Highgate station was first served by the Northern Line on 19th January 1941. It had first opened as a rail station on the Great Northern Railway route between Finsbury Park and Edgware in 1867
Highgate was a station hit by the curtailment of the Northern Heights project as it would have become an interchange between new Northern Line services. The existing rail services from here to Alexandra Palace in the north and Finsbury Park in the south (which continued until 1954) would have been linked into the network, as shown in this late 1930s map.
The cancellation of these aspects of the Northern Heights plan saw the station buildings, which eventually opened in 1957, scaled back from the original ambitious plans. The plans by Charles Holden were due to include a statue of Dick Whittington and his cat at the top of the station building, much like the Archer at East Finchley.
Some of the buildings from the old rail station remain and have been documented on this excellent website of disused stations. In a curious piece of trivia, Jerry Springer was born at Highgate tube station in 1944 when it was being used as bomb shelter during the war!
The Pub: The Wrestlers, 98 North Road, N6 4AA
Given Highgate’s reputation as a well-heeled area, I had high hopes of finding a good pub here. With a good selection of options coming up, I decided to go with The Wrestlers. To get there, head out of the station onto Archway Road, turning onto Southwood Lane. Continue along here until reaching a small footpath/alleyway just before the junction with Jacksons Lane. At the end of this footpath, you’ll be right outside The Wrestlers.
Inside, the pub, which is said to date back to 1547(!), has a cosy, traditional vibe to it with wood paneling throughout and stained glass windows. There was also a open fire when we visited which added to the atmosphere and will I’m sure certainly be welcome heading into the cold winter months. There is also a small back garden too.
On the beer front, there were a decent few ales on tap including London Pride and Tribute. Food wise, its towards the high end of gastropub fare with dishes such as sea bass and duck breast on the menu, as well as burgers and the like. The bar snacks menu, including chips and other sides, are priced around £4 if you’re travelling on more of a budget! When we first arrived around 7 on a Wednesday evening, it was quite quiet but the place soon filled out with loads of people coming here for dinner so the food is obviously a hit with the punters.
The walls are decorated with a selection of local photos as well as various old trinkets. These include some deer antlers. On later research, I discovered these are used for a ceremony called ‘swearing of the horns’ – once you swear the oath – which includes lines such as ‘You must not drink small beer when you can get strong’ you become a freeman of Highgate. This was a custom throughout pubs in the Highgate Village area and was covered in this 2013 Ham and High article.
The Wrestlers is another excellent North London pub. I got so comfortable here I didn’t want to leave. Following hot on the heels of the Olde Mitre, it’s also another of my overall favourites and definitely worth the trip to Highgate to visit it.
(The only bad thing I can think to say about the place is there seems to be security issues with their website – so I haven’t linked to it – and google warns against accessing it!)