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Wednesday 31 March 7.00pm - 8.30pm

Highbury & Islington Station: the story of a north London icon

Online Event

A webinar organised by Rebuild Highbury! - the official campaign to rebuild Highbury and Islington station

Highbury & Islington station hasn’t always been the low-key, slightly shabby entrance to the borough it is today. In the 1870s, it was the cutting-edge of public transport technology and architectural design, opened to great fanfare and its innovations prominently displayed in the architecture room at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. Its passenger and dining facilities were impressive. The building included a hotel, billiard rooms and shops. All of this was framed by an imposing facade of Suffolk brick decorated with terracotta and Portland stone, and four geometric turrets visible for miles around. It was a building marking the centre of its community.

What happened next is a remarkable tale. First, the building’s celebrated architect, Edwin Henry Horne, simply disappeared from London, and from the history books. The station thrived for a while, but then suffered a half-century of neglect. It was bombed on three separate occasions and, although still a prominent local landmark, eventually demolished. All that remains today is a solitary pillar, and replacement station buildings which have been ‘temporary’ since 1967.

How did all this happen? What went so wrong for Highbury & Islington? Our lockdown webinar on 31 March will tell the extraordinary story of an extraordinary station, with new research revealing some of the answers. Participants include the great-great niece of the architect, researcher Jann Burrows; Transport for London’s former heritage manager Mike Ashworth; illustrator Jane Smith, and will be hosted by former rail regulator Richard Price.

We will also be revealing our new print of the North London Railway’s flagship station of the 1870s – designed by Edwin Henry Horne – brought up to date, as if it had survived and been restored as part of the 2010 Overground upgrade. A poster (in 2010 and 1910 versions) will be available to buy, as will (later in the year) a booklet on the history of this north London icon.

To join us at 7 – 8:30pm on Wednesday 31 March, you’ll need to register for the event on Zoom. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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