“How Hampstead Heath
was saved” published
A story of ‘people power’ by Helen Lawrence
The campaign to save Hampstead Heath in 19th century was at the heart of what became the new conservation movement. The campaigners set up the Commons Preservation Society in 1865, (now the Open Spaces Society), and the National Trust in 1895; and they were all involved in the founding of the Hampstead Heath Protection Society in 1897– today’s Heath & Hampstead Society.
Extensive new research has uncovered layers of fresh information about this fascinating story and rediscovers the remarkable people who played their part in the battle to save London’s commons. The book examines the political and social upheavals, the cultural developments that led to a new understanding of the value of open space, and the rise of Town Planning.
It records for the first time the battles of the Heath & Hampstead Society in the 20th century when they played a significant part in the development of modern democratic accountability. In the 1970s they joined with other amenity groups to fight the London “motorway box”, and in the 1980s they had to fight a roller-coaster battle for the integrity of the Heath all over again when the Greater London Council was abolished, taking their campaign to the heart of government.
Helen Lawrence, also known as Helen Marcus, is a former Chair of the Heath and Hampstead Society. The book is published jointly by the Heath and Hampstead Society and Camden History Society, price £14.95