About West Hampstead Life

West Hampstead Life is a community-focused website that offers comprehensive news coverage of the area, a calendar of local events, and a (soon-to-be-rebuilt) directory of West Hampstead businesses. It is, simply, the number one resource for people living and working in the area.

The website is one of the three strands of a broader community project. Our philosophy is to strengthen the sense of community through news and information on this site and the weekly newsletter, engagement and (sometimes very silly) chat on Twitter, and real-world interaction at our regular events. We’re about conversations not broadcasting. It seems to work.

The website begain in 2009 to complement Jonathan’s @WHampstead twitter account. It started as a simple blog, but grew in both depth and breadth of content so that it was bursting at the seams. In 2014, the site became what you see now – a self-standing portal (there’s a word you don’t hear much any more) for the area. Jonathan’s departure for pastures north in 2015 meant the site took a break even if Twitter carried on, but in May 2016 it relaunched with Mark at the editorial helm. The events also resumed, and Jonathan remains involved as publisher.

A few stats
These will obviously change over time and we won’t update it every week, but we’re working our way back to the peak traffic on the website, when we had ~20,000 unique visitors a month. The newsletter goes to more than 2,100 people every week, 12,800 people follow @WHampstead on Twitter, and our events are always oversubscribed and usually fill up in a matter of hours.

The bottom line: locals seem to like what we do, so we keep on doing it.

About us
Mark Stonebanks is the site’s editor. He has lived in West Hampstead since 1998 (but has lived in North London for longer than that, as well as a couple of spells abroad). He’s Chair of Friends of Fortune Green, though promises to keep a close eye on what’s happening south of the railway lines too. Like many of you Mark missed West Hampstead Life when it was gone and kept in contact with Jonathan to see how it could be be revived from it’s dormant state. This is the result.

Jonathan Turton is the site’s publisher. He lived in the area from 1998-2015 (with a couple of spells living abroad). He’s a former business journalist, but now works as a freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant with blue-chip clients. His company, Smoking Pen Ltd, owns the site. He believes communities are better when there’s more understanding of what is happening within them, and when people communicate – especially outside their usual peer groups. Although no longer living in NW6, Jonathan is frequently in the area visiting friends and promoting the virtues of West Hampstead Life.

Mark and Jonathan are building a team of regular contributors to join Tom, whose restaurant review column is a readers’ favourite. If you have an idea for a story or feature, please let us know.

Where is West Hampstead?
We don’t believe in boundaries, man. Ahem.
We view West Hampstead as bordered by Belsize Road to the south, Kilburn High Road to the west, Finchley Road to the east and the UCS playing fields to the north. It covers all of West Hampstead and Fortune Green wards, most of Kilburn ward and a good share of Swiss Cottage ward in what is generally referred to as “South Hampstead”. Total population, according to the 2011 census is 33,000.

Good stories that fall outside this are certainly pop up from time to time, but there’s more of a nod to Kilburn, Cricklewood and Swiss Cottage than to Hampstead and Belsize Park.

What should I read first?
Why not read about the history of West Hampstead, check out the latest news, or see what events are on locally?