Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A Hidden Treasure...The Hampstead Pergola

The Pergola and Hill Garden in the West of Hampstead Heath is one of London's
hidden treasures. People often walk into it's grounds believing that they've invaded
someone's private property. But it is very much open to the public. And it does have
that look of being a secret garden. It's often been described as having a sense of faded
So it's hardly surprising that it has become a popular place for artists, film-makers
and photographers.
And it was all brought about by a wealthy philanthropist who bought the surrounding
property in 1904, and then proceeded to build a Pergola, completing it in 1906.

Up until around the mid 1990's before the major overhaul and building refurbishments,
the Pergola had fallen on hard times and many of it's pillars had collapsed and
were scattered everywhere. It had basically become an abandoned ruin. 

And so on my visit to the Pergola on Thursday on a sunny early evening I passed
at least three different groups of  film makers and fashion photographers, all taking
advantage of the early Summer evening light. And it is a popular place for fashion
shoots with it's faded grandeur setting.  I'm forever opening up a magazine
and recognizing images of where the Pergola has been used as a backdrop.


Being such a nice evening it wasn't long before I came across one of those film
crews taking advantage of the beautiful backdrop of the Pergola.
Apparently they were doing some preparatory stills for a Dance video.
And while the team were setting up for a new shot I managed to have
a quick word with the model. 

Above: Another photo shoot taking place just outside The Hill Garden.
The model being shot by a Japanese camera team cant be seen as she's
lying low in the grass.

Above: The Pond in The Hill Garden.

Below: The Hill Garden leading to The Pergola.

On a visit to The Pergola last Autumn I picked a few Honesty
seed pods (above). They're often used in dried flower displays.
I've also seen them used as part of  Christmas decorations
when they are sprayed in gold paint. But I wanted to grab
a few so I could plant them and see what happens.
In fact I just planted the seeds this week, although according
to my plant book they wont flower in the first year. 
Above: A Moonlight wreath made of Honesty seed pods.
Image via & more info at Local Harvest website.

Above:  This is the spot I took a few Honesty seed pods from at The Pergola.
And as you can see I left plenty there last Autumn so as to allow
what was left to self seed. No doubt I'll have a little look in on
them during the Summer when I'll be able to see them in
flower... a nice purple blueish colour.

Above: The first Honesty seedling broke through just yesterday.
And I only planted them about 5 days ago
having stored them away over the Winter.

Summer Roses in Golders Hill Park, The West Heath.

Above: Golders Hill Park, all part of Hampstead Heath.


  1. What an interesting place and interesting personal connection. The photos are great, both human and the Heath.

  2. Andrew, Well I do feel privileged living fairly near to these parts of Hampstead.
    And yet some Londoners might need to travel miles to get to such a big green open

    I should try and get in a smiling photo amongst those old stills.