North London Railway - the Ladykillers
The North London line continues to travel south westwards from Dalston Junction, it crosses the East Coast Mainlines into King Cross and there are junctions wit lines going south
This post covers only the south west corner of the square
Post to the quarter square to the east Barnsbury
Post to the quarter square to the north east - Caledonian Road
Main Square to the west
South east quarter square Camden Town
South west quarter square Camden Road
Main square to the east
Quarter square to the north east Highbury Corner
Quarter square to the north west Arundel Square
The area was rebuilt from 1947 by the London County Council
Robert Blair Primary School. This began as a temporary school in 1872 opened by the School Board of London in Blundell Street mission rooms and some girls in a Primitive Methodist Chapel. Blundell Street Board School opened in 1873 for all children. It was renamed the Robert Blair school in 1936. Robert Blair was Chief Education Officer for the London County Council.
107 Carnevale. Italian delicatessen produce. In 1966 brothers, Carmine and Giovanni Carnevale, from Capracotta began manufacturing and selling mozzarella and ricotta in London. Some of their range is made here at their purpose built site.
Acorn Production Centre. Factory converted into trading units in 1985
Parish Hall on the Acorn centre site in 1916
102 The Albion Pub. This is now closed and become flats.
55-83 Russell Hume. Meat and Poultry dealers
53 Lawson’s, builders merchant
In the 19th and area of soap works, skin dressers, manure works, costers, etc. They included a firm who moved here from Cow Cross Street received condemned meat from City markets. Its owners were summoned before the magistrates three times in one year. There was also a slaughterhouse for diseased cattle, this was refused a licence and forced to close.
2 Prior Burners Ltd, manufacturers of furnaces and boilers were here in the 1940s
34 Merry & Co. made buses here in the 1920s
North London Soap Works here in 1896
Called after Gordon’s Brewery which was at the end of the road not in this square
Belle Isle Mission. Baptist Chapel. This was a mission from Camden Road Baptist Church. A Sunday school was held in a loft over a cowshed and a hall built in 1870. The Belle Isle mission chapel dated from1878. This was bombed and destroyed in 1941
Modern housing on the site of part of the Caledonian Road Goods and Coal Depot on sidings from the Great Northern Line although alongside the North London Line.
Caledonian Road Goods and Coal Depot . The Great Northern railway built a sharply graded branch from lines around the Camden Goods Depot on the down side of the main line going north. It ran under the North London Line and then ran up onto the top of the retaining wall over the Copenhagen Tunnel to a siding from which it could reverse. It then ran down again on the other side of the main line to this goods depot with five sidings parallel to the North London line, although there was no connection to it. It had opened in 1878 and closed in 1967.
The southwards turn of the road was once called East Street and led down to join Randalls Road. In the 1870s this was the only exit to the street and Gifford Road’s eastward end did not exist.
Railway embankment – land at the back of the northern terrace of Gifford Street was acquired by compulsory purchase for the Channel Tunnel High Speed rail link; the line now runs beneath it. Much of the site is now one for Nature Conservation.
64 Christ Apostolic Church. Outside is a plaque to The Keskidee which between 1971 and 1992 was Britain's first arts and cultural centre for the Black community. It was opened originally in 1861 as the Gifford Mission Hall. The church was partly burnt down in 2012
St.Andrew's Mission Hall. This is shown on the 1914 map as being in the elbow bend at the east end of Gifford Road and the south bound road then known as East Street. The building is now let as a warehouse to Italian food importer Foodhouse Ltd.
Beaconsfield Buildings. Blocks built by the Victoria Dwellings Association, originally the Metropolitan Artisans and Labourers Dwellings Association which had started work in Battersea. They were named for Prime Minister Disraeli in 1887 ad designed by Charles Barry, intended to emulate the philanthropic work of Peabody. Built on what was the called Stroud Vale. Known locally as ‘The Crumbles’ It was taken over by the GLC in 1967 and later demolished There is now modern housing on the site.
Board School. This was on the east side of what was at one time East Street. This had originally opened in 1872 as Gifford Street Board School initially in a local mission hall. The new building opened in 1877 and it was later enlarged in the 1890s following re-use of the mission. It was reorganised in 1947-51 as Gifford Secondary School and Closed in 1960. The Site was used for Bishop Gifford Roman Catholic Secondary School which closed in 1967. It was later used by St. William of York for their Upper School. The school was demolished very suddenly in 2000 by a developer and there is now housing on the site.
Coach house. Flats but also used as an art gallery and offices.
Crumbles Castle. Adventure Playground.
Spark Plug. A project working with young people on bicycles and motor cycles
East Coast Main Line. The Great Northern Railway line from Maiden Lane to Peterborough was opened in 1850 and designed by engineer Thomas Brassey. The final mile into London was built by Pearce and Smith and John Jay including the Copenhagen Tunnel.
Copenhagen Tunnel. On 27 March 1849 the first brick for the tunnel was laid by Edward Purser. The current middle bore is the original tunnel and from 1886 took down trains both Fast and Slow. The western bore was built in 1877 for Up and Down Goods lines. The eastern bore was built in 1886 taking up trains, both Fast and Slow. The area above the tunnel was used for a rail line going to the Caledonian Road Coal and Goods Depot (now Bunning Street). It was this area which was the setting for the final scenes of The Ladykillers.
Copenhagen Junction. This is marked on maps near the mouth of the Copenhagen Tunnel. This was originally a simple junction between the lines into Kings Cross and those into the Goods Yard. As lines were added and the bores added to the tunnel so the junction became more complex. It is now the point at which the Channel Tunnel Rail Link crosses the East Coast Main Line.
Copenhagen Junction Signal Box
Belle Isle Signal Box. This was opened in 1886 when the third tunnel bore was opened and it closed in 1968
Goods and Mineral Junction Signal box which was opened in 1877 and closed in 1975
Lines diverged to the east to a variety of destinations within the Kings Cross Goods Yard and railway infrastructure. These destinations included – from east to west – Potato Warehouse, Midland Shed, Goods Arrival and Departure Sheds, Canal Basin, Eastern, Western and Plimsoll Coal Drops, Sidings and Engine Sheds.
Channel Tunnel Rail Link High Speed Line. This runs between London and the entrance to of the Channel Tunnel. A complex junction has been built north of St Pancras which connects to both the East Coast Main Line and the North London Lone. It runs from St.Pancras across the northern area of the old goods yards following the routes of the vast complex of lines which were once there. It passes over the East Coast Main Line and turning east to parallel the North London Lone and then goes underground before reaching the Caledonian Road.
North London Line. This crosses the lines out of Kings Cross and the old goods complex on a viaduct south of Copenhagen Tunnel entrance. This collapsed during the construction of the Copenhagen Tunnel
Part of this was previously James Street.
Necropolis Station. The Kings Cross funeral station was promoted by the Great Northern London Cemetery Company in 1858. This site was the second choice for them and agreed with the Great Northern Railway Company in 1859. This was to take bodies out of London to be buried in a new cemetery at Colney Hatch. It is thought the buildings were designed by Edward Alexander Spurr. It was a two storey building build into the side of the cutting with a tower and wedge shaped spire. It included several waiting rooms and a mortuary which had hydraulic lifts to the platforms. Two railway tracks ran into the station through a covered train shed. There were stained glass windows, a ventilation system and gas lighting which was permanently on. It was not a success and the service closed down in 1863. GNR took the buildings over in the 1870s and demolished the train shed to widen their lines. The spire was removed in the 1950s and the building was known by local children as ‘the old bombed church’. It was demolished in 1962 and the site was used for industry
RMC Concrete factory. The factory built in 1963-4 replacing the mortuary complex. The brick retaining wall is apparently the original wall of the mortuary.
Stroud Vale was the name applied, roughly to the area to the south of the North London Railway Line. Hence Beaconsfield Buildings, in Gifford Street, noted above, are described as being in Stroud Vale.
The area was generally known as Belle Isle – an area of piggeries and smelly kilns.
Called Tileyard Road from 1897 replacing Lows Lairs. In the late 18th there were tile kilns here and a track was called Tile Kilns Road, later Tile Yard Road. Adams had kilns here and their site was taken over by Tylors. Adams made chimney pots and garden pots. In 1829 they had a large kiln and a smaller one used as a storehouse, and sheds and cottages.
20 Sands sandwich makers. In the 1920s this was a feather merchant, The British Feather Co.
18 Tileyard House. At one time this was a printworks
Tylors Water testing tower. Tylors were set up in 1797 and made water metering and testing equipment. A hundred foot high tower containing three water tanks at different heights was built here to calibrate the meters. The tanks were connected to test beds in the factory. The tower was built in 1870 and demolished in 1983
Ebonite –By 1967 the factory had been taken over by Ebonite Container Co. Tylors tower remained in their works and had their name on it. They used the tower as a boiler flue in making plastic accumulator boxes. Ebonite and Bakelite manufacturers. "Ebcon" Hard Rubber Mallets
Belle Isle Works (Engineering and brass)
St.Pancras Iron Works. This firm is said to have been founded by Henry Bessemer at his Baxter House works in Pancras Road. It later operated as a general iron founding company making street furniture and other items from a works at Belle Isle.
This appears to be on the line of a road once called Pleasant Grove and known for its horse slaughterers. In 1804 it was Belfield which become in time Belle Isle. Once the centre of slaughterhouses and obnoxious trades. In the 13th it had been attached to Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire. By 1806 it was owned by a Samuel Brandon who had a hartshorn and pottery factory there. There were many others - Tin burning ‘a miserable trade’ as well as varnish and lead works, manure works and others connected the processing of dead cattle and horses. . The area was one of many bad neighbour trades – inspected and described by Dr. Ballard during his time as Medical Officer of Health in Islington in the 1870s.
Jenson and Nicholson had a white lead and paint factory here from Bethnal Green. In 1870 their works was burnt down and the Great Northern Railway wanted their site.
40 Henson Foods. Salt beef specialists
The road is the old boundary between Islington and St Pancras, known as Maiden Lane. It winds its way between railway land and warehouses. The name of York Way derives from the railway since the first trains left here for York.
Maiden Lane station. This was east of the road and north of the North London Line. It was used 1887-1917, closed as a war time measure it never reopened. The building was demolished in the 1970s but some pieces of wall of the street level buildings survive alongside the road.
The Fitzpatrick Building. The headquarters of Mark Fitzpatrick for the building firm by Chassay Architects, 1988-91. It is ‘Extravagantly Postmodern’ with green granite and terracotta, and a glazed comer tower..
17 New Market Ale House. This is a B&B once called The New Market Inn.
200 Egg. Nightclub
202-208 Fayers. Old established plumbing supplies company
230 Just Add Water. Bathroom supply company
244 Rosie Mccanns. This was once called The New Copenhagen
256 Butchers Arms Pub. Now closed and used as flats.
North Western Commercial Centre. Industrial estate
North London Line bridge
CTRL bridge. York Way was lowered in 2004 to run under the new viaduct,
Archer, Nature Conservation in Islington
Beaconsfield Buildings. Web site
Brtitish History Online. Islington. Web site
Camden History Review
Clunn. The Face of London
Connor. Forgotten Stations of London
Connor. Kings Cross to Potters Bar
Day, London Underground
Disused Stations. Web site
Field. London Place Names
London Borough of Islington. Web site.
London Railway Record
Mitchell and Smith. North London Line
Pevsner and Cherry. London North
Thames Basin Archaeology of Industry Group. Report
Tindall. The Fields Beneath
Willatts. Streets with a Story
Wilson. London’s Industrial Heritage