Historic clock tower set for facelift


A historic Holloway landmark is set to undergo significant renovations after the project met widespread approval from the public.

Islington Councillor Paul Smith has been pushing for improvements to the Caledonian Park Clock Tower, and nearly 97 per cent of all respondents to a recent survey approved the plans to carry out maintenance.

Officials intend to add a visitor centre to the space, in conjunction with English Heritage, and almost 70 per cent of people consulted agreed to those plans.

While Mr Smith says it remains “early days” on what he has dubbed his “personal project”, the results of the survey mean that the work on the clock tower can be pushed forward.

The clock tower and park itself are both historic locations, with the tower featuring a clock face initially designed for Big Ben.

The park was the location of the Metropolitan Cattle Market and a demonstration by the people in favour of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1834.

Mr Smith hopes that learning about the march, which supported the idea of trade unionism, in the new visitor centre will inspire residents.

He said: “For people who aren’t necessarily doing well in life, it’s good to know you can make a difference.”


  1. We fear that islington council and Heritage lottery fund run the risk of greatly increasing the disturbance of local residents,and increasing security risks, while simultaneously reducing the potential benefits by siting the Vistor’s Centre in an impractical position.

    Some observations…

    1 The loss of the open view of the park from the north gate which afects the public and residents.

    2 The loss of open space comprised of formal gardens,and plantingsincluding trees which have barely had time to be established.

    3 The siting of a visitors centre so close to residents and all the activities of a cafe,toilets,volunteer room,community room,rangers office and activity room will mean a substantial increase in the levels of noise and litter and the potential to attaract anti-social behaviour when the building is left unattended.

    4 It seems the buildings ambitions have grown since the consultation was put before the public and residents and I understand it is now over 200 square meters. This is much larger than was suggested and therefore invalidates any findings of a consultation based on artists impressions not scale drawings.

    5 We do not want to be unofficial guardians of a building that is occupied on a part time basis.

    6 Lack of parking.

    On a purely practical level it seems extraordinary that the option of siting the Visitors Centre at the south gate on Market Rd has been ignored.
    Parking is available there.
    It already has a tennis centre and football pitches which would benefit from and provide custom for the cafe.
    It is away from residential blocks thereby reducing both the security risk and levels of disturbance.
    It would retain areas of tranquility within the park.

    We would like the consultation re opened with proper scale drawings and the south gate included as an option.

  2. This scheme pays no heed to the character of the building, the public use of the space, or the alternatives for improvement.

    The Clock Tower was built above a series of spaces built between its bracing arches at ground level. http://www.brisk.org.uk/london1894/cattlemarket.jpg This project pays no attention to this inherent historic character, but instead takes up valuable open public space for recreation and planting while leaving those same arches unoccupied. This destroys formal planting and public circulation that has only recently been paid for, on the grounds of community benefit and environmental improvement.

    ‘Personal projects’ have a habit of taking a minority of views arrived at through asking leading questions: ‘do you want community space’ etc etc, and then justifying a fait accompli.

    A full and transparent public consultation should ensue with options including the redevelopment of the existing community buildings on North Road, which are themselves council eyesores, their garden space used as dumping grounds- no doubt earlier ‘personal projects’ left fallow. These are presumably thought less glamorous options for a personal project, but they may be more effective and worthier, if achieving that might be considered a legacy of holding public office.

  3. although new amenities to the area which has been neglected for many years is a good idea,
    The Design of two horrible box buildings near the base of the beautiful clock tower is a very bad unimaginative design.
    The new buildings should have at least have external shape and Features which mirror or complement the shape of the clock tower.

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