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Book Review & Competition: Highgate from Old Photographs by Michael Hammerson

book about highgateHighgate already has good reason to be grateful to Michael Hammerson.  A very active member of the Highgate Society, he keeps a careful eye on planning applications and proposed alterations to the fabric of the village and, where necessary, musters the opposition.  His knowledge of Highgate past and present is second to none.

His Highgate from Old Photographs puts us further in his debt.  He remarks in his introduction on the lack of such books devoted solely to Highgate – most include Hampstead and sometimes Muswell Hill.  The 180 photos he has chosen from his own collection show Highgate between around 1870 and 1930.  Many are postcards and often never before published.  For each he has written a generous and informative caption that identifies the view and greatly increases our pleasure in it.

Many are familiar and immediately recognisable.  At first sight Highgate seems much as it was then and little changed.  The same buildings line the High Street; the view from the top of West Hill of the Grove to the left, the Old Hall to the right and, in the centre, the Flask pub with its triangle of green is similar to what it was 1905.  But look more closely and you notice many more large trees, traffic free roads and streets, the occasional horse and cart, one of the ill-fated Highgate Hill cable cars.

Michael Hammerson’s pleasure in Highgate is tempered by his fears for its future.  He appeals to us to react when insensitive, unwelcome development threatens.  His book makes us more aware of what we have and enjoy but could all too easily let slip away.

Hilary Laurie

Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution


Amberley Books is offering a 20% discount on purchases of Highgate from Old Photographs. Visit http://www.amberleybooks.com/shop/article_9781445618388/Highgate.html

1. Add to basket

2. Continue to Checkout

3. You will see a ‘voucher code’ field – put in HIGH and click ‘ADD VOUCHER’

4. It should take 20% from the book price


We have two copies of Highgate from Old Photographs to give away. To be in with a chance of winning one all you need to do is email your name and address to [email protected] by 20th December. All entries will go into a hat and two lucky winners drawn.

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