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The house known as ‘The Grove’ was occupied in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries by Fountain North, a former lieutenant in the navy. North made alterations to the building so that its flat roof resembled the quarter-deck of a man-of-war; from here he is said to have fired a cannon on special occasions. By the time Constable came to stay regularly at Hampstead in the 1820s, the main relics of this eccentric arrangement seem to have been the railings round the edges of the roof.

May 2007