• This is approx where the sole Corinthian column fragment remains today - see Fin's earlier photo - just to the left of the main entrance to the Highbury and Islington Booking Hall shack. It is all that remains of this entire building.

Highbury and Islington Station, early 20th century

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In all its glory, close to its original state. There I was, on the corner of Highbury Place, with my digital camera, horse-drawn carts and trams clip-clopping past ... well OK in fact I bought this canvas print from a local art shop, and it's wonderful. Can anyone estimate the date of the picture? I'm guessing it's pre-grouping (ie before the formation of the LMS in 1923) as the sign still says 'North London Railway'.

It's staggering to think BR wilfully demolished this in the 1960s. But it was another age. Nevertheless think how this contributed to the character of the area, the sense of place. Its replacements (tucked away behind a portacabin masquerading as a Post Office) give a sense of arriving in a dreadful place, not an exciting, vibrant, and (now) relatively wealthy part of London. And pray that the council takes the opportunity to restore some sense of unique character, style and architectural interest when the place is eventually redeveloped. Not just another glass/steel box...

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  1. pageb45 40 months ago | reply

    You’re very welcome, Alec. I did make a small error and mentioned that the V2 impact was at the junction of Charlotte Street and Matilda Street. This is incorrect: the actual intersection was Charlotte Street and Catherine Street. I have added this image on my Highbury Corner photostream that shows a composite of the bomb map and early street map. Regards from Barry Page.

  2. balzo431 38 months ago | reply

    I have recently moved back to the area after some time away and am fascinated by all the history of Highbury and the wonderful contributions everyone has made to this page - fantastic. I would like to buy some good quality old prints/maps/photos of the area. any ideas as to the best place to go? bob

  3. pageb45 38 months ago | reply

    Hi Bob: you might want to try this shop. You may be able to buy the Highbury & Isliington Station print shown above there.

    The Only Place For Pictures
    Islington, London N1
    Open Days
    M T W TH F SA SU
    Open Hours
    10.00am - 6.30 M T W TH F
    10.00am - 5.30pm SA
    020 7226 8200

    Best regards. Barry Page, Goderich, Ontario, Canada

  4. stevedef 31 months ago | reply

    No1 hemingford Road was occupied by my mother and her sister and brother and parents . The only night that they stayed in the shelter was the night the bomb fell as her father was on duty with the AFS. Their name was Festa and my Grandad had the barbers in Copenhagen Street. They were moved into 99 Copenhagen street soon after. I was born in 1949 while my parents shared the house with my Grandparents and saw the Barsbury Estate being built.

  5. dogman83 30 months ago | reply

    does anyone have a photo of charlotte terrace islington from the early 1900s?

  6. notional67 30 months ago | reply

    Barry and co - re your question on the reopening of the GNCR entrance: it was mooted a few years ago, but the laterst consultations on the development of Highbury Square and the Station Square are silent on the issue. We've just pulled all the relevant papers together in a doc linked from here:

    The 2004 Isington Council planning brief says: “The Council considers that the old station entrance on Holloway Road should be reopened ....it is likely that the ground floors of 12, 16 and 18 Holloway Road [ie the row up to and including Barclay's] would be needed for a ticket hall and provision of escalators, lifts and stairs.”

  7. pageb45 29 months ago | reply

    Notional67: Thanks for the feedback. The footdragging is ticking me off. Hopefully it'll be resolved in my lifetime. See my comments on your latest contributions.

  8. Nicolahairam 29 months ago | reply

    Just stumbled across this thread by accident. Believe it or not my grandmother remembers walking out of the post office after being served, walking halfway up St Pauls Rd and she remembers hearing the bomb falling. She ran because towards her home (towards the end of St Pauls rd) and the bomb hit Highbury Corner. It chills her to this day to think that she could have been killed.

  9. pageb45 29 months ago | reply

    Nicolahairam: This is very interesting. There aren't too many eyewitnesses' statements available (or photos, come to that), but any information would be welcomed by the Islington History Centre in St, John Street, Finsbury. Likewise if you have anything else to share on this incident or even the station building itself, please communicate. Thanks. Barry.

  10. edwardicusrex 28 months ago | reply

    I was a seven year old when that V1 landed on the bank at Highbury Corner. I was in Miss Keats news shop on St Pauls Rd opposite Compton Rd with my Mother. We heard the buzz bomb cut out and Miss Keats took us through a door that led to some stairs which led to the basement. We cowered on the stairs waiting for the inevitable.
    The explosion blew out the shop windows and I can remember the dust and people running. Sad to say, the fiance of Miss Keats was just leaving the bank when the doodlebug hit. He was killed outright as we found out later.
    Miss Holden who ran the bakers shop on the corner of St Pauls Rd and Highbury Gve, I believe was in an air raid shelter which was outside the post office. The shelter was badly damaged, but she was against the wall the survived and she to survived. It really is the luck of the draw!!!

  11. pageb45 28 months ago | reply

    Hi edwardicusrex: Thank you for that eyewitness account. Description of the air raid shelter from the official Civil Defence records: Surface shelter FK1 situated in Green opposite No 35, roof collapsed. My grandma, who lived in Liverpool Buildings, Highbury Station Road, remembered the incident and the carnage the V1 explosion created; often describing it to me in detail. She lost her next door neighbour, Mr. Bonus.

  12. One Show2012 27 months ago | reply

    This is a fascinating thread.

    I am researching and setting up a film about Highbury and Islington Train Station and the V1 bomb attack. The film will involve an architectural historian helping a CGI expert to "re-create" the original station, as well as pertinent interviews with people who remember the station and the bombing.

    I would love to hear from anyone who remembers the station as it was, and anyone who remembers the V1 attacks. Please do get in touch if you could help.

    My e-mail address is: wjsteel@yahoo.co.uk

    Many thanks.

  13. pageb45 26 months ago | reply

    dogman83: I don't have any photos of Charlotte Terrace as requested, but the following Flickr link may be of some interest.

  14. notional67 26 months ago | reply

    Worth having a look at Tetramesh's wonderful 'Before and After' series showing Highbury and Islington from a whole range of positions - and in varyng degrees of pre-war splendour, post-war delapedation, and contrasting them with its recent renaissance.

  15. notional67 26 months ago | reply

    And for those that haven't seen it, do take a look at Barry's 1910-ish colour greetings card. Another gem.

  16. pageb45 26 months ago | reply

    Thanks for relaying this image, Notional67, so that others can appreciate the magnificence of this building - now sadly just a memory. There is some controversy about the northern wing, where the Boots chemist shop was. It's possible that, although shown in the original woodcut illustration of 1873, the wing was not constructed at the same time as the southern wing (Cock Tavern) and the main hotel-cum--station. OS map evidence shows a distinct blank in that area some years after the main structure had been completed. Also, the architect/surveyor of the southern wing may not have been Edwin Henry Horne - designer of the station. There are some architectural details that do not compute with Horne's overall plans. If anyone out there can enlighten, please respond. Thanks. Barry.

  17. pageb45 26 months ago | reply

    There is evidence that Tetramarsh's image shows the NLR Highbury Station as it was at the turn of the 20th century. Horse trams and buses predominate, perhaps before the single decker electric trams came on the scene. At one time, the Cock Tavern seemed to have shared some of its premises with a company called W. Farrish & Co. Does anyone know anything about it? I think it was short lived as the upper rooms of the Cock Tavern became a Grill Room. They were destroyed in the June 1944 V1 explosion. Thanks. Barry.

  18. pageb45 14 months ago | reply

    In the current edition of The Islington Gazette Page 3 there is news of a petition to rebuild the grand 1872 facade of Highbury and Islington Station. Anyone interested in signing ?

  19. notional67 8 months ago | reply

    For all interested in or affected by the V1 strike at Highbury Corner - There will be a minute's silence at Highbury Corner at 12:46pm this Friday 27 June, 70 years after the devastating V1 blast. Meet outside Union Chapel at 12:30. Organised by Islington Council. Please pass on to others who may be interested.

  20. notional67 6 months ago | reply

    REBUILDING HIGHBURY STATION?... Thanks to all those who have commented on this post and contributed to the discussion. There is some interest now from Islington Council and Transport for London in reconstructing the station's historic façade as part of a potential redevelopment. To follow this and/or contrivute, please follow @rebuildhighbury and @fieldshighbury on Twitter. Also Rebuild Highbury Station on Facebook. Positive progress - all from a lovely black and white photo.

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