Finsbury Park station is at the meeting point of three London boroughs – Islington, Hackney and Haringey. Now a busy intersection between several railway lines and two lines on the London Underground it was originally just a small, almost unnoticed, pause for the mainline trains of the Great Northern Railway as they cut across the rural fields on their way to the new terminus at Kings Cross.
In the mid-nineteenth century the railways spread across the country, transforming transport and the landscape. The Great Northern Railway was constructed in the 1852, terminating at the grand new station at Kings Cross in 1852. At the same time new roads were being built, including Seven Sisters Road which runs along the south side of Finsbury Park from the Holloway Road to Tottenham High Road (the romantic name comes from the cluster of seven trees which were at the Tottenham end). In 1861 a small “halt” was built – just a wooden platform which allowed access between the railway and the road. Originally named Seven Sisters, the small station was renamed Finsbury Park in 1869 when the park was opened.
A few years later a small branch line to Highgate and Edgware was built – and the plan was to incorporate this into what is now the Northern Line on the Underground. This plan was never completed and the small branch line was closed in the 1950s. Parts of the line remain as the delightful Parkland Walk – a tree-lined path well used by cyclists and pedestrians.
Further lines arrived in the twentieth century – in 1904 Finsbury Park was the terminus of the Great Northern and City Railway’s line to Moorgate and in 1906 Lloyd George, who later became Prime Minister, opened the Finsbury Park to Hammersmith section of what became the Piccadilly Lone on the Underground. The Victoria Line was built in 1968 and the station was buildings were modernised, only changing in the last few years with the major development of new office buildings and a new station entrance at the back of the site.
Footnote: the railway lines were constructed before the arrival of double-decker buses and the railway bridges across Stroud Green Road are too low for buses to pass underneath. As a result there is a bus terminus at the back of the station and anyone wanting to travel further south has to disembark and walk under the bridge to catch another bus from the front of the station!
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