Capturing the essence of West Hampstead

Local artist Martin Robertson contacted me last week to ask for my – and your – help.

Martin produces screen prints of local areas, based around what makes them great places to live. That’s the usual shops, bars, restaurants, along with anything and everything that people hold dear.

Here you can see what he’s done for Queen’s Park.

Martin needs our help to capture what it is about West Hampstead that we all love. Specifically, he wants to encapsulate the local quirks and personality of an area as the the simple day-to-day places that makes people love the area they live.

I’ll get the ball rolling with some ideas, but please add your comments below so Martin can do more than just draw on what I think!

  • train stations (specifically the new Thameslink)
  • the strip of shops including Peppecorns which won’t be around much longer
  • the view from West End Green down the curve of West End Lane where the majority of cafés are
  • The Gallery
  • mansion blocks (and the general red brick architecture)
  • our situation between Kilburn and Hampstead
  • the 139 bus
  • longer-established businesses (e.g., La Brocca, Lately’s, The Wet Fish Café, West End Lane Books)
  • the newer ones (e.g., Spiga, Ladudu and The Kitchener)
  • police horses
  • the fire station
  • Davids Deli
  • the Jester Festival
  • and finally – the Twitter community, which is unquestionably the most active and engaged local online group in north London, and quite possibly one of the most lively in the country. For me, nothing captures that like #whampgather.

Those are some of my thoughts, but what, or who, captures the heart of West Hampstead for you? 

  • Tony Penfold

    I agree with many, if not all of these. However, other than the Jester, the list ignores two significant areas of West Hampstead – Mill Lane (The Mill Lane Bistro – and its previous guises, Kitchen Table and BakeABoo) and Fortune Green (Greek Roads – Terraced Houses). And maybe the Czech Club, Acol Bridge Club, Billy Fury Way and definitely the heart of WH – the Library. One other quirky place been here longer than most – the chinese? greengrocer

    • Some great suggestions there – the Czech Bar, especially the plastic chef outside!

  • Tony Penfold

    And how could I forget Nautilus – 50+ years and still rated one of the best in N London

  • Anonymous

    Hidden Treasure Italian restaurant
    West Hampstead Fire Station
    Fish monger on Broadhurst Gardens

  • @Marciamac

    The narrow windy 'high street' which gives the place its village character (as opposed to Kilburn High Road or Finchley Road, which are straight and wide and full of traffic and fumes). I would have said the garden centre and (long gone) Grog Blossom but, alas…

  • Bat

    The Victorian lavatories on West End Green hold a certain charm, if that's not too paradoxical.

  • Tony Penfold

    Do you know if Martin Robertson took this any further?

  • I didn't hear any more from him

  • Hi everyone,
    I have been out in whamp over the last couple of months collecting the relevant pictures and research. The artwork is now in full swing and I expect to have it finished in the next couple of weeks ready to be screen printed.

    Huge thanks to the everyone for your suggestions. And to jonathan for getting you all involved. It certainly hasn’t been easy to incorporate everything – I have tried to get a good range of places and history to hopefully do it justice.

    I will be informing @Whampstead of the future progress or you can visit