Observations - Parliament Hill, Hampstead, and the Victorian/Edwardian Photographs, c1905-1910
by Matthew John Lindsay - (2013)
The Victorian Photograph of Children upon the grounds of Parliament Hill beneath and to the right of Kite Hill intrigued me immensely, so much so that on a couple of occasions I took some time out to visit the scene so I could get to capture the essence of the place.
I felt in a way that I was travelling back in time imagining what it was like back then as I stood at various area locations of where the children themselves most definitely walked ran and played so very long ago.
I must admit it was my emotional and morbid curiosity which also intrigued me about the photograph because obviously the children seen within the picture are now long gone from this world and perhaps their children and then their children’s children are too.
Well, as you can see from my introduction I was overwhelmed at the photographic evidence from a time this picture was taken, especially when I found out for myself just how much or how little the area had changed since then to now (June 20th, 2013).
My imagination had been ignited and my thoughts were speedy; I was hooked and I didn’t want to let go. I investigated the scene feeling like a modern day time traveler, a Sherlock Holmes if you will .
I wish to add here how amazing it feels to be completely the opposite of bored when out adventuring on one's own upon a seek and find mission with an intuitive drive as a freedom device to take in all that there was to discover and then to share these photographs accompanied with a text of my experiences.
My Photographs were taken with a mobile Phone and although they are not the brightest or clearest of photographs they do however shed some light at least upon the historic brilliance of the original'. The bandstand is now gone but the ponds are still there, off in the distance hidden by the trees .
The photograph on the left shows where the bandstand once stood and on measuring the distance with my minds eye, I found that by looking down from half way up parliament hill towards the location of the bandstand, it revealed that it was situated just to the left of the pathway beyond it.
The pathway divides the two ponds, visible in the original photograph. Now all that remains of where the bandstand once stood is a hole full of muddy water.
I guess this is due to a large chunk of concrete having been removed from its inner base, whether the bandstand was removed due to the structure being old fragile and dangerous. I have yet to find out but I guess this was probably the case.
I did read somewhere that the bandstand was still in use in the 1950s which meant it had survived the bombing raids of both world wars. Discovering this hole was the ultimate connection piece I needed to convince me that "yes indeed ! I was where I intended to be."
The photograph on the right was shot looking to the left whilst heading down the hill and shows where the foundation of the bandstand stood. If you look carefully you will notice the indentations in the ground revealing the circular shapes of where the bandstand stood and of the outer circle where the fencing would have ringed that particular area in. The yellow flowers just outside the outer circle are buttercups and if you refer back to the colourized painting or photograph you will notice that buttercups were also present in the field in 1910, too
Upon careful examination of the two photographs above, one shows a pathway heading uphill seeming to reveal what would have been the original pathway towards the bandstand. The photograph shows that the pathway ends at an area of where the wild grasslands begin.
The wild grasslands now cover over where the original pathway would have extended along and then up into the circular fenced in area where the bandstand was once present.
The other photograph again shows the very same pathway but now heading down the hill towards the trees near where the ponds are to be found. Yes indeed! I was where I intended to be.
Final Thoughts - I wish to thank whoever it was that took such a great and touching photograph long ago in the 1900’s and I wish also to thank the person who uploaded it on to the internet for all of us to share and enjoy - Thank You.
Matthew John Lindsay (Mattesquire345@hotmail.co.uk)