Drayton Park

Drayton Park, Islington

A residential and light industrial area centred on the street and station of that name in west Highbury

Arsenal, Emirates Stadium, © Jane Smith, click to learn more on Etsy

The first roads here were laid out around 1840 and the one now called Drayton Park was originally Highbury Hill Park. Its name was probably changed to avoid confusion with all the other Highbury-related street names nearby – notably Highbury Hill just to the east – but there’s no record of why ‘Drayton’ was chosen.

The local­ity’s devel­opment progressed gradually until the opening of the Great Northern Railway’s Canonbury spur line in 1874. (For Drayton Park station’s complicated history since then, please see its Wikipedia article.)

The subsequent addition of railway sidings and depots brought industry to the area, including a gasworks and paper-staining works. The council built the first of several depots here in 1937. Drayton Park suffered badly from wartime bombing and the London County Council compulsorily purchased and cleared land here in the 1950s.

This is now a multi-ethnic community, with signi­ficant Turkish and Bengali minor­ities, and nearly 30 different languages are spoken at Drayton Park primary school. The housing stock includes owner-occupied and privately rented homes, as well as some social accom­mod­ation.

Since its completion in 2006, Drayton Park’s dominant feature has been the 60,000-seat Emirates stadium, the home of Arsenal football club. The cost of relocating Ashburton Grove’s pre-existing industry and a waste recycling centre absorbed almost half the much-delayed project’s total budget. The stadium’s construction was more than just a football issue: the project was the largest devel­opment in Islington for many years and had regen­er­ation implic­a­tions for the whole area.

John Lydon, formerly Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, was born in Benwell Road in 1956.

Tony Blair lived in Stavordale Road from 1976 until 1982, when he moved to Barnsbury.

Postal districts: N5 and N7
Station: Great Nothern, Moorgate branch (zone 2, open weekdays only)