Goldschmidt & Howland obtained the enviable position on the corner of Heath Street & Church Row and still occupies the building today
Louis Goldschmidt flies a reporter in a bi-plane up Fitzjohns Avenue where every house bore a sign ‘Sold by Goldschmidt & Howland’
50th Anniversary Party
Featured in John Betjeman's "Summoned by Bells"
Goldschmidt & Howland opens 5th branch in West Hampstead
125th Year Anniversary
Goldschmidt & Howland opens 6th branch in Camden
In 1888 the transformation from “Hampstead in Middlesex” to “Hampstead in London” became reality when, under the Town Improvement Scheme, the alleyways and courtyards cluttering Hampstead Village were cleared, Heath Street was extended and Fitzjohns Avenue created across green fields to provide better access to the West End for the expanding population of North West London.
With the arrival of the tube at the turn of the century and continuing development in Hampstead, Highgate and the Garden Suburb at the end of the War, the twenties and thirties brought further prosperity to the area. As the population in Hampstead Village and neighbouring suburbs grew, the green fields between Hampstead Heath extension and Highgate Village were cleared and built over.
Thus came about the creation of the group of roads known as Kenwood, those off Hampstead Lane between Winnington Road and Stormont Road, which offer some of the finest houses to have been built on the fertile fringes of Hampstead Heath this century.
This transformation of the Georgian hilltop village of Hampstead to the suburban metropolis of London was now virtually complete. Those inter-war years were a busy period for Goldschmidt & Howland, which already handled sales and lettings over a wide part of North West London.
Hampstead and the Garden Suburb remaining the centre of the firm's activities throughout the years with the detailed local knowledge of its dedicated staff put to proper and profitable use, as is still the case today.
A bright, enthusiastic young man called Louis Goldschmidt joined the firm as Manager and rose quickly to become a partner alongside George Howland. Invariably impeccably attired in a wing collar shirt and tinted glasses, Mr Goldschmidt is recalled for flying a reporter from one of the London evening papers in a bi-plane up Fitzjohns Avenue where nearly every house bore a sign 'Sold by Goldschmidt & Howland'.
With the continued expansion of the area, Goldschmidt & Howland obtained their enviable position on the corner of Heath Street and Church Row in November 1888 when the building, with its distinctive rococo facade, was completed. Still occupying the same building today, Goldschmidt & Howland is the only continuous business in The Village over the past century, apart from Barclays Bank.
It was professional tasks that provided the bulk of the work for Goldschmidt & Howland at the turn of the Century and on which the foundations of the firm's success were originally laid. Journals from this period, still kept at 15 Heath Street, reveal that in 1904 the Earl of Iveagh comissioned Goldschmidt & Howland to prepare restrictive covenants relating to building works which he feared might disrupt the privacy of his gardens and Heath House, at the summit of the Heath. For this he was charged a fee of two guineas.
The expansion continued up to the outbreak of the Second World War when many local residents, preparing to take their families to the safety of the countryside, wanted their homes requisitioned. They even put up boards identifying them for this purpose. It was the task of Goldschmidt & Howland to survey them, both when they were taken over and at the end of the War when they returned to normality and claims for dilapidations and war damage were being filed. In fact, it was the professional work associated with requisitions that kept the firm busy during the early war years.