Collins’ Music Hall was a notable Islington venue.
At the rear of the Lansdowne Arms public house, there was, as early as 1790, an annex in Old Paradise Row.
The Lansdowne Music Hall was erected here in 1861-2. A bankrupt proprietor of the Marylebone Music Hall, Samuel Thomas Collins Vagg, also performed under the stage name of Sam Collins. He was a ’Stage Irishman’ and vocalist. He took over the management of the Lansdowne Music Hall in 1863 but died in 1869.
His widow took over with Harry Sydney who himself died in 1870. The music hall was rebuilt in 1897 with a capacity of 1800 and had ten bars.
By 1908 it had become Collins Theatre of Varieties and during the First World War, the Islington Hippodrome.
In June 1904 Bioscope pictures were shown there. Gracie Fields appeared in 1915 when the price of a gallery seat was tuppence. Tommy Trinder made his first stage appearance there and Norman Wisdom appeared in December 1945. Old-time ’greats’ were numerous: Charles Chaplin, Fred Karno, Kate Carney, Gus Elen, Sir George Robey, Marie Lloyd, Albert Chevalier, Nellie Wallace, Sir Harry Lauder, ’Wee’ Georgie Wood and more.
Collins’ Music Hall did repertory until 1932, variety 1932-7, repertory again, but in its last and declining years, strip shows. Notable proprietors were the Lake family, particularly Lew Lake Junior from 1939 until 1958.
A disastrous fire on 13 September 1958 gutted the dressing rooms and the rear of the building and on 23 April 1963 Tommy Trinder auctioned off the photographs, playbills and other material that formerly adorned the bar of the Lansdowne Arms from which you could watch a performance on the stage.
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Added: 20 Mar 2021 16:18 GMT
Owen Street is the site of Owen’s Boys’ School. The last school was built in 1881 and was demolished in the early 1990s to make way for the development which stand there today. It was a “Direct Grant” grammar school and was founded in 1613 by Dame Alice Owen. What is now “Owen’s Fields” was the playground between the old school and the new girls’ school (known then as “Dames Alice Owen’s School” or simply “DAOS”). The boys’ school had the top two floors of that building for their science labs. The school moved to Potters Bar in Hertfordshire in 1971 and is now one of the top State comprehensive schools in the country. The old building remained in use as an accountancy college and taxi-drivers’ “knowledge” school until it was demolished. The new building is now part of City and Islington College. Owen’s was a fine school. I should know because I attended there from 1961 to 1968.
Added: 7 May 2021 18:44 GMT
My nan lily,her sister Elizabeth and their parents Elizabeth and William lived here in1911
Added: 12 Apr 2022 17:36 GMT
My mother and her sister were born at 9 Windsor Terrace
My mother, Millie Haring (later Miller) and her sister Yetta Haring (later Freedman) were born here in 1922 and 1923. With their parents and older brother and sister, they lived in two rooms until they moved to Stoke Newington in 1929. She always said there were six rooms, six families, a shared sink on the first floor landing and a toilet in the backyard.
Added: 17 Feb 2021 22:48 GMT
My dad 1929 John George Hall
Barry J. Page
Added: 27 Jul 2022 19:41 GMT
Highbury Corner V1 Explosion
Grandma described the V1 explosion at Highbury Corner on many occasions. She was working in the scullery when the flying bomb landed. The blast shattered all the windows in the block of flats and blew off the bolt on her front door. As she looked out the front room window, people in various states of injury and shock were making their way along Highbury Station Road. One man in particular, who was bleeding profusely from glass shard wounds to his neck, insisted in getting home to see if his family was all right. Others were less fortunate. Len, the local newsagent, comforted a man, who had lost both legs caused by the blast, until the victim succumbed to his injuries. The entire area was ravaged and following are statistics. The flying bomb landed during lunch hour (12:46 p.m.) on June 27th 1944. 26 people lost their lives, 84 were seriously injured and 71 slightly injured.
Added: 4 Feb 2021 14:20 GMT
I and my three brothers were born at 178 Pitfield Street. All of my Mothers Family (ADAMS) Lived in the area. There was an area behind the house where the Hoxton Stall holders would keep the barrows. The house was classed as a slum but was a large house with a basement. The basement had 2 rooms that must have been unchanged for many years it contained a ’copper’ used to boil and clean clothes and bedlinen and a large ’range’ a cast iron coal/log fired oven. Coal was delivered through a ’coal hole’ in the street which dropped through to the basement. The front of the house used to be a shop but unused while we lived there. I have many more happy memories of the house too many to put here.
Added: 18 Mar 2021 13:08 GMT
White Conduit Street, N1
My mum, Rosina Wade of the Wade and Hannam family in the area of Chapel Street and Parkfield Street, bought her first “costume” at S Cohen’s in White Conduit Street. Would have probably been about 1936 or thereabouts. She said that he was a small man but an expert tailor. I hope that Islington Council preserve the shop front as it’s a piece of history of the area. Mum used to get her high heel shoes from an Italian shoe shop in Chapel Street. She had size 2 feet and they would let her know when a new consignment of size 2 shoes were in. I think she was a very good customer. She worked at Killingbacks artificial flower maker in Northampton Square and later at the Halifax bombers factory north of Edgware where she was a riveter.
Added: 21 Jun 2022 21:40 GMT
I am seeking the location of Penfold Printers Offices in Dt Albans place - probably about 1870 or so
Added: 2 May 2022 01:33 GMT
Windsor Terrace, N1
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Added: 30 Jan 2023 11:28 GMT
The Beatles on a London rooftop
The Beatles’ rooftop concert took place on the rooftop of the Apple Corps building in London. It was their final public performance as a band and was unannounced, attracting a crowd of onlookers. The concert lasted for 42 minutes and included nine songs. The concert is remembered as a seminal moment in the history of rock music and remains one of the most famous rock performances of all time.
Added: 16 Jan 2023 21:16 GMT
Bala Place, SE16
My grandfather was born at 2 Bala Place.
Added: 15 Jan 2023 09:49 GMT
The Bombing of Nant Street WW2
My uncle with his young son and baby daughter were killed in the bombing of Nant Street in WW2. His wife had gone to be with her mother whilst the bombing of the area was taking place, and so survived. Cannot imagine how she felt when she returned to see her home flattened and to be told of the death of her husband and children.
Brian J MacIntyre
Added: 8 Jan 2023 17:27 GMT
Malcolm Davey at Raleigh House, Dolphin Square
My former partner, actor Malcolm Davey, lived at Raleigh House, Dolphin Square, for many years until his death. He was a wonderful human being and an even better friend. A somewhat underrated actor, but loved by many, including myself. I miss you terribly, Malcolm. Here’s to you and to History, our favourite subject.
Love Always - Brian J MacIntyre
Added: 5 Jan 2023 17:46 GMT
1 Abourne Street
My mother, and my Aunt and my Aunt’s family lived at number 1 Abourne Street.
I remember visitingn my aunt Win Housego, and the Housego family there. If I remember correctly virtually opposite number 1, onthe corner was the Lord Amberley pub.
Added: 30 Dec 2022 21:41 GMT
Southam Street, W10
do any one remember J&A DEMOLITON at harrow rd kensal green my dad work for them in a aec 6 wheel tipper got a photo of him in it
Added: 26 Dec 2022 18:59 GMT
Detailed history of Red Lion
I’m not the author but this blog by Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms has loads of really clear information about the history of the Red Lion which people might appreciate.
Source: ‘Professor Morris’ and the Red Lion, Kilburn
Added: 20 Dec 2022 02:58 GMT
Lancing Street, NW1
Islington Islington grew as a sprawling Middlesex village along the line of the Great North Road, and has provided the name of the modern borough. Philharmonic Hall The Philharmonic Hall was a major music hall throughout the 1860s and early 1870s. White Conduit Fields White Conduit Fields in Islington was an early venue for cricket and several major matches are known to have been played there in the 18th century. White Conduit Street (1950s) A line of children hold hands as they walk along the middle of White Conduit Street towards the junction with Chapel Market in Islington in the 1950s. Berners Road, N1 Berners Road is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Britannia Row, N1 Britannia Row is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Business Design Centre, N1 The Business Design Centre is a Grade II listed building located between Upper Street and Liverpool Road Chapel Place, N1 Chapel Place lies off the north side of Chapel Market towards Liverpool Road. Colebrook Row, N1 Colebrooke Row is a street of late 18th and early 19th century terraced houses. Collins Yard, N1 Collins Yard is so-named as it ran alongside the Collins’ Music Hall giving access to the rear of the hall. Copford Walk, N1 Copford Walk is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Cross Street, N1 Cross Street is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Devonia Road, N1 Devonia Road is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Duncan Street, N1 Duncan Street is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Duncan Terrace, N1 Duncan Terrace is named after Admiral Duncan the commander of the Naval Fleet at the Battle of Camperdown against the Dutch in 1797. Essex Road, N1 Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, had a country house here in the sixteenth century where he often entertained Queen Elizabeth I. Fowler Road, N1 Fowler Road is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Frome Street, N1 Frome Street is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Gaskin Street, N1 Gaskin Street is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Gerrard Road, N1 Gerrard Road is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Gibson Square, N1 Gibson Square is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Hanover Yard, N1 Hanover Yard is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Islington Green, N1 Islington Green is both a small green and a series of roads which surround it. Lonsdale Square, N1 Lonsdale Square was built between 1838 and 1845, and was designed in Gothic Revival style by R. C. Carpenter. Mandeville Houses, N1 Mandeville Houses, fronting Mantell Street and Liverpool Road was the earliest housing scheme built by Finsbury Borough Council. Mantell Street, N1 Mantell Street, originally Sermon Lane, is now part of Tolpuddle Street. Milner Square, N1 Thomas Milner (1806-84) was a politician and a friend of Benjamin Disraeli and Charles Dickens Moon Street, N1 Moon Street is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Noel Road, N1 Noel Road is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Pride Court, N1 Pride Court is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Rheidol Mews, N1 Rheidol Mews is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. The Precinct, N1 The Precinct is one of the streets of London in the N1 postal area. Union Square, N1 Union Square (sometime Union Court) was approached by a narrow alley. Upper Street, N1 Upper Street begins at the junction of Pentonville Road and City Road, runs northwards past Angel, splits at Islington Green, ending at Highbury Corner. White Lion Street, N1 White Lion Street is named after the former White Lion inn on Islington High Street. Camden Head The Camden Head is a grade II listed building with a circular bar, etched glass windows and original mirrors.
Islington grew as a sprawling Middlesex village along the line of the Great North Road, and has provided the name of the modern borough.
Some roads on the edge of the area, including Essex Road
, were known as streets by the medieval period, possibly indicating a Roman origin, but little physical evidence remains. What is known is that the Great North Road from Aldersgate came into use in the 14th century, connecting with a new turnpike up Highgate Hill. This was along the line of modern Upper Street
, with a toll gate at The Angel defining the extent of the village. The Back Road - modern Liverpool Road
- was primarily a drovers’ road where cattle would be rested before the final leg of their journey to Smithfield. Pens and sheds were erected along this road to accommodate the animals.
The first recorded church, St Mary’s, was erected in the twelfth century and was replaced in the fifteenth century. Islington lay on the estates of the Bishop of London and the Dean and Chapter of St Pauls. There were substantial medieval moated manor houses in the area, principally at Canonbury and Highbury. In 1548, there were 440 communicants listed and the rural atmosphere, with access to the City and Westminster, made it a popular residence for the rich and eminent. The local inns, however, harboured many fugitives and recusants.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the availability of water made Islington a good place for growing vegetables to feed London. The manor became a popular excursion destination for Londoners, attracted to the area by its rural feel. Many public houses were therefore built to serve the needs of both the excursionists and travellers on the turnpike. By 1716, there were 56 ale-house keepers in Upper Street
, also offering pleasure and tea gardens, and activities such as archery, skittle alleys and bowling. By the 18th century, music and dancing were offered, together with billiards, firework displays and balloon ascents. The King’s Head Tavern, now a Victorian building with a theatre, has remained on the same site, opposite the parish church, since 1543. The founder of the theatre, Dan Crawford, who died in 2005, disagreed with the introduction of decimal coinage. For twenty-plus years after decimalisation (on 15 February 1971), the bar continued to show prices and charge for drinks in ’old money’.
By the 19th century many music halls and theatres were established around Islington Green
. One such was Collins’ Music Hall, the remains of which are now partly incorporated into a bookshop. The remainder of the Hall has been redeveloped into a new theatre, with its entrance at the bottom of Essex Road
. It stood on the site of the Landsdowne Tavern, where the landlord had built an entertainment room for customers who wanted to sing (and later for professional entertainers). It was founded in 1862 by Samuel Thomas Collins Vagg and by 1897 had become a 1800-seat theatre with 10 bars. The theatre suffered damage in a fire in 1958 and has not reopened.
The Islington Literary and Scientific Society was established in 1833 and first met in Mr Edgeworth’s Academy on Upper Street
. Its goal was to spread knowledge through lectures, discussions, and experiments - politics and theology being forbidden. A building, the Literary and Scientific Institution, was erected in 1837 in Wellington (later Almeida) Street, designed by Roumieu and Gough in a stuccoed Grecian style. It included a library (containing 3,300 volumes in 1839), reading room, museum, laboratory, and lecture theatre seating 500.
The Royal Agricultural Hall was built in 1862 on the Liverpool Road
site of William Dixon’s Cattle Layers. It was built for the annual Smithfield Show in December of that year but was popular for other purposes, including recitals and the Royal Tournament. It was the primary exhibition site for London until the 20th century and the largest building of its kind, holding up to 50,000 people. It was requisitioned for use by the Mount Pleasant sorting office during World War II and never re-opened. The main hall has now been incorporated into the Business Design Centre
The aerial bombing of World War II caused much damage to Islington’s housing stock, with 3,200 dwellings destroyed. Before the war a number of 1930s council housing blocks had been added to the stock. After the war, partly as a result of bomb site redevelopment, the council housing boom got into its stride, reaching its peak in the 1960s: several extensive estates were constructed, by both the Metropolitan Borough of Islington and the London County Council. Clearance of the worst terraced housing was undertaken, but Islington continued to be very densely populated, with a high level of overcrowding. The district has many council blocks, and the local authority has begun to replace some of them.
From the 1960s, the remaining Georgian terraces were rediscovered by middle-class families. Many of the houses were rehabilitated, and the area became newly fashionable. This displacement of the poor by the aspirational has become known as gentrification. Among the new residents were a number of figures who became central in the New Labour movement, including Tony Blair before his victory in the 1997 general election. According to The Guardian in 2006, "Islington is widely regarded as the spiritual home of Britain’s left-wing intelligentsia." The Granita Pact between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair is said to have been made at a now defunct restaurant on Upper Street
The completion of the Victoria line and redevelopment of Angel tube station created the conditions for developers to renovate many of the early Victorian and Georgian townhouses. They also built new developments. Islington remains a district with diverse inhabitants, with its private houses and apartments not far from social housing in immediately neighbouring wards such as Finsbury and Clerkenwell to the south, Bloomsbury and King’s Cross to the west, and Highbury to the north west, and also the Hackney districts of De Beauvoir and Old Street to the north east.