(Above photo: Canonbury Map - North London's finest )
Canonbury Antiques was named after the eponymous beautiful residential district in Islington, North London. Canonbury really is a gorgeous neighborhood packed as it is with period Regency and Georgian town houses that offer an authentic glimpse into the historic London of yore. Famous former residents include both George Orewll and a certain Charles Dickens (whose Christmas Story was based on a lamplighter in Canonbury). Canonbury Antiques founder Martin Worster Snr grew up close to the district of Canonbury across the Essex Road on New North Road which cements our North London roots and our historical attachment to the capital city.
(Above photo - What the Dickens? Famous former Canonbury resident Charles )
At that time, Canonbury had an aspirational quality to Martin coming of age in 1950s London out of the ashes of the Second World War. Martin explains: "It was an affluent and very trendy, classy part of North London . Beautiful homes and amazing Regency period architecture. The area was synonymous with quality like our antiques we traded in and the same applies to this day."
(Above photo - The area is packed full of beautiful period Georgian town houses )
It's difficult to think of how London would have been so soon after the Second World when a lot of Britain, particularly London, was bombed by the Lufftwaffe. Thankfully it seems a lot of the architecture in Canonbury remained unscathed which makes it such a great historic time capsule. Other places close by weren't so lucky, still to this day just up the A1200 Canonbury Road you can emerge on Highbury Corner and see the plaque commemorating the 26 people who died on 27th June 1944 by a bomb that flattened the area. The bomb completely destroyed the old Highbury and Islington Station (see below) which was replaced by the slighly non-descript station in comparison.
(Above photo - The old Highbury and Islington Station - flattened by a bomb in 1944 )
If you have time in London, Canonbury is well worth a visit, it's quite central and features such beautiful architecture. It's close to the vibrant Upper Street which is packed full of lovely restaurants, bars and cafes. Perhaps one of the classiest Georgian Squares in London is Canonbury Square - George Orwell lived at 27b - which is well worth a stroll around, you can really feel a sense of history and it offers a glimpse into a Dickensian London. The novelist Evelyn Waugh also lived in the Square at 17a.
(Above photo - Canonbury Tower, 1509 - Tudor London still in existence to this day )
A short walk from Canonbury Square sits Canonbury Tower which, built between 1509 and 1532, is one of the oldest buildings in the district and was home to such historical figures as Thomas Cromwell and Francis Bacon. You can see in the old oil painting below how the Tower would have originally looked, surrounded as it was then by more trees and farmland as at the time Canonbury would have been considered almost rural out of London. The Tower has recently opened to the public and is again well worth a visit. Here's a great piece in the Islington Gazette for more background history on the tower.
(Above photo - Canonbury House, Canonbury Pl, London N1 - classic period London town house )
(Above photo - Canonbury Square, London N1 )
A Capability Brown designed garden and the setting for Four Weddings And A Funeral - a mere 20 minutes drive up the M1 from the Canonbury Antiques showroom...
Hertfordshire Film Industry - Hollywood to Elstree. From Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubric to Star Wars via Harry Potter - Hertfordshire has long been an important place for the UK film industry....
We're blessed in Hertfordshire to be surrounded by so much history. After visiting Canonbury Antiques check out Hatfield House, still said to be haunted by the ghost of Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603)