My Hampstead Garden Suburb: Our weekly Q&A, with Mike Sweiden


- Credit: Mike Sweiden

Resident Mike Sweiden, pictured with his wife and son, talks about his passion for the Suburb and why he revived the Hill Close fete.

What brought you to the area where you live?

Ever since I first visited the Suburb I have always been smitten with its charm and villagey appeal. The area is fairly close to Central London making it a reasonable commute for working parents and is more importantly a great, safe place to bring up children with its green open spaces and hidden alleyways.

What makes Hampstead Garden Suburb unique?

The Suburb is a unique example of wonderful early 20th century arts and crafts architecture (namely Sir Edwin Lutyens) and town-planning. Roads are lined perfectly and frame attractive vistas of the Heath extension, St Judes Church, the Free church and Henrietta Barnet School.

Many houses are largely untouched which is where the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust plays a vital role in conservation.

You have a day off to spend in Hampstead Garden Suburb, what do you do?

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My wife and I would take our son for a stroll around Central Square (our Abyssinian cat would try follow) and surrounding roads admiring the lovely architecture and gardens. We would then get a spot of lunch at Café Toulouse in Northway. Thereafter we would undertake a trip to Temple Fortune and catch up on our grocery shopping at Waitrose for the week or a coffee at Gails and then end off the day in the Hoop Lane Crematorium gardens (as morbid as it sounds) to appreciate the beautiful Japanese gardens and tranquillity.

What made you decide to bring back the Hill Close fete, after all these years?

We especially wanted to revive the community feel that the fete used to generated in the 1970s/80s and promote neighbourliness among all residents. The main purpose of the fete to raise funds and awareness for the Family Holiday Association which helps provide families to take much needed seaside breaks from stressful situations.