Author: Julie, 21/07/2016
Dartmouth Park is a district of north London in the London Borough of Camden, on the slope of the hill that rises up to Highgate from Kentish Town. On its west side, it borders Parliament Hill Fields.
Dartmouth Park is named after the Earl of Dartmouth who bought the land in the middle of the 18th century. The 5th Earl of Dartmouth instigated some major house building in the late 19th century, and the area has continued to undergo development since that time.
By then the need to increase the supply of fresh water to serve London’s expanding population meant that water companies were building new facilities. Two covered reservoirs were constructed on Dartmouth Park Hill in 1855 and connected to its new waterworks and pumping station by Stoke Newington reservoirs. The street named York Rise, which runs through the centre of Dartmouth Park, is in a slight valley which follows the course of the River Fleet, now underground. At the foot of York Rise the river crosses the railway tracks in a large iron pipe.
Although the name designates a district and not a park per se, there is a small but attractive park off Dartmouth Park Hill, now named ‘Dartmouth Park’. It was laid out on the edge of the reservoirs and opened to the public in 1972. Even as much of it is taken up by the reservoir tank, there is also a children’s playground. The land slopes steeply to the north and the east of the reservoirs, which are now covered with lush grassland. The top of the slope gives an enchanting bird’s eye view over south-east London.
Dartmouth Park is a quiet residential area with a mixture of residents, from young professionals and families to retired couples. To the north lies the Holly Lodge Estate and then Highgate. Dartmouth Park is separated from Kentish Town to the south by the Gospel Oak to Barking railway line. Housing in Dartmouth Park is a mixture of detached and semi-detached houses, late Victorian and Edwardian mansion flats (notable examples include Brookfield Mansions and the blocks in Lissenden Gardens), and some post war housing such as Haddo House. The former park on the area covered what is now Waterlow Park and Highgate Cemetery.