PUBLIC TRANSPORT HISTORY - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

Hampstead
Heath
2017
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PUBLIC TRANSPORT HISTORY

Watling Street or Edgware Road was the Roman road to St. Albans and beyond. Almost parallel to it on the east was a route leading north through Hampstead town and over The Heath to Hendon.

A road, called Hampstead Street existed in the sixteenth century and a southerly section called Haverstock (Harberstocke) Hill was in existence by 1575.
Heath Street existed in 1831 and in 1862, Spaniard's Road led from Hampstead town to Highgate through Cane Wood (Kenwood) and was mentioned as early as 1672.

Complaints about the state of the roads led to bequests for repairs as early as the 15th and 16th centuries!
Up until 200 years ago,Hampstead and Highgate were fairly self contained and roads were bad and there was little transport available.

In Hampstead, for example, most of the population was engaged in the land or waiting upon their wealthy neighbours.
Men of business, such as doctors or lawyers, generally travelled on horseback whereas merchants would own carriage if they were fortunate.
Otherwise, residents had to face uncomfortable journeys by stage coach.

When the railways came, the wealthy would travel on special trucks, remaining inside their carriages.
A lot of the taverns and inns that were originally in Hampstead and Highgate had livery stables and quarters for travellers.
The stagecoach, as its name suggests, took a long journey in stages, resting its passengers at inns en route, whilst express coaches drove off at once with fresh horses.

The roads were rough and ready but the main trunk roads were maintained by tolls, such as at The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead and by The GateHouse in Highgate.

Surprisingly, the journeys by coach took little longer than they do today.
The stopping place in Hampstead was in the High Street and the carriages carried from eighteen to twenty passengers.
The coaches ran to Bank and the fare was one shilling and sixpense inside and one shilling outside (7.5p and 5p, respectively)
A larger coach ran , morning and evening, between Mill Hill and Bank, calling at Hampstead.

The sedan chair was used for local travel, especially by the ladies.
Link boys would brandish torches on dark nights ahead. (There were still link rests attached to railings in Church Row, where the torches could be extinguished)
A kind of double Hansom cab, where two people could sit facing each other came into existence, which was called a "vis-d-vis" and known as a "wizzer-wiz" in the vernacular.
In 1843, Joseph Aloysuis Hansom invented his 'Patent Safety Cab', which rapidly took the place of the older vehicles for local travel.
The first road-links with towns such as Hampstead and Highgate after the disappearance of the stage coach, about 1835, were by horse buses.
Various routes were started that served Hampstead, for example, running between 'Bird In Hand' Tavern in the High Street and Tottenham Court Road.
Other routes ran from 'The North Star' in Finchley Road, the 'Princess of Wales' in Belsize Road and from South End Green to Tottenham Court Road.
All these routes developed from 1850 onwards.

In 1887, horse-drawn trams started to run to Kings Cross, Tottenham Court Road and Holborn.
There was local opposition to these trams but concessions were eventually made for merrymakers visiting Hampstead Heath celebrations.
In those days there were more crowds visiting The Heath as there weren't as many places to go.
On Easter Monday, 1892, there was a thunder storm and crowds rushed for the railways and trams. A panic and crush happened at Hampstead Heath Station and several people were killed.


In 1908, the tram routes were electrified and in the 1930s, trolly buses replaced the electric tram-cars in Hampsteadf and Highgate, although special cable car trams were first introduced to Highgate much earlier than this.
In 1855, a branch line of the London Midland and Scottish railway was built to Hampstead Heath and Willesden.
The Great Eastern Railway built a platform at Gospel Oak, which although later closed for a while, was used in both World Wars was used for troop transport from east to west and south-western England.
The Gospel Oak line was heavily bombed by the Germans.


Two other stations, Finchley Road and West End Lane, on the Broad Street line were eventually built.
Haverstock Hill Station was built by The Midland Railway but was closed in 1917 as was Finchley Road.
These stations are less busy now due to the Metropolitan  and Bakerloo tube lines.

In the early 1900s, big engineering works were in progress to bring a tube railway from Charing Cross, via Hampstead, to Golders Green, despite difficulties experienced at Belsize Park, due to an underground tributary of The Fleet.

Both Hampstead and Highgate now have many bus routes and the first motor bus in Hampstead ran from the 'Mansfield' Tavern to St. John's Wood.
It was known as 'The Vanguard' service 4.
Motor bus services were then started by the General Omnibus Company from 'The Adelaide' Tavern, Chalk Farm and ran to Kingsway. 


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