Sunday, 16 April 2017
Post to the north Finsbury Park
Highbury Stadium. This is on the high ground in what were the grounds of Highbury House. Arsenal Football Club was originally founded in 1886 by Scottish workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich and the club moved to Highbury in 1913. The ground which was leased to the club had belonged to the Church of England College and was laid out for football by Archibald Leitch in 1913. The main building was in the International Fascist style with an Art Deco curtain walled front. There were grandstands on the east and west sides. This was developed in the 1930s, when Herbert Chapman was manager he recognised the entertainment value of football. After 2010 the Stadium was redeveloped into flats. The North Bank and Clock End stands were demolished. The exteriors of the listed Art Deco East Stand and the matching West Stand became part of the new developments and the pitch became a communal garden.
West Stand. Designed and built in 1931-2 by Claude Waterlow Ferrier with seats for 4,000 and standing room for 1,700. There were also three flats and a restaurant.
East Stand. Built in 1936 by William Binnie. It had five storeys, with seating for 8,000 in two tiers and seats for another 5,500 were added in 1969 by A. D. Consultants with more bars and restaurants. Inside the marble hall has a bust of Herbert Chapman by Epstein and a stylish staircase leading to a panelled boardroom.
North Stand. This was built in 1992-3 by the Lobb Partnership project. It had a brick street front with curved ends which, echoes the earlier Art Deco styling. It seats 12,830.
This was previously Paddington Street and renamed for the Vestry Clerk in 1938
This is on tine of Ermine Street. Part of the road used to be known as Highbury Vale and also part was Dane bottom Lane. It is an ancient public right which was the subject of an 18th-court action. The northern section is now the border between the London Boroughs of Islington and Hackney.
Alexandra Buildings. This is on the corner with Seven Sisters Road. It is ‘expensively built’ in fissured sandstone and brick -some recently covered in stucco - with an oriental theme and a structure on the corner roof called a Chatri – a sort of Indian pavilion. It is said a large metal pipe in the basement is on the line of the New River and contains one of their mains. It was Lockwood and Bradley Ltd, They were tailors in the 1920s-30s. Their sign said 'London's Leading Tailors – Direct from the Mills to the Millions'. They were Leeds based and their last shop closed in 1939. They usually took over defunct chain stores.
School building. The Centre for Life Long Learning is built on the site of a 19th school. This was built in 1888 by the London School Board. It was originally Blackstock Road Board School for Boys and Girls. In 1932 it was reorganised as Finsbury Park Secondary Boys and Girls School and in 1947 Finsbury Park Secondary Modern School while the primary school closed in 1960 and joined Ambler primary. The Secondary School closed in 1964 and it became Edward Seguin Special School. Seguin was a 19th French physician who worked with children with cognitive impairment. In 1975 the school became the Jack Ashley School for the Deaf and Islington Adult Education Institute. Ashley was a Member of Parliament with total hearing loss. In 1981 it became Isledon Teachers' Centre and Islington Adult Education Institute and from 1992 the City and Islington College: Finsbury Park Centre
Islington College. Centre for Life Long Learning. The origins the college are in the London County Council and the Inner London Education Authority where schools, further education colleges and adult education were separate which could cause problems. There was demand for further education for young people and thus new colleges were created. In Islington a new type of sixth form centre was pioneered and after the abolition of ILEA a tertial college was created called Islington Federal College made up of existing facilities including adult education. These were consolidated into a small number of sites and a new building erected in Blackstock Road. Islington Library is included in the college buildings.
41 Mural of a skeleton looking at a mobile phone on the side wall. This is by Sao Paulo based Street Artist Mauro Golin, aka Muretz. Another mural on an adjacent wall shows a human cup and saucer
51 H J Bloom's ironmongers shop which dates from the 1950s. The front decorated with numerous drawings of keys and other items for sale.
48 this was Park Hall used by Brethren from 1885 until 1901. It was used by Christadelphians from 1932.
52 Richard Peace, pianoforte manufacturer. 1882-1909. later it was Fairfield Factory occupied by Willmott, Son and Phillips Ltd machinists, overlookers and pressers. Since demolished.
102 Islington and Shoreditch housing association. The site at the back of here and the Mews was a branch of Pickford Removal and Furniture Depository Business,
New Times Bus. Private bus company running on London routes, including 29, in the early 1930s. Their sole bus was garaged by Mellhuish next door to the Pickford's Company. They also had a filling station and taxi business
Blackstock Mews. Flats built in 2007 in what was an industrial site.
126 Kings Head Pub. Dates from the 1880s.
131 This is a wine bar and restaurant previously called the Halfway House. It opened in 2011
132 This is now a bar to which they have kept the shop frontage. T Bird's 1930s style shop was for elderly ladies to drop in for a chat and not buy anything. It was founded in the 1880s and one of the reasons for its closure was a large increase in rent
Ambler Primary School. This opened in 1898 as Ambler Road Board School. In 1900 it had a centre for handicapped children. In the 1930s a nursery block was added.
175 Arsenal Tavern. This is now a back packers’ hostel. It is said to be the 'old sluice house' and the rear is where the New River actually crossed the Hackney Brook. There is no evidence of this. It was renamed as the Arsenal Tavern before 1944. It was originally a Courage House but has since been run by Enterprise Inns and by Unique Inns
Primitive Methodist Mission Hall corner of Hurlock Street 1870,
204 The Gunners. The pub is apparently full of Arsenal football memorabilia. The name relates to the club’s nickname which was relevant when it was in Woolwich and was something to do with guns. The building dates from the 1870s.
211 Police Station. Built 1903 by John Dixon Butler in brick and stone. This has now closed and has been sold.
Police Station – the site is part of a terrace which until the late 19th stood in front of a curved road running parallel to the east of it. It seems likely that this followed the line of the Hackney Brook
Methodist Chapel. This is also shown on 19th maps as fronting Blackstock Road (then Highbury Vale) but within this curve.
215 Woodbine pub. This probably dates to the 1890s.
218-224 This stretch of road was Highbury Vale, also called Dane Bottom. It had been a separate road but became part of the Blackstock Road when the shopping parade was built in the 1880s. It is said to be the scene of a battle and a Danish settlement – more recently it was the fields of Cream Hall Farm.
219 H. & G Hopton ‘The oldest established firm of Press Tool Makers in London. Plants fitted complete for tin box making for all trades. Precision Work of all description”. This site is now redeveloped as flats.
226 Bank of Friendship pub. This pub had this name in 1852. It has been claimed this is because people used to wave to each other across the Hackney Brook.
11 The Park Theatre. This is a conversion of a former office building by David Hughes Architects. The idea for The Theatre came from Jez and Melli Bond. It opened in 2013 has two theatre spaces and includes a bar and cafe. Flats on the upper floors will provide some funding.
14 Conewood Street Children’s Centre. This offers full and part-time childcare as well as the full range of children's centre services including stay and play sessions, health and family support services. This is in a building which was once a local authority children’s home and later used as Martineau Community Nursery,
St.John's Highbury Vale Church of England School. Rebuilt national school of 1864. Stock brick with stripe polychrome heads to the windows. This opened in 1836 as Highbury Vale School with a Parliamentary grant, by the ladies who had founded the chapel. The school was enlarged and rebuilt in 1864. It then took boys, girls and infants and became Christ Church National School. It was financed by voluntary contributions, and grants. It was handed to the new church of St. John's in 1883. The London County Council required thorough repairs in 1908. A playground was added in 1934 and in 1947 it was reorganised as a voluntary aided Church of England Primary School.
St. John’s Highbury Parish Hall. This is now part of the school
22 E.R. Duke. They made Duke’s Nut Food in the 1930s
19-21 Bell Brush Co. They were present in the 1950s. It seems likely that they made artists brushes – there is now a Bell Brush Co. in Enfield but they provide janitorial supplies.
Ace Works. Aluminium Equipment Co. This was a sheet metal plant which closed in 1973. They had been there since at least the 1930s
Named after James Elphinstone who was the uncle of George Strachan, Vicar of Islington. Elphinstone lived in Islington, was a friend of Dr.Johnson and his dates are 1721-1809.
This square covers only a tiny end portion of this large urban park,
Finsbury Gate. Designed by Frederick Manable, Superintending Architect to the Metropolitan Board of Works.
Gymnasium. This was an original feature of the park and lay to the west just inside the Finsbury Gate entrance.
Furtherfield Art Gallery. This is on the site where the original gymnasium in the park was sited. They hope to exhibit contemporary work in art, technology and social change for local residents and users of the park.
Finsbury Park Road
This residential side street actually goes up to meet the gates of Finsbury Park at Seven Sisters Road. Hence the name.
New River Co. a plate showing the course of the main laid on the wayleave created by the course of the New River was recorded on the east side of the road.
Finsbury Park Station,
Finsbury Park Station. The station originally opened in 1867 and is now on several lines – both rail and underground - and also on others which are now disused. It lies in a hollow at what was the Seven Sisters Road/Stroud Green Road crossroads and thus the railway itself is on an embankment above the road. There are also two bus stations. It was preceded by Seven Sisters Halt built in 1861 by the Great Northern Railway. This was on the corner of Stroud Green Road and part of the line to Edgware. In 1867 it was given a waiting shed and a bridge and in 1869 it was renamed ‘Finsbury Park’. By 1874 it was a major interchange with platform buildings. In 1955 there was intended to build a new booking hall and an imposing façade. Under the station were girders to support this. 1972 the facade was demolished and these girders removed. Spaces for shops were provided and a temporary booking office which was there until 1983, There was also a stairway to nowhere with designs of duelling pistols and balloons – said to be because designers had confused Finsbury Park with Finsbury Fields on the City borders, where such activities took place. – Or maybe to remind us of nearby Hornsey Wood. Currently the station is managed by the Great Northern; there are separate ticket offices for the Rail services and the Underground station. There are currently six platforms but only five tracks. The two underground lines, although 'deep-level' tube, are only 6 metres below street level and there are now no lifts or escalators. However the last hydraulically-operated lifts on London Transport were here. In 2015 ticket barriers were installed and operated on all the entrances to the station.
Great Northern Railway. This opened in 1861 on the East Coast Main Line from King's Cross to the north of England and Scotland. Tracks were laid through Finsbury Park in 1850 and a halt opened in 1861 here.
Edgware Branch. This was built in 1867 by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway and operated by the Great Northern Railway. Northern Heights. In 1935 London Underground planned a New Works Programme. This included plans to take over the lines from Finsbury Park to Edgware. This programme was cancelled due to the Second World War and never completed. The line to Alexandra Palace was closed to passengers in 1954 but continued to carry freight to Edgware and access Highgate Depot until 1971 when the tracks and platforms were removed and replaced by a pedestrian access on the east side. The line itself is now a footpath – the Parkland Walk.
Great Northern & City Railway. This opened in 1904 as underground railway to Moorgate in the City. The tunnels were built to take main line trains but were not connected to the Great Northern platforms. The service operated as a shuttle between to Moorgate. The service ended when the installation of the Victoria Line removed the platforms but in 1976 the unfinished surface connection from Drayton Park, which had been part of the never finished Northern Heights scheme, was completed so trains could be run to Moorgate and to the north.
Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway. This opened in 1906 and is now the Piccadilly Line. From 1901 this was operated by a consortium led by Charles Yerkes who cancelled plans to go north of Finsbury Park. It was built with the small diameter tube tunnels and platforms were constructed beneath the main line station. When opened, with services to Hammersmith, it was then the longest tube railway. In 1932 the line was extended to Arnos Grove and then Cockfosters with financial support from the government.
Victoria Line. This was planned in the early 1960s to provide the maximum number of interchanges with other Underground and rail lines as possible. The station was changed so that both Piccadilly and Victoria lines used to then disused Moorgate line platforms and connecting tunnels were built. The first section of the Victoria line Walthamstow Central and Highbury and Islington opened in 1968.
Bus Stations. There are two bus stations with a total of six bus stands. At Wells Terrace to the north and Station Place, to the east
This is a mid 19th road now dominated since the 1960s by wholesale garment outlets
Saturday market. The wholesale garment district here opens its doors to the public every Saturday. The rest of the week it is professional buyers
20 William Butler Yeats. This was originally called the Duke of Edinburgh and has also since been known as Fonthill and Red Rita. It opened in 1871 and is owned by Rosgoff Taverns but was previously Ind Coope and then Taylor Walker
111 George Hotel. This dated from 1874 and seems to have closed before the Great War. Later it was the Finsbury Park Railway Working Men's Club and Institute. It is now a clothing shop.
99 Taylor. Laundry engineers and sundries suppliers, early 20th
127 St James Tavern this is now closed and was originally the Fonthill Tavern opened in 1874. It closed in 1986 and is now a dress shop.
133 Hunnings Printers. Ltd. They had on site a hand printing machine by J.Smith of Soho called ‘Improved Hercules Press’
143 Whitton and Whitton. Piano factory and showroom. The company was here from the 1880s and had previously been at a number of addresses in the Islington area
Gillespie Park. This is a Local Nature Reserve and Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. It includes the Islington Ecology Centre, which provides environmental education for schools and organises walks and talks for adults. It is owned and managed by Islington Council. It has meadow and woodland areas with several ponds, and there are 244 species of plants, 94 of birds and 24 of butterflies. It has a number of plants which are rare in Central London, including the narrow-leaved bird's-foot-trefoil, grass vetchling and pyramidal orchid. In 1990 it was the site of the first recorded breeding of the long-tailed blue butterfly. Clinker forms a substrata from the sidings there are herbs, pond, etc.
Gillespie Park. It is on the site of a British Rail depot - East Goods Yard. . The original agricultural land was purchased in 1866 by the Great Northern Railway and developed into goods and marshalling yards. The Yard was operational from 1877 until 1960. (see below) In 1981 some of the site was leased to London Borough of Islington for ten years for an Ecological Park. In 1986 British Rail announced sale of the land for housing but a local campaign led to Department of the Environment funding for an Ecology Centre which opened in 1993. A wall of Stephens Ink factory forms the entrance to the park.
93 Mayfield Sanitary Laundry. This dated from the 1880s and employed about 200 people. The building lay right behind the north side of the Arsenal Football Pitch. In 1941 it was bombed and canvas camp beds stored there were set on fire – it was back in use eventually but shut down in 1966.
Kay’s Photographic Laboratories. This replaced the laundry in the 1960s -1980s. This was the laboratory for the, then Soho based, film processing company which dates from at least 1917. Metrocolor, which was a name associated with Kay’s took over the factory in the 1980s but closed down in 2001.
117-119 Stadium Mews. Football ground gate. This was formed by the demolition of two houses in Gillespie Road to allow access to the ground.
Arsenal Station. This opened in 1906 and lies between Finsbury Park and Holloway Road stations on the Piccadilly Line. The station is in a narrow residential street and so was squeezed between houses on each side. In 1913 the football stadium was built and the station was renamed Arsenal (Highbury Hill) in 1932 and the front of the station was altered to look more modern – this is a concrete panel stuck on the original front with nothing behind it but struts keeping it upright.. The name ‘Arsenal’ dates from the 1960s. The station was designed by Leslie Green and had one of his standard tiled frontages. The platform walls have ‘Gillespie Road’ spelt out in large tiled letters and there is decorative tiling by Wolliscroft & Sons although much was in poor condition and has been replaced. A wooden clock has survived on the platform. The platforms are accessed by a sloping passageway and there are measures to control football crowds. There is a tunnel to platform level from the main access passage and a "tidal" system with a section divided from the main passageway by a full-height fence.
5a Gillespie Road Wesleyan Mission. This is said to have been built above the Hackney Brook as a branch of the Wilberforce Road Mission. The Hall was in use from 1878-1932 and is now housing.
Gillespie Road primary school. This started in the Wesleyan hall in 1878, and was officially opened as a school by the Rev J Rodgers in 1879. This is an E.R. Robson building for the London School Board. It is three-storey in yellow stock brick and with a fifteen bay frontage. The main entrance, - for staff and visitors - has a frieze and date stone 'Ao Di 1878' with floral decoration. There are ornamental iron railings and gates and stone entrance lintels read 'BOYS' and 'GIRLS' with sunflower heads. In the playground is a 19th open-sided play shed with an iron roof and there were separate boys and girls playgrounds. Inside staircases were also separated into boys and girls. Classrooms can be divided or opened up and have original partitions and glazing. There are also original grades with the School Board for London monogram.
Caretaker’s house, Designed by Robson for the London School Board.
The Gillespie Picture Hall, this is thought to have been a shop conversion used as a cinema in 1910-1911.
Stephens ink factory. Henry Stephens was the inventor in 1832 of an indelible "blue-black writing fluid" which became as Stephens' Ink and to form the foundation of a successful worldwide company for over 150 years. He was based in Finchley where there is a small museum to his memory and achievement. He inherited management of the family staining and ink factory in Aldersgate. In 1872 the factory and offices were moved to Holloway Road and in 1892 the factory moved to Gillespie Road, The Stephens' Ink Company was innovative and profitable and Henry Stephens was a very wealthy man. The Gillespie Road factory was designed by his son, Michael, and built in the form of a Venetian palazzo and had an illuminated chimney. It produced ink, office utensils, carbon papers and gum - the raw materials being delivered by rail from London Docks. It was closed in the 1960’s and a council estate built on the site in 1972. By which time only one wall of this factory was left standing which form an entrance to the ecology park
2a this is the current vicarage for St.John’s Church. The original vicarage is assumed to be now the site of new housing
Housing adjacent to the church, was presumably built on the site of the original church
St. Johns Church Hall. Finsbury Park Housing Project drop in centre
4 -5 Postal Sorting office. This is early 20th and designed by Jasper Wenger with an elaborate single storey façade fronting a utilitarian shed. It is no longer in use.
Food depot at the end facing Goodwin Street. This is a concrete framed building originally constructed as a distribution depot
Railway Mission Hall. This was on the site now taken by the depot at the end of the street. The mission was part of a national organisation founded in 1881 as a successor to the Railway Boys Mission and aimed to provided meetings and services for Railwaymen who could not attend Church Services because of their unsocial hours. Their declared aims were: 1.Evangalistic and Temperance Works, 2.Circulation of pure literature. 3. Care of the injured
11 House and offices used by Campaign Against the Arms Trade. The building is owned by Peace News Trustees, and has been used in the past by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, support organisations for Palestinians, Oromos and Kurds, local neighbourhood groups and an organisation to aid street drinkers. In the hallway was an ingenious system of pulleys and hangers that allowed bikes to be hauled upwards above the tallest visitors.
Hackney Brook is detailed in many works once it has reached Hackney but its upper reaches in the Blackstock Road area are much vaguer. .One branch comes from the north and rises somewhere to the west of Finsbury Par Station and then flows south in the direction of the Holloway and Hornsey Roads. The stream appears to cross the complex of railways and ex-railway sidings west of Gillespie Road flows north of the road and the tube station and through the ecology park. Arsenal’s old stadium sits on a meadow called Long Mead which lay south of the stream. The stream crossed the Blackstock Road at the dogleg where the Arsenal Tavern stands which is obviously at the foot of a valley slope. And then along Mountgrove Road and into Clissold Park.
Highbury Stadium Square
Flats built within the grounds of the former Highbury Stadium, including the preserved facades of the East & West Stands. The pitch has become landscaped gardens and the Concierge is situated in the
This was previously Myrtle Street
2 A Congregational mission opened in Myrtle Street as Highbury Vale mission in 1937. It was used by other Christians from 1948. It is now Elizabeth House, a Community Centre for children and young people. They run After School Clubs and a youth club. They also do fitness classes, and a garden project. They also provide spaces for other groups
A suburban back road paralleling the railway lines between Seven Sisters Road and Hornsey Road. The name relates to one of the early names for Islington. It is crossed by Hackney Brook which is running underground, it was originally called Clarence Road – hence the Clarence Goods Yard in this area.
76-89 Iseldon Resource Centre. Mental health and other NHS support for Islington residents.
185 Travellodge London Finsbury Park Hotel. Built in 2016 on the site of an earlier hotel – the Maryland Hotel in a conversion from housing
Airshaft. This stands back from the road in a storage yard for Tubelines and is for the Victoria Line
201 Pure Highbury Student Housing. Huge corner block on the site of a trading estate itself on the site of terraced housing.
Isledon Village Housing is a housing development by Benjamin Derbyshire of Hunt Thompson, 1991-4; it fills former industrial space between the railway and the roads.
Gardens. The sloping ground is laid out as compact little park with a sports area, a couple of slides for smaller children and a formal walled area with benches, flower beds and a complex of steps and balconies.
27-29 Lennox Hall. This is an old Congregational mission hall made up of two terrace houses and with a hall behind. They were built in 1884 to designs by Searle and Hayes for the New Court Congregational Church. They were used by Elim Pentecostalists in 1951-77 and are now flats and offices.
6-10 New Life Church. Seventh Day Adventist Church and church centre. This appears to the same building as the YMCA Club, shown on maps from the late 1960s and now part of the City YMCA and housing a youth arts project.
52-53 Employment Exchange. It is Neo-Georgian with 'Employers’ originally written over the central door. It was built in 1933 replacing shop premises nearby used by the Islington Exchange which was one of the earliest ever set up.
This was originally called Kings Road and laid out in the 1840s.
St. Thomas’s Church. In 1888 there was a church of England Mission Church where first in a small brick building, then in a large temporary iron church. When St Matthew, Friday Street was demolished the proceeds of the site sale were used to fund a new permanent church here designed by Ewan Christian. It was in the then new Anglo-Catholic tradition with social work staff, protests at social conditions, many clubs, and in particular no pew rents. There are three memorials in the church to the dead of the Great War – there are red poppies on a screen, and 95 names listed on a brass plaque and one individual memorial. The church is now well looked after and has had support and grant funding.
The Arts Place. John Jones, picture frame maker. This was established in the 1960s, and is family-owned and run. Frames and artist surfaces are hand-made at premises in Hertfordshire, which includes a mill, welding studio, special finishes and gilding department.
This was once a bridle way called Gipsy Lane
New River. This is the where between 1619 and 1870 the Boarded River crossed the valley of the Hackney Brook, and then crossed the brook itself at the back of the Arsenal Tavern, from whence it ran due south
Hackney Brook. The brook here ran west/east parallel and probably north of the road.
This is modern housing built on the site of filter beds for the New River Company’s Stoke Newington Water Works. These were built between 1855 and 1883 and used the Lancashire process of slow filtration. After the Great War a fast filtration process was introduced
New River. The New River provided fresh water to London from springs near Hertford and was opened in 1613. Originally it was built along the 100 ft contour so that it gradually flowed onward but this necessitated long circuitous loops. The first such loop to be bypassed was as early as 1619 when a 17 ft high timber lead-lined wooden trough was built to carry the stream over the Hackney Brook here, on the junction of today’s Mountgrove and Blackstock Roads. This was known as the ‘Boarded River’. The line of the original river is and that in squares to the east, west and south. The river itself was cut short in 1870 at the pumping station in Green Lanes (in the square to the east)
The Boarded River. In 1618 -19 the long westward loop to Ring Cross and back was shortened by an embankment built across the valley of the Hackney Brook., 462 feet long and 6 feet wide. This ran from today’s Princess Crescent area parallel to today’s Blackstock Road until it reached what is now the Arsenal Tavern, where it met and crossed the Hackney Brook and then turned due east to reach the original course near today’s Green Lanes. Leaks were frequent and expensive and in 1776 Robert Mylne replaced it with a clay-lined embankment called Highbury Bank, through which the Hackney Brook ran under a brick arch. This whole stretch went out of use in 1870.
Until 1911 this was Palmerston Road. The road is now in two halves divided by the council owned area which includes Clifton Court.
Clifton Court. This is an Islington Council 20 storey block built in 1966 as part of Haden Court.
In the 1950s some bus routes terminated here and a canteen was provided for staff, initially on a truck but later in a permanent building,
St Anne’s Church. This was set up with an Iron church in Durham Road from 1866 – 1870 which included a National School. A church was built in 1870 of multicoloured brick designed by A. D. Gough after the Second World War it beamed derelict and was used as a hall. It was demolished in 1965.
Church. This was next to St Anne and was by Romilly Craze and consecrated in 1960. It was demolished before 1970.
Pooles Park Tavern. Closed and demolished in 1961. It was a Charrington House opened in 1874
YMCA Red Triangle Club. Put there to tame the youths of Campbell Bunk. This was on the corner of Bickerstaff Road.
Conservative Club. The property, said to have a ‘sober, 1950s interior’ opened as a members’ club in 1886. It was sold in 2015
New River. In the car park of St. John’s House cast iron posts were placed to mark the line of the pumping main to the west part of Islington on the New River. On either side of gate onto the grass a pair of iron posts was recorded which were 15' apart with 'Track MBW' on them'.
New River. In the path of St, John’s flats near the Crescent a metal plate was recorded with 'T MWB' on it.
Finsbury Park Synagogue. This was founded as an independent synagogue in 1884 and was initially affiliated with the Federation of Synagogues, before becoming a District Synagogue of the United Synagogue in 1934. It was first on Portland Road, then Princess Crescent, before moving to Green Lanes about 1962. There are now flats on the Princess Crescent site.
St. John the Evangelist. The original building resulted from popular requests for a church and was consecrated in 1874. It had been built to design by F. Wallen and delayed by the builder's bankruptcy. Extensive repairs were needed in 1920 and under-pinning from 1928 and this was followed by severe war damage. Some of the original churchyard wall remains. The church was rebuilt in 1995 to a design by Tom Hornby recently described as a semi circular “flying saucer” and now features a Kids Cafe and a Soup Kitchen
Housing adjacent to the church, and presumably built on the site of the original church bears a plaque saying "This stone unveiled by David Curry M P Minister for Housing 5 December 1994 St John’s Housing Project”
Parkwood Primary and Nursery School. The school dates from 1969 and was opened by the London County Council in what was then part of Stoke Newington.
New River. On the line of the water main laid along the wayleave created by the course of the New River a row of metal studs was recorded across the corner of the school playground.
Newish housing built alongside the railway and on old railway lands.
Gillespie Park entrance gate.
The area covered by this square is bisected by a complicated network of rail lines mainly heading for Kings Cross Station in one direction, and northern England in the other. There was an associated network of goods yards here. Finsbury Park Station (above) dates from the 1860s and the line to Edgware (above) from 1867. The railways were accelerated here by the introduction of a line up from the North London Line – described as the Canonbury Curve. This fed into the lines going into Finsbury Park Station at the southernmost edge of this square from 1874.
East Goods Yard. This is the current site of Gillespie Park (see above). It opened around 1875 and was a marshalling yard for up traffic.
Clarence Yard. This was a marshalling yard for down traffic and opened in 1875.
Clarence Yard Goods. This was for public goods traffic and coal. Opened in 1875. A western section originally used for coal was used for diesel after 1960.
Western Carriage sidings. These lay between the East Goods Yard and Clarence Yard and included a long cleaning shed built in 1885.
Finsbury Park Goods Yard. This was in two sections either side of Wells Terrace. The older section to the south of the road. The northern dating from 1879. Coal Depot area to the north of Wells Terrace Railway sidings. The earliest four sidings here were to the west of the station and shown on 1864 maps as the original goods depot.
Highbury Vale Yard. Now the site of Gillespie Park.
New River. The 'boarded river' flowed to meet the this road probably around the area of Digby Road and then turned eastwards
Housing on the site of what was Clarence Yard.
This was once called Grange Road. In the 1920s it was used as a bus stand to ease congestion in Station Place
Belisha. A pair of combined Belisha beacons have been set up outside no 23. In the dark the white portions are seen as illuminated columns and they are more visible.
Seven Sisters Road
This was a main turnpike road. The road was authorised in 1829 and constructed in 1833 by the Metropolitan Turnpike Trust. In 1841 the toll gate was moved to what was then called ‘Strand Green Lane” junction with what was then called Hem Lane and Sluice House Lane. Hem or Heame Lane ran from Hornsey Road to Stroud Green Road and became part of Seven Sisters Road.
New River. The original line probably crossed Seven Sisters Road near where Finsbury Park Station is now – but on a generally east/west line. This was abandoned when the Boarded River was built in 1619
330 Alexandra National Hotel. This was a ten storey block opened in 1966 by Lord Geddes. Chair of the British Travel Association. It later became studio flats and bedsits with some offices including a small community centre, and a community launderette, It was demolished around 2008 to be replaced by a housing scheme called Finsbury Park Place.
326-328 Pembury Hotel
324 Queens Hotel.. In the 1950s this was the Greater London Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service.
314 Finsbury Park Wesleyan Methodist church. This opened in 1871 in an iron building on land bought by Sir Francis Lycett. A permanent church was built in 1875. It was probably demolished in the early 1970's, there is now a BP garage on the site.
296 High up on the east side of the building overlooking Finsbury Park Road is a cement sign. This had letters recessed into the concrete which now appear to have been painted over or erased. It said 'Marshall, importer of Segars, wholesale & retail and at Islington'. Below and to the rear of the building are what appear to be the remains of stables.
284 The Blackstock. Originally this was The Blackstock Hotel but was also called at one time The Park Hotel. This dates from at least the 1860s.
Stroud Green Farm. This once stood on the corner with Stroud Green Lane, and in the late 19th also operated a Tea Garden.
269 Pyke’s Cinematograph Theatre. This was opened by Montague Pyke in 1909. It had originally been the entrance to a horse drawn tram depot \n it was then decorated with an auditorium behind. It closed as a cinema in 1915. In 1920 it was incorporated into the Rink Cinema round the corner and became the foyer of what was then called the Finsbury Park Cinema. It later became the Rink Cinema again was operated by Associated Picture Houses, The new foyer then became a large cafe/restaurant and the cinema continued. After the cinema, which was by then a bingo club closed in 1984. The original Cinematograph Theatre was demolished in 1999. In 2006 it a supermarket was built on the site.
North Metropolitan Tramways. Finsbury Park Depot. This was opened in 1885 by the North London Tramways and from 1891 was the North Metropolitan. They added stables here in 1898. Latterly it belonged to the London County Council.
263 The Twelve Pins - this current name refers to a range of Irish mountains. It was originally called the Finsbury Park Tavern. It dates from at least the 1890s.
Railway bridges – seven rail lines cross the road accessing Finsbury Park Station. In 2016 artwork placards devised with artists and local people were put on walls beneath the bridges saying “Finsbury Park” and “Together” as a way of lightening a gloomy space and branding the area.
Rail bridge. The earliest signal box in this area was built in 1855 and lay south of the bridge. It controlled the line going to the then new Holloway Coal Depot to the south.
Cattle sheds. The frontage east of Fonthill Road on the north side of the road was, when the station and goods sheds were first built, a cattle shed and what appears to be a tree lined field.
240 The Clarence, This pub dated from at least the 1860s and has now been demolished. The name was changed to The Sir George Robey in the 1960s and it became a popular music venue in the 1980s but was empty from 2004. It was hoped it would become a local arts venue and efforts were made to prevent demolition. Sir George Robey was an English comedian, singer and actor in musical theatre and considered one of the greatest music hall performers of the late 19th and early 20th.
238 The Astoria Theatre. This opened in 1930 as the fourth of the Astoria Theatres built by Arthur Segal for Paramount on what had been the site of a postal sorting office. The outside by Edward A. Stone is in plain faience. Inside it was decorated in a Spanish Moorish/Atmospheric style by Marc-Henri and G. Laverdet as Art Deco with a Moorish foyer and auditorium like an Andalucian village at night. It had a twin console Compton 3manual/13Rank theatre organ. It has a 35 feet deep stage, 12 dressing rooms, a cafe and a fountain containing goldfish. It was Taken over by Paramount Pictures in 1930, and hen by Odeon Theatres Ltd. in 1939. In the 1960s it became a site for pop music gigs. It was re-named Odeon in 1970, it was closed by the Rank Organisation n 1971 and then It was converted into the Rainbow Theatre. It became a music venue for pop and rock and some relevant films. It closed in 1981 and was then unused until 1995 when the Brazilian based United Church of the Kingdom of God restored it and now use it as their main base in the UK
233 Muslin Welfare House. Halal House. Social, educational and community centre seeking to support local communities. 228 Electric Vaudeville Theatre, This opened in 1909 as a shop conversion, designed by Lovegrove & Papworth. Robert Hawkins, the operator, sold the cinema to Selig & Isaacs in 1915 and it closed in 1916. It became a shop and having been derelict it now a sauna and a restaurant.
201 The Seven Sisters Road Congregational Church. This was founded in 1864 and was replaced in 1885 by the Finsbury Park Congregational church at the corner with Playford Roads. There was a lecture hall behind the church. The church closed in 1939 but is still shown as extant in the 1960s. It now appears to be a small private car park for businesses in Playford Road.
165 The Durham Castle, This pub dated from at least the 1860s. It is now closed and is a Turkish delicatessen shop.
New River. Originally the New River crossed the valley on an embankment some 600 yards long, its north end approximately just west of the junction with Queens Drive. The water company retains the wayleaves created by the line of the river and the New River Company marked the line of its main along it with cast iron plates. One here was marked by a cast iron plate marked ‘NRC pipe track’ on the wall on the corner with Queens Drive. The line of the main is said to run diagonally from here north west between gaps in buildings as far as Seven Sisters Road. On the site of the road there is a patch of granite setts which might indicate some previous use by the New River Company.
Vaudeville Court. Flats on the site of Finsbury Park Empire.
2 Finsbury Park Empire. This was designed Frank Matcham in a similar style to his Shepherd’s Bush theatre and built for Moss Empires Ltd. It opened in 1910 with a variety show. Moss considered it their No2 theatre and shows came here after the London Palladium and before going nationwide. Films were shown as part of the show and included a newsreel. It closed in 1960. It then became a scenery store for Moss Empire Theatres and also used as a rehearsal space. It was compulsorily purchased by London Borough of Islington in 1964, and was soon after.
St Thomas' Church. This was built in 1888 By Ewan Christian; additions 1901 and 1904, by Edward Street. Red brick inside and outside. Chancel with its brickwork painted is screened by a low wall iron screen by Wippells, 1920; a similar one to the apsidal isle. The Chancel rood is by Burnes & is dated 1922. Original Font and cover. Stained glass window by C.E. Kempe; six in the chapel and five in the baptistery by Clayton & Bell.
Vicarage. Hall and Vestry 1901
15 Moslem Welfare Centre. North London Central Mosque. The main building was opened in 1994 in a ceremony attended by Prince Charles.
52 The Auld Triangle. This was previously called the Plimsoll Arms dating from 1890 and an Ind Coope House.
This has also been called Station Road and Station Street. It is now largely a bus station but buses have used this as a stand from the start. The road opened in 1874 when the railway layouts here were changed in order to take in trains from the North London line. The road was part of the rebuilding of the station.
5 Zelman Drinks. Also called The Silver Bullet. Muldoons, Gaslight, etc.
Stroud Green Road
The road formed the boundary between Hornsey and Islington. .
10 this was a horse drawn tram depot which was converted into a roller skating rink but never opened. In 1909 it became the Rink Cinema converted by Fair, Mayer & Marshall. An organ was installed in 1915. In 1920 it took over the Cinematograph Theatre round the corner and it became the main entrance, foyer and restaurant for the larger cinema. The Rink Cinema’s entrance became a secondary entrance for the front stall. It became known as the Finsbury Park Cinema and rhea went back to being the Rink Cinema and was operated by Associated Picture Houses, later Provincial Cinematograph Theatres. In 1923 it was the first cinema in Britain to have the De Forest Phonofilms ‘sound on film’ system, later Fox ‘Movietone’. In 1926 a Model ‘F’ Wurlitzer theatre organ with 2Manuals/8Ranks was installed and removed during the Second World War. In 1929 it was taken over by Gaumont British Theatres and named Gaumont in 1950. In 1958 and was converted into the Majestic Ballroom. In the early-1960’s it became a Top Rank Bingo Club which closed in 1984. The original Rink Cinema became a snooker club and later a Ten Pin Bowl known as Rowan’s.
9-15 Scala Cinema. This opened in 1914 with the entrance to the north and the auditorium parallel to Stroud Green Road – the rake of the seating followed the fall of the land. It was designed by H.W.Horsley and built as part of a parade of shops with the railway coal depot behind. In 1920 it was taken over in 1920 by Alahamson and Landan who renamed it New Scala Cinema. It closed in 1924 and became a billiard hall. It was later “Park Whist Hall’, then Irish dancing and then Peter Phillips clothing factory. It was demolished in 2007 and by 2014 there were flats and a supermarket had been built on site
Entrance to the park which includes a store where bicycles can be kept locked while owners are on the train
Railway bridge. The bridge carries the East Coast main line towards Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland. There are measures here to deal with vehicles which are too high to pass beneath the bridge . The bus stations handling traffic to Finsbury Park Station are arranged to prevent double deckers passing under the bridge
British Transport Police. They have a police station by the Wells Terrace entrance.
11 Railway Hotel. This opened in 1874 and was a Taylor Walker House, later owned by Punch Taverns. It closed in 2013 and is now a cafe.
Finsbury Park Goods Yard (see above). The section south of the road is the original and that to the north dates from 1879.The sidings are now the. City North redevelopment site. This lies between this road and the railway in a rough triangle with a spur reaching Fonthill Road and another along the end of Goodwin Street. Buildings were constructed from the 1950s onwards on land previously occupied by railway sidings and were used by Mac Fisheries, a large fish distributor. There was also some oil storage. From the 1970s the site was used as a shop fitters warehouse and production facility, including metalworking and joinery and converted into mixed use units in 2005
This was previously called Campbell Road – “Campbell Bunk. Worst street in London”.
1 Finsbury Park Methodist Church. This replaced the larger building which was adjacent to it but fronting onto Seven Sisters Road.
New River. This is the approximate site of the Highbury Sluice House which stood north of the New River at the point at which it turned south to become the Boarded River. Drawings show the house as a pub alongside a bridge crossing the stream,
New River. The line of the wayleave on the old course of the New River passes a house which was once Luesleys Hotel on the east side. A cast iron plate was recorded here with 'New River Co. Pipe Track' plus arrows on the wall which marked the limits of New River Co. land. The Central Park Hotel is on the west side opposite what was Luesleys. The line of the wayleave as having been marked with two cast iron plates with 'New River Co. Pipe Track'. There are also said to be two MWB pipes in the car park
Woodfall Park, small park with attached playground.
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Arthur Lloyd. Web site
Bowes and Bounds. Web site
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British Listed Buildings. Web site
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Emporis. Web site
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Islington Faces. Web site
Islington History and Archaeology Society. Web site
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London Borough of Haringey. Web site
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Posted by M at 09:06