The Secret History of Our Streets

Caledonian Road

Series 1 - Episode 3 Caledonian Road



“The Cally”, as the long strip of road running north from London’s King’s Cross is generally known, has always been a slightly unloved and depressing district. At one end there’s been a cattle market and slaughterhouse as well as Pentonville Prison while the other end has housed “undesirable” industries and prostitution.

Social mapper Charles Booth classified it as “very poor, chronic want and semi-criminal”. But there are pockets of prosperity and some remarkable people who have lived there all their lives and fought the authorities for the right to have some say in the area’s future.


The social history of Caledonian Road in Islington, which for a mile-and-a-half provides a major route heading north from King's Cross, but has never quite made the most of its prime location. Poverty, slaughterhouses and prostitution have all contributed to its negative reputation, not to mention the fact it is flanked by Pentonville prison. However, the resolutely working-class residents have held their community together - men and women like pub landlady Eileen Christie and businessman Andrew Panayi, who here talk about the changes they have seen.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Steven Mackintosh
Director Paul Berczeller
Producer Paul Berczeller
Series Producer Katie Bailiff