The changed Situation after 1918

There is a fundamental difference, both in architecture and in landscaping between the earlier part of the Garden Suburb and the later part which was laid out after 1918 under the direction of J C S Soutar. This is only partly due to the superiority of Unwin's ability over Soutar's. It is due far more to the decision by the Old Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust and the co-partnership companies to relinquish the most important social and physical ideals which had guided the Garden Suburb's planners before the First World  War, largely as a result of the inflation of building costs in 1919-20.

Apart from the completion of areas laid out earlier, the development of the Garden Suburb after 1918 consisted almost entirely of conventional houses for sale. There was no attempt to create a socially balanced community, even though that had been achieved to a remarkable extent in the earlier part. This renunciation of social idealism was paralleled by a surrender of the architectural and landscaping values.

The Old Trust took additional land at Turner's Wood and Winnington Road on lease from the Church Commissioners in 1930. Co-partnership Tenants absorbed Hampstead Heath Extension Tenants and Oakwood Tenants in 1930, and five years later in 1935  Hampstead Tenants and Second Hampstead Tenants. With both these amalgamations dividends on rents disappeared. The houses were being built for sale and not for letting. In 1939 Co-partnership Tenants was converted into a company under the Companies Act, and in 1954 it failed in a bid to acquire a majority holding in the Old Trust. The bid was made since the leases held from the Trust were perpetually renewable with rent revisions every 99 years and it was thought  likely that in 2006 they would have to face a change from the old subsidised ground rents to economic ground rents.

In 1957 Co-partnership Tenants changed its name to Suburb Leaseholds Limited. The Church Commissioners sold their respective freeholds to the Old Trust and to Suburb Leaseholds in 1959. In the same year the five directors of Suburb Leaseholds accepted an offer from Metrovincial Properties who were later taken over by City Centre Properties. Suburb Leaseholds became a subsidiary with the principal objects of a property investment company. In 1961 the Old Trust contracted to grant a 2, 000 year lease on most of the land in their ownership to Suburb Leaseholds Limited, subject to a number of covenants. As a result of granting the 2,000 year lease, the Old Trust was left in possession of a substantial capital sum which exceeded the maximum entitlement of its shareholders in any liquidation. It was decided that the Old Trust should be placed in liquidation in order to release the surplus funds for the benefit of the Garden Suburb.

New Trust and Charitable Trust

The basis of the organisations set up to administer these funds was agreed between the Old Trust, Suburb Leaseholds, the Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association and the Hampstead Garden Suburb Protection Society. The agreement provided that two separate Trust Companies should be formed: The New Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust Limited and the Hampstead Garden Suburb Charitable Trust Limited. The reason for dividing the duties between two companies was to ensure that a position should never arise where there would be a conflict of interest between the primary duty to preserve the character of the Suburb (the New Trust) and the subsidiary duty to provide the maximum possible funds for charitable purposes (the Charitable Trust). The surplus income of the New Trust is passed on to the Charitable Trust. In 1968 the New Trust and Charitable Trust came into being and the Old Trust went into liquidation.

Ashdale Land and Property Company

In October 1969 the whole of the interest of Suburb Leaseholds Limited was sold to Ashdale Land and Property Company Limited and the covenants entered into by Suburb Leaseholds Limited on acquisition of their lease have been passed on to Ashdale. There are general absolute covenants that the lessee should use its best endeavours to "preserve the present character and amenities" and qualified covenants that the lessee would not, without the consent of the lessor -

  • carry out any rebuilding or development;
  • allow any public house;
  • use residential property for any other purpose.
but -
  • the lessor cannot unreasonably withhold consent;
  • the lessor is entitled in this to have regard to such town planning principles and practices as at the time when such consent is requested are reasonably regarded by the lessor as representing and being in accordance with the best opinion on town planning matters.

The changed Situation after 1918
Related Collection