North London Line - Gospel Oak

The North London Line (ex Hampstead Junction Railway) curves north west from Kentish Town West and runs westward from Gospel Oak Station

This posting represents only the north west corner of this square
Post in this square to the north east Gospel Oak
Post in this square to the south east Kentish Town

Posts in the square to the west South End and South End and Gospel Oak and Belsize Park

Post in the square to the south Camden Market, Kentish Town West and Camden Railway Goods

Elaine Grove
The road contains some of the survivors of the 19th Lismore Circus estate scheme. It was then called Arthur Grove.
Estelle Road
This is built on land which was passed to the trustees of St Pancras Church Lands in 1876 by Earl Mansfield. House by 1889 the road was built up
Glenhurst Avenue
Arts and Crafts dwellings in two-storey terraces built 1911-15
Ravenswood is part of the 1960s Haddo House redevelopment.

Gordon House Road
Created on the line of a footpath to Hampstead. It is named after Gordon House Academy which stood at the junction with Highgate Road in the 18th.  It was widened and named only in the 1880s
Clanfield. Flats built in 1971with a sloping façade and raked balconies
32-34 Spectrum House. Large factory building.  In 2004 this was occupied by Hawkshead Retail and some others. It was built in the 1920s as the Heath Works for paper merchants D.O.Evans and Sons. It was later used by Southall based wallpaper manufacturers. John Line and Sons who in this period introduced flock wallpapers = as well as their famous ‘Hampstead’ designs. . Then in 1965 Soho based guitar and drum manufacturers, Rose-Morris.  At the entrance to the yard are two bollards and one has on it ‘George IV’.  There is a yard which goes to other works behind. The building is on site of Julius Barko’s nursery followed by William Thompson who was there until 1927.
Heathview.  Housing Co-operative in flats built in 1937 with green pantiled roof designed by Taperell and Haase.
14 Mark Fitzpatrick or Mortimer Terrace Nature Reserve. Managed by the London Wildlife Trust.  This is on what was a buffer zone between the Midland Railway coal depot and Gordon House Road, with a covenant on it to that end. Mark Fitzpatrick was a previous landowner. The site has varied habitats such as mini meadows and woodland. There is a pond with dipping platform and a rain catcher built by a local architecture students as part of their course and BCTV Green Gym work on the site
Gospel Oak entrance to Parliament Hill Fields. Plus car park entrance.
41 Shack Café. In the park entrance with interesting drawings on the walls
Railway bridges, Two brick skew arch bridges/, The most westerly is for the North London Line, built as the Hampstead Junction Line between Kentish Town West and Gospel Oak stations in 1867.  The eastern bridge is for the Tottenham and Hampstead Junction Railway opened in 1888.  Graffiti by Mr. P and His art crew, known as Ahead of The Game 2003 by creating a piece across the railway bridge which said “ATG Welcomes You To Gospel Oak”
Gospel Oak Station. The station lies between Hampstead Heath and Kentish Town West on the North London Line and is the terminus for trains from Upper Holloway. The station opened in 1860 as Kentish Town on the Hampstead Junction Railway from Camden Road running to what was then Old Oak Common Junction. It was renamed Gospel Oak in 1867 when a different station to the south was named Kentish Town - now Kentish Town West. A different station with its own buildings existed for the Tottenham and Hampstead Junction Railway  but this was not added until 1888, and then without a link to the North London Line due to opposition from other railway companies. The lines were joined for wartime reasons in 1916 and the link severed in 1922 and from 1926 to 1981, passengers could not change lines at this station - trains left the Barking line to go south to Kentish Town station. The buildings for the Barking line remained open until 1926, occasionally used by football special trains but were demolished by the 1980s when a spotters train called there. In 1981 the Barking trains were diverted to Gospel Oak with a terminal platform rebuilt on the north side and slightly higher than the existing station. The North London Line here was electrified in 1916 by the London and North West Railway changing to third rail in the 1970s.  The line is said to have been used by Midlands’s clerks on a day out to Epping.  The station was rebuilt in 1953.
Signal Box. A box on the line from Barking was burnt down in 1985 but replaced. A box on the North London line was opened by the London and North West railway in 1916 and closed in 1957.
Hemingway Close
Housing Association properties, Origin Housing, on the site of sidings and works.  The housing appears to be on the site of Gospel Oak Works, latterly in use by G.A.Shankland, metallic sign producers who left the site in the mid-1990s.
Highgate Road
Highgate enclosures. This consists of three landscaped areas which once formed part of a more extensive village green of Kentish Town. This was an area of common land gradually enclosed. It is shown as 'Green Street' on the Rocque map of 1746. When the Lissenden Gardens Estate was built the developer, Arthur William Armstrong, built a road and landscaped and planted the most northerly of the Enclosures. In the Second World War this area was the site of an air raid shelter consisting of a roofed over trench.
Parliament Hill Girls School. Built as a girls’ secondary school under the 1902 Education Act, a three storey building in red brick. It was developed on land previously occupied by detached 19th houses on the west side of Highgate Road known as The Grove.  It moved to this site in 1914 as a County Secondary School but had been founded elsewhere in 1900. It then had an entrance examination and a high reputation for arts and science; all girls were expected to get School Certificate. In 1956 an extension was opened by Edith Evans and a glazed front was added in 200

Hodes Row
Tiny backland development containing one house, built by Mr. Hodes

Julia Street
Along with other surrounding streets this is the remains of part of the street scape planned around Lismore Circus in the 1850s.

Lamble Street
Kiln Place Tenants Hall
Elizabeth II pillar box with ‘E ll R’ on the door plus a crown.

Lissenden Gardens
Built on the site of Clevedon House a 19th house which was next to the remains of Kentish Town’s village green. Lissenden is a made up estate agents name. Built from 1900 by the Armstrong family as fashionable living. Most of the road consists of mansion-block development of 1900-06 by Bohemer and Gibbs Arts and Crafts designs. There are three blocks of five-stories in orange-red brick, with corner towers. Railings of wrought iron and Doulton tiled lobbies and Terracotta details in the design. Running hot and cold water was laid on, electroliers supplied rather than gas lighting, a coals hoist to kitchen service balcony, and caretakers for communal stair-halls. There are plane trees in all of the estate’s roads. The Armstrong family continued to own and manage the estate until 1972, London Borough of Camden is now the freeholder.
Parliament Mansions. These overlook Parliament Hill Fields. There is a plaque to Richard Tawney ‘economic historian, Christian Socialist, and founding father of the welfare state’.  This was erected in 2003 by the Lissenden Garden Tenants Association.
Clevedon. Mansions . There is a plaque to composer Martin Shaw
Lissenden Mansions. Plaque to painter Anthony Green
Garden. This was laid out in 1899 and enclosed by railings to be gardeners employed by the Trustees of the Estate. Tennis courts may have been laid out as early as 1906.
Salcombe Lodge by Ted Levy and Partners built in  1974 a five storey block in red brick with concrete bands. This is on the site of a nursery which was replaced by Defoe Garage, and later replaced by Lissenden Motors. It was subsequently a factory for British Vacuum Flask Co. On the side is a plaque with a hand pointing to 'Church Lands' which is part of Parliament Hill Fields.
The British Vacuum Flask Co. Had been set up in 1947 by Rothermel, a Kilburn based electrical importer, with factories ere and in Liverpool. They were  able to use newly developer plastics and coatings for flasks of varying sizes and uses.
Chester Court. A five storey red brick block. This was built following bomb damage in the Second World War and as a result the south part of Parliament Hill Mansions were replaced in 1949
The cottage. This was the estate office and members of the Armstrong family lived there.
2 Nordorff Robbins Music Therapy Centre in a converted electricity substation.  Terracotta sculpture of a boy playing a drum.  The centre was founded by Paul Nordoff, an American composer and pianist and Clive Robbins, a special education teacher. Their first work was at Goldie Leigh Hospital in Plumstead set up in 1970 and the first centre was set up in 1982. In 1991the London Centre at Lissenden Gardens was setup  funded by a rock concert at Knebworth Park. The centre is validated by City University and award degrees in Music Therapy
6 Gordon House, Now a  business centre.

Mansfield Road
Created on the line of a footpath to Hampstead. The land was owned by the Earl Mansfield and was passed to the trustees of St Pancras Church Lands in 1876. House building started in 1879 and by 1882 the whole of the north side of Mansfield Road, including 10 shops completed..  The builder for the majority of the ‘Mansfield Road Estate’ was William Turner,
1 The Old Oak. A 1950s rebuilding of an original corner-sited building called the Old Oak Hotel which had been built as an integral part of the Oak Village estate in the 1850s. Closed
Gospel Oak Primary School. As the Mansfield Road Estate was developed by the St Pancras Church Lands trustees a school was seen as needed and in 1898 the School Board for London opened a temporary school on the site of the allotments next to Gospel Oak station. In 1900 they built a permanent school here, as Mansfield Road School’  Mansfield Road School became ‘Fleet Central School’ in 1933. In the Second World War the school was acting as a fire station and was completely destroyed by a flying bomb in 1944. Gospel Oak School was built in 1953 on the site, and a
17-79 long white range of houses, by former Camden architects Benson and Forsyth. With roof gardens. This is a mixture of public and private spaces, but have  not worn well. Built on the site of houses bombed in the Second World War ad subsequently demolished to be replaced by prefabs
Meru Close
Local authority housing on the site of Gospel Oak Brick works

Oak Village
Part of a mid 19th townscape centered on Lismore Circus later demolished for post war housing.  Houses here in were built by 1853. They are two story cottages with large timber framed sliding sash windows and wit small front gardens.

Parliament Hill Fields
The Southampton Estate wanted to put housing here in the 1840s but a big public campaign prevented that.  In 1889 Parliament Hill Fields were taken over by the Metropolitan Board of Works
Parliament Hill Lido. The baths were opened in 1938  by the London County Council designed by Harry Rowbotham and TL Smithson, There was a diving stage, shutes and a café, with areas for sunbathing and spectators and fountains at either end. This was the most expensive of LCC lidos built in the inter war period. Following an accident in 1976 the diving facilities were removed. In 1980s hot showers, cycle racks, paddling pool and CCTV were installed and in 1989 it was taken over by the Corporation of London. In 2005 a stainless steel pool lining was installed, the first of its kind for an outdoor pool in Britain. One of the few open-air swimming baths built by the LCC still in use.
Cricket ground
Adventure playground

Rona Road
On land was passed to the trustees of St Pancras Church Lands in 1876  by Earl Mansfield.. House by 1889 the road was built up
Savernake Road
On land was passed to the trustees of St Pancras Church Lands in 1876  by Earl Mansfield.. House by 1889 the road was built up
1-11 nursery school added in 1985 to Gospel Oak Primary School.

British History on line. Camden. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Camden History Review
Camden History Society. Streets of Kentish Town
Cinema Treasures. Web site
GLIAS  Newsletter,
Hillman. London Under London
Grace’s Guide. Web site
London Borough of Camden. Web site
London Gardens On line. Web site
London Lidos Web site
Mitchell and Smith. North London Line
Pevsner and Cherry.  London North
Project Dirt. Web site
Rose Morris. Web site
Summerson. Georgian London
Tindall. The Fields Beneath


Unknown said…
Mansfield Road School must have become Fleet Central School before 1933. I have a book awarded to my father as a prize by the LCC's Fleet Central School dated 15 June 1928.
Unknown said…
We have many family memories associated with this area, particularly during the war.
My mother remembers sitting on the stairs of 88 Mansfield Road when the mine exploded at Gospel Oak School about 300 metres away.
My father was also buried alive in house in Haverstock Road when the house next door took a direct hit from a German bomb in 1941.
All his family survived but two elderly neighbours died being gassed by a ruptured gas main.
Bikram said…
Thanks for your super blog.
The sign you refer to (pointing to 'Church Lands') on the side of Salcombe Lodge seems to have disappeared.
Is the nursery you mention the same as the Julius Barko nursery or a different one? Where could I find more information on the nursery as well as Defoe Garage and Lissenden Motors?

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