The volume is the second to cover parts of Middlesex which lay from 1889 until 1965 within the administrative county of London, and contains histories of the parishes of Hampstead and Paddington. Before their inclusion in Greater London, the parishes embraced the metropolitan borough of Hampstead and most of that of Paddington, with a total population of over 200,000. Queen's Park, built in a detached part of Chelsea parish, is included in the account of Paddington. Hampstead rose northward from Chalk Farm to the heath and Finchley and, less steeply, north-eastward from Kilburn High Road. Hampstead town encroached upon the heath, which was waste of the medieval manor. There was roadside settlement at Kilburn and piecemeal building elsewhere on the heath. The town's healthy elevation attracted rich Londoners before and after its spell as a fashionable spa in the early 18th century. Narrow and hilly streets helped to preserve it in the 19th, as fields and parkland were covered by mainly middle- and upper middle-class suburbs, including Belsize Park and Swiss Cottage. The heath, protected by influential residents, became a playground for Londoners.
In the 20th century, Hampstead was also noted for its artistic and intellectual life. Paddington, smaller but more populous, lay between Edgware Road and Bayswater Road, which converged at Tyburn gallows near Marble Arch. Early settlements were Paddington Green, Westbourne Green, and Bayswater. Northern and southern halves became separated by lines of road, canal, and railway. Systematic house-building began soon after 1800 in Tyburnia and Bayswater, before spreading beyond the industrial belt to form Maida Vale and a humbler district towards Queen's Park. Parts of southern Paddington, near Hyde Park, rivalled Belgravia, while Whiteley's stores made Westbourne Grove a busy shopping centre. Institutions included the G.W.R. termi-nus, St. Mary's hospital, and the Metropolitan music hall. By 1900 lodging houses and small hotels had multiplied, as had canalside slums, which were cleared only after war damage and further decay. Both parishes today contain residential areas that have remained expensive and others where redevelopment has given way to refurbishment.
Hampstead retains a compact centre, including 18th-century buildings, with large later houses in the avenues to the south and west. Paddington, urbanized and with more municipal housing, retains its ambitious layout of streets and squares with many stuccoed terraces.