Canonbury Antiques - It's All In The Name
We often get asked where the name Canonbury Antiques came from. It's actually named after the ward of Canonbury within the London Borough of Islington in North London. Perhaps it's best to hear what Canonbury Antique's founder, Martin Worster has to say:
"When I grew up in Islington in the 1950's like the rest of London - and indeed other British cities - the area was littered with 'bomb sites' courtesy of the Luftwaffe (German airforce) in the Second World War. Children like myself spent lots of time playing and exploring in the bombed homes and sites which were made temporarily safe by the authorities until the rebuilding programme could begin. Islington was generally a working class area as was 90% of Greater London. The area called Canonbury was a short walk from my home which mercifully survived the German Blitz.
The relatively small area of Canonbury was part of the London Borough of Islington where the more affluent and professional people purchased their homes. It boasts a very nice park called the New River Walk. During the reign of King James 1 London was short of fresh water .The King had a river constructed from Ware in Hertfordshire to Central London part of which passed through Islington it's total length being 20 miles and was always known as the New River.
I spent many pleasurable times in this river park as a child and I chose the name Canonbury for this reason coupled with the Islington connection."
(Above - Canonbury Grove - Author George Orwell used to live near here, before 1984 me thinks..)
So like many things, there is an amazing story behind the name - touching on a personal story of childhood and how this was linked with the impact of the wider world and history through the effects of the Second World War on London. In essence the name Canonbury can be equated with quality, history, aspiration and longevity.
If you are ever in London the area of Canonbury and Islington as a whole is definitely worth a visit. The local football team is Arsenal just up the road in their new stadium at Highbury (as a Liverpool fan I try and steer clear of this part). Canonbury has some beautiful Georgian town homes and with London property prices as they are, a nice town home wouldn't leave much change from a couple of million pounds. Canonbury Square is perhaps the most desirable address with large homes overlooking the leafy square, classically London.
(Above - Classic Georgian architecture - in abundance in Canonbury, Islington, London)
The place is steeped in history - famous residents (past and present) include Oliver Cromwell, George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Sir Francis Bacon, Keira Knightley and Cate Blanchett, to name a few. Charles Dickens wrote a Christmas story about a lamplighter in Canonbury, which features the Canonbury Tower.
Canonbury is not far from the location of our first store opened in the late 60s on Blackstock Road also in Islington. At the time Blackstock Road was a popular street for antiques at the tail end of the 'Swinging 60s' in London - but that's another story for another time...
(Above - Canonbury on the map - near Highbury and Islington on Victoria Line or Canonbury train station on the Moorgate overground line)
(Above - Camden Passage - close by near Angel on Upper Street - has quite a few antique shops and is well worth a mooch around...Upper Street is also great, packed with restaurants, shops and bars)