Holloway is an inner-city district in the London Borough of Islington and follows for the most part, the line of the Holloway Road (A1 road). At the centre of Holloway is the Nag's Head area.

At the 2001 census, the population of Holloway was 11,214, of those 47% male and 53% female. It is home to a very multicultural population and is one of the most densely populated areas of London.

To find a flat or house to rent in Holloway, London contact the Black Katz Islington office. Black Katz have flats and houses to rent in Holloway and across London. If you are a landlord wishing to rent out your property contact Black Katz.


The origins of the name are disputed; some believe that it derives from Hollow, or Hollow way, due to a dip in the road caused by the passage of animals and water erosion, as this was the main cattle driving route from the North into Smithfield. In Lower Holloway, the former Back Road, now Liverpool Road was used to rest and graze the cattle before entering London. Others believe the name derives from Hallow and refers to the road's historic significance as part of the pilgrimage route to Walsingham. No documentary evidence can be found to support either derivation; and by 1307, the name Holwey was applied to the district around the road. The main stretch of Holloway Road runs through the site of the former villages of Tollington and Stroud. The exact time of their founding is not known, but the earliest record of them dates from the Domesday Book. The names ceased to be used by the late 17th Century, but are still preserved in the local place names Tollington Park and Stroud Green.

The original route, from London, led through Tollington Lane, but such was the state of this road by the 14th century, that the Bishop of London built a new road up Highgate Hill, and was claiming tolls by 1318. This was the origins of the Great North Road, now the A1, which passes through Holloway.

Until the 19th century the area was predominantly rural, but as London expanded in the second half of the 19th century it became extremely built-up. Holloway, like much of inner North London, experienced rapid growth around the very early 1900s and quickly became an important local shopping centre. This was aided by the importance of the road junction at Nag's Head which became an important hub for trolleybus services up their withdrawal in the 1950s. The London and North Eastern Railway opened a station here, which had a significant impact on the residential and commercial development of the neighbourhood in the latter part of the 19th century. The station, now closed, was at the same spot as the current Holloway Road tube station, on the Piccadilly Line.

In the late 1930s, the Odeon cinema on the junction of Tufnell Park Road and Holloway Road was built as a Gaumont but was severely damaged by a doodlebug during the Second World War. It has recently undergone extensive refurbishment but retains its impressive foyer and staircase.

During the Second World War, parts of Holloway experienced intense bombing due to its proximity to Kings Cross railway station.

Holloway is often best known for its prison, HMP Holloway in Parkhurst Road, which was first built in 1852, originally housing both male and female prisoners, but since 1902 it has housed only women and is the UK's major female prison. Prisoners that have been held at the original prison include Ruth Ellis, Isabella Glyn, Christabel Pankhurst, and Oscar Wilde.

Holloway Today

Today, Holloway is a vibrant residential, shopping and business area and has one of the highest densities of resident per square foot in London. Like many other parts of Islington, the gentrification of Holloway is now underway, particularly in the Hillmarton and Mercers Road/Tavistock Terrace conservation areas (to the south and west of Holloway Road). There are also many luxury development projects taking place over a large area between the Arsenal stadium development and Caledonian Road. In addition, Islington Council have earmarked many improvement projects for the Nag's Head area over the next decade.

The area is home to many artists and people who work in the media, including many journalists, writers and professionals working in film and television. It is also known as a prominent hotspot for many of London's grafitti artists. Another prominent feature in Holloway is the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal F.C.

Notable residents

  • Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, lives on Furlong Road.
  • Keith Allen, actor, previously lived in Fairmead Road.
  • Lily Allen, singer, daughter of Keith Allen, previously lived in Fairmead Road.
  • John Betjeman, poet laureate, lived at 329 Holloway Road.
  • Ben Chaplin, actor.
  • James Collinson, artist and co-founder of the pre-Raphaelite movement, lived at 15 St John's Grove.
  • Martin Clunes, actor, lived on Mercers Road.
  • Charlie George, the legendary Arsenal footballer, grew up in this area and attended Holloway School.
  • Katherine Hamnett, fashion designer, lived in Hillmarton Road.
  • Bob Hoskins, actor, lived on Penn Road.
  • Jonathan Cohen, local gay musician.
  • Edward Lear, poet and illustrator, was born in Bowman's Place, now replaced by the playground of Grafton Primary School.
  • John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten, lead singer of the Sex Pistols lived in Benwell Road.
  • Charles Pooter, fictional diarist in the classic 19th century novel Diary of a Nobody, lived in the fictional Brickfield Terrace, Holloway.
  • William Heath Robinson, cartoonist, was born in Hornsey Rise in 1872 and moved to Benwell Road in 1878. He later lived in Cathcart Hill.
  • Skinnyman, British rapper, grew up on Six Acres Estate.
  • Suggs, lead singer of Madness.
  • Kate Winslet, actress, on Penn Road.
  • Fay Presto, close up magician and artiste.
  • Marc Bannerman, former EastEnders TV actor.
  • Charlotte Coleman, actress, lived in a flat in Holloway
  • Joe Meek, record producer, lived, worked and died in his flat in 304 Holloway Road.
  • The Holloways, rock band, all lived on or near Holloway Road. They formed at the Nambucca pub, 596 Holloway Road.

To join these notable people, find a house or flat to rent in Holloway with Black Katz. Black Katz are London's largest lettings only agency and have flats and houses to rent in Holloway and across London.

Ashburton Grove

Arsenal Football Club have moved, after 93 years at Highbury, to a new stadium at Ashburton Grove in Holloway. It was informally known as Ashburton Grove until a naming rights deal with Emirates Airline was announced, and that name is still used by some people. The stadium opened in the summer of 2006, and has an all-seated capacity of 60,355, making it the second biggest stadium in the Premiership after Old Trafford and the third biggest in London after Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium. The overall cost of the project was 390 million.

Ashburton Grove was the site of Islington's Waste Transfer station. This facility has been moved to nearby Hornsey Street. All of Islington's waste is shipped here for onward processing - together with a significant proportion of that generated by the neighbouring London Boroughs of Camden and Hackney. The waste is transported by road to the Edmonton Solid Waste Incineration Plant or to landfill sites in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

To find a flat or house to rent in Holloway, London contact the Black Katz Islington office. Black Katz have flats and houses to rent in Holloway and across London. If you are a landlord wishing to rent out your property contact Black Katz.


  • Published: 26/02/2009 10:27 A
  • Category: Islington