Muswell Hill Road

Muswell Hill Road was gravelled until the 1930s, with the same houses and woods as it has today, but with few private cars and little traffic. Almost everyone travelled on the No 43 bus, the only one serving the route, or else we walked. Most commuters travelled by train, for it was the train which had opened up Muswell Hill.

Today it is difficult to imagine how remote Muswell Hill must have seemed even earlier at, for example, the end of the eighteenth century. From the City and West End, it appeared to be perched among the Northern Heights as if it was an Italian hill town fortified against attack. To travel from the City one had to walk through the city wall at Moorgate, walk up the long steady climb to The Angel, Islington, along Upper Street, Islington, along what is now Holloway Road to the bottom of Highgate North Hill. Then one could either turn right and go through Crouch End and up Muswell Hill, or climb straight up Highgate North Hill to Highgate Village and turn down Southwood Larne to Muswell Hill Road. Travelling from the West End, the route was through Kentish Town, along Dartmouth Park Hill and along the Hornsey Lane ridge to Crouch End Hill. There was no easy way to Muswell Hill, because Highgate Hill and the Hornsey Lane spur barred all progress. No wonder Dick Whittington turned back: he was too tired to tackle Highgate Hill.


Milne's Land Utilization Map, 1800.
Symbols:- a arable, m meadow and pasture, p paddock.



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