Yale Court

Yale Court brochure, West Hampstead
Yale Court, West Hampstead
Yale Court, West Hampstead

We know Yale Court

Yale Court was built in 1904 on the former West End Hall Estate and named after the American university. It was originally planned by Edward Cave, the great mansion block builder, and was seen through by his son, Charles.

Yale Court residents are first recorded in the Hampstead Electoral Register for 1904/5.

Shortly after it was built Yale Court was described as: ‘a block of eight self-contained flats of modern construction in red brick with stone dressings. The building is about 10 feet above the pavement level with access for tradespeople, coal shed and service lifts. Electric light is installed. Each flat has four rooms, kitchen, bath, WC’. The drains were also described as ‘modern’.

Initially, blocks within Yale Court had different owners. Flats 1-16 were owned by the Public Trustee, flats 49-56 and 65-72 were owned by Augustus Percival Bartley, and Earnest Owers owned flats 17-48, 57-64 and 81-88! Originally, the flats were let out on short tenancies ranging from one to six years starting from 1904, together with one furnished weekly tenancy.

In 1917, 18 Yale Court was advertised as a ‘newly decorated, comfortably furnished flat, sitting room, 2 bed, kitchen, bath (h & c), 2 ½ guineas (£2.10)’.

Early residents ranged between a dance-hall operator, an Army officer, and a chief officer in the merchant navy.

In 1910 Lester Rosenthal of 49 Yale Court applied for a Licence for Music and Dancing at the ‘Electric Palace’ at 532 Oxford Street, in his ‘occupation’.

In 1923 came a gruesome report of the mysterious death of a former resident of Yale Court, Alice Hilda Middleton, the wife of a chief officer in the merchant navy. Mr Middleton’s duties involved long absences. Alice had lived in a flat at Yale Court on an allowance of £18 a month that her husband gave her. She then met Cecil Maltby, a tailor, and when her husband was next away, she gave up the flat and the allowance to live with Cecil Maltby in his house in Marylebone. It was there that her body was later found.

In 1930s Nathan Lewin of Yale Court acted as a character witness for Mr Rickards, an umbrella manufacturer charged with conspiracy to cheat and defraud an insurance company. Rickards had supplied funds to Nathan Lewin to buy goods in Italy.

The residents of Yale Court have over the years been keen letter writers: In 1909 Jasper Kemmis of 88 Yale Court wrote to The Times about packages undelivered by the Post Office!

In 1923 R M Lister of 22 Yale Court had three letters published: the first was about the advantages of having ‘fast omnibuses’ run by the London General Omnibus Company; the second letter was about why the State should bear part of the landlords’ losses from the current rent strike due to the confusion caused by faulty legislation; and the third letter concerned alleviating unemployment through drainage schemes in rural areas.

A long-term resident at 59 Yale Court, G Gneditch, also had three letters published in The Times, between 1953 and 1965. Their topics ranged from the rebuilding of the City of London – especially St Paul’s – after the Second World War, to disorderly bus queues, through to the lethargy of the public in visiting museums and galleries.

Honeybourne Road was built in 1898, and is first mentioned in the 1903 Street Directory. The name of the road recalls the Worcestershire village of Honeybourne. Victorian and Edwardian builders in Hampstead chose names that gave the impression of a genteel and rustic, and therefore desirable, place to live.

The Property Ombudsman