Hampstead is the area around the now Hampstead Canal, and comprises of the locks, marina, and sites of a former public house and paper mill.
The first Hampstead (wooden) Bridge was built when the canal was formed in 1739, that was replaced by a new bridge in 1903, but had to be renewed after about 90 years of use, unlike our medieval bridges.
To one side of the bridge was the lock, and on the other stood the Railway Inn, which was originally called the Waterman’s Arms, and renamed after the railway was laid, 100 metres away. Details of railway history can be found on the chronological page of 1844
Next to the Railway Inn was the location of the Hampstead Paper Mill. The water to drive the mill was taken upstream of the bridge and returned just to the right of the lock outlet.
This Mill operated by Henry Gurney & Son (millboard and paper manufacturers), stood on this site from about 1880 to 1930.
The river used to meander and loop round to the locks on its way downstream, but between the two world wars the neck of these loops were dredged out in an attempt to ease flooding, and the first part of the second loop was filled in. Only recently has part of this been dug out again to form the Hampstead Marina. The diagrams below show where channels were cut through to form a more direct route for water flow, to possibly ease flooding, but we now know that was not enough.
This is detailed in the left hand map section, which can be compared to the right hand aerial photo to show the changes, where the river was straitened.
The Railway Inn below is shown to the left of the paper mill, on the corner opposite the slip-way into the river.
This view shows the lock behind the barge, the pre 20th century wooden bridge over the upper lock gate, with the paper mill in the background, and the water outlet flowing from the mill through the arch to the right of the barge.
At this time the river flowed round from Twyford bridge to the lock, then curved round to continue its journey downstream, as shown by the map above.