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From time to time, we will be placing reviews on new and old books about Hampstead Heath.

You are also welcome to submit articles about books you have read OR written about any aspect of The Heath.

There are various points on this site where you can upload files and/or text:


Haunted Highgate by Della Farrant

The ancient village of Highgate in North London has had a supernatural reputation for centuries. It has become forever associated in the public consciousness with the supposed ‘vampire’ panic of 1970. But many real supernatural occurrences have been reported over the years, and terrifying encounters with the unknown continue to this day.

This compendium of Highgate’s many alleged hauntings – the only one of its kind – examines old and new cases of spectral incursions at private houses, local pubs, cemeteries, churches and even council flats.  The author has tracked down many new witnesses of paranormal phenomena, whose stories are told here for the first time.

Poltergeists, tall dark figures in Swains Lane at night, neighbours who come back from the grave, an invisible incubus and a menacing spectre who threw its human counterpart down the stairs all feature in Haunted Highgate, along with many more creatures of the night …

click here to purchase

Highgate from Old Photographs by Michael Hammerson

The London suburb of Highgate is still noted for its beautiful eighteenth- and nineteenth century architecture, its real village atmosphere, its old pubs and pretty residential areas. The nearby Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Waterlow Park make this a green and pleasant place to live, work or visit in the capital, with fantastic views across the city. However, as late as 1900, Highgate was a village at the edge of London and, until 1876, the site of a toll gate, hence the village's name. It is famous for Highgate School, founded in 1565, and for its tenuous connections with the highwayman Dick Turpin. Coleridge spent his last years in Highgate recovering from his opium addiction, and the village is also home to Highgate Cemetery, the final resting place of figures ranging from Karl Marx, Christina Rossetti and Douglas Adams to a brother of Abraham Lincoln's assassin! Join Michael Hammerson in exploring the past life of this historic village and some of its colourful residents through old photographs, many of which are previously unpublished.

The above book can be purchased directly from the author by writing to Michael Hammerson c/o 10a, South Grove, London N6 6BS

About the Author
Michael Hammerson was born in Highgate and has lived there for most of his life. As an archaeologist, he worked for a Museum of London team focusing on Greater London. He is vice-president of the Highgate Society, one of the country's leading civic amenity societies, and has acted as chairman of its planning group for twenty-five years. He is a committee member of the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies. Having studied local history during all that time, he has contributed to several publications on the subject, with a particular interest in the destruction of rural Middlesex, and is currently working on a variety of local and wider historical projects.
He also gives guided historical walks around Highgate Wood and Hampstead Heath for the City of London.


Hampstead Heath from the Thomas Barratt Collection by Michael Hammerson

Hampstead Heath is an area of north-west London that has been carefully cultivated for several centuries to preserve as much as possible a place of natural beauty, history and heritage.
Despite many efforts throughout the Heath’s history to build upon it and to deplete it, there have been hard fought and successful battles to counteract these attempts.
Indeed, the Heath has a record of expansion rather than depletion and there have been many important historical moments in its evolution that have made the Heath what it is today.
Some of the history is well documented, some of it is sparse and vague and it takes a real enthusiast and dedicated historian to dig deeply and unearth some of its hidden secrets.
In “Hampstead Heath from the Thomas Barratt Collection”, Michael Hammerson shows both these qualities to bring to his readers glimpses into a period of the Heath’s history that might otherwise have been lost forever.
Thomas J. Barratt (1841–1914) was the first chairman of A & F Pears, the famous soap manufacturer but he was also a keen conservationist and a lover of local history.
In 1912 Barratt had published a three-volume “Annals of Hampstead” historical account but what has not been known publicly is that Barratt also took a whole series of local photographs of the Heath during the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Michael Hammerson has acquired this collection and throughout his book you will see more than sixty copies of the original photographs.
However, Hammerson doesn’t just print a book of photos! He takes the reader on a voyage of discovery and intrigue, painstakingly portraying in maps and description a remarkable period of the Heath’s evolution.
The reader’s interest is kept continually alive by modern comparative photography and Hammerson successfully translates this photography into a high quality historical revelation of a time that has been largely hidden …up until now!
Hammerson also leaves the reader with several intriguing questions as to where on Hampstead Heath some of Barratt’s photographs were actually taken for although most of the originals have a modern day translation some do not as vistas change through time, popular paths become overgrown, trees and flora come and go and the very ecology of the Heath changes through the decades.
All in all, “Hampstead Heath from the Thomas Barratt Collection” by Michael Hammerson is a book not only essential to the enthusiastic researcher but it is written for all people who love Hampstead Heath, who want to dig down for the hidden gems and fascinating text that Hammerson brings together in this wonderful and dedicatedly written masterpiece.
paperback edition published by Amberley at £12.99p (

Taking the Waters
is a new book about the open air swimming places on Hampstead Heath. It is written by Caitlin Davies and well illustrated with Ruth Corney’s photographs and with archive images

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