Posted on Monday 15 January 2018 by Charles Harvey
For some years, Brian has led a ride visiting blue plaques in Camden and I have led one that visits blue plaques in Barnet. Last year we combined the two rides. It went well so we did it again this year.
13 riders met up by Finchley Road station at 10.00 and headed up a very steep slope that one had to push up. Our first stop was the plaque to Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who helped found both the Fabian Society and the London School of Economics. It would take pages to list every plaque, memorial or grave we looked at but those commemorated included Sigmund Freud, Edward Elgar, John Constable, Cecil Sharp, Robert Louis Stevenson, Evelyn Waugh, Harold Wilson, Tony Hancock and Ralph Richardson.
The route climbed up through Hampstead Village to the Whitestone Pond then down through North End to lunch at the café at Golders Hill Park. We then rode round the original part of Hampstead Garden Suburb and the Hampstead Heath Extension before pushing our bikes up a steep path on Hampstead Heath to near the Spaniards Inn. We returned to the Whitestone Pond and then descended past the plaque commemorating Paul Robeson’s time in London. A few doors away, I spotted another plaque to an Alfred Reynolds, a Hungarian philosopher and poet that even the Hungarian on our ride had never heard of. Can anyone enlighten me on how he came to get a blue plaque? We finished at the café at the Camden Arts Centre, close to our original start point.
The ride seems to have gone down well and Brian and I hope to lead another blue plaque ride next year. No doubt, we will tweak the route slightly. One thing we will change is to add to the entry on the rides list the advice to bring extra warm clothing. The ride is inevitably a stop start one as we stop to look at blue plaques and hear about the people they commemorate. So one does not build up heat as one would on a continuous ride. Two riders left the ride, one in the morning and one after lunch, as they were getting too cold.