Caledonian Road, London
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The Caledonian Road runs about a mile and a half north-south through the London Borough of Islington. It connects North London, starting at Camden Road near the junction with Holloway Road, and central London's Pentonville Road in the south. It is often known colloquially as the "Cally" and forms the entirety of the A5203.
The street is mostly residential from Camden Road until Caledonian Road tube station. There are many new residential developments around the station including student accommodation. Just south of the station is Pentonville Prison near the bridge carrying the North London Line. South of here, the road is mostly lined by a wide variety of shops and cafes including several Ethiopian restaurants. This area is quite poor compared to the north end and the shops serve both the council estates bordering the road and the more affluent Barnsbury area adjacent to the east, mostly Georgian terraces. The road crosses Thornhill Bridge over the Regents Canal and south of here are more trendy shops and restaurants that have appeared in recent years because of the King's Cross Central developments. The road ends at Pentonville Road near King's Cross railway station and the border of Camden. Housmans Bookshop, specialist radical book and magazine retailers established in 1945, can be found here at No.5, as well as the offices of Peace News and the small anarchist organisation London Greenpeace, the people behind the McLibel Trial.
The Battle Bridge and Holloway Road Co. built it privately in 1826 as a toll road by to link the New Road with Holloway Road (which is part of the Great North Road), providing a new link to the West End from the north. It was first known as Chalk Road but changed its name after the Royal Caledonian Asylum, for the children of poor exiled Scots, was built here in 1828. (This building has since been demolished. It occupied the site of local authority housing called the Caledonian Estate built 1900-7.)
The first residential buildings on Caledonian Road were Thornhill Terrace (Nos 106-146) built in 1832. Other terraces were built in the 1840s. Pentonville Prison was built on the road in 1842 immediately to the south of the Asylum. Cattle drovers used the Caledonian road on their way to Smithfield until 1852 when the City of London Corporation transferred the Metropolitan Cattle Market here and it became known as the Caledonian Market. Drovers' lodgings, five public houses, and two hotels were put up around the market, and the Corporation built a block of working-class dwellings c. 1865.
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- "Caledonian Road" in Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert (1983) The London Encyclopedia
- 'Islington: Growth: Holloway and Tollington', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8: Islington and Stoke Newington parishes (1985), pp. 29-37. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=1374&strquery=Caledonian Road. Date accessed: 9 November 2007.