Belsize Park is an area of the London Borough of Camden (the inner north-west of London), England. Electorally it gives its name to a ward of the borough, Belsize mainly overlapping; however some is part of Hampstead Town and Haverstock when that ward name is used.
Traditionally it is the south-east of the parish of Hampstead. Its station at its heart is on the Northern line and is 3.4 miles (5.5 km) north-west of Charing Cross. Some nearby localities are Hampstead village to the north and west, Kentish Town and Gospel Oak to the east, Camden Town to the south east and Primrose Hill to the south. An expensive residential areas in London, it is a lively area — restaurants, pubs and cafés line Haverstock Hill and England's Lane. Hampstead Heath is a 10- to 12-minute walk. Primrose Hill park is a 5-minute walk from England's Lane, one of two green ridges which can view the centre and other side of Inner London.[n 1]
The name is derived from French bel assis meaning 'well situated'. The Manor of Belsize dates back to 1317.
Although not named on the Geographers' London Atlas, the area has many thoroughfares bearing its name: Belsize Avenue, Belsize Court, Belsize Crescent, Belsize Gardens, Belsize Grove, Belsize Lane, Belsize Mews, Belsize Park (the road), Belsize Park Gardens, Belsize Place, Belsize Square, and Belsize Terrace. The name comes from the 17th-century manor house and parkland (built by Daniel O'Neill for his wife, the Countess of Chesterfield) which once stood on the site. The estate was built up between 1852 and 1878, by which time it extended to Haverstock Hill. After World War I, the construction of blocks of flats began, and now a great many of the larger houses are also converted into flats.
In World War II, a large underground air-raid shelter was built here and its entrance can still be seen near the tube station at Downside Crescent. The area on Haverstock Hill north of Belsize Park Underground station up to Hampstead Town Hall and including part of a primary school near the Royal Free Hospital was heavily bombed. When the area was rebuilt, the opportunity was taken to widen the pavement and build further back from the road.
- Zeinab Badawi, television presenter
- Mishal Husain, television presenter
- Sean Bean, actor
- Matthew Bellamy, musician
- David Mitchell, comedian
- Helena Bonham Carter, actress
- Oggy Boytchev, journalist and author
- Fiona Bruce, television presenter
- James Karat, Inventor of Straight Through Processing (STP)
- Tim Burton, filmmaker
- Friedrich Engels (1820 – 1895) philosopher, social scientist, journalist and businessman
- Martin Freeman, actor
- Liam Gallagher, singer
- Noel Gallagher, musician
- Herbert Grönemeyer, singer
- Henryk Grossman, Marxist economist
- Nick Harkaway, writer
- Alice Herz-Sommer, 110-year-old Holocaust survivor
- Tom Hiddleston, actor
- Dominic Howard, musician
- Kate Hudson, actress
- Hazel Hunkins Hallinan (1890–1982), women's rights activist
- Hugh Laurie, actor, filmmaker, musician, author
- Jude Law, actor
- Chris Martin, musician
- Karl Marx 19th century political philosopher.
- Kate Moss, model
- Gwyneth Paltrow, actress
- Andrew Pierce, journalist, author and broadcaster
- Don Warrington, actor
- Fay Weldon, author
The nearest stations are:
- Belsize Park (Northern line)
- Chalk Farm (Northern line)
- Swiss Cottage (Jubilee line)
- Hampstead Heath (London Overground)
The lyrics of the international chart hit "Kayleigh" by rock band Marillion in 1985 include the line "loving on the floor in Belsize Park". It is also in the short film "Les Bicyclettes de Belsize" (although mainly filmed in Hampstead Village), of which the title song was covered by Mireille Mathieu, Engelbert Humperdinck, and others. Belsize Park is also referenced on Sleeper's 1995 debut album "Smart" in the song "Lady Love Your Countryside" with the lyrics "And we could spend our lives puking in Belsize Park". Cozy Powell's 1974 single "Na Na Na" suggests that "You're a wizard of Wembley Central, You're the J. S. Bach of Belsize park". The Camden Town Group artist Robert Polhill Bevan and his wife Stanislawa de Karlowska lived at 14 Adamson Road from 1900 to 1925. Kirsty MacColl's song "England 2 Columbia 0" features the line, "we went to a pub in Belsize Park and cheered on England as the skies grew dark..." It is also the place of residence for the Jewish community targeted by Hitler during the Second World War in the novel The Morning Gift. Novelist Peter Straub entitled his 1983 poetry collection "Leeson Square and Belsize Park" in part after his time in residence in the Belsize Park region of London. Belsize Park and the surrounding quarters were the setting for a long-running radio drama, Waggoner's Walk. This daily serial ran from April 1969 to May 1980 each weekday on Radio 2. Belsize Park is mentioned in the Hitchcock thriller, Dial M for Murder (1954) by the lead character Tony Wallace (played by Ray Milland when coercing his accomplice, C.A. Swann into murdering his wife. Belsize Village was recently (2014) the setting for a Direct Line Insurance advert featuring Harvey Keitel.
There are records of a Belsize Park Rugby Club in North-West London since the 1860s. In 1871, Belsize was one of the clubs at the inaugural meeting of the Rugby Football Union, and therefore pioneers of the game of Rugby Union. In 1878, Belsize moved to form Rosslyn Park RFC, becoming one of England's leading clubs. In 1971, Belsize Park RFC was re-established by a group of local players. The club is now one of the most central of all London Rugby Clubs, playing and training in Regent's Park. There are five regular teams playing every Saturday during the season as well as a touch rugby squad in the summer time.
Notes and References
- "Belsize Walk: Primrose Hill to Parliament Hill". London Borough of Camden. p. 4. Archived from the original on 9 April 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- Bellotti, Alex (21 August 2014). "The Bulgarian asylum seeker who became BBC icon John Simpson's right hand man in Iraq and beyond". Hampstead & Highgate Express. Archived from the original on 22 January 2015.
- Mance, Henry (22 December 2016). "Martin Freeman on Sherlock, politics and why he's not on Twitter". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- Osley, Richard (23 February 2014). "Belsize Park pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, the world's oldest known Holocaust survivor, dies aged 110". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- "Hazel Hunkins Hallinan". www.oxforddnb.com. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- Wood, Natasha (12 April 2013). "Famous folk at home: Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's home in London". mylusciouslife.com. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- Pettitt, Josh (16 March 2013). "Cameron 'going out of his way to upset Tory supporters', says Daily Mail columnist Andrew Pierce". Hampstead & Highgate Express. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Belsize Park.|
- Baker, T. F. T.; Bolton, Diane K.; Croot, Patricia E. C. (1989). "Hampstead: Belsize". In Elrington, C. R. A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9, Hampstead, Paddington. London: Victoria County History. pp. 51–60 – via British History Online.
- "Belsize conservation area statement". London Borough of Camden. 2003.
- "Deep level shelters in London: Belsize Park". bunkertours.co.uk.
- "Belsize Residents Association".
- "Belsize Park Rugby Club".