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Hampstead in the 1930s - A walking tour and visits

A walk through Modernist Hampstead.

Visits 2 Willow Road and the Isokon building.

Private view of selected items from the era at Burgh House.

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27 May 2020 £220 Book this tour

  • © Isokon Building (Lawn Road Flats), 1934.
    The Isokon Building, Hampstead © Nick Kane.
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Overview

As the abundance of wall plaques in the area demonstrates, visual artists have been drawn to the physical and cultural attractions of Hampstead since the late eighteenth century. This London day, however, concentrates on artistic life in Hampstead in the 1930s, the period in which it occupied a unique place in the story of British art and architecture. This was in large measure due to the number of talented émigrés from Nazi-dominated Europe who found refuge here, and the British individuals who welcomed and worked alongside them.

A private view of selected items from the era at Hampstead museum’s collection at Burgh House, and an introductory lecture, set the scene. It was during the 1930s that such residents as Paul Nash, Roland Penrose and Henry Moore made the area the hub of avant-garde activities in the UK. Both the abstract and surrealist camps were well represented and modernist architects Wells Coates and Maxwell Fry also lived here during this period. A walk through Frognal is testament to their influence and work, and there is a visit to Hungarian-born Erno Goldfinger’s pioneering home at nearby 2 Willow Road.   

By special arrangement, we visit the former garage of the Isokon building in Lawn Road   which has been converted into a small gallery devoted to the colourful history of these flats whose tenants included Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, as well as Agatha Christie and a significant number of Communist spies. The Mall Studios were home to what Herbert Read described as a ‘gentle nest of artists’, among them Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. For a brief but significant spell, Piet Mondrian lived just around the corner.

The day is led by lecturer, writer and curator specialising in 20th century art, Monica Bohm-Duchen who was born in Hampstead and has lived there most of her life.

Image of Monica Bohm-Duchen

Monica Bohm-Duchen

Lecturer, writer and curator specialising in 20th-century art. She studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before graduating in English Literature and History of Art from UCL, and with an MA in Art History from the Courtauld. She has lectured for the National Gallery, Tate, Royal Academy, Courtauld, Sotheby’s and Birkbeck College. Her latest book, Art & the Second World War (2013), is published by Lund Humphries in association with Princeton University Press.

Start

10.00am at Hampstead Underground Station.

 

Finish

c. 5.30pm in central Hampstead just a short walk from Hampstead Underground Station.


Price 

£220. This includes morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch, admission charges and donations, one taxi journey.

More information about London Days gift vouchers

 

How strenuous?

There is a fair amount of walking on steep streets and you are on your feet most of the day at the sites visited.

Are you fit enough to join the tour?

 

Group size

Maximum 14 participants.

 

Cancellation

We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to info@martinrandall.co.uk. We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs. 

Map: London Days.

'A truly memorable day's introduction to Martin Randall Travel. I look forward to my next trip, be it another London Day or further afield.'

'Monica's introductory lecture was really very good indeed and set the scene for what was to unfold during the remainder of the day.'