Childrens Paddling Corner, Hampstead Heath. The Cockney Child's "Sea-Side" (c.1907)

Postcard. Postally unused.


Star Series. Published by G. D. & D., London.


Bought from an eBay seller in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


"Enormous crowds gathered in Hampstead on bank holidays, and a large funfair was also put on for revellers. By the beginning of the 20th century the scene had grown more respectable. Less theft and rowdiness was reported than in the 19th century. ... Hampstead Heath held the most famous bank holiday festivities in London. On Easter Monday 1910, 200,000 people came to celebrate on the heath, 50,000 of them arriving by train." -


I wonder, is this Whitestone Pond, or a corner of the Highgate Ponds? [UPDATE: Location of the Children's Paddling Corner identified as a corner of the Vale of Health pond by BigPhil61. See comments.]


NOTE: This post has been referenced by Carole Cadwalladr in her review of the book Taking the Waters by Caitlin Davies for The Guardian (Sunday 20 May 2012). Should I point out the journalist has confused the 1900s with the 19th century? :)

  • pellethepoet 4y

    Childrens Paddling Corner, Hampstead Heath. The Cockney Child's
  • Penlinken 4y

    Awesome, thak you.
  • 10101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010 4y

    I think the websites right that it is Whitestone Pond, it looks as if there's a road next to it.
  • pellethepoet 4y

    10101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010 Thanks .MiDSON. I think you're probably right.
  • pellethepoet 4y

    from SUMMONED BY BELLS by John Betjeman
    My urge was to encase in rhythm and rhyme
    The things I saw and felt (I could not think).
    And so, at sunset, off to Hampstead Heath
    I went with pencil and with writing-pad
    And stood tip-toe upon a little hill,
    Awaiting inspiration from the sky.
    “Look! there’s a poet!”, people might exclaim
    On footpaths near. The muse inspired my pen:
    The sunset tipped with gold St. Michael’s church,
    Shouts of boys bathing came from Highgate Ponds,
    The elms that hid the houses of the great
    Rustled with mystery, and dirt-grey sheep
    Grazed in the foreground; but the lines of verse
    Came out like parodies of A & M.
    The gap between my feelings and my skill
    Was so immense, I wonder I went on.
  • BigPhil61 3y

    I think it's the Vale of Health. The topography doesn't look quite right for Whitestone Pond. The Upper left background might be retouched but I don't think Highgate is that much higher than Whitestone Pond, if at all. I tried to post a precise Google Maps link but rather annoyingly flickr told me I was spamming... Sigh. I shall try again.
  • BigPhil61 3y

    OK Here's a try. The more I look at the photo and recall my own childhood, mostly spent on the heath the more certain I am that this is indeed a corner of the Vale of Health pond:
  • BigPhil61 3y

    Ah it worked, open for discussion!
  • pellethepoet 3y

    BigPhil61 Excellent! The exact location had been bugging me for some time. There are enough old photos of the Vale of Health here that show the same corner from various angles, including the lamppost and fence. And I've just found an old ebay auction, that confirms that the Children's Paddling Corner was a corner of the Vale of Health pond! Thank you!
  • beachcomberaustralia 3y

    pellethepoet [typo - Vale of Health x 2 - not easy to read!] So glad you have found the right location - that water must have been putrid after so many cockney feet.
  • pellethepoet 3y

    beachcomberaustralia [Whoops! Typos fixed! But someone needs to tell the Flickr map ...]
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