Q&A

Tell us about the

real Campbell Road?

The construction of Campbell Road, Islington, began in 1865, on land known as the St Pancras' Seven Sisters Road Estate. The initial properties that appeared were intended for sale or rent to prospective tenants, but unfortunately, building along the street was done piecemeal and took a long time.

 

Over a period of years, the demand fell for houses like those in Campbell Road and poor people, unable to afford to buy or rent a whole house, started taking rooms in the properties. As more undesirables arrived, the rents fell even lower and the clerks and artisans fled to better areas.

In 1880 a lodging house was opened at 47 Campbell Road, licensed for 90 men. It was the first of many such establishments in the road and by 1890 Campbell Road had the largest number of doss house beds for any Islington street. The poorest of the poor continued to colonize the area, and Campbell Road gained the reputation as being the worst street in North London. The Bunk, as the slum came to be nicknamed, had been born, and during its heyday, it flourished as a magnet for rogues, prostitutes and vagabonds. 

 

In 1937 the name of the road was changed to Whadcoat Street in a vain attempt to dilute its bad reputation.  Slum clearance started in 1952 finally putting an end to the street, and in its place was built a council estate.  All that now remains of the notorious Bunk is the name Whadcoat Street on a brick wall.

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