The River Thames outside DLD College London

A visit to Keats House after studying the poets famous work

27th June 24

Last Friday, Year 9 and Year 10 students went on an all-day walking tour of the picturesque north London suburb of Hampstead. The Northern Line transported us from the crowded and noisy streets of Westminster to the beautiful and leafy lanes of Hampstead, one of the most fashionable and expensive areas in London. We couldn’t believe how rural and clean the area was – only twenty minutes by tube from the city centre. The old-fashioned shops, cobbled lanes and picturesque pubs look as though they belong to a past age.

DLD Students visit Keats House after studying the poets work.

We’d studied John Keats’ poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” in class and were interested to see where he lived and met the love of his life – Fanny Brawne. Keats’ House belongs to the National Trust; it’s a beautiful double-fronted Georgian building, displaying manuscripts of his poems, paintings of him and his circle and even his death-mask. From information boards, we learned about his doomed love-affair with Fanny and how he died in Rome at the tragically young age of twenty-five.

We then made our way up to Parliament Hill which has one of the most spectacular panoramic views of London, encompassing such iconic landmarks as the Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Shard. This was a great photo opportunity.

We then trekked across the Heath to the ponds. Originally, these were springs from the River Fleet that flows down from Highgate to the Thames. In the 18th century, the springs were turned into man-made reservoirs, providing fresh water for the city below. Nowadays, three of the ponds are used by swimmers: one for men, one for women and one mixed. The fourth pond is for angling, and this is where we stopped to have our picnic lunch.

The next stop was an unplanned one – an ice-cream van pulled up and DLD students descended! Then it was on to 2 Willow Road where we looked at a 1937 block of flats, designed by Erno Goldfinger and one of the earliest examples of modernist architecture in Britain. The final stop was Burgh house. En route we passed several exotic looking dogs. An Afghan Hound drew particular attention, looking as though it had just come from the hairdressers. Even the dogs in Hampstead are posh!

Burgh House was built in 1704, in the reign of Queen Anne, making it one of the oldest houses in London. Although it is now an art gallery and exhibition space, it still has the feel of a country house and is well worth visiting. The basement has a delightful café, leading out to a terrace, serving scrumptious cakes and drinks.

Sadly, it was now time to head home. It was a really great day: fresh air, sunshine, ice cream, dogs galore and Keats himself. Thanks to all the members of staff who made this memorable trip possible: Lauren, Simon, Samuel, Molly and Teagan.

Simon Pearson, Head of Humanities