Highbury & Islington: the story of a north London icon
Watch the webinar… new findings on the history of the station, and a new illustration showing how the building might look today.
You can now watch our webinar telling the extraordinary tale of Highbury & Islington
“Some pains have been taken with the design and arrangements. The convenience of passengers has been studied in a manner that does the company great credit.”
Illustrated London News, on the opening of the new Highbury & Islington station, 19 April 1873
Highbury & Islington station hasn’t always been the low-key, slightly shabby entrance to the borough it is today. In the 1870s, it was the cutting-edge of public transport technology and architectural design, opened to great fanfare and its innovations prominently displayed in the architecture room at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. Its passenger and dining facilities were impressive. The building included a hotel, two restaurants, billiard rooms and shops. All of this was framed by an imposing facade of Suffolk brick decorated with terracotta and Portland stone, and four geometric turrets visible for miles around. It was a building marking the centre of its community.
What happened next is a remarkable tale. First, the building’s celebrated architect, Edwin Henry Horne, simply disappeared from London, and from the history books. The station thrived for a while, but then suffered a half-century of neglect. It was bombed on three separate occasions and, although still a prominent local landmark, eventually demolished. All that remains today is a solitary pillar, and replacement station buildings which have been ‘temporary’ since 1967.
How did all this happen? What went so wrong for Highbury & Islington? Watch the recording of our March 2021 lockdown webinar to discover the extraordinary story of an extraordinary station, with new research revealing some of the answers. Participants include the great-great niece of the architect, researcher Jann Burrows; Transport for London’s former heritage manager Mike Ashworth; illustrator Jane Smith, hosted by former rail regulator Richard Price.
We will also be revealing our new print of the North London Railway’s flagship station of the 1870s – designed by Edwin Henry Horne – brought up to date, as if it had survived and been restored as part of the 2010 Overground upgrade. A poster (in 2010 and 1910 versions) will be available to buy, as will (later in the year) a booklet on the history of this north London icon.
To watch the recording of the webinar – just press the button below.