Clean lines and dirty habits: the Modernists of 1930s Hampstead

With its distinctive hilly site and unusually coherent architecture (significantly, most of it domestic rather than civic), Hampstead has always had a singular character. But it is as much a state of mind as an address. Although two of England’s greatest native artists, Keats and Constable, made it their home, over the past three centuries Hampstead has notably attracted waves of exotics: French, Spanish and Jewish. These immigrants, struggling with heavy baggage labelled ‘high culture’, have had a huge influence on the neighbourhood. Perhaps the geography and townscape — a miniature city on a hill defined by secret places, alleyways and architectural surprises, a defensible space both in terms of