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Call to rename Black Path after West Hampstead street bookseller

MP Tulip Siddiq says a tribute to John 'Spider' Henderson was a 'good idea'

01 June, 2019 — By Tom Foot

John Henderson with his dog Sugar

FRIENDS and supporters of a popular street bookseller are hoping to set up a permanent memorial, with suggestions including a bench, a plaque and naming the path where his body was found after him.

John Henderson, who died in the Black Path, West Hampstead, on May 19, sold books outside the entrance to West Hampstead Thameslink station in West End Lane for around 20 years.

Nicknamed “Spider”, his death has affected many people in NW6 who adored him for his openness and the interest he showed in their lives. A shrine of flowers and cards continued to grow at his former plot this week.

Kim Baker, who suggested the idea for a permanent memorial to MP Tulip Siddiq, said: “I have lived in West Hampstead all my life and myself and my family often spoke to John. “I think John Henderson Way has a good ring to it and it would be a fitting tribute to him.”

The Hampstead and Kilburn MP responded online, saying renaming the path was a “good idea”.


Yesterday (Wednesday) Ms Siddiq told the New Journal: “John clearly had a special place in many constituents’ hearts, and I’ve received some lovely tributes from those who will miss him dearly. I’ve received a number of different ideas from local people about how he might be remembered – from renaming the path to a possible mural – which I am passing on to local councillors to consider. He will be missed.”

Fortune Green councillor Lorna Russell said: “I’ve had a number of people in the community reach out to me to suggest different ways in which his life should be commemorated.” Last week two of Mr Henderson’s adult children met for the first time there in their lives, before more than 60 people attended an emotional send-off at the Alliance pub in Mill Lane.

Jill Henry, who lives nearby, said: “I will organise a blue plaque for John. I think the last few days have really shown what the community is all about. He brought everyone together. He could have sorted Brexit.”

Black Path was one of three alleyways that were given official names after a poll conducted by Camden Council in 2010.

Natalie Homer, who also lives in West Hampstead, said: “It just isn’t the same without him. A fitting tribute would be John Henderson Way or Spider Alley.”

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