The By Invitation post this month is about our hometown or where we were born. I have decided to tell you all about the town where I was born. That's me when I was about one !!
I was born in 'The Towers' in The Bishop's Avenue Hampstead London. This is the only photograph that I could find of it I'm afraid . It had 28 rooms, a bathroom for each bedroom ,an island with palm trees in the middle of its indoor swimming pool,a staircase fit for a Queen and a huge ballroom.
Now, before you get the wrong idea that we were 'loaded', 'The Towers' used to be the home of Gracie Fields. Dame Gracie Fields was an English born actress, singer and comedienne. She donated her house ' Tower' in London's The Bishops Avenue, to a maternity hospital and that is how I came to be born in a road that is a favourite with the 'uber-rich' and was often referred to as ' Millionaires Row' but, because of inflation, is now referred to as ' Billionaires Row' !!!!
This is an ariel view of The Bishops Avenue .............
.......... and the above are just a small selection of the houses that are some of the most expensive in the world.
'Towers' was demolished in the 1970's and I think that five mansions were built on the site !
Hampstead village ranges from wide leafy avenues with imposing detached mansions to classically picturesque, almost medieval, lanes, squares and cul-de-sacs, packed with a fascinating variety of architectural styles, dating back 300 years and more, many with famous, historical literary connections.
Hampstead Heath, with it's hilly mixture of woodlands, gardens and pastures, provides an oasis from the surrounding urban stresses.
Trendy shops and arty cafés line Hampstead High Street while still retaining it's picturesque charm.........
........ and this is the High Street, looking the other way, in 1902 ..... it looked a little different then !!
The English romantic poet John Keats lived in Hampstead in the above house. He wrote his famous 'Ode to a Nightingale' there, under the plum tree in the front garden.
The old lock-up, used from 1730-1830.
Fenton House is a handsome,17th century merchant's house with a walled garden, that has remained architecturally little altered during more than 300 years of continuous occupation, and the garden, also remarkably unchanged, since 1756.
Set in beautiful landscaped parkland and in the midst of Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House is one of the most magnificent visitor attractions in London.
An elegant villa filled with paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner and Gainsborough.
Since as early as 1860, and probably before, many hardy London folk have taken a dip before work in one of the three wooded ponds on Hampstead Heath. There is a Men's Pond, a Ladies' Pond and a Mixed Pond ( I know which one I'd swim in !!!!) all of which are shrouded underneath weeping willow trees and lush undergrowth, which is a lovely spot for a slightly murky swim !
The Spaniards Inn is one of London's oldest pubs and just one of a collection of old pubs in Hampstead. It has earned itself a place in the history books quite literally. Dickens immortalised it in The Pickwick Papers and, although it is said that John Keats wrote 'Ode to a Nightingale' in his garden, others say that he wrote it over a claret or two in the Spaniards Inn......and, Dick Turpin, the highwayman, is said to have been born there !
and finally, the wonderful view of the London skyline from Parliament Hill, Hampstead.
Please go over to Splenderosa and see where all of the other participants were born or now live.
image 1: via me, image 2: via our gracie.com, image 3: via english heritage, image 4: via this is london, image 5: via harrods estates, image 6: via bristol server, image 7: via telegraph, image 8 : via preppy clothes, image 9: via homes and property, image 10: via residential search.savills, images 11, 12 & 13: via the virtual tour of hampstead, image 14: via local places, image 15: via hampstead heath.org, image 16: via wikipedia, image 17: via geograph, image 18: via examiner, image 19: via london-sightseeing.net