In 1777, a pond was created in order to drain the marshland so that houses could be built on Hampstead Heath, creating the small village which came to be known as the Vale of Health. In 1863, The Suburban Hotel Company built the popular Vale of Health Hotel on the land. It was later converted into flats and artist studios. Artists who had studios in the hotel included Stanley Spencer, from 1914 to 1927, and Henry Lamb, who painted his portrait of Lytton Strachey there in 1912. In 1964, after this painting was completed, the hotel was demolished and replaced by Spencer House, named after the hotel's most famous resident.
For more information, please visit British History Online.