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Is it the end of the road for Swiss Cottage?

PUBLISHED: 11:58 30 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:30 07 September 2010

Susanna Wilkey SWISS Cottage or South Hampstead is the question on everybody s lips this week as residents spark a debate around the true name of the chameleonic area. At a council area forum, residents found the very name on their addresses was the most

Susanna Wilkey

SWISS Cottage or South Hampstead is the question on everybody's lips this week as residents spark a debate around the true name of the chameleonic area.

At a council area forum, residents found the very name on their addresses was the most important point of debate - with some calling for the Swiss Cottage official ward title to be replaced with the grand South Hampstead title.

Originally named after the infamous Ye Olde Swiss Cottage pub, which was built in the style of a Swiss tavern, the council ward now incorporates areas both sides of the Finchley Road including Swiss Cottage and South Hampstead stations.

And according to Swiss Cottage councillor Andrew Marshall if feeling is strong enough a possible re-naming of the area could be put to consultation as early as next year.

Residents across the area confirmed to the Ham&High this week that there is some confusion around whether they are in South Hampstead, Swiss Cottage or even Primrose Hill or St John's Wood, as some like to claim.

But most feel a sense of attachment to the continental Swiss label.

Author and resident Kathy Lette said: "I call it different things depending on who I am talking to.

"If I want to sound artsy-fartsy I would say South Hampstead, if I want to sound more cutting-edge and street smart I would say Swiss Cottage or Kilburn.

"If I want to sound really posh and Prada I would say the edge of St John's Wood.

"You can be a social chameleon because you are right in the groin of all these different areas - that is the great thing about this area, it gives you social mobility."

Rona Marcus, who lives on Belsize Road, said: "I have lived here for more than 40 years and we have always called it Swiss Cottage.

"If I had a choice I wouldn't mind either but what I don't like is when the estate agents refer to it as Kilburn."

And Lindy Treasurer, who lived in the Harben Estate for several decades, added: "Swiss Cottage is Swiss Cottage in my opinion and extends to both sides of the Finchley Road. It has its own character and the wonderful thing about London is it is devised of lots of little villages and little communities.

"People who live in West Hampstead speak differently to those who live in Swiss Cottage, they have a different accent."

Resident Virendra Ahuja lives 20 metres from South Hampstead station and 50 metres from Swiss Cottage station.

He said: "I have lived here 27 years and I have always called it Swiss Cottage. The difficulty is that no-one is really sure what it should be called. Swiss Cottage is really just a pub. But it is more than the pub now - it has become the name of the area."

Cllr Marshall said: "Swiss Cottage became the ward name in the 1980s but a lot of people would certainly consider that they live in South Hampstead, particularly those living on the west side of Finchley Road.

"There are other people in the Swiss Cottage ward who would consider they live in Primrose Hill. And there are young people who feel an affinity with Swiss Cottage.

"I was surprised by the strength of feeling from some people about it, it is clear that South Hampstead is not just an estate agent's name."

Given most of the public's reaction when asked by the Ham&High Swiss Cottage looks set to stay.

But to add your voice to the South Hampstead v. Swiss Cottage debate please write to letters@hamhigh.co.uk.

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