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18 September 2014
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Tracking a street through time

Find out more about a high street's past by finding the signs that tells its story. Choose a date and then select an image on the right to discover more about Upper Street's history

1811 | 1908 | 2001

Upper Street, Islington, London (1811)

1811 - medieval origins

detail from 1811 engraving showing sheep being herded down Upper Streetdetail from 2001 photograph of Upper Street showing street and bus

By far and away the oldest feature on all of these pictures is Upper Street itself, which predates all of the buildings in the 1811 engraving and was part of the medieval street plan of Islington. Islington's two 'streets', Upper Street and Lower Street, date back to at least the 12th century. Upper Street has also always been part of one of England's great roads - the Great North Road, which begins in Aldersgate and continues through Islington and Holloway to the north.

Long-distance and local stagecoach routes used Upper Street which ran north out of London. The flock of sheep being driven along the street towards London are probably headed towards Smithfield meat market. This would have been a common sight until the arrival of the railways in the 1840s and 1850s.

Select a new date from the top of the page or an image from below.

Medieval origins
The church as focal point
Fashionable Georgian residences
From stagecoach to omnibus
A cobbled thoroughfare
Local History
Getting Started
Industry: Canney Hill Pottery
Landscape: Thriplow
Village: Freckleton
City: Coventry

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