Who’s Who: Historian and writer Dick Weindling on Kilburn and West Hampstead
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Historian and writer Dick Weindling has made himself the local expert on West Hampstead and Kilburn. As well as penning numerous books, he also writes a blog called Kilburn History. the 70-year-old has lived in West End Lane for more than 50 years.
What brought you to West Hampstead?
I first came here in 1952 when my parents moved here – my father was Austrian and my mother was Welsh and I was born in New Zealand. When we first moved the property was run as a boarding house.
What is your favourite thing about the area?
It’s so lively and cosmopolitan and it’s always changing. In the past 60 years it has completely transformed, which is exciting to see, and I love the history.
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What is the worst thing?
At the moment it’s probably the traffic. I live right on a main road and the buses and fire engines that go past are much louder than they used to be.
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What is your favourite shop in the area?
West End Lane Books, which has been there for 20 to 30 years, but the rest of the time I shop online. Something I have discovered from doing the blog is that all the shops that were once record shops in West Hampstead and Kilburn have now become fast-food shops.
Share a secret about the area:
I’ve got so many historical secrets, I don’t know where to begin! I think it would have to be the famous people who lived here, who people no longer know about. We have had a mistress of George IV and the mistress of Edward VII – there have been quite a lot of mistresses actually.
What makes you smile on your way home?
I think it’s just the fabulous mix. It’s just a wonderful area to meet and see people – that makes me smile.
If you were mayor for a day, what would you change?
In Kingsgate Road there is Kingsgate Workshops, which is in an old factory building which has about 50 or 60 artists working in it. But because the building is so old it is constantly in need of repairs, so I would love it if an entrepreneur would give a million pounds plus to the trust.
How would you spend your perfect Sunday?
I think just wandering around and looking at the history of the area, which is what I do anyway.
What tips would you give to somebody moving to the area?
I would recommend the wonderful range of cuisine – and learning the history of the area!
Dick Weindling was in conversation with Rachael Getzels