Copenhagen, Islington

A desig­nation sometimes applied (but no longer formally) to the area encom­passing Islington’s Barnsbury and Thornhill wards, north and east of King’s Cross

Clock Tower - Caledonian Park

The old market clocktower is now the centrepiece of Caledonian Park *

The locality’s name derives from Copenhagen House, a 17th-​​century residence of the Danish ambassador.

In the late 18th century Copenhagen Fields became a popular venue for radical demon­strations. In 1795 two such protests were attended by crowds of over 100,000, and one was followed by rioting in central London. On 21 April 1834 thousands marched from Copenhagen Fields in support of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who had been sentenced to trans­portation to Australia for forming a trade union.

Copenhagen House was demolished in 1852, when the market for live animals trans­ferred here from Smithfield. This was not a great success and was replaced for the first half of the 20th-​​century by the Caledonian market, at which second-​​hand goods were sold.

Much of the site is now occupied by council-​​built housing, and Barnard Park on Copenhagen Street and Caledonian Park on Market Road are the area’s largest remaining open spaces.

The once-​​central market clocktower survives in Caledonian Park. Its base was originally surrounded by the market’s banking and telegraph offices but only the tower’s buttresses now remain.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded Islington council a £126,000 grant to develop proposals to save and conserve the Caledonian clocktower, and ideally to reopen it regularly for the local community. The next stage will be for the council to apply for – and hopefully to receive – a full grant to actually carry out the works, which may include the creation of a tourist centre. The clocktower’s location is marked with a pin on the map below.

Copenhagen Fields’ is the name of a magni­ficent 2mm-​​to-​​the-​​foot scale layout by the Model Railway Club. The model is set in the 1920–1930 period, in the area near the MRC headquarters in Calshot Street, and includes Copenhagen Fields and the approaches to King’s Cross, as well as the cattle market, Caledonian Road and its station, with working under­ground line.

Postal district: N1


* The picture of the Clock Tower, Caledonian Park on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Julian Osley, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-​​ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.
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