North London Line
The line progresses in a south westerly direction
An area largely developed with housing in the mid-19th century. It was crossed by the cut-back section of the 17th century New River and later by the original section of the North London Railway. Most notably the Cossor valve factory was here, as was the, now renamed, Highbury Grove School - plus religious and other infrastructure buildings.
This post covers only the south west corner of the square
Originally called Aberdeen Mews
Mulberry Mews. New gated posh housing on site of Cossor and other works now demolished
Aberdeen Centre - The Cossor factory was behind 20A - 24 Highbury Grove and built in 1918 for the mass production of radio sets. In the Second World War work here concentrated on the development of radar.
Aberdeen Lodge, a single storey building used for storage and distribution
Aberdeen House, a four storey 1930s office building
A.C. Cossor Ltd, specialists in radio and electronic instruments. Cossor had been based in Clerkenwell from 1903. They expanded to Aberdeen Lane in 2928 building Aberdeen Works and a few blocks to the north Cossor House (now Ladbroke) House with a factory behind. They were allegedly the first company to manufacture X-ray tubes in Britain and it is claimed that the world's first radar receiver was made in Highbury Grove. At Highbury early valves went into production in 1922, with a design avoiding the Marconi patents. In 1924 they introduced their Wuncell range and others followed. Cossor became a public company in 1938, and reorganised in 1945. In 1927, Cossor launched their Melody Maker radio soon to become a centrepiece of British homes. In another milestone was achieved when they became the first company in the U.K. to sell a television set. In the late 1930s they were was selected by the Air Ministry to build the critical receiving units and operator displays for the Chain Home air defence radar network. This was the first operational radar system in the world. EMI acquired a controlling interest in 1949. Cossor continued to manufacture domestic radio and TV sets after they had ended production of consumer valves – buying in valves and badging them as their own. In the 1930s they designed oscilloscopes and supplied the Navy. In the 1940s Cossor introduced the first commercial aircraft radar systems but in 1961, they were acquired by American Raytheon with whom they had been associated since the Second World War. In 1962 they moved to Harlow where they remain, as Raytheon.
Hilger and Watts in Aberdeen Works from 1962 when Cossor moved out. They were scientific instrument makers originally based in Clerkenwell. Became part of Rank Precision Instruments.
Rose Cottage. This is a 19th, brick house surrounded on either side by Aberdeen Works.
3 House by Azman Owens architects. This is a concrete, timber, glass and limestone house, which is modernist, cubist with the planes of structure and textures overlapped and interlocked.
22 House made up of two angular blocks on a thin site. This is the architect, Les Koski of KSR own house.
The area is probably named after George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen. Aberdeen Park was laid out in 1853 and building continued until 1864, with additions in the 1930s – including infill for the original central tennis court. Only two entrances were provided into it. In 1938, the Park Estate was acquired by the London Investment and Mortgage Company who sold off the plots and properties until they owned only the roadway. At the Highbury New Park Entrance metal gates are erected in an ornamental flower bed with roads on either side.
Church of the Most Holy Saviour, Described as an “eccentric masterpiece” by William White. It was built in 1865-66 with funds from Canon Morrice of Salisbury, alongside protests from the Vicar of Christ Church. It was Anglo-Catholic in a very Protestant area. Henry Layard who discovered Nineveh designed a mosaic here, Betjeman’s family worshipped here when he was a boy. Closed in 1980 but since 1990 it has been the Florence Trust artists' studios instigated by Patrick Hamilton. This offers studio residences and exhibition opportunities to selected artists
6-10 built were built by Islington Council as sheltered housing in the mid-1970s. Some are now privately owned
15 Norman House, one of a row of variegated 19th houses, on the northern edge of the entrance road. This is a half-way house for released prisoners founded in 1959 by Merfyn Turner
16-28 have been combined into one building, the Highbury Centre, formerly the Foreign Missions Club. Established in the nineteenth century to provide economic accommodation for missionaries visiting London, the centre is today a Christian budget hotel.
17 Escuan Lodge, private flats constructed in 1960-61
19 in a Ruskinesque style. A large detached house originally built as the vicarage for St Saviour’s to which it was connected by a path it is now accommodation for people with mild handicaps.
23 Faithfull House
30 convent. Since 1972 this has been the sisters of St. Paul of Chartres. It was previously a girls' day and boarding school run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Zion opened in 1949. By 1960 it had become a mixed school and was closed by 1966
31-41, on the southern rim of the inner circle, built in the 1920s
42-44 a medium-rise housing scheme by Darboume & Darke, 1979-81 with project architects Peter M. Olley and Martin Cornelius. Small houses and flats are piled up like wings to the villas, with pathways over a platform formed by ground-floor garages
70, Aberdeen Court flats built in the 1920s by a speculative builder and the block has balconies and Dutch style gables. It was built on the site of a nursery by the Clinton family.
73 by the same builder as Aberdeen Court and built onto its side and said to have been occupied by the builder
96 Mostyn Lodge, private flats built 1964
106 original lodge house to the estate
110 Beaconsfield Lodge
Newcombe Estate, a group of four blocks of flats owned by the Islington Housing Association and opened by the actress Joyce Grenfell in 1950 – and there is a plaque to her.
Woodlands. A largish block of Council flats built 1964 and within old boundary walls.
Pillar box, this is at the junction with Highbury Grove. Erected 1866-76, to the design of J.W.Penfold. It is hexagonal in cast iron.
Built by 1860
New River. Before 1870 the New River coming south down the line of Petherton road diverged westwards after Beresford Terrace going to St Paul's Road.
2-7, with pretty pierced tympana to the first-floor windows;
The New River crossed the road before it was cut back to Stoke Newington Pumping Station in 1914. However, clearly it was removed the line of it was built on only gradually. Exactly where it crossed maybe the subject of some dispute – although maps of the 1850s show an extremely large gap, infilled by the end of the century, The conduit however crossed the road on a south-west diagonal from the area of now covered by Council flats but a distance to the east of the now defunct Presbyterian church. It crossed to the south side either to 127 or to 139/130a
75 Snooty Fox Pub. This was once the Grosvenor Arms
127 Eve Court. This was built in 1957 and stands on the south side of the road. It clearly marks a break in the earlier terrace.
139 and 139a. These are also newer buildings on the south side of the road in breaking the line of the earlier terrace. It is thought that these were built over what was the garden of 141 in the 1920s.
141 The New River is thought to have run alongside this property and then turned abruptly to cross the railway. The house was thus given a garden at the side of the aqueduct to compensate for loss of rear garden space. The spot is marked by a black poplar.
Ashfield. Block built by the Metropolitan Borough of Islington in 1949 and named for A.H. Stanley, Baron Ashfield – in 1949 recently retired as Chair of the London Transport Passenger Board
108a Parkchurch. Block built by the Metropolitan Borough of Islington in 1955 and on the site of Highbury Park Presbyterian Church.
Highbury Park Presbyterian Church, 1863 by E. Habershon. The facade remained but had gone now. It was, of a neo-Hawksmoor type, with a low portico.
Spring Gardens. Flats 1970
Station House. This was Canonbury Railway Station House
Highbury Grove School. The school was originally an all-boys comprehensive opened in 1967. The founding headmaster was the notorious Dr Rhodes Boyson. It was created from Highbury Grammar School, Barnsbury Boys' School, and Laycock School, as part of a comprehensivisation scheme by the then Inner London Education Authority. It is now a ‘foundation’ school and specialises in teaching music. It has recently been largely and flashily rebuilt on the site of the old Grammar School. The site from 1891 was Highbury Industrial School or Truants School for protestant boys. Before that it was the Church Missionary Childrens' Home.
Highbury New Park
The road and housing to the north of here was developed as an estate from 1850 by Henry Rydon, a tailor and brickfield owner from Finsbury Circus. Rydon, employed Charles Hambridge to work with him. The houses, attractive to mid-19th small business owners, were in brick with carved stone, polychrome brick and tiles for the architectural details and in a wide range of styled. It is wide and leafy with gardens behind
11 Samuel Rhodes School. This is a school for pupils aged between 5 and 16 with moderate learning difficulties. The Primary department is now elsewhere and the Secondary department moved in September 2009 to a new building here sharing some facilities with Highbury Grove School adjacent.
23 for the builder, Rydon.
60 Gymboree – this is an American pre-school education outfit. The buildings in the centre of the estate and were used as council offices. Presumably it was originally some sort of estate facility.
96 The Athenaeum. A 1960s block of flats stands on the site of the Athenaeum. The original building with an 80-foot brick facade was built in 1864 as an Anglican church- the 'Iron Chapel', but in 1870 became the 'Highbury House of Commons Athenaeum’. From 1928 it was a recording studio for Piccadilly Records and from 1933 became the Highbury Film Studios taken over by Rank in 1946 and in both cases a lot of B movies were made. In the mid-1950s when it was taken over by ITV to make popular shows like Double Your Money, Take Your Pick, Noddy and Sunday Night Theatre. In 1961 Edith was at a live TV show here, taken over by fascist black shirt group shouting ‘Seig Heill’ during the transmission, which was stopped. It was closed and demolished in 1963
New River. In 1855 Rydon sold the two strips bordering the channel to the New River Company who later erected iron railings to secure the water from trespassers and accidents.
6-32 Fourteen houses by Julian Cowie set around a landscaped courtyard for London Wharf.
Houses by a local builder, J. G. Bishop, were built on the Rydon's estate from 1868 to 1872. There was extensive bombing in the Second World War.
New River The road laid out in the 1860s and was wide enough to accommodate the course of the New River which ran down the centre for much of its length. The channel had a carriage-way on either side. The river was culverted in 1868-70 trees were planted down its length. The road level drops as it passes Grosvenor Avenue and Canonbury Station, and it rises again towards the end of Wallace Road where it joins St. Paul's Road, so the river channel turned, in a loop, to the west. This meant it was running along the 100ft contour as the original construction did along its entire length from Amwell to Islington.
1 white cubical house
5-7 the earliest houses in Petherton Road were built here.
Local authority housing at the south-east corner of Aberdeen Park estate. Built in 1982 in the garden of one of the Italianate houses. It is by Darbourne and Dark and the houses are arranged round an open green with 'traces of Tudor gardens and Lutyens ideas'.
This was once called Douglas Road North.
Canonbury Station. Opened in 1870 it is now Between Dalston Kingsland and Highbury and Islington on the East London Line, ex- Silverlink North London Line. The East and West India Docks and Birmingham Junction Railway had opened in 1850 to connect East London and the Docks with the London and Birmingham Railway at Camden Town; it was re-named the North London Line in 1853. An earlier Canonbury station opened in 1858 to the east of the present site and was originally known as "Newington Road & Balls Pond" renamed "Canonbury" before closure. The original Italianate building was demolished following vandalism. The station has been upgraded as part of the London Overground and in 2007, was refurbished. From 2010, North London Line services were used the newly constructed platforms 3 and 4, and East London Line trains use platforms 1 and 2
New River. When the railway was widened in the 1850s the New River here was being straightened, piped and covered over. Its new pipeline which web down the middle of Wallace Road was incorporated in the rebuilt railway bridge.
Aberdeenpark. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Clunn. Face of London
Cosh. New River
Essex Lopresti. New River
Highbury Grove School. Web site
London Borough of Islington. Web site
Modern Buildings in Islington. Web site.
Pevsner and Cherry. London North
Raytheon. Web site
Robbins. North London Railway
Sugden. History of Highbury,
Willatts. Streets of Islington