On Hampstead High Street

Week 32

Can’t think how many times I may have walked past this archway on Hampstead High Street and not turned down through the narrow passageway to see the former brewery to the rear, which is a very fine structure in yellow London stock brick but – unlike the street frontage – unlisted. Thus, last week, it was a surprise to find so much of the old Hampstead Brewery buildings extant, even including the old well (now protected by a metal cover). The yard is still cobbled, and the redeveloped mews retains a brewery-like atmosphere. Of the brewery itself not a great deal is known aside from its foundation date of 1720, rebuilding 1869, then being acquired by Reffell’s Bexley Brewery in 1931. A website tells me that the brewery moved there to use the piped water newly available in Hampstead, but that doesn’t really fit with the presence of the well. Given the number of historians living in Hampstead, I’m a little surprised to find nobody has produced a history of this site! Meanwhile back at the book, still progressing slowly through the middle ages, but should be able to drop anchor at the Georgian period in a few day’s time.

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