Sunday, 2 March 2014

North London Railway - Camden Town

North London Railway
The Railway continues to run westwards from Dalston Junction
TQ 29763 84367

Urban area dominated by the railway lines and yards connected with Kings Cross and St Pancras stations. In the gaps are housing estates by various providers, along with pubs, shops and some industrial sites, much of it haulage. In the poshest bit of the area are the remains of the first weather recording station.

Post to the quarter square to the west Camden Road

Main square to the east
Post to the quarter square to the south  Barnsbury
Post to the quarter square to the south west Ladykillers
Post to the quarter square to the north east Caledonian Road

This posting covers only the south east corner of this square

Agar Grove
This was once St.Paul’s Road. The name recalls Agar Town which lay to the south of here on land later occupied by Midlands Railway warehouses. William Agar was a lawyer who had leased the land in the early 19th
9-11 Housing Association flats by Levia Bernstein built in the 1980s. six brick flats on receding storeys, echo the 19th neighbours.
Agar Grove Estate.  London Borough of Camden housing built 1965. Made up of 249 homes arranged in a series of low-rise blocks clustered around Lulworth Tower.
Lulworth. 18 storey tower block of local authority housing
25 Murray Arms Pub. Closed 2011 and now flats
K2 Telephone kiosk at the junction with Murray Street
Railway. In 1868 railway building of cut and cover tunnels passed under the road
St. Paul’s Road Goods Junction Signal Box was alongside the road ridge at what is now Agar Grove.  It was between the goods lines and the fast line and controlled the traffic in and out of the goods yard.
St Pauls Road Passenger Junction Signal Box was on the north side of the bridge over what is now Agar Grove and controlled the fast and slow lines out of St.Pancras Station.

Agar Town
This was the area of Agar Town named after William Agar, a lawyer who lived locally at Elm Lodge. Agar Town was low-quality housing for poor people and was generally considered a slum. In 1841 Agar's widow leased out small plots on the north side of the canal. Ownership passed to the Church Commissioners, who sold it to Midland Railway. From 1866 the company demolished most of the housing to make way for warehouses.

Barker Drive
This is part of the area of Elm Village
Elm Lodge. This was the home of William Agar and is said to have been in the Barker Drive area. He had who purchased the lease of the manor house of St. Pancras belonging to the Prebend of St.Paul’s cathedral, from the executors of Henry Newcombe, in 1810. It then had a coach house, stable, yard garden, grounds, and fields. He is however said to have built Elm Lodge which was surrounded  by mulberry trees.

Bergholt Mews
This is part of the area of Elm Village


Blakeney close
This is part of the area of Elm Village

Camden Square
This was developed slowly from the late 1840s and was intended as the centrepiece of the Marquis of Camden's New Town development. In 1860 there were still no houses but it was built up by 1871.
Railway. In 1868 railway building of cut and cover tunnels affected the development of the square. The line was the first out of St Pancras and Two tunnels pass diagonally beneath Camden Square
Gardens. The central gardens were for the private use of the square's inhabitants, and remain overlooked by the surviving terraces. It was maintained by a Committee of inhabitants out of rates levied on the occupiers. There were gravelled pathways, lawns, trees, flowers and shrub borders. It is now enclosed by modern railings – the originals going for metal collections in the Second Wrold War - and the original layout of serpentine walks survives with some mature trees, Camden Council took over management in the 1950s
An adventure playground was developed by the Council on the site of tennis courts in the 1960s and remodelled in the 1980s.   The tennis court hut has been used by ARP wardens and fire watchers during the Second World War.  The site is now a play centre facing onto Murray Road
First weather station is commemorated, but is not visible to the general public. It was established by G.J.Symons around 1860. He lived and worked in the square and produced each month Symons's Meteorological Magazine and annual volumes of British Rainfall. He died in 1900 and his work was continued until 1920 when the British Rainfall Organisation became part of the Meteorological Office, and British Rainfall was published until 1960 and the Meteorological Magazine until 1993.  In 1957 the station moved from his house, 62, a short distance to the gardens in Camden Square where it continued until 1969. It was the only long-standing inner-London climatological station in a thoroughly urban environment. It therefore provides us with an idea of the inner-city climate.
Hillier House Housing Association. Built over the railway tunnel. The original houses 47-48 were demolished for the railway in the 19th.
50-52 London Irish Centre. founded in 1955 by two Catholic priests, as a hostel for Irish immigrants It has since been extended with banqueting suites, a glazed way and other facilities. Founded to support the needs of thousands of newly-arrived Irish emigrants it has developed into the largest Irish welfare and community organisation in Britain.  In the 1950s, the house had been the West London Methodist Mission’s hostel for young offenders, and later for unmarried mothers and their babies, called Henry Carter House
62 This was the house of George Symons and His weather vane still stands in the garden.  The house was owned by the Royal Meteorological Society from 1922 and residents undertook observations. The West Africa Students Union was here 1938-1952.
66 at the rear of the house is another house which lies alongside Murray Street at its junction with Camden Mews. This is by Rodger Davis, Peter Bell & Partners and built in 1984-5. It is constructed in timber over a brick plinth.

Camley Street
Camley Street on its current (2014) route is essentially a new road extended from what was Cambridge Street to the south and running northwards through the defunct Midland Railway goods yards. In this present section it passes under the North London Railway and appears to pick up the route of what was Lomax Street, later Wrotham Road, and then comes to a dead end.  It also appears to follow the same route as Wharf Road which appears to have been to the east. It passes through a trading and light industrial area.
Railway Bridge.  The road passes under the North London Railway viaduct through a brick passage with raised pavement on either sides and with bricked up arches appearing to go into other parts of the viaduct.  No maps show Camley Street passing under the railway until after 2000.
Camley Street Link. The raised pavement continues from the underpass and provides a pedestrian/cycle route beyond the blocked end of Camley Street to Agar Grove. There is also a link to the Maiden Lane Estate

Cobham Mews
1 Gustafson Porter architects office in David Chipperfield's former Agar Studios, defined by an exposed concrete spine wall and courtyard spaces. It is a two storey office with shared formal entrance Built on a former scrapyard

Elm Village
This consists of the housing association properties in Barker Drive, Bergholt Mews, Blakeney Close and Rossendale Way.  The current Village is a London Borough of Camden development on some of the Midland Railway Goods Yard site – in particular on the site of a coal depot and marshalling yard. Some of the land as used for an industrial estate and the housing was bordering the canal. It was built in 1983 but Instead of the council housing proposed in the 1970s, it was a mixture of low-rent low-cost housing for sale and completed 1984-5 by Peter Afud Associates

Freight Lane
The north London Railway goods depot south of the line and the Maiden Lane depot were used 1854-1866.
1 Metroline Depot. Bus depot for Metroline, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore based ComfortDelGro Corporation

Maiden Lane Estate
The Maiden Lane Estate is a London Borough of Camden housing estate designed by Scottish Corbusian architects George Benson and Alan Forsyth, and built between 1979 and 1982. It was built on the site of the Maiden Lane Goods Depot. This was one of the last of Camden's grand schemes, planned from 1973.  Phase one, by Gordon Benson and Alan Forsyth, was begun then and phase two, running up to York Way, added in 1978-83.  It has a ruthlessly diagrammatic grid of terrace steps up above garages, with living rooms on the upper floors and the general effect is of a 'chilly uniformity' all white walls and stained timber. 
Maiden Lane Goods Depot. This goods yard for North London Railway included cattle pens for stock unloaded here for the meat market and also facilities for the distribution of coal.   At one time the yard included a special parcel service jointly staffed by railway and GPO personnel.  In the Second World War this was used as a depot for distributing air raid shelters around London. From 1965 it was the York Way Freightliner terminal.

Murray Mews
This was originally Camden Mews South and was a 17th type mews pattern: intended for stables and coach houses to service the townhouses in Camden Square. It was laid out with mains drainage and granite setts.
Railways - In 1868 railway building of cut and cover tunnels passed under the road and thus development curtailed because of pollution from the railway
12 Built in 1988 by Sean Madigan and Stephen Donald:  it has been seen as a return to formality. 
15-19 built 1964-5 by Team 4 which included Foster and Rogers.  Each house has a different plan.
20 Built 1965-9, for Richard Gibson. It has an L-shaped front in brick behind tall matching garden walls. Inside is a large open-plan galleried living room on the first floor. .
22 by Team 21, an original mews house

Railway
The Midland Railway opened its line into St.Pancras Station in 1868. On nationalisation in 1948 it became the Midand Region of British Railways.  Lines fanned out southwards to not only into the passenger station itself and onto its City line but also to a wide complex of coal drops, a goods shed and other goods facilities.
North London Incline. This line was used only for freight traffic from 1887 to 1975. 

Rossendale Road
Part of Elm Village

St. Paul’s Mews
Select town houses by CZWG 1987.  Behind entrance gates, a single gatehouse-like block

St.Paul's Crescent
This 19th street leads to the blocks and courts of Maiden Lane Estate.

Wrotham Road
Site of St.Thomas church. Built 1864, bombed and demolished


Sources
Aldous. Village London
Allinson & Thornton.  A Guide to London's Contemporary Architecture
Barton, London’s Lost Rivers
Blue Plaque Guide
British History Online. St.Pancras
Camden History Review
Camden Square Weather Station. Web sire
Clunn. The Face of London
Connor. Forgotten Station
Essex Lopresti. Regents Canal
GLIAS Newsletter 
GLIAS Walk 7
Goslin and Connor. St.Pancras to St.Albans
LAMAS Journal
London Borough of Camden. Web site
London Encyclopaedia
London Gardens Online. Web site
London Irish Centre, Web site
Mitchell and Smith. North London Railway
Pevsner and Cherry. London North
Robbins. North London Railway
Symonds.  Behind the Blue Plaques of London,
Thames Basin Archaeology of Industry Group
Tindall. The Fields beneath

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