Maitland Park, Camden

A collection of Victorian and post-​​war estates located on the western side of Kentish Town

Fishing tackle shop, 162 Malden Road, Maitland Park

Maitland Park is named after Ebenezer Maitland, who was chairman of an orphanage that moved to Haverstock Hill in 1848. The orphanage was surrounded by open fields to its east at this time, when local landlords the Southampton family published a plan for building homes for the wealthier classes. What they actually produced was a more densely built-​​up estate for the less well-​​off.

Some of the homes were built on plots bought by working people with the help of loans from co-​​operative buildings societies such as the Friends of Labour, which opened a branch in Maitland Park in 1866. The grocers John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury opened their second shop at 159 Queen’s Crescent in 1873 and lived upstairs here until 1886.

In the 1960s many of the area’s original homes were demolished in a wave of council devel­opments, of which the largest was the Maitland Park estate.

Kentish Town City Farm was founded in 1972, when it was the first of its kind. It has subsequently served as a model in the devel­opment of the city farm movement as a whole. The farm is located on a four-​​and-​​a-​​half acre site off Grafton Road, on the edge of Gospel Oak, where it uses some original buildings from the time the railway was built.

Queen’s Crescent is one of London’s hidden cockney communities, with a street market held on Thursdays and Saturdays and plentiful independent shops. Never­theless, it is an indication of the area’s absence of amenities that the mayor of Camden cut a celeb­ratory cake when she officially opened the street’s first free cash machine in 2005.

Estate agents – and even some renegade carto­graphers – have recently begun to reinvent Maitland Park as ‘Lower Belsize Park’, in an attempt to distance the locality from Kentish Town and move it closer to Hampstead.

The political philo­sopher Karl Marx lived at addresses in Grafton Terrace and Maitland Park Road from 1856 until his death in 1883.

Postal districts: NW3 and NW5
Station: London Overground (Kentish Town West, zone 2)
Website: Queen’s Crescent community association

 

* The picture of a fishing tackle shop, Malden Road, on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Julian Osley, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-​​ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.
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