West Hampstead is an area in north-west London, England borough of Camden, situated between Childs Hill to the north, Frognal and Hampstead to the north-east, Swiss Cottage to the east, South Hampstead to the south, Kilburn to the south-west and Cricklewood to the north-west. Until the late 19th century, the locale was a small village called West End. Modern West Hampstead emerged with the arrival of the railways, and the transformation of the area from farm land to housing estates. In 1879, the Metropolitan Railway adopted the name West Hampstead for its station on West End Lane, the main road through the area. Its motivation seemed to be to avoid confusion with the main retail area in central London, which was also known as the West End.
The first public library in West Hampstead was opened in 1901, but it was destroyed by a fire bomb in 1940.
The West Hampstead Fire Station was opened in 1901 also. It is still operating, responding to over two thousand emergency calls a year. Its service area covers 12 square miles (31 km2), including Hampstead, West Hampstead, Kilburn, Cricklewood and parts of Golders Green.
The power signal box (PSB) for the northern end of the Thameslink route is situated in Iverson Road, West Hampstead, just around the corner from the Thameslink station. The Network Rail signal box can be see from the north end of the platforms on the left. As well as being a 24hrs a day, 7 days a week operational building, it also houses engineers and acts as a base for Mobile Operation Managers (MOMs). The upper floor of this box is where the signals and operation of the railway from Farringdon/St Pancras International up as far as Sharnbrook (just north of Bedford Station) are controlled from. Also located in the signal box (in the same room as the signalling panels) is First Capital Connect's Thameslink control (or known to staff as the Service Delivery Centre aka SDC). FCC's services between London Blackfriars and Bedford are controlled from here. South of Blackfriars, FCC trains are either controlled by southeastern control (to Sevenoaks) or FCC's other SDC at Croydon (for services to Brighton and Sutton/Wimbledon). Information to do with the service status of the line, including the operation of the information screens, is also controlled from here. East Midlands Trains do not have controllers at West Hampstead however.