My Hampstead: ‘Reduce number of private prep schools, we need new state secondary’ Dame Hilary Blume

Dame Hilary Blume

Dame Hilary Blume - Credit: Archant

Dame Hilary Blume, 69, is founder and director of the Charities Advisory Trust. She lives in Mansfield Place, Hampstead. At work, she runs projects such as Card Aid, which sells Christmas cards for a variety of charities, and the Good Gifts catalogue, where people can buy charitable gifts, such as acres of threatened rainforest. She has lived in Hampstead since 1969.

How did you first discover Hampstead? I was a student at London School of Economics and we used to come up to Hampstead for the very interesting shopping. We used to go to concerts on the Heath and we really liked the High Heel bookshop, though Waterstones today is better.

What is your favourite thing about Hampstead? The Heath, I like the hill garden, I like the fact you can stroll down, and there’s the shops and you can always get a cup of coffee somewhere and it used to be the case that you could always meet someone you knew and you would have a neighbourly chat.

How would you spend your perfect Sunday in Hampstead? Sitting in the garden, listening to Radio 4 or the World Service, alternately reading and knitting. Then a swim in the Ladies Pond.

What makes you smile on your way home? My garden – we once won the prize for the best front garden in Hampstead. It’s not at that standard now, but there is always something to surpass by way of out of season flowers.

If you were the mayor for one day what would you change about Hampstead? I’d build an underground car park on the land between Jack Straw’s Castle and Whitestone pond, and encourage people to park and walk down to the Tube. And I’d reduce the number of private prep schools. We are well served for state primaries, but need a secondary school.

Which other place in the world would you twin with Hampstead? Mysore in India; it’s charming, full of character and very laidback.

Most Read

What is missing from Hampstead? It has lost something of its villagey atmosphere as ordinary people have been forced out by house prices.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say? “Justice, Justice shall ye pursue”