The Southeast corner of the Island is dominated by the Methodist Church and Central Hall.
After negotiating Junction Road, Holloway Road and St John's Way, waiting for the green man each time I reached the Island.

I often wonder who comes over here to buy tickets or look for a job at the employment bureau but it's been there a long time so I suppose they do.
Just along from here there's a cafe with a lovely old glass sign fortunately preserved by a succession of owners over the years. Last year it was a rather good Italian but that has closed now and it seems to be in the process of refurbishment again.

The Methodist Central Hall, built in the 1930s, was the last Central Hall to be built in London. Its cinema-like appearance is due to the influence of J Arthur Rank, a Methodist, who donated money toward the cost of the building and the main hall was intended for film shows and concerts as well as worship. It was also the location of the planning enquiries for the Archway Road widening scheme in the '70s and early '80s. Campaigning group STAMP (Stop The Archway Motorway Project) won the day and the scheme, which had been blighting the area for a decade, didn't go ahead.
If it had, the dual carriageway would have been extended from the bridge up to Highgate. In preparation for this, the Department of Transport had bought up all the houses/shops on the west side of the road and was renting them out as short life. We used to run our VW repair business from a shop/workshop opposite the Winchester Tavern and lived above. There was a drain cover in the road outside that was always subsiding and when lorries hit it the whole building would shake!
Rachel Whiteread's Ghost is modelled on a room at 486 Archway Road.
The hall is in a sorry state at the moment and on the market for development.

I am concerned that the estate agent's blurb states:
"Pre-application discussions have taken place with the Local Planning Authority relating to the redevelopment of the site with a new build scheme, and we understand the principle would be supported." This despite it being "locally listed" and in a conservation area. It's a local landmark and I would hate to see it go. It saved Archway Road and now it needs saving itself! Of course, once the gyratory has gone the site will be more attractive. It would be sad if we lost one thing we don't want at the expense of also losing something that seems such an integral part of Archway. I feel a campaign coming on!

The Archway Tavern, the other major building on the island, is also a shadow of its former self.

Gone is the bar that features on the cover of the Kinks Muswell Hillbillies album; replaced with big screen football. A lot of the time it gives the impression that it's closed down altogether but I saw some people unloading music equipment outside the other day so presumably it lives on.
Opposite the pub you turn the corner into Flowers Mews. (Shouldn't that have an apostrophe?)
This consists of a few two storey buildings - offices and possibly flats although I don't envy anyone who lives in the middle of the A1 gyratory!
Neither of these street names appear in my 1938 A-Z so possibly they were named when the island was created. I wish I knew the significance of the name Flowers Mews. It would have been part of the tram terminal so I wonder whether there was a flower seller's here.
The road that was built to create the gyratory is called Tollhouse Way.

I'm not really sure why it needed a name at all as it has no buildings fronting on to it so will not be part of any address. But I suppose all roads in London have to be called something? Presumably it will cease to exist once the gyratory's gone - or perhaps it will become a pedestrian walkway. The name relates to the Archway turnpike which was situated close by in the days of tolls.
As I was taking this photo I heard the sound of horses' hooves as a horse-drawn hearse made its way along the road. The surrounding cars were giving it space so the photo could almost be from a bygone era - except then this road wouldn't have been here!

I'm glad I've documented the island at this point in time as it will be changing significantly over the next few years.

View all pictures of Archway Island

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