On the Slyes and Kinghall estate, combined under the name Greenhill
, building was contemplated before 1869.
The first building went up in the corner between Church Lane and Church Place in 1869. Two houses were built at Greenhill
in 1871 and by 1872 Church Place had been extended as Greenhill
Road (after 1892 Fitzjohn’s Avenue
By 1874 all the roads on the estate, Ellerdale (then Ellerdale and Manners roads), Prince Arthur (then Prince Arthur and Lingard roads), and the eastern portion of Arkwright Road, were laid out and many of the houses built, mostly substantial detached or semi-detached. The westward continuation of Arkwright Road, with land on either side divided into 16 plots, was planned. Most houses were completed by 1880.
The Central library, at the corner of Finchley and Arkwright roads, opened in 1897, was designed by A. S. Tayler as a two-storeyed building in domestic Tudor style. It contained a reference library, reading rooms, and lending library (opened in 1899), and the cost was covered by a gift from Sir Henry Harben. The reference library housed 8,000 volumes of Professor Henry Morley, bought by the vestry in 1896, and a local archive collection was begun by the purchase of a survey of 1680 of the heath. The site allowed room for additions: an extension of 1909 included a children’s library, one of the first of its kind in the London area, with a separate entrance in Arkwright Road, and a small exhibition and lecture room; a further extension in 1926 provided a larger lending library and a lecture hall for 220. After severe damage in 1940 and 1945 the adjoining bombed sites were bought for future enlargement, but in 1964 the library closed. Its departments were transferred to the new Swiss Cottage library at no. 88 Avenue Road
, an oval-planned building designed by Sir Basil Spence, which in 1986 also housed Camden L.B.’s local history collection and archives covering Hampstead and St. Pancras, besides its reference collection on philosophy and psychology.
The old building subsequently became Camden Arts centre, administered by the Arkwright Arts trust with municipal support.