West End Sidings Estate

Estate in/near West Hampstead, existing between 1984 and now

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West End Sidings Estate

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Estate · West Hampstead · NW6 ·
FEBRUARY
6
2015

The West End Sidings Estate takes its name from the former West End railway sidings running along the Midland Railway.

The first train to use this line left St Pancras en route to Manchester at 10am on 1 October 1868.

The original sidings were in use until the 1970s. A new housing estate was then built on the site.

Brassey Road on the Estate takes its name from Thomas Brassey, the civil engineer responsible for building the railway line into St Pancras. Significantly, Thomas Brassey was thought to be one of the first to have a vision of building a Channel Tunnel, but failed to convince the governments of the day of its worth. He was credited as being responsible for 1 in every 3 miles of railway track laid during his lifetime. Barlow Road takes its name from William Barlow, the great railway shed builder of his time, responsible for the original St Pancras station with its magnificent roof.


Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


View along Brassey Road

View along Brassey Road
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West Hampstead

The name "West Hampstead" was a 19th century invention - the original name was West End.

Lacking its own supply of spring water and situated away from the main roads, medieval West End barely qualified as a hamlet until a few country houses were built here from the 17th century onwards. The tendency for West End Lane to become impassably muddy after heavy rain further enhanced the hamlet's isolation.

By 1815 West End was still excep­tionally quiet – so much so that its inhab­itants claimed to have heard the cannon fire at Waterloo. The construction of the Finchley Road in the 1830s brought few additions to a population that consisted of a handful of squires and some farm labourers, gardeners and craftsmen. By 1851 West End had one inn and two beershops.

Railways were the prime stimulus of growth in many country corners of modern London but few places were trans­formed as wholly as West End. With the arrival of the Hampstead Junction Railway in 1857, the Midland Railway in 1868 and the Metro­politan and St John’s Wood Railway in 1879, the new suburb of West Hampstead spread in all directions.

Rapid development in the 1880s and 1890s swept away the large houses and the streets were laid out in today's pattern. A local estate agent in Kilburn claimed that he coined the name ‘West Hampstead’, for one of the local railway stations. Public amenities such as street lighting, gas and electricity were provided and much of the frontage to West End Lane was developed as shops.

Some of the new estates were the work of big developers like the United Land Company, whose inclination was to build fairly densely, and during the latter decades of the 19th century parts of West Hampstead became increasingly working-class in character, with policeman, travelling salesmen and railwaymen mixing with clerks and artisans. Engin­eering workshops operated near the railway lines.

Twentieth-century building was limited mainly to interwar blocks of flats in the north of the district, often in place of Victorian houses that had already become run-down.

The West Hampstead ward now has relatively few families and a great number of young single people. A large proportion of homes are privately rented and fewer than a quarter of adults are married, compared with more than half for the country as a whole. This socio-economic profile is evident in the upmarket cafés that have lined West End Lane in recent years.

Famous West Hampstead residents have included the singers Dusty Springfield, Joan Armat­rading, Olivia Newton John and Jimmy Somerville, author Doris Lessing, actresses Imelda Staunton and Emma Thompson, and the playwright Joe Orton, who lived on West End Lane with his lover Kenneth Halliwell from 1951 to 1959. Stephen Fry has also lived here.
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