Here are some fab places to go out or do in Finsbury Park.
- For a full list of places in Islington you might enjoy visiting, see Where to go out locally.
- Help raise funds for St Thomas’ church organ (launched summer 2017), see the interview with Robert Shrubsall and Andrew Greer, church organists.
Finsbury Park is an amazing part of Islington, just on the border of Hackney and Haringey. The tube and train station are travel hotspots for Londoners but it’s also got the Arsenal shop, the fantastic Park Theatre (read about theatre dog Hazel here), two busy mosques, St Thomas’ Church (see interviews with the vicar Stephen Coles here) and the UKCG church, plus a host of coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and independent shops along Blackstock Road and Stroud Green Road. Don’t miss the amazing fashion bargains on Fontwell Road either – and it’s not just fashion in this street, there are also an increasing number of charities and start-ups, for example Big Issue, Prisoners Abroad and Outlandish. Read more about Prisoners Abroad’s fundraiser Sam Clarke.
Q: Why’s there a lifesize model of an Aberdeen Angus bull opposite the Park Theatre? Find out in this interview with Chris Godfrey.
- Meet Faisal Ahmed Mian who does amazing exercise classes with light sabres and is senior instructor of the Wu Shi Taiji Quan Qi Gong Association.
- Find out about the local milkman, Alan Banks (who sadly left the area in summer 2017 to take over his own round in Enfield) and postman Csaba Miklos Beck.
- Finsbury Park has plenty of campaigners including Zrinka Bralo, Diane Burridge, Sue Jandy, Nicolette Jones, and Ian Shacklock. And it’s the home of Jeremy Corbyn MP.
- With the huge Finsbury Park bordering the area, plus a route on to the Parkland Walk and a secret way by the Seven Sisters Road bridge into Gillespie Park it’s perhaps no surprise the area is full of amazing gardeners including the creator of the elephant hedge (on the corner of Ambler and Romilly Road) Tim Bushe, grandmother Sai Gulam Bi, tree champion Chris Setz, fisherman Matthew Sherwood, wildlife gardener Hedera Vetch, wildlife photographer Pat Tuson. There’s also beekeeper and musician Peter Buckoke.
- Meet more interesting characters including JK, Alexander Technique teacher Judith Kleinman, Manuel & Stella Saavedra, poet Stanley Smart, chess player Edward Smith, one time local cafe owner Helena Spurr, John Webber and his dog Max, and GCSE maths tutor Muhammad Ali who runs a tution centre from his N4 home.
- Big Issue has its offices in Seven Sisters Road. Find out more by reading the interview with Chris Stuchbery, the London and South East Regional Manager.
History – music, mayhem and dogged research
- Jackie Badger was just a teenager when she saw The Beatles play live at the Astoria (later The Rainbow Theatre and now the UKCG church on the corner of Seven Sisters Road).
- When Michael Hayle moved into N4 he was determined to find out the names of all the poeple who’d ever lived in his house. He found out so much locals call him the house detective.
- There’s even a historical re-enactor based nearby, see Hez Jamil.
- Find out about the Campbell Bunk – a street allegedly so bad it was demolished – as recorded by London historian Jerry White.
- There’s lots of research about the men and women who worshipped at St Thomas’ Church, N4 but died as a result of World War 1 from Malcolm Marjoram, family history expert.
- Ozzie’s shop, Arsenal Food & Wine on the corner of Blackstock and Ambler Roads is a local favourite. Here’s one of Ozzie’s colleagues, Suleyman Bulbul talking about his life and work.
- Mix is the best DIY shop, here’s the lady who runs it Mrs Sau Li
- Double glazed windows can be ordered on Blackstock Road and are Small Restorations boss Cass Farrell’s speciality.
- Try the vet, where animal nurse Sharon Hayes works.
- Need dry cleaning or a tailor? Use Minerva’s shop on Fonthill Road.
- Check out the interview with Zippo circus founder, Martin Burton which was done in Finsbury Park – and don’t miss the circus’ annual visits.
- Find out how living near Highbury and the Emirates stadiums has inspired West Ham football fan, writer and blogger Pete May.
- Blighty Cafe, run by Chris Evans, is a fab cafe with a big garden which even boasts an air raid shelter. Events include book groups, knitting circles, art classes and a regular pop up Death Cafe run by Caroline Dent. Upstairs there’s workspace used by local creatives including illustrator Nick Jobbings.
- Go out and dance at Silver Bullet, just by the station, with DJs Stevey Porter & Kieran Wilson. Or listen to Dan Spanner from the Spanner Big Band in residency on Wednesdays when Arsenal isn’t playing at the Gunners.
- Stunning singer Hanisha Solomon can often be found in the Ethiopian cafes on Blackstock Road.