Hidden London


Latest addition
Index of places
Clickable map
About this site
London football
London lyrics
London proverbs
London quotes
London statues
London images
Contact us
A tube station and former football stadium in north Highbury, south of Finsbury Park. The football club, of course, is far from obscure but parts of its history are not widely known. In 1913 St John’s College of Divinity leased its sports ground at Highbury to Woolwich Arsenal football club, which had been founded in 1886 as the works team of the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. Tottenham Hotspur and Orient football clubs (the latter then playing at Clapton) objected to the relocation but were overruled.
The club’s achievements were modest until Yorkshireman Herbert Chapman took over as manager in 1925. A strict disciplinarian and canny businessman, Chapman guided Arsenal to FA Cup victory in 1930 and then to three league championships. To honour the club’s successes, Gillespie Road station was renamed Arsenal in 1932. Highbury stadium was erected during the following few years, to the design of Archibald Leitch, who was responsible for most of the great British stadia of the interwar era.
St John’s College was demolished after a fire in 1946 and the institution subsequently relocated to Northwood before settling in Bramcote, Nottinghamshire in 1969. St John’s has a website that makes absolutely no mention of the secular detail that north London’s premier football club owes its Islington existence to the college.

Emirates Stadium
Arsenal fans leaving Highbury stadium for the last time

Arsenal played their last competitive game at Highbury on 7th May 2006, beating Wigan Athletic 4-2. Since the 2006/7 season, Arsenal have played at the newly built Emirates Stadium at Ashburton Grove in nearby Drayton Park (see image below). Highbury’s art deco east and west stands have been converted into apartments, while the former pitch has become a commemorative area and community garden.

Postal district: N5
Station: Piccadilly Line (Zone 2)


click to visit the London football page

Text and selected images are reproduced with the permission of Chambers but may differ from the published versions
All content 2005–2010