Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Best of the D.C: My Favourite Walk

This post first appeared in November 2008.

An occasional series in which guides (and walkers) tell of their favourite London Walks. Here’s Richard III on Old Hampstead Village:

“I guide over forty London Walks, but Hampstead is my favourite. John Constable did over 100 studies of the Hampstead sky and painted the Heath many times. He lived in view of the Admiral's House, named for a Lord Barton who purchased a commission in his majesty's armed forces. Handing over a wad of money, he became Admiral Barton. This was all well and good until, three weeks later, he was given a ship and told: go and fight the French. Soon after learning which end of the ship was the front and which the back (important things to know before setting sail) he found himself in conflict with a heavily armed fleet of enemy ships. The French duly captured Barton and demanded a huge ransom for his return. Amazingly, the government coughed up. Upon his return, he was put on court martial and given a terrible punishment: suspension on half pay. He retired to Hampstead and built his now famous house (as captured by Constable, pictured) to remind him of his ship. Join me on Wednesday at 2.00 p.m. at Hampstead tube, or on Saturday evening at 7.00 p.m. for the Hampstead Pub Walk to find out what Barton did when he came to live in it.”

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