ARCHWAY Northern line (High Barnet)
LONDON TUBE RAMBLES WALK
Waterlow Park and Highgate Cemetery
To begin this interesting wander, which takes about an hour, turn left out of the Tube station towards Highgate Hill. You should allow considerably more time if you wish to explore Highgate Cemetery (see below).
The area immediately surrounding the Tube is not endearing, but as soon as you get to the top of the hill you are in a different world. On the right you will see various huge institutional buildings which are part of Archway University which is connected to the Whittington hospital, a bit further along the road.The Whittington in question is Dick Whittington and a small statue of a cat sitting on a stone along the way marks the spot where, according to folk lore, in the fourteenth century a poor boy is supposed to have turned round on hearing Bow Bells ringing 'Turn again, Dick Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London'. You will realise from the links that this doesn't add up, but the story makes a great pantomime. Continue up the road, passing the great bulk of St. Joseph's retreat house and church (late Victorian).
Make your way downwards, passing the lake, until the T junction at the end of the park. Take the right hand path and go through a handsome set of gates to get to Swains Lane. Notice the pseudo Tudor chimneys of the Victorian park lodge on the right. You are now in the area of the historic Highgate Cemetery where many famous people are buried, including Karl Marx. The cemetery, in two parts, was created in 1839 (West) and extended in 1854 (East).
Neglect over the years
resulted in the growth of much natural woodland which is gradually being brought under control by volunteers - indeed the site is now a Grade II* listed park, though large parts of it, visible through railings in Swains Lane, are still creepily unkempt. For details of visiting times and entrance fees see website above. Incidentally, posting photographs of graves on websites is strongly discouraged. One monument which can be seen from the road (a few yards down from the entrance gates) marks the last resting place of the experimental photographer William Friese-Greene (1855-1921). From the website you will see that the claim on the obelisk marking the family grave that he was 'the inventor of kinematography' is somewhat exaggerated.
The startling black and white blocks of flats on the other side of the road were built by The Lady Workers' Homes Ltd. in the 1920's. They were designed to accommodate single women working as secretaries and clerks in the City and were part of the Burdett-Coutts Estate, of which more below.
At the end of the cemetery where Swains Lane bends, you will see at the corner of Chester Road the remarkable Holly Village. This gothick fantasy was built by the philanthropist and banking heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts (a most interesting life) in 1865. The ornate 'cottages' grouped round a green were designed to be a decorative feature of the Burdett-Coutts estate and were originally intended for a 'superior' kind of working person. Inevitably such enchanting dwellings were soon occupied by those higher up in the social scale.
To get back to Archway Tube walk up Chester Road,* noticing the handsome Hampstead Library where the way bends to the right. However, do not follow this, but go ahead down Raydon Street, then cross Dartmouth Park Hill at the zebra (left), going right for Anatola Road which runs by the side of a church. This is actually a path which wanders through a low-rise brick estate. At the green, take the right hand way to Vorley Road and follow this down to Junction Road. (Take care when passing the bus station.) You are now back in the less attractive part of Archway. However, there are a couple of good coffee shops over the road which you may be glad to discover.Turn left to get to Archway Tube station.
*If you fancy a stroll on Parliament Hill, continue to the end of Swains Lane, then turn left to find a crossing that will get you into the parkland.(Gospel Oak and Hampstead Heath Overground stations are situated to the south of the hill.)
Photos: (to enlarge, click on image)
St. Joseph's Church - Dick Whittington's cat
Lake, Waterlow Park
Chimneys on Victorian lodge'Lady Workers' ' flats
Entrance to Holly Village
This is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings to be found in the area covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the link above and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!