15 May 2015

Off The Cally – Barnsbury Wood and Bingfield Park

A couple of months ago Jen and I went to investigate Barnsbury Wood, London's smallest local nature reserve, hidden behind a triangle of houses just a few minutes' walk east of Caledonian Road and Barnsbury Station.

This lovely little patch of woodland is only open at limited times – please see here for more info.
It was such a lovely day so I suggested we continue our wander over to the west side of Caledonian Road, just south of the railway line.
On the corner of Lyon Street we spotted that Salami's, a once colourful and popular grocer has closed down. A sign proclaims that Tesco have an application pending for the site. Oh well. Moving on....
Turning into Lyon Street, it looks at first to be a dead end. A raised platform on the right hand side of the road runs parallel to the railway line (I wonder if it was an loading bay for a siding or warehouses – I am still hunting for info on that). The land on the other side of the wall looks to be unused at the moment.


At the end of the road it turns left and then joins Gifford Street where a few walls with brickwork arches are all that the remain of the Christ Apostolic Church which burned down in 2003. Is This Love?
The right-hand/north side of Gifford Street comprises a lovely terrace of well-kept two storey cottages and three storey houses. These finish at the corner where the brick shells of some light industrial businesses and warehouses can be found, some of them gutted with the sun shining through. St Andrews Mission Hall with its pitched roof still sits intact, set back in the corner. I am keen to find out what will become of these lovely constructions as, to my eye, they look too good to be replaced. This area has a wonderful feeling of stepping in time to when children played in the streets. The map below shows how the area looked in the late Victorian period.

Approx 1888 (from The A-Z of Victorian London)
Today Bingfield Park replaces many of these grid format streets
Notice also the Great Northern Railway depot sheds and the Potato Market on York Way.
We then followed the road south around the edge of Bingfield Park, into Rufford Street, around the pointy corner junction of Randell's Road, and into Bingfield Road, managing to resist the temptations of Crumbell's Castle Adventure Playground, and finishing back on The Cally next to some painted parrots.
What a nice afternoon.
I was thinking how lovely it all was and wondered why the area gets such bad press then, less than a week later, near Copenhagen Street, a lad was stabbed and died within minutes. So sad.

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