Campbell Road, N4

Road, existed between 1865 and 1952

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Road · The Underground Map · N4 ·
JANUARY
23
2017

Campbell Road, or "The Bunk" - was known as the worst street in London.


Campbell Road had a bad reputation from the moment it was built in 1865, on land known as the St Pancras’ Seven Sisters Road Estate. It was a long street just to the west of Fonthill Road, off Seven Sisters. Building along the street was done piecemeal and took a long time. Over a period of years, the demand fell and poor people, unable to afford to buy or rent a whole house, started taking rooms in the properties.

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.

People were very poor, many of them with large families. With such over-crowded rooms, life was often lived in the street. Campbell Road was a slum so wretched that its inhabitants sold the glass from their windows, so unlawful that the police steered clear - career criminals lived there. It was so insular that the the children from the next street down would be chased out - there was also a fierce territorial rivalry between the top and bottom end.

Campbell Road residents were frightened to give their address as it often meant they wouldn’t be given a job at the numerous small factories in Islington.

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 - the Six Acre estate. All that now remains of the notorious Bunk is the name Whadcoat Street on a brick wall. Locals still talk about doing a Campbell Bunk or getting-away-with-it.


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