South of Hampstead Is Belsize Park, an affluent area located 3.4 miles (5.5km) north-west of Charring Cross and is located on the Northern Line of the Underground. Camden Town and Primrose Hill are only a short walk away and the shops, restaurants and cafe’s on Haverstock Hill create a lively feel to the area.
Belsize Park is in the Hampstead & Kilburn Constituency and the present MP is Glenda Jackson. The name is derived from French bel assis meaning ‘well situated’. The manor of Belize dates back to 1317. Although not named on the Geographers’ London Atlas, the area has many thoroughfares bearing its name: Belsize Avenue, Belsize Court, Belsize Gardens, Belsize Grove, Belsize Lane, Belsize Mews, Park (the road), Belsize Park Gardens, Belsize Place, Belsize Square and Belsize Terrace. The name comes from the 17th century manor house and parkland (built by Daniel O’Neill for his wife, the countess of Chesterfield) which once stood on the site. The estate built up between 1852 and 1878, by which time it extended to Haverstock Hill. After World War I, the construction of blocks of flats began, and now a great many of the larger houses are also converted into flats.
In World War II, a large underground air-raid shelter was built here and its entrance can still be seen near the tube station at Downside Crescent. The area on Haverstock Hill north of Belsize Park underground station up to Hampstead Town Hall and including part of a primary school near the Royal Free Hospital was heavily bombed. When the area was rebuilt, the opportunity was taken to widen the pavement and build further back from the road.
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