Monday, September 29, 2014

After Hampton Court, we go in search of our ancestral home and walk through the buzzing heart of a London hotspot....

There was still light in the sky, still warmth in the sun - more than expected actually, what hot weather we've had for late September in London! - so we took ourselves to Regent's Park.  (The Regent was to become King George IV.) 
I'm impressed by the amount of green space in London, and the degree to which it's used.  This was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and there were families and young people everywhere, a rugby game going on, dogs being walked, a boy trying to befriend a squirrel, people enjoying the fresh air.

We walked through to the zoo, looked down at the canal - of which more later - and crossed the road in search of Chalcot Crescent.

My grandmother, Jessie Agnes Pfanz was born here, in number 34, back in 1885.  A short walk, and only one block from the park, in Primrose Hill, we found it.  
Jessie's mother, Louise died in childbirth when she was 11, and she spent the next few years with her aunts, while her father Christian brought up her brothers.  When the aunts decided to join other family in New Zealand, Jessie came too, in the first decade of the 20th century, and she met Albert Price whom she would later marry and who would become my grandfather - although I never met him - on the ship coming over.

We had many trips to Auckland as a family to stay with Gran, and Jessie lived with Mum and Dad and our family as an old woman, from about 1965 until her death in 1974.

And this is where she was born, this primrose house.

The railings at street level protect passersby from falling down the light-space to the basement rooms where the servants lived/worked.  I am delighted to have seen this spot!  I felt no urge to knock on the door or see inside.

We walk around the area, up Chalcott Square and Street, watch the families enjoying fresh air and each other's company in the square, and go back towards Regent's Park, but this time we walk along the towpath by the canal.

Right across from this very elegant Primrose Hill and Regent's Park we find Camden Lock and Camden Town.

This is different from anything I've seen here - it's funky, busy, kinda crazy!  The cigarette smoke I'm smelling is not all tobacco either.  There's music, food and it's very different from where we were just moments before.
I'm very glad to have been here!

Now it's Monday morning and I've got a plane to catch today to Hong Kong.  I'll be home Wednesday afternoon, and I can't really imagine being home again after the month I've had exploring the world!


  1. Oh I'm so pleased you found Jessie's house, that is so cool. It looks like Tour-Guide-Extraordinaire Sue has done a fabulous job of showing you more amazing spots - Travel safe xxx

    1. She could totally earn a fortune conducting these private tours!

  2. Wow the house where Gran was born. Amazing.
    See you Wednesday!

  3. Awww, poor thing never knowing her Mum. And that her mum was 11 when she died in childbirth (something incredibly disturbing by her age!)

    1. And her name was Louise! (It's all about me lol)

    2. As they were Prussian, the 'e' on the end was pronounced as if it was an "a", so Louisa. Great name either way!

    3. I may not have been clear Julia that Jessie was 11 when her mother Louise died in childbirth. It wasn't Louise who was 11...


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