietta Barnett set about building an attractive estate of homes suitable for all classes and incomes, designed in the style of the Arts & Crafts movement. As property prices have soared these early ideals have been rather superseded, but the aesthetics of the area are safeguarded by the long-standing Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust.
Central Square was laid out by Britain’s foremost Edwardian architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and has two imposing churches on either side, St Jude’s and the Byzantine Free Church. In 1904, circus proprietor George Sanger owned the land which now contains Big and Little Wood situated off Denham Drive and allowed the circus animals to winter on his land. Previous residents recalled elephants grazing there.
In an area with a strong Jewish community, it is little surpirse that there are a number of kosher shops, including Greenspans, the kosher butchers, and L & D Foods delicatessen that for many years has specialised in providing top quality hand-carved smoked salmon. Some of the best kosher bread is on sale too, with queues often forming on Friday mornings to buy hot challahs from the two bakeries, King’s and Sherrards.
Frox & Chox, stock gifts alongside clothing and quality chocolate – as the name suggests.
Eating and drinking
It’s only when spoken aloud that the meaning of the name of Café Toulous at Northway becomes apparent. The post-school run favourite was converted from two public loos.
Bakeries King’s and Sherrards also have seating areas alongside the takeaway counters. Curry King in the middle of the Market Place delivers to all areas.
Sport, leisure and culture
There are a number of tennis courts in Lyttelton Playing Fields and also a private bowling club. The popular tennis courts in Central Square are recently refurbished.
In summer the outdoor theatre in Little Wood is a popular spot to enjoy amateur dramatics. Fellowship House in Willifield Way houses a 100-year-old charity dedicated to residents over 60 and has just been completely rebuilt. It also serves as a useful venue for local clubs and groups.
The Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association and many members of the local community in 2011 campaigned to prevent the closure by the London Borough of Barnet of the Suburb library in the Market Place. It is now run by 40 fully trained volunteers.
Each June the well-known Proms at St Jude’s literary and music festival is held over two weeks, attracting some top musicians and authors.
Good for kids
The Youth Music Centre was established in Bigwood House in 1967 and has since become one of the foremost Saturday morning music schools in London. The Playgrounds in Lyttelton Fields are also popular. Adventure play session Toddler Sense is held at the Free Church Hall in Northway.