This busy back alley winds through Hampstead with lots of steps and a distinctive chimney landmark to look out for.
It’s also a remnant of the earliest days of Hampstead turning from a small village into a town, as about half the alley shows up in John Roque’s map of London from 1746. At the time, it was a path through fields with a few houses dotted along, but still primarily arable.
Of course, the area developed quickly after that, and by the 1860s, the fields had all been filled in, and what is then known as Brewhouse Lane was fully formed as the alley we can see today. But with the wrong name.
The name changed sometime in the early 1890s as the last newspaper reference to Brewhouse Lane I can find is from October 1890, while the earliest to Streatley Place is in July 1892, so the name changed sometime between those two dates.
Mostly lined with small houses, the most distinctive feature of the alley was the back of the St John Hampstead Workhouse. That was founded in 1800 to provide accommodation for the unemployed and was rebuilt in 1848 as a much larger building. In 1869 a small infirmy was added to the workhouse, and over the decades that grew until it took over the whole site and became the New End Hospital. The hospital finally closed in 1986, and the whole site developed as housing.
Today, the back buildings of the workhouse/hospital still exist, lining the alley as converted flats, but at the end of the row is a very noticeable reminder of the former hospital – a tall chimney which sits above the former boiler house. No longer in use, it’s preserved as a local landmark.
Opposite the former hospital buildings is the New End Primary School, which was built in 1906 with a grand Edwardian Baroque building on land that had been housing but cleared for the school.
The alley seems to have been rather run down in the 1950s, with news reports complaining about anti-social behaviour and three slums in the alley being demolished for being unsuitable to live in.
These days, it’s a much cleaner passageway lined with houses and cottages and nicely paved with large flagstones and cobbled drains.
A much more recent addition is some street art of a posh pigeon.