Autumn Newsletter

Dear Members


Here’s a date for your diary.  We will hold the Annual General Meeting for the year 2020-2021 on Wednesday 19 January, 7 pm upstairs at The Grafton.  We will have the usual reports, an election of officers (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) and some discussion about local issues. 

This year, because Covid has not gone away, we will limit the numbers to 30 in order to maintain some social distance, so when we send round the formal notice we will be asking you to let us know as soon as possible if you would like to attend. If there are more than 30 replies we will have to decide (probably on a first to respond basis) who can be there. 

In any event, we are hoping that this is also an opportunity for everyone to come to the pub and from 8 pm we can be in the main bar or upstairs and have some social time.

As we haven’t had our usual financial boost from the Alma Street Fair for two years, this time we’ll have to rely on people to buy their own drinks.  Maybe next year it can be different!   

Sad News

To many of you Ed McGuiness will have been a familiar face – walking back from the shops, sitting outside a café, stopping for a chat.  Always friendly, always interested in other people.
Ed and Sylvia have lived for many years in Grafton Road, so it was a shock to hear that he has died.  Sylvia has told us that he fell ill with Covid on Monday 11th October and after deteriorating went into the Royal Free on the 17th.  He died on 7th November.   

The family is devastated and Ed will be missed by many people. 

Sylvia has said it’s ok to announce that the funeral is on Tuesday 7th December. It will be at St Martin’s Gospel Oak at 12noon and afterwards at Highgate East cemetery.   

Changes to local roads and traffic management

It won’t have escaped your notice that work is going on at the junction of Prince of Wales Road and Holmes Road.  This is to make it possible for traffic to turn left from Prince of Wales Road, in order to reduce rat running through the area.  It is something IARA has been campaigning for for many, many years so it is great to see it happening. 

Once this is completed, work will start on the agreed changes to Anglers Lane, which will no longer be a through road to Kentish Town Road.  You can see the full details in Camden’s Traffic Order 

A few of us last night attended the second zoom meeting with Camden to give our initial thoughts on proposals to make Holmes Road a Healthy School Street.  This would involve a prohibition on traffic during school start and finish times along a section of Holmes Road, and also a proposal to limit traffic through Raglan Street. 

The meeting was attended by our three ward councillors as well as the relevant traffic officers.  CFBL (The French School) and St. Patricks school were represented, and are generally enthusiastic about the proposals. 

While we broadly welcome plans to make Holmes Road safer, we are also aware of, and raised concerns about the possible impact on other streets – Willes, Cathcart, Inkerman, Alma.  While this is possible and indeed likely in the early days the hope is that drivers will quickly learn the new routes and stick to the main roads once they are able to access Kentish Town Road from Prince of Wales Road. Camden have promised that there will be careful monitoring of the impact on the other streets of any change.

There will be a formal consultation on this early in the new year and, if it is approved, Camden hopes to implement the scheme before the summer term.  It would be for an initial trial period of 18 months, with a further consultation and review at the 12 month point.  If the scheme has proved successful, it could become permanent – or even more major work could be done at the junction of Holmes Road and Kentish Town Road. 

During the course of meeting associated issues were also raised, and noted by officers,  about inadequate pavement width and inadequate parking enforcement. 

Festive Lights event

This Saturday, 27 November, the festive lights will be turned on in Kentish Town Road.  There will be music from 4.30 and many of the shops are staying open late and/or offering discounted goods, free food etc.  Poster attached. 

IARA Local History Group

After quite a long time in hibernation, the Local History Group has emerged blinking into the light and has now had two meetings – both at Vivienne’s delightful house in Willes Rd.

The last one on Friday has now been summarised and is on the website at  We learnt about what people have been doing – especially Sara in Ryland Road who has accessed the census record for every single house in the road in each census 1881 – 1911 (1911 is the last one that’s available until the 1921 one is released soon) and then she followed up some of the residents on other resources.  So it’s a bit like our very own version of A House Through Time.   Mary showed us an old map she had found of the area 1862. See below:

While you are looking at the section on the website, maybe look at the history of the area through maps and see when your street or building was built? 

Green Beans! Some people in the area have done a lot of “greening of their homes” with improved insulation, solar panels and even heat pumps and other ways of saving money.  Some of these tips however are quite cheap and possibly overlooked.  And some are relevant to flats and are cheap and easy enough to be worth doing even on a short tenancy. We hope to have one of the well-informed people speak at the AGM and their information and ideas will be recorded and put into a new Green section of the website.

But a few of us are also looking more widely at green issues – partly as a result of the very unsatisfactory outcome of COP 26. Discussions are ranging from what we can each do lifestyle wise as well as things like home improvements, as above, through to wider issues – starting involvement with local green groups and then national politics and international issues. If you are interested and concerned about these issues, please let us know and we can get a discussion going.

Trees.  One tiny green contribution we have made is to work with Camden to get more trees planted and a rota of volunteers helped water them during the hot weather (remember that?) We also keep an eye on all trees and have negotiated with Camden for the removal and replacement of two dying trees in Willes Rd. We have had very good cooperation from Camden.

WhatsApp group.  Another quite green thing is that the WhatsApp group has been busy with people offering unwanted furniture and other stuff – including cat food and litter etc… “Re-using is the best form of recycling” and zero transport miles!   There’s lots of other information, news and views on the group which is now 124 strong – not bad for 10 streets. (These emails go out to 358 homes) 

You may have noticed that our very local MAP cafe and The Grafton pub have had events like music and comedy. See their websites:

and to be fair to all, many people have spoken highly of the Vietnamese restaurant Phota in Willes Road and Andy’s Cafe on Grafton Road

There are a huge number of pubs, cafes shops etc locally. Many years ago we created a guide to “local venues and other cultural links”.  Much of it is out of date but we will revive it and contributions are welcome