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A designation sometimes applied (but no longer formally) to the area encompassing Islington’s Barnsbury and Thornhill wards, north and east of King’s Cross. Its name originates from Copenhagen House, a seventeenth century residence of the Danish ambassador. In the late eighteenth century Copenhagen Fields became a popular venue for radical demonstrations. In 1795 two such protests were attended by crowds of over 100,000, and one was followed by rioting in central London. Copenhagen House was demolished in 1852, when the market for live animals transferred here from Smithfield. This was not a great success and was replaced for the first half of the twentieth century by the Caledonian market, at which second-hand goods were sold. Much of the site is now occupied by council-built housing, and Barnard Park on Copenhagen Street and Caledonian Park on Market Road are the area’s only remaining open spaces. Because of its high level of deprivation, the Copenhagen neighbourhood was Islington’s chosen setting for its Sure Start initiative in 2001, tackling child poverty and social exclusion. At Copenhagen primary school two-thirds of the pupils speak English as an additional language and an even higher proportion is entitled to free school meals.

‘Copenhagen Fields’ is the name of a magnificent 2mm-to-the-foot scale layout by the Model Railway Club. The model is set in the 1920–1930 period, in the area near the MRC headquarters in Calshot Street, and includes Copenhagen Fields and the approaches to King’s Cross, as well as the cattle market, Caledonian Road and its station, with working underground line.

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The old market clocktower is now the centrepiece of (the otherwise dull) Caledonian Park

Postal district: N1

The Model Railway Club

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

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