The 1914 Ordnance Survey map shows a densely built-up area at Highbury Corner, with the houses in Compton Terrace extending right up to St Paul 's Road. Canonbury School is still in a long, narrow strip of land with the School-keeper's cottage on Canonbury Road, as it is today. Main roads from The Angel, Islington; from Old Street and Moorgate; from Dalston to the east; and from Highgate in the north, all met at Highbury Corner: These roads were all served by trams, which are marked clearly on the map.
Highbury Corner had become a vital traffic centre for both road and train travel
The Main line trains, the North London Line from the Docks to Richmond, and the London Underground line, all met at this point. There was a handsome Railway station, with a facade looking like the present Victoria Station dominating the corner. It was not like our miserable modern booking office cowering behind a couple of flower stalls.
This handsome station in good quality brick, with expensive limestone dressings, was built with its two wings to serve the many commuters to the City and shows what a prosperous place Highbury had become by this time. The Cock Tavern was built as the left wing of the building.
1914 Ordnance Survey map of Highbury Corner
The street traffic reveals the period. The Favourite was a horse-drawn bus, established in the 1830s. There is a small horse-drawn cart and a hansom cab, with the driver high up behind. The very latest form of transport is horse–drawn tram, introduced only two years earlier in 1870.
These houses haves now been demolished and form part of the Canonbury School Playground but it is interesting to see how architects use every inch of their space. Consider these houses in Canonbury Avenue. The slope of Compton Road encouraged the architect to build his end houses in a joggled shape. Very logical if space costs money. Then he joggled all the other houses to fit. There was not a square house on either side of the road. It is most unusual and looks as if each house is listening through the walls to the one next door. The slope at the other end of the road was similar so the joggling continued round the corner. Look at the miserable back garden left for the corner house. The architect was cramming a quart into a pint pot and I hesitate to guess how thin his walls were. He saved money everywhere he could.
The impressive Highbury and Islington Station, was built in 1872 to serve the many commuters to the City. The Cock Tavern was rebuilt as the left wing of the building. The street traffic shows the age of the engraving. The 'Favourite' was a horse-drawn bus, established in the mid 1830s. There is a small horse-drawn cart and a hansom cab with the driver high up behind. The very latest form of transport at that time was the horse-drawn tram, introduced only two years earlier, in 1870. Today, the sole remaining relic of the Station is a pillar built into the present structure, in the angle between the public house and the station booking hall.
Pictures and information from 'An Illustrated history of Upper Street Islington',