Islington Essex Road

Post to the north Canonbury

Alwyne Road
Especially grand Italianate examples where the gardens back on to the New River.
I7 Alongside the house is part of a late 16th octagonal garden house from Old Canonbury House. The brickwork is covered with stucco.

Arran Walk
This was Marquess Road until the 1960s.
80 The Bridge.  Built as a Council Neighbourhood Centre, this is now New River Baptist Church providing community service for the area

Asteys Row
This is a footpath parallel to the New River, originally built in the mid-18th by a John Astey. The area suffered considerable bomb damage in the Second World War It is now a narrow space with rockwork; some called 'Islington's Cheddar Gorge'.
New River.  This section of the New River was enclosed in pipes in 1892/3 and became a stretch of derelict land. Later the pipes were removed and gardens laid out here.  There have been re-landscaping works since as Asteys Row Rock Gardens.
Children’s playground. Recently remodelled.

Canonbury Crescent
Walter Sickert Community Centre. The refurbished centre was re-opened in 2009 by the Mayor of Islington

Canonbury Grove
Road overlooking the New River. The road dates from 1823, and was once called Willow Cottages and Willow Terrace;
New River. There was a loop here in the original course of the river, some of which can still be seen.  This was once open fields and the river took this, its last loop, called the "Horse Shoe". It was straightened in 1823 when the streets were laid out in Canonbury Fields. Almost half a mile of the New River remained an open r-channel until 1946 when it was terminated at Stoke Newington. It was then converted into a park and is now the only section in Islington with a continuous stretch of water.
Brick building. Within the remaining curve of the New River is a small circular brick building which is likely to be late 18th. It may have been used by a linesman working on the New Rivera

Canonbury Road
The road was built as part of the New North Road built in the early 19th linking the start of the Old North Road at Shoreditch with the Great North Road at Highbury Corner.  It was a ‘propriety road – a turnpike road built as a private road by a group of proprietors. By Act of Parliament it was managed by the Metropolitan Turnpike Trust from 1849.
Canonbury Bridge – where the New River ran under the road
52 Myddleton Arms. Dates from at least 1839. It was once a Courage House but has now got posher. There are old features in the bar back, windows and cellar opening. The tables are converted oak barrels. It is named after Sir Hugh Myddleton, who built the New River. It is listed.
St Stephen’s Church.  This was a new church in 1839 taking on some of the parish of St. Mary, the Islington parish church. It is a pale brick Gothic building by W. and H. W. Inwood & E. N. Clifton and laree lengthened by A. D. Gough. I was bombed and burnt out in 1940; then reconstructed by A. Llewellyn Smith & A. W. Waters in 1957.
New River Walk and Canonbury Gardens. This continues the riverside walk, although this stretch was historically in pipes until this section of the river closed and it was turned into park land and amenity space.  Canonbury Gardens is also used by the Manna Project which is growing an edible forest together with St.Paul’s Church working with homeless people.

Canonbury Street
32 Marquess Tavern. This was developed around 1854 by James Wagstaffe. It is in brick with a roof obscured by parapets on a corner site with the main front to flat on Canonbury Street flat, and the sides to Douglas Road and Arran Walk. The words 'MARQUESS TAVERN' is on the cornice in sunk lettering. Inside is a horseshoe bar counter and deal panelling from the late 19th. It is now a Young’s pub.

Douglas Road
Beyond Canonbury Grove there were fields until in the 1850s Douglas Road was built. It overlooks a stretch of the New River.
40 between the Marquess pub and the terraced houses, is a glass house by Future Systems - Jan Kaplicky and Amanda Levete built in 1993-4 with engineering by Arup.  It is like a glass version of the three-storey houses nearby. At the back – seen from Arran Road - is a slope of plate glass. The front wall is predominantly of glass bricks.  Inside, are metal staircases to three decks and a freestanding service core.

Ecclesbourne Road
Ecclesbourne Road Primary School. This was opened by the London School Board in 1886 as Eccelesbourne Road Board School.  This school closed in 2004 and is now flats.

Elizabeth Avenue
This was previously William Street and Oxford Street.

Elmore Street
Only a short distance of the Essex Road end of the street is in this square –but this was once James Street.  Up to the 19th much of the area was brick-fields.
77 The Children’s House. This a nursery in what was a church mission and subsequently a Hindu Temple,
BAPS Swamiarayan Hindu Mission. In 1950 devotees began to meet in a house near Baker Street. In 1970 they began to look for somewhere to open a mandir and came upon this site in Islington and purchased it. It was refurbished it and it became the first Swaminarayan mandir in the western world. Sacred images were brought from Kampala and a Vedic ceremony was performed with thousands witnessing the procession. In 1972 thousands of Indians expelled from Uganda came here and the Islington mandir became too small although in 1974 large painted murtis retrieved from the Tororo mandir were installed. In 1980 they began work on the Neasden Mandir and eventually moved there
St.John the Baptist Church Hall and Mission.  This church was in Cleveland Road, was bombed in the Second World War and eventually demolished.

Essex Road
Essex Road was originally ‘Lower Road’. It may have had Roman origins and was part of route out of north London which led to Ermine Street. From 1735 it was part of the Islington Turnpike Trust.
144a The Green Man. Mid-19th pub sometimes called ‘The Old Green Man’. It is on the corner of Greenman Street which might indicate that it is older than it appears. This had some Courage signage outside which has now gone since 2016. The dodgy geezers remain as does a Courage sign on the corner high above the door.
161 Carlton Cinema. This opened in 1930 as a cine-variety theatre for the Clavering and Rose circuit. The architect was George Coles and it was a lavish building with an Egyptian style facade in multi-coloured Hathernware tiles. Inside the style is Empire style - Egyptian in the foyer and French Renaissance in the auditorium. There was a cafe for patrons. And a Compton 3Manual/6Rank theatre organ plus Full stage facilities with a 26 feet deep stage and four dressing rooms. It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas Ltd. In 1935 and re-named ABC in 1962. It closed in 1972 and was converted into a bingo hall as the Mecca Bingo Club, but closed in 2007. Resurrection Manifestations purchased the building and set about refurbishing the building for Church, community use and private hire. Church use began in late-summer 2013 and the building is now Gracepoint, avenue for arts, educational shows, family performances, theatre, corporate meetings and events.
River Place Health Centre
181 Essex Road Station. Opened 1904 it lies between Highbury and Islington and Old Street on the Great Northern Railway. It was built by the Great Northern and City Railway on its underground route between Finsbury Park and Moorgate.   It had 16’ diameter tunnels to take main line stock and Great Northern Line trains to the City. In 1913 it was taken over by the Metropolitan Railway and thus became part of the underground as the Northern Line. In 1922 the name was changed to ‘Canonbury and Essex Road’. In 1939 work which had been done as part of the Northern Heights scheme was abandoned. It became underused and neglected. In 1975 the Northern Line closed it and the station transferred to British Rail and in 1976 it reopened for main line trains from Finsbury Park to Moorgate. It was never modernised and access to the platforms is by a dimly lit spiral staircase.
207-229 works 1960s. 1970s North London Polytechnic School of Librarianship, The Polytechnic of North London was founded following a merger in 1971 of the Northern and North-Western polytechnics. The North-Western Polytechnic had acquired premises here in the 1960s. The site later became council offices for Islington planners, and is now flats.
229 This building – at the north end of the complex later owned by the Polytechnic, is shown as mainly in Canonbury Street. In 1915 the whole block was in use by Danneman whose piano works fronted on Northampton Street round the corner. Later maps show this building marked as a print factory.  In the 1950s it was an address used by Carnegie Brothers, founded in London in 1911 who from the 1930s were Carnegie Chemicals Ltd of Welwyn Garden City. They produced a range of pharmaceutical products.  It was also an address used by the Cellusan Co., who made items like tampons and maternity pads – however company directors were all called Carnegie.  .
196 Akari. This Japanese restaurant is in an old pub.  This was The Three Brewers from the early 19th owned by Ind Coope.  It has also been called Bloom's, Leopold Bloom; Speculator (owned by Stella’s Irish cousin) Nubar, Le Montmarte and Jersey.
St. Matthew’s church. This began as a temporary chapel, founded in 1836 in what had previously been a Wesleyan Methodist chapel. A church was built in 1850, designed by A.D. Gough. In 1966 it was demolished. It was asymmetrically placed with a thin spire.
246-90 Annett’s Crescent built 1822-6.  Architect was William Burnell Hue, In the 1970s the Council restored the houses, and the strip of garden in front.  It is the only early crescent in the parish.
279 Northampton Arms pub. This dated from the 1830s. Long since demolished it is now flats.
292 /Council Odffices. This  was built in 1812 for W. Weaver, and in 1819 was bought by Ridley as a floor-cloth factory whose firm held it until 1893.  It was then acquired by A. Probyn, a beer bottler, whose firm, founded in 1791 remained here until 1958 as Foster Probyn Ltd.  In 1962 Young’s Brewers moved in, leaving in 1972. Islington Council restored the exterior and converted it as council offices removing colourful advertising in the process.  It is a four-storey Palladian building with Georgian-style windows; the classical porch has been removed although a balustrade with stone balls has survived.

Greenman Street
Was Greenman Lane, named after an old alehouse.  This square covers some of the north site of the street – i.e. excludes the Peabody Estate.
Tibby Place. This small park was once the location of Tibberton Baths. Part of the structure remains as a memorial
Tibberton Street Baths. This opened in 1895 had a mixed bathing pool with spectator gallery and changing cubicles and a stepped diving stage. There was also a dedicated men only pool and a Ladies only pool. There were ladies and men’s slipper baths, a remedial pool and a public laundry.
The Baths were built on the site of hat manufacturer, Thomas Wontner’s mansion

Morton road
Morton Road Park. Local park with a children’s playground, a tarmac ball court with basketball hoops and football goals and shrub beds. It is on the site of 19th housing.

New North  Road
The road was built in the early 19th linking the start of the Old North Road at Shoreditch with the Great North Road at Highbury Corner.  It was a ‘propriety road – a turnpike road built as a private road by a group of proprietors. By Act of Parliament it was managed by the Metropolitan Turnpike Trust from 1849.
Victoria Cinema. This was at the corner of and Ecclesbourne Road and opened in 1912. It was designed by architects Lovegrove & Papworth, and always operated as an Independent cinema. It closed in 1957 and became a warehouse. It was demolished in 2001 and there are now flats on site.
286 Corley’s Tavern. Originally called the Kenilworth Castle.  The pub dated from least the 1840s and may have been earlier. It was later rebuilt following bomb damage as a modern estate pub in 1953.  Demolished 2011.

Northampton Street
Street-names in the vicinity of Canonbury House recall the former manor 20 and its owners the Spencer Compton family. Marquesses of Northampton
6-18 The Ivories.  The Daneman piano company’s art deco factory now converted to office use.
2 Daneman, piano manufacturers.  The firm dated from 1893 and were still making pianos in 1980.  William Danemann established the firm here and from the 1950s they were one of the largest London manufacturers of grand pianos. They also made school uprights in their hundreds for education authorities. In 1982 Broadwood purchased Danemann Pianos and the factory and manufacture of pianos ended in 1983. the Danemann name is carried on in the piano business and since 2017 Danemann Pianos are manufactured in China.

River Place
National School. This was attached to St. Stephen’s church. It was built in 1842 with a National Society grant and also financed by subscriptions. It closed in the 1880s and was sold in1882.
Urban Hope. This is a youth and community project to the rear of St.Stephen’s church and using the space which was once their church hall.
Congregational chapel.  This was registered from 1864 and a Lecture room added by 1872.  It closed 1909.
14 Toy Factory – this appears to have been on the site of the congregational chapel until replaced by the rear of the health centre, fronting in Essex Road.

Rotherfield Street
St. Matthew's School. this had opened in 1837 in Essex Road. As a National school in 1862 it moved to Queens Place which then ran across the area which is now the Bentham estate. The new building was used for Girls and infants.  The school closed in 1901
140 Duke of Cleveland. Pub. This closed in 2006 and is now flats.  Until recently the pubs name was displayed on a poster at the top of the north facing wall – and above it the same can still partly be made out in concrete lettering.

Willow Bridge Road
Part of Frog Lane – the old road from London to Highbury. Laid out in the 19th. Crosses over an old line of the New River;

AIM. Web site
Brewery History. Web site
British History online. Islington.  Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Clunn. Face of London
Cosh.  New River 
Cosh. Squares of Islington
Essex-Lopresti. New River 
Historic England. Web site
Islington History and Archaeology Society. Web site
London Borough of Islington. Web site 
London Encyclopaedia
London Gardens Online. Web site
London Mandir Baps. Web sit
Manna Project.  Web site.
Pevsner and Cherry. London North
Pubology. Web site
Pubs Galore. Web site
Sugden. Highbury,
Thames Basin Industrial Archaeology Group. Report
Wild Swimming News.  Web site
Willatts. Streets of Islington


Anonymous said…
Hi - I have a question re 29 Elmore Street in 1907. It was a pub. And the registered birth of a relative and I wonder why? As can see no family connection to the public house. The mum was not married - so that may have played a part. Would love any info!

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