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On Hampstead Heath

Il luogo più romantico di Londra? La collina di Hampstead Heath. Un pezzo di vera campagna dentro la città da cui si gode una vista mozzafiato. Riusciranno gli illustri residenti a proteggerla dai nuovi progetti edilizi? Ce ne parla Thomas Radice, membro del comitato per la promozione e la salvaguardia di questo incantevole luogo… By Mark Worden - LANGUAGE LEVEL C1 (ADVANCED)

Thomas Radice (Standard British accent)

So it is now one of the largest open spaces within the boundaries of Greater London and far and away the largest within easy reach from Central London. I mean, it’s only about, I would say, eight kilometres from Central London, easily accessible on the Tube and by buses, and what is so special about Hampstead Heath is it is... it’s not like a... a formal park: for example, it is not like Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens or Regent’s Park, it has a much more natural appearance, and a lot of it is... is like... like countryside in... in some ways and indeed bits of the Heath were, until the early 20th century, were stretches of farmland. And the... Hampstead itself, the village or town of Hampstead, until the late 19th century, was a... was a little country... or a country village or small town separated from London and, as a result, a lot... a lot of wealthy and also artistic people settled in Hampstead because the... it was so... so clean, the air was fresh, and to escape from Central London which was, in many respects, a fairly unpleasant city to live in, with frightful... this would have been until the 1850s, 1860s, with totally inadequate water supplies, public sewerage systems were a disgrace, and so Hampstead was one of the places where people who had the means to do so, settled either to live there all the time, or they could travel into London quite easily, certainly from the 1860s, 1870s onwards, when there were good railway connections into Central London.  

(Thomas Radice was talking to Mark Worden)

(Thomas Radice is a committee member of the Heath & Hampstead Society. To find out more, click here)

The interview continues in the June issue of Speak Up, click here to listen to it.