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Documentary looks at history of Caledonian Road

PUBLISHED: 15:07 24 September 2011

Caledonian Road, nos. 299-307, 1958. Picture: Islington Local History Centre

Caledonian Road, nos. 299-307, 1958. Picture: Islington Local History Centre

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»Caledonian Road will be the star of a major BBC documentary celebrating London for the 2012 Olympics.

The thoroughfare, which runs from Holloway to King’s Cross, will be the subject of a BBC2 programme as part of the Cultural Olympiad – a culture festival that is part of the Olympics – next year.

The programme will tell the story of Caledonian Road from its Victorian beginnings to the present day – and the producers are calling on residents to come forward with home movies that could help bring the story to life.

Assistant producer Tom Swingler, 29, said: “We want to make the street come alive through history and see how it has changed.

“But we are struggling to get archive footage, old home movies or films, especially from before the 1970s.

“We are really trying to track down family footage shot on or around the Cally.”

Built in 1826, it was originally named Chalk Road and over the years housed the bustling Metropolitan Cattle Market, Turkish baths and the Royal Caledonian Asylum, a home for Scottish children orphaned by the Napoleonic Wars, which eventually gave the road its name.

Pentonville prison was opened in 1842.

Mark Aston, local history manager at the Local History Centre in Finsbury Library in St John Street said: “It’s nice for it to step out of the shadow of some of the more glamorous places in Islington such as Upper Street.

“It’s a fascinating road and it still has lots of its Victorian character.”

Colour-coded

The series is inspired by the work of 19th century philanthropist and social researcher Charles Booth, who spent 17 years charting the social conditions of every street in London.

He produced a map of the capital that was colour-coded by levels of wealth and poverty – and the documentary aims to update this.

Caledonian Road is one of six London streets chosen for the six-part series and an hour-long episode will be devoted to each.

If you have footage or photos you can write to the producers at historystreet@centuryfilmsltd.com


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