Hidden London

Archway

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Islington

Archway Road skirts the eastern side of Highgate Hill and the Archway locality is at its southern end. In the early nineteenth century work had begun on a tunnel under Hornsey Lane but the roof collapsed, bringing the lane down with it. This forced a change of plan and in 1813 a cutting was dug and a Roman-style viaduct built to carry Hornsey Lane across it. Junction Road was constructed at the same time as a feeder for the new road. However, the viaduct proved too narrow for the volume of traffic and the present Archway bridge opened in 1900. Much of the locality’s original development was as cheap housing for working people who were displaced from St Pancras and Somers Town by the railway building of the mid-nineteenth century. The Archway Tavern was built in 1888, the third public house on this site in the course of three centuries. Archway station was the northern terminus of what is now the High Barnet section of the Northern Line from 1907 to 1939, during which time the station was called Highgate. After this, the Archway name took hold of the area, which had formerly been considered part of Upper Holloway. Many newcomers to London rent their first home here, but there are also ‘problem’ estates, notably in the Holland Walk area. Plans to demolish the eyesore of Archway Tower and replace it with more humane architecture are currently under consideration.

Archway was the scene of the third and final ‘brides in the bath’ murder, committed by George Joseph Smith at 14 Bismarck Road, now Waterlow Road. Smith drowned Margaret Lofty in the bath just two days after he had married her in December 1914.

click for area map (opens in a new window)
Archway bridge, with spiked railings that attempt to deter suicide bids

Postal district: N19
Station: Northern Line (Zones 2 and 3)
Further reading: Simon Morris & Towyn Mason, Gateway to the City: The Archway Story, Hornsey Historical Society, 2000

 
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