My Hampstead: Kara Wilson - ‘Living with Tom Conti, it’s difficult to find my own voice’
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Actress, writer and artist Kara Wilson, 69, has lived in Redington Road, Hampstead, for almost 30 years with her husband, the actor Tom Conti. The grandmother-of-two is currently preparing for a number of charity cabaret performances in the autumn.
What brought you to Hampstead?
Tom and I drove through Hampstead in deep snow one night in 1968, two actors from Scotland seeking our fortunes in the big city. We fell in love with it. Not long after, we met the actor Gordon Jackson and his wife Rona who lived in Redington Road and we thought that’s where we’d like to end up. Seventeen years later we made it!
You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?
Maybe a walk to Kenwood for breakfast through as much of the Heath as my knees will allow or just a wander into Hampstead where I’d sit at the pavement cafes and see who comes by. I might sketch or read the paper and let morning coffee run into lunch and then into afternoon tea.
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Is there anything about Hampstead which you would like to see changed or improved?
Not many complaints. I’d like to see more cycle paths on the Heath. I’ve just started cycling with my grandson, Arthur, and it would be such a pleasure to get round more of the Heath and stay safe off the roads.
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As guest editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?
Living with Tom, who champions so many local issues and has such strong opinions, it’s difficult to find my own voice. But I suppose I’d like the subject of noise to be given some space. The idyllic streets of Hampstead have become plagued by noise. I know there is little to be done about building works but could we not make leaf-blowers illegal?
A film is set to be made about your life. Which actress would you choose to play you and why?
Meryl Streep because she’s so bright and quite simply the best actress there is.
Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?
A.S. Neill, founder of Summerhill School. Though we never actually met (Tom and I just saw him on TV in the ’60s), he inspired me with a lifelong passion for child-centred education and parenting. That’s why I am still involved at King Alfred School, long, long after my daughter left!
If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?
(That’s hard but I’m using something I overheard Tom saying about me...) She had the gift of happiness and made free with it.
Kara Wilson was in conversation with Tim Lamden