Cholmley Gardens

Cholmley Gardens brochure, West Hampstead
Cholmley Gardens, West Hampstead
Cholmley Gardens, West Hampstead

We know Cholmley Gardens

Cholmley Lodge was one of the first mansions to be built in the West End when it was completed in 1813. In the early 20th century the property came under the ownership of Captain Henry Wilkes Notman, a wealthy Scot who had made his fortune in the railways.

During Captain Henry’s long residency he proved a good friend to both the mansion block and the flourishing village of West Hampstead. Not only was he responsible for acquiring more land for Cholmley Gardens, he also donated £100 to protect West End Green from development and £350 for the construction of Emmanuel Church.

In the 1930s the house was purchased by Henry Smith Bigg, the man responsible for guiding the development of the block to its current state. Bigg invested more than £1000 in enlarging and improving the block, and it was he who added the attractive portico over the main entrance.

Like many of the mansion blocks in the vicinity, Cholmley Gardens had its own special role to play in World War II. According to Dr A Grenville, a long-term resident and historian of the Association of Jewish Refugees, the flats provided refuge for a number of Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. He explains that at least four flats are still occupied by former refugees from Central Europe, as well as a considerable number of children of these immigrants – himself included.

Cholmley Gardens has attracted a host of famous residents over the years. In the mid-1930s the block was home to Naum Gabo, the renowned Russian sculptor who played a pivotal role in the development of the Constructionist movement.

A flat neighbouring Gabo’s was later occupied by Carl F Flesch, the son of a highly regarded Hungarian violinist who was responsible for setting up a highly auspicious international violin competition. Continuing this theme of high achieving Eastern Europeans, the block was also home to Elias Canetti, the Bulgarian-born novelist who was awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Cholmley Gardens is also remembered as the home of Big Band and orchestra leader Cyril Stapleton, travel author John Hillaby and the popular BBC radio presenter Alan Keith.

Today, the estate comprises of 165 flats, a number of which have private gardens. The estate also boasts substantial communal gardens, two tennis courts, a children’s playground and private parking.

The Property Ombudsman