Hidden London

Belsize Village

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Camden

An agreeable group of shops and eateries focussed on the junction of Belsize Lane with the pedestrianised Belsize Terrace, built on the site of Belsize Farm. The name was an invention of mid-Victorian developers, the first of whom went bankrupt in 1869. William Willett senior, one of the progenitors of the garden suburb concept, swiftly moved in and took up the project. He built the first shops, originally called Belsize Park Terraces, in a style that has been described as ‘standard speculator’s Italianate’. Willett gave up some of his land in 1876 to widen Upper Belsize Terrace (now Belsize Terrace) and create a village green. Belsize Village later evolved into a service zone for the grander homes in neighbouring streets, with a set of mews for servants and horses. Today, the presence of one or two empty retail premises betrays the stronger pulling power of nearby Haverstock Hill, but this is a charming spot, much loved by local residents. The diminutive village square is a popular hang-out on a warm day, although there have been problems with gangs of youths loitering here at night and allegedly committing various anti-social acts.

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This petite urban village is at its best on a warm, sunny day

Postal district: NW3

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

 
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