Highgate History - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

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Highgate History

Highgate was a mixture of the wealthy and the poor from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

It has kept many of its old houses and The High Street.

North Road and North Hill have seen the most changes


Contains some of the earliest buildings, The Burdett-Coutts Estate and part of Highgate Cemetry.

Ashurst House, a reconstruction of what had been known as "The Banqueting House", subsequently became Grove House.

Angela Burdett-Coutts bought South Grove House in 1857 and 78-79 Highgate West Hill in order to protect the northern boundary of Holly Lodge.

Holly Lodge, itself, was built on the current day numbers 2 - 3 Holly Lodge Gardens by George Smart.

The grounds were used for receiving the poor and the wealthy by Miss Burdett-Coutts, who was regarded as the wealthiest woman in Britain, after Queen Victoria.

Holly Village is her most tangible monument.

In recognition of her public work, Miss Burdett-Coutts was made a Baroness in 1871.
She died in 1906 and her ashes were laid in Westminster Abbey.

Is a remnant of a triangular village green and there is a record of a Fair being held there in 1744, the tradition maintained into the present day.

Between The Flask and Pond Square was the village bowling green.
Chesterfield Lodge was built on it in by 1812 and was used as a school in 1871 but demolished in 1899 and Chesterfield and Burlington Mansions were erected on its site.

One of the most impressive buildings in Pond Square is 'Rock House' with its two large bay windows at first-floor level.

In 1846, The New River Company built a reservoir by The Grove.

Up until then The Ponds had been used to provide water locally but often the water had been contaminated.

In 1864 there was a meeting at The Gatehouse to discuss improvements to the top of Highgate Hill, mainly Pond Square, and to discuss alternative sites for model dwellings.

Coleridge Buildings were built on Archway Road as a result.


Millfield Cottage was residence of the Hampstead Waterworks Company.

The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds originally piped water to The City and holborn.

The company leased 87 acres, stretching from the footpath opposite Swains Lane to Merton Lane.

The water came from a spring at Kenwood which was a tributary of The Fleet.

The supply of water from The Ponds ceased in 1936, although by that time it was not drinkable and was used to flush the Metropolitan Cattle Market in York Way.

From Millfield Cottage to Highgate West Hill was a seven acre field owned by Lord Southampton where, in 1819, Ivy Cottage was built and, in 1823, Fern Lodge to its east.

The Southampton Estate was put up for sale in 1840 and the plans showed plots of land marked out, each containing a detached villa, all the way to Kenwood, although not many were actually built.

It has been suggested that Millfield Lane may have been an ancient 'high road', pre-dating upper Highgate West Hill, and the original road north.

Today, the lane passes Merton Lane and up to the east side of Kenwood House, the latter stretch sometimes being known as Nightingale Lane or Cut-throat Lane!

Fitzroy Park, the road, was originally a carriageway to Fitzroy House., roughly where 'Beechwood' stands today.

'The Elms', originally on the Southampton land, once housed William Gladstone, an East India merchant, Samuel Pope QC, amongst others.

Fitzroy farmhouse was probably the earliest building, built in the fifteenth century.

It was acquired by Lord Mansfield in 1789.

It was managed by the Ward family until 1916.


Until 1893, the area was only applied to a small portion of its present stretch.

This was from Witanhurst to Highgate Rise in the south to The Gatehouse and part of South Grove at its north end.

Where the current shops are in Swains Lane there were originally two cottages, Meadow and Aller.

Richard D'Oyly Carte, impresario and theatre manager for Gilbert and Sullivan and who built The Savoy Theatre lived in Aller Cottage in 1873.

North of Merton Lane is West Hill Lodge, a 1927 replacement, which overlooks the steepest part of the hill.


The principal house, before it was pulled down at the end of the seventeenth century, was Dorchester House, which stood on the present site of Witanhurst.

There was also a a house called 'Parkfield' on the site.

This was bought by Sir Arthur Crosfield in 1912 and rebuilt as Witanhurst in 1920.

The Grove has housed some of Highgate's most famous persons, including Coleridge, J.B. Priestley, Gladys Cooper and Yehudi Menuhin.


You can browse Waterlow Park and Lauderdale House history by clicking on this text.

In 1800, the buildings at the south side of the High Street began at what is now '17' and terminated opposite Southwood Lane.

The newer parts of Highgate were built between 1865 and the 1880s, partly in St Pancras.

A lot of these houses were built with no damp courses and there was a certain amount of overcrowding with between ten and twelve people to a small three-storey house.


When the Archway Road was built, many old houses disappeared but in the second half of the nineteenth century very large houses were built along the whole length of Hornsey Lane..

St Aloysius College stands on the site of Belle Vue.


The Bank originally ran from Cromwell House to what is now Cholmeley Park.


The St Pancras side had restricted trade due to the fact that the village green and its ponds came almost to the road thus restricting the depth of those shops.

The Hornsey side was less inhibited.

Townsend's Yard houses were hovels.

Some were still standing in 1934.


Was constructed about 1284 across The Bishop of London's park.

There were originally eight public houses on this road.

Notable buildings are St Michael's School, Byron House, Northfield Hall and Highgate School (at the High Street end), The Sycamores (early eighteenth century).

Grimshaw Close replaced what used to be North Road Cottages.

North Hill begins with two appartment blocks...'Highpoint' on the west side and 'Hillcrest' on the left.


Southwood Lane is a medieval route from Highgate to Muswell Hill.

By 1884 the section past Archway Road had been named Muswell Hill Road.

Jackson's Lane is derived from a man called Joseph B. Jackson, who lived at Hillside, the house with the overhanging bay window.

The lane continued roughly on the route of Shepherds Hill and over to Hornsey.

Wood Lane was a track through The Common over to Hornsey.

One famous resident was Robert Colson, who helped build The Archway Road.


Hampstead Lane was originally south of its present location but was altered in the 1790s when the 2nd Earl of Mansfield and Lord Southampton to be further away from their respective mansions.

The Lane contained Caen Wood Towers, now Athlone House and The Kenwood Estate.

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