Parliament Hill, London

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Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill, London.JPG
View of the City of London and surrounding area from Parliament Hill.
TypePublic park
LocationHampstead Heath, London
Coordinates51°33′35″N 00°09′35″W / 51.55972°N 0.15972°W / 51.55972; -0.15972Coordinates: 51°33′35″N 00°09′35″W / 51.55972°N 0.15972°W / 51.55972; -0.15972
Area932 acres (3.77 km2)
Created1888 (1888)
Operated byCity of London Corporation
StatusAll year
Audio description of the parkland by Shami Chakrabarti
View of London from Parliament Hill during sunset.

Parliament Hill is an area of open parkland in the south-east corner of Hampstead Heath in north-west London. The hill, which is 98 metres (322 ft) high, is notable for its views of the capital's skyline. Many landmarks can be seen from its summit such as Canary Wharf, the Gherkin, the Shard and St Paul's Cathedral.

The Houses of Parliament which are 6 14 miles (10.1 km) south in the City of Westminster can still be seen from Parliament Hill although they have become rather obscured by surrounding buildings.

History[edit]

A mound on the hill may have been a Bronze Age burial barrow.[1] In 1133, the hill was part of a manor that Henry I gave to a baron called Richard de Balta. During Henry II's reign it was passed to Alexander de Barentyn, the king's butler. The area that was known as Traitors' Hill, may have acquired its current name during the English Civil War in the 17th century. When it was occupied by troops loyal to the English Parliament. A legend states that this was the site from where Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby, of the Gunpowder Plot on November the 5th 1605, planned to watch the destruction of Parliament.[2]

Over time, plots of land in the manor were sold off for building, particularly in the early 19th century, though the hill remained mainly common land. In 1875 Hampstead Heath was acquired for the people by the Metropolitan Board of Works.[3] Thirteen years later Parliament Hill was purchased for the public for £300,000 and added to Hampstead Heath.

Kite Flyer on Parliament Hill

Nevertheless, manorial rights to the land remained in private hands until the mid 20th century when they lapsed under Sir Spencer Pocklington Maryon Wilson, though the titular estate itself was passed on to Shane Gough, 5th Viscount Gough.[4] Until the 1940s, livestock was still reared on the hill to be sold through Smithfields, the London meat market.

The City of London Corporation has managed Parliament Hill since 1989.[5] Before that it was managed by the GLC and then Camden Council.

Local area[edit]

It is administered by the City of London Corporation together with the rest of Hampstead Heath.[5] The Eastern (Highgate) side, including Parliament Hill Lido, is known as Parliament Hill Fields, and a local girls' school, Parliament Hill School, is named after it.

Activities[edit]

Parliament Hill is renowned as a cross-country running venue and hosted the 2009 English National Championships. It is a popular place that is used by walkers, runners and kite flyers. The 2012 and 2015 English National Cross Country Championships were also staged at Parliament Hill.

Hampstead Rugby Club[edit]

The Hill is also used by Hampstead Rugby Club. The senior men's and women's teams train in the middle of the running track and on parts of the hill on Tuesdays and Thursdays.[n 1]

Saturday mornings around 200 to 300 juniors train from age 6. Boys and girls compete at all age groups. In summer mixed teams touch rugby is organised weekly.[n 2]

In film, literature, art and the media[edit]

Scenes in films:

Panorama[edit]

View of central London from Parliament Hill

See also[edit]

Canada
China

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Head coach and others are contactable via the HRFC website.
  2. ^ Currently on a Wednesday evening
References
  1. ^ Cherry, Bridget; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1983). Buildings of England: London 2: South. Harmondsworth England: Penguin. p. 102. ISBN 0140710477.
  2. ^ http://www.shadyoldlady.com/location.php?loc=915
  3. ^ Thompson, Hampstead, 130, 165, 195, 317-18, 329- 30; G.L.R.O., E/MW/H, old no. 27/15 (sales parts. 1875).
  4. ^ Hampstead - Manor and Other Estates | British History Online
  5. ^ a b Hampstead Heath on the City of London website

External links[edit]