We are very pleased that David Percy will present the story of Moll King’s houses as featured in his book The Harlots of Haverstock Hill at the Belsize Community Library on 4 November 2021. The film includes readings by Dame Janet Suzman. We will also celebrate 50 years of the Society and Association at the event.
Harlots is an account of the remarkable life of “Moll” King, an 18th century madam or brothel-keeper, an ambitious and opportunistic woman who rose from humble beginnings in the streets of London to become one of the first settlers in Belsize Park. Moll became a wealthy landowner with several properties on Haverstock Hill in the days when there were no more than a handful of houses along this country road to Hampstead. Her legacy remains there to this day.
There will be a chance to ask David questions about the fascinating tale, as well as socialise after the screening and Q&A.
We ask you to pre-book as space will be limited and we are keen to be able to manage the event in line with any restrictions in place at the time.
The event will be free, but please register at the event link or paste https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/moll-kings-belsize-houses-tickets-166433486037.
If you are unable to access Eventbrite to make a booking, you can contact us at 7794 0874.
High Speed Two (HS2) is the new high speed railway for Britain.
They will be holding online information events on 9 and 13 September and a face-to-face engagement event on 15 September about the Adelaide Road headhouse and compound in Camden. They are seeking your views about the design.
At these events you will find out more about:
the design of the headhouse and compound
our future landscaping plans
There will be an opportunity to ask the team questions and to give them your feedback.
Come and talk to them on:
Thursday 9 September 2021, from 6pm to 7:30pm or
Monday 13 September 2021, from 12:30pm to 2pm
Wednesday 15 September 2021, from 3pm to 8pm at Swiss
Cottage Library, 88 Avenue Road, London, NW3 3HA
You will need to register in advance to join a webinar or to
speak to them in person. You can do this by visiting
Freephone 08081 434 434
Minicom 08081 456 472
Welcome to the August Newsletter of the Belsize Society.
We were sad to have to cancel the Summer Party this year. The postponement of the lifting of lockdown unfortunately just caught our event. However, this Newsletter does contain details of events in the autumn.
We are really pleased that our former chair Averil Nottage will lead an historical walk in the area that Belsize House inhabited, tying into the November event, “The Story of Moll King’s Belsize Houses” where David Percy will present filmed excerpts of his book. This event will also provide an opportunity to celebrate 50 years of the Association and Society.
There is also a dip into the Belsize Residents Association archive, covering the campaigns residents progressed in two areas – the closure of local post offices and the removal of estate agent boards.
As we emerge out of lockdown, the Newsletter covers some of the reopening of the arts in the Belsize area, reviewing the Walter Price exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre and some recent plays at the Hampstead Theatre.
The next months will see the Society participating in a second planning inquiry over 100 Avenue Road as the developers seek to reduce the affordable housing associated with the project. The Newsletter covers this as well as the dialogue we are having with the Council about enforcement during construction of projects.
The Newsletter reports also on initiatives to plant trees in the area and the Society’s donation to the Belsize Community Library.
If you’re free on Sunday 19 September, why not join us for an afternoon stroll that will transport you through centuries of local history?
Starting in Belsize Terrace, we’ll hear how a forest became farmland and then gentlemen’s country residences before being transformed into a middle-class suburb. We’ll find out about Belsize House in its 18th century heyday as a fashionable pleasure garden before it declined into a “scandalous Lew’d House”. We’ll see how housing fashions changed, who lived here and where they shopped, drank and worshipped. And we’ll finish at Belsize Library for tea, delicious cakes, and a chance to socialise.
Meet at Belsize Terrace at 3pm.
Belsize Society donation to Community Library
The Society has funded the library’s purchase of equipment for its events, primarily a new mixer and associated microphones and stands. This will be used as it reopens, with the library planning an exciting range of talks, musical events and, of course, hosting some of the Society’s events. One of the first to use the equipment will be the November presentation of “The Story of Moll King’s Belsize Houses”.
Details about hiring the library are at: https://thewinch.org/hire-the-library/
TRADESMEN YOU CAN TRUST 2021
You may remember that in May, we sent those of you who are online an email attaching a pdf to correct an error/omission in the 2021 issue of TYCT. We apologise to all members for the mistake and are enclosing with this August Newsletter, a correct paper copy of the two pages (nos. 6 and 8) which you can insert into this year’s booklet.
Meanwhile we trust that you are still finding the booklet a useful BelSoc publication.
For almost two years, we have engaged with Camden Council about the enforcement of construction management in the Borough, especially in residential areas like ours. Construction management is about how developers implement their planning permission.
The productive dialogue has involved discussions about the practices in other London Boroughs, a presentation to the Council’s Planning Committee policy meeting, and keeping the Council informed about the recent experience of residents. We have worked with other resident bodies, such as the RedFrog Forum.
As we emerge from lockdown, we have restarted the dialogue with Camden. A recent focus has been the use in other Boroughs of Codes of Construction Practice. These encourage developers to use best practice in the construction phase of the more complex projects, such as basement developments. In other Boroughs, such as Islington and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, developers commit to the code as part of the planning permission. There may also be inspections of sites, to catch issues such as noise, pollution and traffic, which encourages the adoption of best practice, e.g. pointing out where a contractor might use quieter machinery.
Next steps with Camden involve us updating the Councillor in charge of this policy area about our experiences over the last two years and what we have learnt from other parts of London.
Camden Council is requesting that anyone who noticed or experienced flooding should report this to: GREENCAMDEN@CAMDEN.GOV.UK
Camden is particularly keen to learn about the following types of flooding:
- internal: clean water or sewage (please say which) at a property, eg in basement, or coming up through the floor into the ground floor, or simply entering the property from outside
- external: at a building site (eg an open basement or demolition site), where water is seen to flow out of or through holes in the ground.
If you should have any photos of flooded properties or streets (where the drains were not coping), these would also be extremely helpful. Camden produces a map of roads affected by flooding so that developers know where to be particularly careful not to add to water run-off.
The last two flood years for Hampstead were 1976 and 2002, but the maps of flooding for these two years included only the roads for which flooding
was reported. It is important that Camden is aware where properties flood. Camden would not divulge which properties were flooded, only mapping the roads affected.
Members may be aware that Essential Living (Swiss Cottage) Limited has appealed against Camden’s refusal of its application to modify the consent it obtained in 2016 to build a 24 storey block of 186 flats at 100 Avenue Road by the tube station at Swiss Cottage. The new application sought the removal of the obligation it had agreed in 2016 to include at least 36 affordable units in the new block, leaving the only “affordable housing” obligation as an obligation to ensure that 18 of the 186 flats are available on a “Discounted Market Rent” basis.
We had objected to the original application for the new development, which was eventually granted on appeal by the Secretary of State, who appeared to accept that the affordable housing to be provided in the development, and other public benefits, outweighed the harm that the development would cause to the Conservation Area.
Essential Living commenced work, demolishing the existing building in 2017 but “paused”’ significant construction works on the site in the summer of 2020, following the completion of the demolition, piling and basement box. It says that due to Covid-19, the cost of the main contract amongst other mounting costs, and significant delay to the original project timescales, inter alia, a decision was made to submit the new application in order to improve the current position on the scheme’s viability. Essential Living claims that without the removal of the 36 affordable units the development will not be viable.
BelSoc objected to the new application on the basis that the modification being sought in the application would mean that a substantial element of the public benefit would be removed but leaving the “harm” that everyone accepts will result from the development. Whether or not the project is “viable” is not a valid reason in law to modify an obligation that serves a “useful purpose” unless it will serve the useful purpose equally well after the modification. The “useful purpose” is the provision of the 36 affordable units and if that is removed by the modification clearly it cannot serve the useful purpose equally well. Camden refused the application for that reason and for a number of other reasons.
Belsoc has been accepted as a Rule 6 party at the public inquiry into the refusal of the new application which is likely to be held in mid-November.
You may well have heard about the tree planting initiative to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Everyone across the UK is being invited to plant trees from October 2021, when the tree planting season begins, through to the end of the Jubilee year in 2022.
The initiative invites individuals, community groups, businesses and others across the UK to plant trees – and the Belsize Society hopes to play its part in our local area. Whilst individuals are welcome, even encouraged, to plant new trees in their gardens or on other private land as part of this initiative, the Belsize Society is looking for planting locations that are accessible to the public. The first step is to draw up a shortlist of possible places in the area where there is scope to plant one or even a few trees. We intend to discuss this shortlist with Camden Council and hope to agree one or more suitable locations.
Preparation of the ground and planting would be the next stages, followed by ongoing care of the young saplings. We will be looking for volunteers in due course!
We hope to have more to report in the November Newsletter.
Following Monday afternoon’s flash floods, Camden is requesting that
anyone who noticed or experienced flooding should report this to
Camden is particularly keen to learn about the following types of
* internal: clean water or sewage (please say which) at a property, eg
in basement, or coming up through the floor into the ground floor, or
simply entering the property from outside
* external: at a building site (eg an open basement or demolition
site), where water is seen to flow out of or through holes in the
If you should have any photos of flooded properties or streets (where
the drains were not coping), these would also be extremely helpful.
Camden produces a map of roads affected by flooding so that developers
know where to be particularly careful not to add to water run-off. The
last two flood years for Hampstead were 1976 and 2002, but the maps of
flooding for these two years included only the roads for which flooding
was reported. It is important that Camden is aware where properties
flood. CAMDEN DOES NOT DIVULGE _WHICH_ PROPERTIES WERE FLOODED, ONLY
THE ROADS (see map below).
The other reason to inform Camden is so that it can clear blocked
drains, and so Thames Water knows where storm drains and sewers are not
As a result of reports on the 2002 storm by West and South Hampstead
residents (who receive rainwater surface run-off from
Hampstead/RedFrog), Thames Water Utilities Ltd constructed a sewer at
Sumatra Road, designed to intercept and divert flow towards a storage
tank providing approximately 1,700 m3 of storage during extreme rainfall
events. The scheme was expected to help to reduce the local flood risk,
but a potential flood risk during an extreme rainfall event still
exists, and Thames Water needs to know about this.
If you experienced sewage coming in, then you need to inform Thames
Water as well on: 0800 316 9800.