Admiral's House, Admiral's Walk, The
John & Winifred moved to Admiral's House in 1916 after living at 15, Brompton Square for the two years following their marriage. John had been advised by his doctor to find a house with a garden so that when his eyes prevented him from writing he would be able to work outside and not wander around busy London streets. For a while Winifred ran her 'Cintra' fashion business from the upper floors. The house had been re-named Grove House during their time but was still known to them and other local residents as Admiral's House. It was built during the reign of George III and occupied by eccentric former naval officer called Fountain North. He constructed two decks on the roof, a main deck and a quarter deck, and mounted cannons all round them from which he fired salutes on the King's birthday and to celebrate Naval victories. His cabin, built like the stern of a ship, still existed, high up in the air. There was an acre of garden, since built upon. Through the garden ran a tunnel which was said to communicate with the Heath, and was alleged the escape-way of Dick Turpin. The house currently carries a brown plaque stating 'Sir George Gilbert Scott 1811 - 1878 Architect lived here'
Advert for the sale of Admiral's House October 1st 1925
(1776-1837), evidently fascinated by the house,
'The Romantic House at Hampstead'.
The Grove, Hampstead c.1821-2
Winifred & John's neighbours included John & Ada Galsworthy, living in Grove Lodge, once the home-farm to Admiral's House. Although neither could read each others books Galsworthy & Sir John Fortescue would go for long tramps over Hampstead Heath never lacking in subjects of conversation. The Silver Spoon by Galsworthy, published in 1926, is dedicated to John Fortescue. Sir Edward Elgar also lived nearby and would sometimes ask his neighbours to make up an audience when trying out a new composition.
Hampstead is the local station for Admiral's House and often mentioned by Winifred when talking about her journey to and from the city, particularly when her 'Cintra' business moved down to Sackville St. In There's Rosemary There's Rue, she describes walking home from the station on dark winter evenings and seeing the welcoming lights of the house waiting to greet her after toiling up the hill. The first picture dates from around 1910 but is much as it would have looked in Winifred's time. The interior of the station is remarkably well preserved.
The line was completed in June 1907 and is about 200ft below ground at this point. The first train was started by David Lloyd George, then President of the Board of Trade. Travel was free on that day and 140,000 took advantage!
Pictures - P. Riley - Tate Gallery