My Hampstead Garden Suburb: ‘Margaret Thatcher remembered me from The League of Safe Drivers’

Jeremy Clynes.

Jeremy Clynes. - Credit: Archant

Jeremy Clynes, 63, has lived in the same house in Hampstead Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb, for his entire life. The semi-retired accountant, who lives with his wife Kochi, is treasurer of Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association.

What brought you to Hampstead Garden Suburb?

I have lived in the same house in the Suburb all my life! I was born in Queen Mary’s maternity hospital, which was on White Stone Pond, was brought back to Lucas Square in the Suburb, and never left!

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?

There is always something new to discover in the Suburb architecturally, even though I have lived here all my life and I am known for not using the car and walking. We live very close to Big Wood, a very ancient piece of woodland, and also 10 minutes away from Hampstead Heath extension. A lovely walk is to go over the Heath to Kenwood and back.

What makes the Suburb a special place to live?

Well for starters the community – Dame Henrietta Barnett designed the Suburb as a community of all classes of people. Although her initial principles have changed somewhat, we still have a lovely community here who do get very involved in various activates in the Suburb. Secondly, the fact that it was a planned garden suburb designed by a number of eminent architects and includes lovely buildings, green spaces, lots of trees and gardens.

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Is there anything about the Suburb which you would like to see changed or improved?

The Suburb was designed 100 years ago when there were very few cars about – now not only do we have major problems with parking, but the Suburb is bisected by the A1 trunk road and is also used as a rat run by non-residents, leading to clogged, dangerous roads.

A film is set to be made about your life. Which actor would you choose to play you?

I would like to opt for Michael Gambon because I loved his leading character in The Singing Detective written by Dennis Potter.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

In the 1970s I was treasurer of an organisation called The League of Safe Drivers based in Finchley. Margaret Thatcher came to visit us. She made time to find out about us and what we were doing and amazingly some years later remembered my name.

Jeremy Clynes was in conversation with Tim Lamden