CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Harry Enfield: How loadsamoney has changed Hampstead

£250k raised for community centre in three months

17 January, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Harry Enfield and Stephen Mangan appear together in Primrose Hill

HARRY Enfield revealed his lesser-known radical roots to a packed com­munity centre fundraiser in Primrose Hill this week.

The “Loadsamoney” comedian spoke about his great uncle, Emile Burns, a former editor of The Daily Worker newspaper who inspired him as a young man to study Marx.

He was speaking in front of more than 400 people at Cecil Sharp House, in Primrose Hill, “in conversation with” Green Wing actor Stephen Mangan on Tuesday night.

Asked why he studied politics at university, Mr Enfield revealed: “My great uncle was the editor of The Daily Worker – and a big cheese in the Communist Party. He lived in Hampstead and wrote lots of things, with titles like “What is Marxism?”. He was proper Comintern, which I thought was rather romantic. He used to go and see Moscow Dynamo play and all that. When I was 12, I decided I was a communist. When I went to university I studied Marxism.”

He added: “I’m getting hot under the collar here now. But when people talk about Marx and don’t know what they’re talking about I get quite cross – it’s the only bit of politics I get angry about.”

Before the talk he told the New Journal how some of Camden’s more affluent areas had lost their edge, describing Hampstead as “Bentley-city” while his beloved Primrose Hill had become “full of wholesome mothers”.

Mr Enfield lived in St Mark’s Crescent and Gloucester Avenue between 1988 and 2001, when he moved to Notting Hill, adding: “It was very nice living here. Helen Fielding now owns my house.”

He won good-natured boos from the Primrose Hill Community Associat­ion members after joking that Notting Hill was “much nicer as it is full of wealthier people”.

Before the event, he said: “It has changed here though. The prices have gone up, but that’s the history of London. Hampstead is ridiculously different now. I don’t think anyone ever had a Bentley in Hampstead. No one would have an ostentat­ious car. It was a sign of not reading books. You might as well have had a big sign in the back saying: ‘I don’t read books.’ But now it’s Bentley-city.”

Mr Enfield added: “Primrose Hill is not quite the same but it’s definitely changed – full of wholesome mothers, isn’t it? There’s more business. It is funny how celebrity has changed too – it used to be just Alan Bennett. But now you have people like, what’s her name? Porter, Portas?”

He added: “David Bailey lived here when I was here. I lived in 117 Gloucester Avenue and he lived at 177 – and quite often I’d get his mail. Quite often I’d pop it in and I’d always wonder if he was doing the same for me?”

£250k raised for community centre in three months

Primrose Hill Community Association has raised more than £250,000 in three months to secure a 25-year lease on its community centre in Fitzroy Road.

Volunteer Dick Bird made the astonishing announcement to loud applause at Cecil Sharp House on Tuesday.

He said: “I’m one of the group volunteers who for the last three months have been running an appeal to buy a long lease on the community centre in Fitzroy Road.

The purpose is to secure the centre for 25 years and in the process save something like a million pounds in rent. “We’ve been at it for a few months. Primrose Hill has been generous and supportive.

The total raised for the appeal is £251,232.”

He paid tribute to Pam White for organising the event with Mr Enfield and Mr Mangan.

Mr Mangan, who has lived in Primrose Hill for most of his life, said the community centre was “vital”.

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