History of Belsize Park
The origins of Belsize Park dates back to the original Manor of Belsize c. 1300.
The location of Belsize Park is North West London in the London Borough of Camden apx 3.5 miles north west of Charring Cross. Belsize Park is surounded by the neighbouring areas of Hampstead, Camden Town, Kentish Town, South End Green, Gospel Oak and Primrose Hill. The name ‘Belsize’ derives from the French 'bel assis' which means 'beautifully situated'.
Although not specifically named on the Geographers' London Atlas, the area has many thoroughfares bearing the name: Belsize Avenue, Belsize Court, Belsize Crescent, Belsize Gardens, Belsize Grove, Belsize Lane, Belsize Mews, Belsize Park (the road itself), Belsize Park Gardens, Belsize Place, Belsize Square, and Belsize Terrace. The name comes from the original 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 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 as such. The full history of the estate may be seen referred to below.
In World War II, one of the large underground air-raid shelters was built here and can 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 re-built, the opportunity was taken to widen the pavement and re-build further back from the road.
It is a lively area and there are many restaurants, pubs and cafés along Haverstock Hill and also England's Lane. It is more spacious than Hampstead Village, with wider roads. Hampstead Heath is a 10–12 minutes' walk. Primrose Hill Park is 5 minutes' walk from England's Lane and provides some of the best views of Central London. Nearby in Chalk Farm is a famous piece of Banksy stencil graffiti. This isn’t the original version as this section of wall has been painted over several times only for the stencil to reappear. The stencil is apparently protected by Camden Council and the Roundhouse which is why it keeps on getting retouched and repaired.
Many celebrities reside within the location of Belsize Park. Several of the areas restaurants and public houses have for many years been identified as local haunts for our ever increasing thespian community.