A Very Short History of our part of Kentish Town.

Some of us who live in Kentish Town think the area is really interesting!

Surprisingly, Kentish Town actually started some miles south – around the area of St Pancras old church. However the River Fleet ran through there and used to flood – so the inhabitants moved northwards up to the area we now think of as Kentish Town.

Originally it was just a string of pubs or Inns along the main road north. Some of these became quite elaborate pleasure gardens. For example the pub at the top of the High Street, now The Assembly House, had 2 acres of gardens and a Bowling Green.

Meanwhile the areas off the High Street were still growing crops or producing milk and hay to feed the horses.  The River Fleet rises in Hampstead Heath and flows down through our area. For a long time it was quite clean which explains why our oldest street is called Anglers Lane. (BTW It has a listed bollard at the bottom of it!)  What is now Holmes Road was an early development and reached westwards to Spring Place where there was a brewery.

Houses began to spread out through the area in the 1850s and the river was arched over and roads built on top – so that Cathcart Street, a short stretch of Inkerman Road and Willes Road are in fact built over the River Fleet.

The time when the streets were being built was during in and just after the Crimean War so the street names reflect that – the names of battles or of generals.

It was all still quite rural and quiet and a rather grand building appeared in 1849 – a retirement home for aged and infirm governesses on Prince of Wales Road.  However, not long after, the railway lines came through and the peace was rather shattered, so they moved out and it became a school and later other things. Now The Gates flats.  Ryland Road was then built on what had been their garden.

There were quite a lot of local industries in the area with stationary, piano making and false teeth – the largest factory in Europe was in Anglers Lane. Later it became studios – now flats.

Some of the Victorian Streets became neglected and were seen as problems and demolished.  Also demolished were houses to make space for the splendid Victorian Baths in Prince of Wales Road.

New buildings include Una House, Monmouth House and Alpha Court and many later flats.