Golders Green / Hampstead Garden Suburb
These two areas comprising the NW11 postcode are home to many wealthy families and successful professionals, and also the centre of Jewish middle-class life in North London. ‘The Suburb’, as it is known, is well known for its conservation area status and the strict council regulations that serve to maintain its character as one of London’s more interesting social experiments.
The idea of the Hampstead Garden Suburb community came from philanthropist Henrietta Barnet who wanted to buy Wyldes Farm during the planning stages of Golders Green tube extension. Mrs Barnett believed that 80 acres of the land in question ought to be used to extend Hampstead Heath, whilst the remaining 243 acres could be used to develop a new residential area where both rich and poor could live side by side in an aesthetically pleasing idyll.
The job of designing this idyll fell to Sir Edwin Luytens amongst others and it was he who set the tone of the area with the Central Square, an area of sensitively designed houses and flats on wide tree-lined streets with closes and cul-de-sacs.
Despite extensive growth in the area post-1918 this Central Square area still remains the focal point, free of commercial interests. It is here that a memorial to Henrietta Barnett can be found. Although architecturally a conservation area, the social experiment behind the Suburb has not endured leaving it an exclusive pocket of North West London.
Up until the Golders Green tube extension plan of the early 1900’s, Golders Green itself had been farm land populated by labourers, farmers and land owners. However once the tube trains began to emerge from beneath Hampstead Heath at Golders Green station a property boom began. The population in the area exploded and was followed by a successful campaign to promote suburban living, the Golders Green way.
Golders Green has proved enduringly popular because though well connected by buses and the Northern Line to access Central London quickly, it is entirely self sufficient with a wealth of amenities. As well as the array of Kosher delicatessens, residents have major super market chains at their disposal.
Temple Fortune, in itself a dividing line between Golders Green and ‘the Suburb’, also has excellent shopping facilities with a mix of boutiques, restaurants and quality high street brands. The Brent Cross shopping centre is 10 minutes by car.
Also for those whose lives and careers require easy access out of the city, Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb allow the driver access to the A406 (North Circular), A1 for the M1 and M25, and the M40.
However, escaping the city can be achieved on foot in NW11. Golders Hill Park at the edge of the Heath Extension boasts its own zoo, family play area, putting green, pristine country garden and bandstand. For those in search of something a little more rugged Hampstead Garden Suburb’s Big and Little Woods should supply the answer. Big Wood also boasts an open air theatre staging productions throughout the summer months. Furthermore, The Dollis Valley Green Walk that runs between Hampstead Heath and Totteridge takes in a large strip of ‘the Suburb’ meaning that the country is never more than a walk away.