Putting Hampstead on paper

I HAVE TOLD SEVERAL friends that I am busy writing a book about Hampstead in North London. Hearing this, each one of them has said something like “Aren’t there already so many books about the place?” Well, those words are hardly encouraging. Had I been writing a love story or a book about WW2, they would not have expressed any sentiments about the untold number of already published love stories and books about WW2.

I wondered how many books there are about Hampstead, non-fiction rather than fiction. I searched for “Hampstead” in the book section on Amazon’s UK website and found that there are not more than about 40 different non-fiction titles relating to Hampstead rather than only Hampstead Heath or Hampstead Garden Suburb. Of these titles, 11 were published since 2000, and most of these before 2015. The rest were published before 2000, and of these at least 16 were published before 1980. Since 2015, only 3 books, which deal mostly with Hampstead, have been published. Therefore, although there are many books about Hampstead, few of them have been published in the last six years. So, maybe it is time that another one should appear in print.

While researching the book I am writing, I have consulted many of the books still available on Amazon and many others which have chapters about Hampstead, as well as a wealth of information that can be found on the Internet. I am making much use of what I have discovered from these sources and from my own observations, and I believe that when it is completed my book will contain a distinctive combination of facts and observations, which differs from presentations in other books about the locality.  

The greater part of the book’s subject matter will be about Hampstead and its ‘satellites’, North End, Swiss Cottage, Belsize Park, and West Hampstead. I am also including shorter, detailed sections on Highgate and Golders Green. I am still at an early stage in the book’s production, but I do not feel deterred by observations that my friends have made that imply that I am simply ‘sending coals to Newcastle’, by writing yet another book about Hampstead. Time will tell.

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