Green City exhibition, historic photos Hampstead Heath, 2022

Published:
1:11 PM August 6, 2022



Scenes of sheep being driven across Hampstead Heath, and children paddling in the ponds, are part of an outdoor exhibition of historic prints and photographs on Hampstead Heath this month.

Green City: A Visual History of London’s Parks and Open Spaces has been put together by Heath managers The City of London Corporation using material from the London Metropolitan Archives.

The travelling exhibition highlights the vital role played by the capital’s green spaces, and will run from August 15-31 on South End Green before moving on to Epping Forest.


A view of two people herding sheep on Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, c.1930. Parliament Hill


A view of two people herding sheep on Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, c.1930. Parliament Hill was acquired for the nation in 1889.

– Credit: London Met Archives

Curated by the Clerkenwell-based London Metropolitan Archives, the 100 photos and prints are displayed on freestanding four-sided billboards and date from the 1560s to the 1980s – taking in playgrounds, picnics, fairground rides, concerts and Sunday football kickabouts.

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage, and Libraries Committee, Wendy Hyde said the exhibition celebrates the way Londoners have embraced and enjoyed the “great outdoors” since the sixteenth century, most recently during the pandemic when the capitals’ parks and open spaces played a hugely important role.

“It feels entirely appropriate that an exhibition that celebrates the great outdoors is being held outdoors,” she said. “Over the centuries, our parks and open spaces have played a variety of roles and have become very important to us, never more so than over the last two years, so ‘Green City’ will prove to be a fitting tribute to them.”


Livestock are driven across Hampstead Heath in this dramatic view by Charles Marshal from 1832, engraved by David Lucas.


Livestock are driven across Hampstead Heath in this dramatic view by Charles Marshal from 1832, engraved by David Lucas.

– Credit: London Met Archives

CoLC’s head of digital services at London Metropolitan Archives, Laurence Ward, said: “The sheer number of images of parks and open spaces preserved in our archives demonstrates the importance of green space to Londoners, and we enjoyed rising to the challenge of selecting 100 of our best historical photographs and prints.

“These images offer us an extraordinary glimpse of our Tudor, Georgian, and Victorian ancestors and the role that green spaces played in their lives – as a place for sport, art, entertainment, work, and relaxation.”


A London County Council Tramways Poster advertising services to Hampstead and Parliament Hill Fields, 1924 by Muriel Jackson.


A London County Council Tramways Poster advertising services to Hampstead and Parliament Hill Fields, created in 1924 by Muriel Jackson.

– Credit: London Met Archives

Green City can be found at the entrance to the Heath on South End Green near Hampstead Underground Station from August 15-31.

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