archway

Archway, London

Archway is an area of north London in the London Borough of Islington.

Name

The name derives from the arch built between Highgate and Hornsey in 1896. A tunnel was originally planned for the Highgate bypass (to join the Great North Road by avoiding the steep Highgate Hill road and narrow roads of Highgate village) but this failed due to repeated collapses. Instead, a large cutting was recommended by John Rennie and a high, multi-arched road bridge constructed across this. The first bridge, constructed in the early nineteenth century, was designed by John Nash. The original 1813 bridge was demolished in 1901; the current bridge, known locally as 'Suicide Bridge', dates from 1897. The road over the bridge is Hornsey Lane and it connects the villages of Highgate and Crouch End.

Until quite recently, Archway did not designate a specific area. Most people referred either to Highgate, Islington or Upper Holloway, a name that is now used for little besides the nearby railway station and the post office. The term Archway became popularised as a result of Londoners' tendency to indicate their local area by reference to the nearest Underground Station, even though the latter was called Highgate station until 1939 (and subsequently Highgate(Archway) and Archway(Highgate)).

History

Highgate Hill, the road from Archway to Highgate village, was the route of the first cable car to be built in Europe. It operated between 1884 and 1909.

It is said that it was at Archway that Dick Whittington heard the Bow Bells ringing and returned back to London. James Harrington, author of 'Oceania' lived on Highgate Hill, as did the poet and M.P. for Hull Andrew Marvell. Historian E.H. Carr lived on Gladesmuir Road as a child. Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer and Claudia Jones are buried up the road at Highgate cemetery. Rod Stewart was born in Archway and grew up here. Other noted residents include Arabella Weir, Alan Plater, James Heartfield and, formerly, the sculptor Rachel Whiteread, whose most famous work 'Ghost' - now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC - consists of a plaster cast of a room in the house at 486 Archway Road. Members of The Jesus and Mary Chain also lived in Archway, as did The Boo Radleys whose cult song Blue Room in Archway namechecks the area. Zoe Heller's novel Notes on a Scandal was filmed around Archway.

In recent years Archway has seen an increase in young middle-class residents, attracted to Archway by its excellent shopping facilities, solid stock of housing, the accessibility of Hampstead Heath and Waterlow Park, and public transport connections to central London. Since 2004 the area has had its own residents' group, the Better Archway Forum. [1]

Sites of interest

Prominent buildings in the area include the Whittington hospital, at Highgate Hill, named after Richard Whittington; the Archway Tavern, a noted music venue, where the photograph for the cover of the Kinks album Muswell Hillbillies is said to have been taken; and the Archway Tower, which forms the most visible landmark in the area. Outside the hospital is a small statue of Whittington's Cat.

Transport

Nearby places

Nearest stations

References

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