5 December 2017

North London Polytechnic, Holloway Road – compare and contrast

I was just tidying up my photo archive and rediscovered a folder called Holloway Road Then and Now from when I was taking comparison pics and writing about them here. In that folder I found a group of four pics I had put together of the London Metropolitan University buildings.
Looking at the collection now it's easy to get distracted doing a sort of spot-the-difference.

c1910 vs 2013
The North London Polytechnic was established in 1896, a period I refer to as the Heyday of Holloway.  This Victorian seat of learning was built "to promote the industrial skill, general knowledge, health and well-being of young men and women belonging to the poorer classes of Islington [and] to provide for the inhabitants of Islington and the neighbouring parts of north London, and especially for the Industrial Classes, the means of acquiring a sound General, Scientific, Technical and Commercial Education at small cost".
Only one of the buildings from that period now remains as The Rocket Complex echoing its past as The Great Hall (b1897) opened by the then Lord Mayor of London and used for social and academic events. It's sad to see how a lot of the architectural embellishments have been removed over the years, however, on the plus side, the clocks at the top are usually correct, which is handy.
The various university buildings feature for different reasons on a couple of my walking tours

Oh and by the way, the vintage clothing shop, now called Blue 17, by the bus stop (where the AA van is in the pic) is marvellous, one of the best around – do pop in and have a look – though be warned that it's hard to come out empty-handed.


  1. Dear Rio, this is not a space for your irrelevant personal ads. Your comment has been deleted

  2. The vintage clothing shop used to be the CND vintage clothes charity shop 20 years ago, hence the CND logo painted there. UNL graduate.

  3. CND's offices are upstairs, above Blue17. CND have been there since the 1970s I think – I will check http://www.cnduk.org/about/history

  4. Correction photoman, the Blue17 vintage clothing shop was never owned or run by CND, and has been run independently at 162 Holloway road since Dec 1994.

  5. I was a student at PNL in the eighties, compared to other unis and colleges there is virtually nothing about the place online. All the students from my era seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth!

    1. Yes, it's strange how little history is noted down about fairly large places such as this. For instance, tho there are some pics online whowing yound men learning woodworking for instance, there aren't any shots of the Great Hall and other areas. We all just take places for granted until they are one and then frantically hunt around for info that doesn't exist.

    2. There were a hell of a lot of stoners at PNL in the 80s

  6. We were students at the School of Librarianship & Information studies, Essex Road, PNL, from 1975-78. We had the most fantastic three years of learning, parties, growing up & political awakening (inevitable at PNL). Sue F & Terri M.


Please note that comments are vetted by me personally to check for relevant content before they are published, so don't panic when your feedback isn't immediately visible.
If you write anything perceived to be an ad, spam or self promotion, your comment will be deleted and/or marked as spam/blocked.
Thanks, Jane