Archway: The winds of change are blowing but enjoy the independent street life for now
- Credit: Archant
Where once Archway was defined by its bridge and its unprepossessing junction, plans to entirely remodel the gyratory system at its heart mean change is coming to the area. Until then, residents and visitors enjoy the quiet residential streets and the area’s thriving independent shopping and dining scene.
Archway is in the London Borough of Islington and has the N19 postcode. It is in Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North parliamentary constituency. The total Council Tax bill that the smallest properties in Band A would expect to pay is £850.67. Properties in the average Band D should receive a bill of £1,276.01. The most expensive homes in Band H pay £2,552.02.
Housing stock in Archway is predominantly Victorian terraces in varying states of repair. Scruffier streets sit alongside grand four storey rows and quality improves the closer to Highgate village you get. The average price paid for a two-bedroom flat is £456,976; for a terraced house £1,000,965; and for a semi-detached house its £1,358,750 on average.
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Boys’ state secondary St Aloysius RC College is a very well-regarded local school with excellent exam results. Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls is recently renovated and this year saw a dramatic improvement in their GCSE results.
The remodelling of the Archway gyratory (planned for completion in summer 2017) promises a new two-way traffic system, dedicated cycle lanes and improved pedestrian crossings as well as a new town centre. The plans are not without controversy but future buyers should watch this space.
Archway is situated in Zone 2 on the London Underground and Archway Underground station is served by the Northern line. There are a number of bus routes connecting Archway with areas in central and north London and the London Overground network stops at Upper Holloway.
Landmarks and history
The area gets its name from the arched bridge built over the Archway Road in 1896 but until relatively recently ‘Archway’ was not considered a neighbourhood in its own right, with residents referring either to Highgate or Islington. Folk tales about the historical figure Dick Whittington mark Archway as the spot where he heard the Bow Bells and returned to London, hence the various references to him in the area, including the Whittington Hospital at the bottom of Highgate Hill.
A small piece of Archway has also made its way to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Artist Rachel Whiteread’s sculpture, Ghost, a plaster cast of a room in a house on Archway Road is now part of the museum’s collection.
There is an excellent street market at the top of Holloway Road on Thursdays and Saturdays selling everything from second hand books at Word on the Street; eclectic homewares from The Curious Home; hog roasts from Neriman Marinated Hog Roast; and artisan bread from Celtic Bakery.
Gifts and homewares can be picked up from Map Gift Shop, a local institution. The owner, Ian, is a fount of Archway knowledge and enthusiasm so it’s worth popping by to pick up a photoframe or a purse and have a chat. A common thread: coalition of craft is a sewer/knitter’s dream and also offers courses for beginners. Second hand and nearly new clothes are available from Resurrection Boutique, which also offers an alterations service.
Eating and drinking
Archway specialises in good value eats with a host of local favourites offering an array of cuisines.
Italian restaurant 500 is the area’s worst kept secret and it’s best to book if you want to enjoy the small restaurant’s homemade pastas and authentic meaty mains. Fabrizio on Highgate Hill also offers tasty Italian.
Leafy Greens and Coffee Beans on Archway Close specialises in good tea and coffee paninis and brunch food while Junction Road has popular coffee spots, delis and bakeries including The Bread and Bean café for trendy sandwiches and coffee; Stagnells bakery for more traditional fare; Yildiz Bakery for Turkish sweet and savoury food; and Deli Junction, which specialises in local produce (Tottenham cheese, Stoke Newington crisps and Highbury charcuterie) and foods from around the world.
Drinkers love St John’s Tavern and the Charlotte Despard while the more hardcore partygoer can hit The Hideaway.
Sports and leisure
There are plenty of green spaces away from the main roads. Whittington Park boasts a cycle route and a wildlife pond while Dartmouth Park is a quiet spot with an uninterrupted view over London.
Archway Leisure Centre is large and well-equipped with a two-storey gym and pool. For culture lovers Jackson’s Lane theatre puts on well regarded fringe productions while the annual ArchWay With Words festival takes place each autumn featuring writers from the area and further afield.
Good for kids
Caxton House Community Centre offers under fives drop-in mornings for circle and story time, a healthy snack table and herb garden and other activities, and a Saturday club for six to 13 year olds to participate in arts and crafts, bug catching, bird watching and gardening.