Waugh Plaque Used in Property Promotion

A North London property promotion site has made prominent use of a photo of the English Heritage Blue Plaque on Evelyn Waugh’s family home (145 North End Road, NW11 7HT). This is Ham & High Properties promotional material for sales in the Golders Green area. The pitch is heavily weighted to the Jewish characteristics and amenities of the neighborhood: 

Home to a thriving Jewish community as well as a large number of South East Asian and Japanese families, Golders Green is the kosher hub of the capital and benefits from a diverse selection of shops and a new crop of Kosher restaurants around the vibrant Golders Green High Street.

It is a bit difficult to see how the inclusion of the Waugh plaque supports that theme, given that he is often associated by his critics (some would argue, unfairly) with antisemtism. The text accompanying the plaque photo does not mention its location or relevance to the promotion. It’s quite a good photo, by the way.

In fact, when the Waughs moved in, this was a semi-rural area known as North End and was located in the large Hampstead or London NW postal zone. Shortly after the Waughs’ arrival, the Northern Line was extended in 1907 to Golders Green Station (which can be seen from a point across the road from the Waugh house). This was followed by extensive suburbanization. After the new postal zone system was established in 1917, Evelyn Waugh is alleged to have preferred to be associated with Hampstead (NW3) rather than Golders Green (NW11) to the point of walking up the hill to post letters in the NW3 zone. That is inconsistent, however, with his use of “Golders Green NW11” or simply “NW11” on his letters written from the house on North End Road. See, e.g., Letters, pp. 4, 9, passim.

According to Wikipedia, there are a total of 5 other EH Blue Plaques in postal zone NW11, including Robert Donat, actor, Dame Myra Hess, pianist, and Harold Abrahams, athlete, immortalized in the popular 1981 film Chariots of Fire. (They are all included under the Borough of Barnet.) And yet, Waugh’s is the one the promoters apparently thought would best enhance property values in the neighborhood. Or were they just having an attempt at irony?

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