N13: Not waving but drowning

N13 is Palmers Green, and is largely an Edwardian district which architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner describes as a poor man’s Muswell Hill. We start our walk at Palmers Green Post Office, 364 Green Lanes which is almost opposite Fox Lane. Turn right out of the Post Office and walk along Green Lanes. Keep going past the […]


N12: Tally ho!

North Finchley is centred on Tally Ho Corner, the junction of the roads to East Finchley, Finchley Central, Friern Barnet and Whetstone. and numerous local businesses have taken their name from this including a gym! The phrase tally-ho! originated from hunting with hounds. It comes from an old French phrase and is shouted when a rider or follower sees […]

N8 Sweet dreams are made of this…

N8 is Hornsey and Crouch End. We are spoilt for choice as to where to start as there are 3 Post Offices in N8. I have chosen to start our walk at the Post Office at 24 Hornsey High Street, in what passes for the centre of Hornsey.

We head right out of the Post Office and soon we are stop 1.

Stop 1: Number 32 Hornsey High Street

Today we see a hairdresser but above the shopfront, it has a local Haringey green plaque to David Grieg (1865-1952)  – founder of the grocery chain and philanthropist who left trusts for the benefit of Hornsey and the community. This beneficence contributed to the Greig City Academy in Hornsey which we will pass shortly.

The plaque is here because this was his mother’s shop which opened in 1870 and it was here where he lived as a child and went on to learn the grocery business.



Interestingly the chain’s first shop was in Atlantic Road Brixton in 1888 and not round here. And Brixton became the location of the company’s headquarters.

By the 1960s there were more than 200 shops across the south of the country. It was a family run business like Sainsbury’s, which similarly started in London and expanded into a chain around the same time. But unlike David Grieg’s, Sainsbury’s was better at moving with the times.

The David Grieg company was sold to Fitch Lovell (which owned Key Markets) in 1972 after crippling death duties were incurred when several of the family died in quick succession. Key Markets was later bought by Gateway, which was then rebranded as Somerfield and was in turn bought by the Co-operative Group. But of course most of the David Grieg shops were small high street stores rather than supermarkets and so were closed over time, as the trend until fairly recently was for larger and larger supermarkets.

As we walk along this side of the road, we pass the Greig Academy.


Keep walking along this side of the road and soon you will come to a green area to your right. This is our next stop.

Stop 2: St Mary’s Church

This was the original parish church for Hornsey dating from medieval times. However all that remains is the tower which was largely rebuilt in the 19th century. And this is not because of the war as so often is the case.


According to the Hornsey Parish Church website, St Mary’s Church has been around since 1300. The Tower was completed about 1500 and then heightened in 1832 when the medieval church was rebuilt as it was too small and needed many repairs. The tower was retained and a new church built alongside it, finished in 1833.

This church in turn became unsuitable and was closed in 1888, although it was not demolished until 1927. The tower was spared and the site was made into a garden. For the new church a different site was chosen, on the corner of Hornsey High Street and Church Lane, and the building was completed by 1889. Unfortunately the subsoil was unstable and cracks began to appear, forcing the demolition of the building in 1969. The parish was combined with nearby St George’s in 1972 and I think the second church site is now a church school.

But the footprint of the old church containing the planted garden is the first church, rather than the later one.

Go out of the Churchyard on the far side from where you came in. This is Church Lane and just across the road is our next stop.

Stop 3: Mildura Court


The reason we are stopping is that a couple of things caught my eye.

One the right end of the block is a coat of arms. This is of the old borough of Hornsey’s coat of arms. It was granted in 1904 (the year after Hornsey became a municipal borough) and features two oak trees recalling the ancient forest that once covered the area and surviving remnants including Queen’s Wood, Highgate Wood and Coldfall Wood. The crossed swords are there because the manor of Hornsey was at one time held by the Diocese of London and these crossed swords are taken from the Diocese’s arms.


It also has the motto: “Fortior quo Paratior” which is usually translated as “The better prepared, the stronger.” I think I might take that as my motto.

But much more interesting is a little blue plaque to the left of the main entrance. This does not commemorate a person who lived here.


I wonder what kind of decorations they did to warrant this little plaque.

Now go down Church Lane away from the High Street, turning left into Ribblesdale Road. Turn right at the end (Tottenham Lane). Our next stop is ahead across the road. 

Stop 4: Funky Brownz Bar (former Railway Hotel)


This has unprepossessing place was where the sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars started life. The first Lotus Cars factory was established in the early 1950s in stables behind what was then called the Railway Hotel.

The company was formed in 1952 by two men called Colin – Colin Chapman (1928 – 1982) and Colin Dare. The Railway Hotel pub was owned by Chapman’s father.

Adjacent to the pub was the first Lotus showroom though this location is now part of Jewson’s builders merchants.


There is a memorial plaque to Colin Chapman by the entrance to Jewson’s erected by Club Lotus in 1984.


Production moved to Cheshunt in 1959, and then in 1966 to an old RAF base called Hethel in Norfolk.

Fascinating fact: Apparently the four letters (ACBC) which are here on the plaque and used in the middle of the Lotus logo stand for the initials of company founder, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman.

Now retrace your steps along Tottenham Lane and our next stop is just on the right.

Stop 5: Hornsey Station

The railway got to Hornsey in 1850 when the Great Northern Railway opened its line between London and Peterborough.

From the road this looks like it might still have a reasonable station.


But closer inspection reveals this building houses little more than a staircase.


And when you go up onto the footbridge you can see how the station has been almost denuded of buildings. Not the most attractive of places to start your morning commute.


Continue walking along Tottenham Lane. Our next stop is at the end of the road across the way

Stop 6: New River Pumping Station

Here we meet the New River again. We saw this in N1 and N4 and here we are a little further “upstream”.

The red brick building is a Pumping Station dating from 1903.


Today this Pumping Station is used as a restaurant and bar, which describes itself as:

“Riverside @the Pumphouse is a opulent Indian Fine dining Restaurant, Mocktail Bar, and shisha garden with a dedicated Dome Lounge in the heart of North London. Set across 2 floors the awe inspiring venue is a perpetual oasis of Royal Mogul inspired luxury.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to have part of the premises, which makes for an unusual combination.


Walk along Hornsey High Street away from the railway. After a while you will see a little green on the right side of the road. And set back here is a rather nice Victorian pub.

Stop 7: Great Northern Railway Tavern

The odd thing about this pub is that it has a railway name but it is quite a long way from the railway, as you have just seen.


Architectural historian Pevsner calls this “festively Jacobean, with tall shaped gable and original fittings inside. Unfortunately it was closed both times I passed, so I cannot verify whether this is still the case.

But it did have this one nice window on the front (sadly just the one).


Keep walking along the High Street. You soon get a nice view of Alexandra Palace up on the hill.


Then on the left you will see Middle Lane and the entrance to Priory Park. Go in this gate.

Stop 8: Priory Park

This park was created by the local authority (then the Local Board) to stop the land being developed. The first part of the park was opened in 1894, the year Hornsey became an urban district.

Despite the name, there has never been (as far as is known) a Priory on this site. The Park is named after the sprawling estate that once covered this area and the 19th century mansion that stood within it.

Walking into the park and soon you will see in the middle a rather large fountain. Or rather a large ex-fountain, as it is now planted (rather badly).


The shield on the side gives it City of London origins away, showing the cross of St George and the sword of St Paul. In fact it came from the churchyard of St Paul’s Cathedral. It dates from 1880 and was moved here in 1909.


This fountain was presented to the borough of Hornsey by the City of London Corporation in celebration of the mayoralty of Ernest Arthur Ebblewhite (1867-1947).  Ebbelwhite was a barrister and local politician who served as Mayor of Hornsey in 1908-09.

He was also at various times Master of the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks, Senior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers and Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, so there was quite a City connection.

Now go to the left of the “fountain” and you will see another much smaller monument ahead. This is the Metcalfe fountain, which was originally located in Crouch End Broadway.


It was donated by Charles Thomas Page Metcalf in 1879 to replace the village pump. It was moved to the Park after the Broadway Clock Tower was built in 1895. We shall see that shortly.

It was of course more a drinking fountain than a vulgar display of shooting water jets. But like so many of these Victorian water fountains, there is no water any more, sadly.

Go out of the park by the gate ahead. This takes you back into Middle Lane. Go ahead (sort of a right turn) and keep walking until you get to our next stop.

Stop 9: Crouch End Clock Tower

This clock tower is in commemoration of Henry Reader Williams (1822 – 1897). He served on the Hornsey Local Board for twenty one years, including ten as Chairman. He had strove to make Hornsey a model suburb and was the driving force behind the creation of Priory Park.


The clock tower has a relief of Reader Williams.


The terra cotta does not look too good after 120 years of standing in the open.

And there is a nice old road sign, showing the way to Finsbury Park … and London.


Now go straight ahead. This is Crouch End Broadway and our next stop is set back on the left hand side

Stop 10: Hornsey Town Hall

Set behind a little green is Hornsey Town Hall, completed in 1935. It was designed by New Zealand born architect Reginald Uren and apparently was influenced by Hilversum town hall in the Netherlands.



The building was used by Hornsey Borough Council as its headquarters until 1965. However when Hornsey Borough council became part of the London Borough of Haringey, most of the administrative functions were relocated to Wood Green and eventually the Council moved out completely.

There was a plan for Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts to take over the building but this fell through in 2014.  Currently there is an interim project for a one year which keeps the building open for community use. But the future beyond this year seems uncertain.

Now actually the town hall is set in a grouping of quite fine 1930s building. To the left was an Electricity showrooms and office which according to architectural historian Pevsner was built for borough, but in fact adapted in 1938 from a former telephone exchange by the architect of the Town Hall.

Today we see a modern cafe bar but you can still see the word “Telephones” on the building.


And there is a rather unusual brick sculpture over the doorway. A man sort of bursting out of the bricks, seemingly dropping stars. I am not sure if this is symbolising electricity or telephones.


And on the right side is what is today Barclays Bank.


This has a number of reliefs along above the ground floor windows. One (a couple in towards the Town Hall) has a date – August 1937 – and some earnest looking men hard at work  – “designing”?


But many of the others reliefs include a flame and this gives away the client for this building


This was the offices and showroom of the Hornsey Gas Company. It was one of many local gas companies that were nationalised in 1948. They went into regional groupings and in this part of London that new body was called the North Thames Gas Board.

By the way Pevsner says that the man responsible for both the reliefs on the Gas Company building and the brick relief on the other side is a sculptor called Arthur J Ayres.

Keep walking along Crouch End Broadway. Stay on the same side of the road as the Town Hall and follow the road as it bends round and becomes Crouch Hill after the junction. Our next stop is ahead on the right.

Stop 11: The Church Recording Studios

This vast non-conformist church building is now mostly a recording studios, although you have to look quite hard to find evidence of this. There is just a very small entry phone which mentions studios and reception. And the only reason I found this was because fellow guide Rhona (who showed me NW6) worked in the music business for many years and happened to mention this place.


This link sets out a bit of the history of this site.

And this was here the 1980s group Eurythmics recorded most of their tracks including “Sweet dreams are made of this”. Standing outside here it is hard to believe this really is a recording studio.

Continue walking along Crouch Hill and take the second road on the right, which is Haslemere Road. Our next stop in on the left just before the junction with Waverley Road.

Stop 12: Number 10 Haslemere Road

This fine house was home to none other than renown theatre architect Frank Matcham (1854 – 1920).



It boasts a blue plaque unveiled by actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales on 22 November 2007. English Heritage, who award the plaque, noted

“His theatres are particularly notable for their exuberant interiors – he was quite prepared to mix architectural styles, from Tudor strapwork to rococo panels, military insignia to classical statuary. They also set new standards in providing good sightlines and high safety standards, with the inclusion of features such as fireproof construction, adequate emergency lighting and ready means of exit. Matcham’s work proved extremely popular with the public, and its opulence and flair continues to enthrall audiences today.”

We have seen one and a half of his theatres so far on our travels – Shepherds Bush Empire, W12 and the Lyric Hammersmith, W6 – where the inside is his but the outside most definitely is not. And we have seen a few places where his theatres once stood but no longer do (in SW6, W4, NW10 and N7).

I thought therefore it might be an idea to see if there are more survivors in London that ones that did not make it. Based on the list on the Frank Matcham Society website:

I looked at his theatres in the whole of Greater London:

The survivors: the Richmond Theatre (1899), London Hippodrome, Leicester Square (1900), the Hackney Empire (1901); the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (1903); the London Coliseum (1904); the London Palladium (1910); the Victoria Palace (1911), plus the interior of the Lyric Hammersmith (1895 but now marooned inside a 1970s block)

A good list but sadly more did not make it: Granville, Walham Green (1898),  New Cross Empire (1899), Marlborough, Holloway (1903), Willesden Hippodrome (1907),  llford Hippodrome (1909), Finsbury Park Empire (1910), Lewisham Hippodrome (1911), Winter Garden, Drury Lane (1911),  Chiswick Empire (1912),  Wood Green Empire (1912) plus a few more.

As ever the wonderful Arthur Lloyd site comes up trumps with an interview with Mr Matcham dating from 1897.

This includes the following:

“In town I devote the early morning to office work, in Warwick-court, Gray’s-inn. Then I steal away to my residence at Crouch-end, where I can devote the uninterrupted evening to designing.”

And it goes on to say he is currently designing:

“a vast circus in Leicester-square … After a long process of negotiation, a huge space has been acquired, bounded on one side by Daly’s theatre – from which, however, it is separated by a thoroughfare – on another by Charing-cross-road, on a third by Cranbourne-street, and on a fourth by Little Newport-street. Hereon will be erected a hotel, a winter garden, and bachelor chambers de luxe (but at an extremely moderate rental), in addition to the circus, which is to out-do the most ambitious establishments on the continent. A water show will form a part of the entertainment, a brilliantly-illuminated fountain feeding the miniature lake.”

This is what we now know today as the London Hippodrome, which opened in 1900 and still stands although much altered.

As he lived here from 1895 to 1904, quite a few of his other great theatres must have been designed in some part at this very house. Sweet dreams made real maybe.

Well that brings us to the end of our N8 walk.

Hornsey had the air of a place which started out with great ambitions but never quite made it, even though it did get given a cast off fountain by the City of London. Crouch End has a lot more going for it, with its grand late Victorian splendour and 1930s set piece.

This is one of those few fairly large suburban centres which is nowhere near a railway station. There was the line from Finsbury Park to Highgate and beyond which opened in 1867, passing behind Mr Matcham’s house and having a station in Crouch End Hill. It would have become part of the Underground if the Northern Heights project has been fully realised. But today it is now a parkland walk, accessible from Crouch End Hill or Crouch Hill. And you can either go up towards Highgate or down towards Finsbury Park from here if you want to do some more walking.

Alternatively, if you return to Crouch End Hill you can get a bus to Finsbury Park for onward rail travel.








N7 The Hollow Way

N7 is Holloway. A bit of  strange name and one that turns out to mean exactly what it implies. It was a road in a hollow (well that’s what Brewer’s “Dictionary of London Phrase and Fable” says on page 239)

We start our walk at the Post Office at 20 Brecknock Road. Turn left out of the Post Office and go to the corner where you should turn left into Camden Road.

Our first stop is in the turning which is the first on the left.

Stop 1: Site of 39 Hilldrop Crescent


Now I did not expect to find Number 39 still standing given its history. This was the house that Dr Crippen and his wife moved into in 1905.

Dr Crippen is one of those names you have heard of but probably do not know much of the story.

Hawley Harvey Crippen (1862 – 1910) was an American homeopath. He was convicted of murdering his wife Cora Henrietta Crippen here at Hilldrop Crescent and was the first criminal to be captured with the aid of wireless telegraphy. He was fleeing back across the Atlantic with his lover at the time.

Here an article from the Daily Mail in 2014 which gives an insight into his colourful life and includes a picture of the cellar of 39 Hilldrop Crescent where he is supposed to have buried his wife:

Most of the street has been redeveloped but some of the original houses still stand. However number 39 no longer exists. It would have been here, where a block of flats called Margaret Bondfield House now stands.


But I guess it would have looked like this (which is number 37)


And now, as they say, for something completely different…

Stop 2: The Kindness Offensive

Having walked along the Crescent turn left at the end back into Camden Road and our next stop is on the next corner.


This looks like an old pub but is in fact home to something called The Kindness Offensive (or TKO for short). According to their website, they are not a religion, company, charity or official group of any sort, but are a group of friends and like-minded people. In 2008 the three founding members of TKO headed out of their front door to see what they, as ordinary people, could do to make the world a better place. Their aims are to have fun, be kind and inspire as many people as possible to do the same. Performing both small and large-scale Random Acts of Kindness is what they do. And they have an old Routemaster bus to transport people and stuff about.


More about this strange and wonderful place and what it does at:

Now from kindness back to something rather less kind. As you continue along Camden Road you will see this on your left.

Stop 3: Holloway Prison

This looks like an industrial estate which has turned its back on you.



But it is in fact Holloway Prison. There has been a prison here since 1852. But it was completely rebuilt between 1971 and 1985 and not even the distinctive turreted gateway to the prison survived. Originally a mixed prison, it became a women’s prison in 1903 and was where many of the suffragettes were held.

Keep walking along Camden Road.

Stop 4: Two interesting manhole covers

Now along this road like so often in London, there are some old manhole covers. But if you stop just by Moriaty Close, you will see two which are almost certainly there in relation to street lighting and predate the nationalisation of electricity supply in 1948.


Here before 1948 the local borough council clearly provided the service, as the manhole cover says Islington Borough Council Electricity Department


But the other one is even older, as it says Vestry of St Mary Islington Electric Light. The Vestry of St Mary was one of the predecessor bodies to Islington Borough Council, which was created in 1900. So that suggests this particular manhole cover is at least 115 years old.


Here is a fascinating piece on the National Archives site about the records held by the London Metropolitan Archives on the electricity undertakings that went to form the new nationalised London Electricity Board in 1948.

This is what it says about this area:

“Islington Metropolitan Borough Council Electricity Undertaking was authorised by an Electric Lighting Order of 1893 and commenced supply in 1896. The Borough’s predecessor, the Vestry of Saint Mary, Islington, had appointed an Electric Lighting Committee and built a Central Electric Lighting Station at 50 Eden Grove, Holloway. In October 1936 the Electricity Department’s Showroom and Offices were opened at 341/343 Holloway Road. At this time the Borough’s aim was to develop the Undertaking ‘by making uses of electricity familiar to all classes of community and providing a comprehensive service of installation and maintenance which will place the many types of domestic electrical appliances within the reach of every ratepayer’. Major post-war activities included the supply and fitting up with electrical appliances of the new housing estate. In 1947 there were 70 staff.”

Now go the end of the street and turn left into Holloway Road. Our next stop is just ahead on the left.

Stop 5: Odeon cinema


This cinema was developed by a duo called Hyams & Gale who sold out to Gaumont British Theatres as the building was being completed. It was originally intended to be a sister theater to the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn although it only had around 3000 seats as opposed to Kilburn’s 4,004 seats.

It opened on 5 September 1938 but it did not have a long life in its orginal form as the auditorium was destroyed by a V1 Rocket bomb in November 1944. The main walls and foyer survived but it took a while for the rebuild eventually reopening in July 1958.

It was renamed Odeon in November 1962. It was first divided into three screens in 1973 and later there were more subdivisions so now there are eight screens. But it is still going strong today.

As only the facade and the foyer remain in anything like their original 1938 condition, these are the only bits of the building that are Listed (Grade II).

Now return along Holloway Road and our next stop is just beyond Camden Road on the same side as the Odeon.

Stop 6: The Marlborough Building, Number 383 Holloway Road



You may be wondering why we have stopped at this rather undistinguished block which now houses City & Islington College.

The clue is in the name because this was the site of a theatre called the Marlborough which was designed by the prolific theatre architect Frank Matcham.

It opened in October 1903. Initially it presented plays and musical comedies but from May 1918 it became a full time cinema, known as the Marlborough Picture Theatre. It became part of the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres circuit in 1925 which in turn was taken over by Gaumont British Theatres in February 1929.

Gaumont closed the Marlborough Picture Theatre in September 1940, due to wartime conditions. It was taken over by Odeon Theatres Ltd. in February 1942 and they reopened it on 9th March 1942.

The Marlborough Theatre did not really stand a chance what with the huge Gaumont Holloway just along the way, plus the Odeon/Gaumont group also had two other big cinemas not too far away in Finsbury Park (Astoria and Gaumont). So the Marlborough Picture Theatre closed on 31 August 1957 and was demolished in 1962.

Continue walking along Holloway Road and our next stop is on the other side

Stop 7: Selby’s, Numbers 383 – 400 Holloway road

James Selby opened in 1896 as a Milliners and General Draper and amazingly it is still going.


It is one of a group of independent stores which include Morleys in Brixton and Tooting and Elys in Wimbledon. And it is reminder that this street was once a major shopping street.

Our next stop is at the corner of Holloway Road and Tollington Road

Stop 8: Site of Beales

Today at the corner of Tollington Road, you see a modern block housing an Argos store. But for over 70 years this was the location of a Holloway institution, called Beale’s.


Beales started off as a bakers in 1769 and the firm was incorporated as Beale’s Ltd in 1895. In 1889 Beale’s opened a five storey building here containing a restaurant, grill room, banqueting suites and departments selling a complete range of groceries and provisions.

By the second world ward the grocery, meat and provisions departments had been closed as being uneconomical, but the bakery business developed under a sixth generation Beale called John, becoming the largest independent bakers in North London with 12 shops. The restaurant and banqueting side of the business continued until 1969, when the Holloway premises were sold and the bakery closed down after exactly 200 years.

The company concentrated on their hotels in Hertfordshire and are still going, with the eighth generation now at the helm. Here is a fascinating piece about the Beale’s store on Holloway Road

Our next stop is at the other corner of Tollington Road. (Now might be a good time to cross over Holloway road if you have not done so already)

Stop 9: former Jones Brothers Department store, (nos. 348 –366)


Today we can see a Waitrose store and a little further along a rather grand building. But prior to 1990, this was the location of the Jones Brothers Department store.




Jones Brothers’ was founded in 1869 by William and John Jones. William had come to London in 1867 and worked as a draper’s apprentice until he and his brother opened a small shop in Holloway.

In 1899 they were able to build larger premises with an entrance to the south under a tower.

In 1927 the store became one of the Selfridge Provincial Stores, and in 1940, like a number of others including Bon Marche in Brixton, it was bought by the John Lewis Partnership.

Following closure of the store in 1990 part of the building became a conference centre. But over the door there is a little reminder of the origins of the building.


Clearly Holloway Road was an important shopping street from the late 19th century, rather like Brixton. But does not seemed to have fared so well today.

Our next stop is right next door.

Stop 10: Coronet Cinema 338 Holloway Road.

Today this building proudly proclaims itself as “The Coronet”.


It is now a Wetherspoons pub but was obviously once a cinema. The name is a bit misleading because it was only called the Coronet cinema for 4 years out of its 43 years life as a cinema.

It opened as the Savoy Cinema by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) on 5th February 1940. It had been virtually completed as war broke out in September 1939 and so was allowed to open as planned. It was re-named the ABC in 1962 and in 1979 the independent Coronet Cinemas chain leased  it and renamed it the Coronet Cinema.

It finally closed as a cinema in June 1983 and was never subdivided. After a couple of years as a snooker hall, by 1987, the building was vacant and unused. J.D. Wetherspoon purchased the building and it was converted into a pub, reopening as The Coronet in March 1996, with many of the features of the cinema restored.



The refurbishment and restoration of this former cinema won awards for the Wetherpoons. There are lots of informative panels around the building about the golden age of cinema and the local area, including one related to our next stop.


Continue walking along this side of Holloway Road and in the next block stop at Number 304

Stop 11: Number 304 Holloway Road

Joe Meek, record producer, lived, worked and died in his flat in 304 Holloway Road.



He was one of the important record producers of the early 1960s and he did much of his work here at this flat, where he created a studio. His best remembered hit is the Tornados’ “Telstar” in 1962, which was apparently the first record by a British group to reach number one in the US pop charts. But his commercial success as a producer was short lived, and he gradually sank into debt and depression, and believed his flat was haunted or was being bugged. On 3 February 1967, after a dispute with his landlady Violet Shenton, he shot her and then turned the gun on himself.

He was quite a character as can be seen from this piece on Islington Council’s site.

Fascinating stuff and we even get another old picture of Beale’s. And who would have thought we would have two murderers in one walk!

Now keep walking along Holloway Road and just after going under the railway bridge, look down the side street and you can see the new Arsenal Emirates Stadium


Sadly we do not have time to visit!

Nor do we have time to pop into Holloway Road tube station just by the railway bridge – another of the Leslie Green designed tube station.


By the way it has a strange claim to fame as the place where the first escalator was installed on the Underground. The station was was built with two lift shafts, but only one was ever used for lifts. The second shaft was the site of an experimental spiral escalator which was built in 1906 by the American inventor of escalators, Jesse W. Reno. The experiment was not successful and it was never used by the public. The remains of this escalator are apparently now in the London Transport Museum’s depot in Acton.

Our next stop is just along the road but you will get a better view if you cross over.

Stop 12 London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Road

London Metropolitan University was formed on 1 August 2002 by the merger of London Guildhall University and the University of North London, but can trace it roots back to 1848 when one of its predecessor bodies, the City of London Polytechnic, was formed.

But we are at the University of North London’s site, previously the Polytechnic of North London.


But amongst the rather dull buildings, a rather special creation was added in 2004 – the 10,000 sq ft Graduate Student Centre by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.


It comprises three intersecting volumes, clad with embossed stainless steel panels. The Graduate Center houses a lecture theatre, seminar rooms, staff offices and a café for the university’s graduate students.

Jonathan Glancey wrote in the Guardian in February 2004: “At £3m all in, this is not an expensive building. What it has that distinguishes it from what a client might ordinarily expect for that money is great presence… When you visit the area, you immediately realise that Libeskind’s explosive building acts not only as a junction box for the university but as a landmark for the entire street.”

But this site also once housed a cinema at numbers 194-196 Holloway Road.

This had opened as the Holloway Grand Pictures on 8th January 1913. It was taken over by the Ben Jay circuit and became the Regent Cinema in 1935. In 1950 it was renamed Century Cinema and in 1955 it was purchased by the Essoldo Circuit and renamed Essoldo Cinema.

However a Compulsory Purchase Order was served on it (presumably to allow for the building of an extension to the Polytechnic of North London). The cinema closed on 29 April 1961 and was demolished leaving no trace.


Now if you have a moment, do take a detour down Eden Grove, the street opposite the Libeskind building. At the end as the road does a sharp left, you will see this.


A closer inspection reveals that this is the “Electric Lighting station” of the Vestry of St Mary Islington we heard about in stop 4.



So this is what an Victorian power station looked like!

We are now at the end of our N7 walk. we have heard about some interesting characters (including two very different murderers) and we have seen how Holloway was once quite a centre for shopping and for entertainment, though sadly it has not got much in either department these days.

If you retrace your steps back to Holloway Road and turn left you will soon be at Holloway Road tube station.. And of course there are numerous buses along the Holloway Road.