Finsbury Park -What’s in a Name?

Finsbury Park is at the north-east tip of Islington and unusually the area is named after the large park, not the other way around.  The park itself was formally opened in 1869 – now Grade II listed it was the first municipal park to be authorised by its own Act of Parliament. It’s a long … Read More

A short pub Crawl in Archway

Archway has a number of pubs which date from the late Victorian period, when a change in licensing laws and the expansion of population in the area led to the building of ‘watering holes’ over a period of about  25 years up to 1899. So there is a range of architecture and internal design from … Read More

Copenhagen House and Fields

Copenhagen House Copenhagen House was a famous tavern & tea-garden which stood in what is now Caledonian Park, N7, from the early 17th century until 1855.  As a pleasure garden it attracted Londoners keen to take tea, play skittles or fives (an early version of squash, said  to have be invented here), watch boxing (and … Read More

Thomas Britton, the Musical Coalman

Born in Northamptonshire in 1654 and came to London as a boy to be apprenticed for seven years to a ‘vendor of small coals – charcoal’. He set up his own business in Jerusalem Passage. Passionate about music, a musician and book collector, Britton starts London’s first Music Society. Accessible only by a rather rickety … Read More

Finsbury Park Station

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 … Read More

French Hospital Plaque

The plague, the Pest House and La Providence

This discreet wall plate on a school in Bath Street, Finsbury commemorates the ‘French Hospital’, founded in 1718.  Then this Islington Borough green historic plaque marked the adjacent site of the rather more sinister-sounding City Pest House, established in 1593; sadly, it appears to have been mislaid during some recent building work.   Bath Street … Read More

Plaque at Moorgate

Bethlem Hospital

Introduction The area of Finsbury has a strong connection with Medicine, and to start off, here is a post that looks at the Bethlehem Hospital – in the City of London, but just outside the Moorgate. The hospital led to many Doctors and Physicians living in the area around Finsbury Circus, and this led to … Read More

St George's Tufnell Park Road Holloway

The Rock Tower

Squeezed tightly into the corner where Carleton Road meets Tufnell Park Road is the unusual building shown above. Known as The Rock Tower, it has a large circular central section, with attached structures of various shapes and sizes, and a separate bell tower – now linked to the building by a modern extension.  The Rock … Read More

Barnsbury Wood

Barnsbury Wood

If you happen to find yourself in Barnsbury on a Tuesday afternoon, then I can recommend a visit to London’s smallest nature reserve. This is Barnsbury Wood and it has equally small opening hours; just 2-4pm on Tuesday afternoons (although slightly longer in the month of August).  The wood is the creation of George Thornhill … Read More

houses in Canonbury Square

The Artistic Life of Canonbury Square

Sit in the gardens of Canonbury Square – east or west – and, despite the din of the lorries heading down the Canonbury Road that divides it, something of the peace and quiet of a London square still remains. The attractive gardens, maintained by a dedicated band of local volunteers, with some unusual and exotic … Read More