Holloway Road

Holloway Road, Islington

A major north London thoroughfare (and the capital’s first red route), running north-westward from Highbury Corner to Archway

Holloway Road - LMU Graduate School

The Hol­loway dis­trict takes its name from the road, which was known as the ‘hol­low way’ (the road in a hol­low) by the ear­ly 14th cen­tu­ry, when it had become the City’s main route to the north. The ham­let of Ring Cross had grown up around the junc­tion with Hornsey Road by 1494.

By the 17th cen­tu­ry Hol­loway Road was noto­ri­ous for its high­way­men but it became safer as hous­es began to con­nect Ring Cross with Low­er Hol­loway, at the north end of Cale­don­ian Road.

The con­struc­tion of Arch­way Road brought an end to the area’s rur­al char­ac­ter in the 1820s. Hol­loway Road tube sta­tion opened in 1906, where Ring Cross had been. This sec­tion of under­ground line was con­struct­ed in tan­dem with the over­head rail­way run­ning from King’s Cross to Fins­bury Park – hence the station’s loca­tion, some dis­tance from the more focal Nag’s Head local­i­ty. A pro­to­type spi­ral esca­la­tor was installed at the sta­tion but nev­er entered ser­vice.

Super­mar­kets have changed the face of Hol­loway Road over the last few decades. Sainsbury’s demol­ished a rav­ish­ing Vic­to­ri­an block of shops on their arrival in 1970. A Wait­rose super­mar­ket replaced Jones Broth­ers’ depart­ment store in 1993. This and the open­ing of a Safe­way at Nag’s Head prompt­ed Sains­bury to sell out to Kwik­save (who sub­se­quent­ly retreat­ed in favour of an Argos super­store).

Gen­er­al­ly, the road’s mix of retail­ers is typ­i­cal of inner (as opposed to cen­tral) Lon­don high streets, with the colour­ful excep­tion of a clus­ter of fetish fash­ion shops near the junc­tion with Liv­er­pool Road. Sec­ond­hand shops of all kinds are also in abun­dance.

The Lon­don Met­ro­pol­i­tan Uni­ver­si­ty (for­mer­ly the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Lon­don) gained an icon­ic land­mark in 2004 with the open­ing of its grad­u­ate school, the capital’s first build­ing by the archi­tect Daniel Libe­skind; sup­ple­ment­ing Rick Mather’s curved white block of 2000 and a bru­tal­ist con­crete tow­er from its ear­li­er days as a poly­tech­nic.

Holloway Road was the first home of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament on its foundation in 1954, and of the National Youth Theatre two years later – housed in the former People’s Picture Palace.

In the early 1960s record producer Joe Meek created a string of hits at his home-cum-studio at 304 Holloway Road, including the Tornados’ ‘Telstar’.

Postal districts: N7 and N19
Station: Piccadilly line (zone 2)


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