Highbury and Islington was initially the southern terminus of the Victoria Line before the next section to Warren Street three months later on the 1st December 1968. Highbury and Islington had been on the tube for a spell before when the Northern City Line was a part of the tube – as seen from this map from 1974 – before passing into British Rail hands in 1975. Again, there’s plenty of interchange options with cross platform interchange available between the Victoria Line and the Northern City Line route. The integration of the North London Line into the London Overground and new connection to the old East London Line has further opened up journey opportunities into South East London.
The platform motif here is by Edward Bawden and is of the ‘High Bury’ a nearby manor or castle which was destroyed during the peasants revolt of 1381. Due to budget constraints costs were kept to an absolute minimum on the Victoria Line which is why several stations only had two escalators and a fixed staircase in the middle. It’s also why many of the platforms all feel very cramped. The narrow passageway that takes you up from the platforms to the ticket hall certainly feel like they hark from an era of cost cutting. That area in general is also looking pretty weathered and in need of a spruce up! The station building is also rather uninspiring.
The Pub: The Myddleton Arms, 52 Canonbury Road, N1 2HS
Highbury and Islington is definitely one of those stations where there are no shortage of places to drink, with countless bars on Upper Street alone. I always feel where there is such choice, it puts greater onus on me picking out an excellent place! With that in mind, I decided to venture somewhere I’d stumbled on by accident once before, The Myddleton Arms. Exiting the station, go past Upper Street and onto the quieter Canonbury Road with its lovely old townhouses houses. The Myddleton Arms is about five minutes along here on the junction with Canonbury Road.
Inside, its a cosy Victorian pub with contemporary decorations while retaining some traditional aspects such as the frosted glass front windows. They also had a fire on the go which I always feel helps give a pub a homely atmosphere. Talking of homely, the collection of old paperbacks and board games make it feel like you’re in pub in someone’s very tastefully decorated front room. The pub’s logo is a Hand, a glowing version of which is on the back wall!
On the ale front, there was a decent selection of four in Doombar, Truman’s Runner, Adnam’s Ghost Ship and Bath Ales Gem, something you don’t see too often in London. Food wise, the pub does Sunday roasts but during the week you’ll have to make do with their range of bar snacks including home made scotch eggs. The Myddleton Arms also has a lovely little back garden. I really like the view you get as you look back on the pub and its location at the end of a long street of tall Victorian houses.
The chalkboard outside was advertising their wine and vinyl nights, get a free glass of wine if you bring along a vinyl to play. I don’t think you can argue with that. I visited The Myddleton Arms while being interviewed for the Londonist, given the effusive piece Victoria Thomas wrote about my little project, it certainly didn’t let me down!
I was incredibly taken with The Myddleton Arms. If you’re planning a few drinks at one of your usual haunts on Upper Street, give this place a try instead! I will definitely going to start finding more reasons to come back here!