Caledonian Park in North London is a peaceful and beautiful park. It was initially built by John Bunstone Bunning and opened in 1855 as the Metropolitan Cattle Market. It had pen areas for he selling and trading of cattle, sheep and pigs filling the land around a central 46metre clock tower. This tower is the treasure of Caledonian Park – the Caledonian Clock Tower.
The Clock Tower served multiple purposes upon opening. It overlooked the Metropolitan Cattle Market, and served as a vantage point to keep an eye on operations. The height of the building also allowed it to be visible from far and wide, so that the cattle buyers and sellers could make their way to the landmark tower in order to trade.
The Cattle Market is now a relaxing and green park, and the clock tower is now a Grade II* listed building. It is occasionally opened for special days, but it is not the easiest structure to climb (and I fully admit I came out absolutely covered in dirt.) Fortunately, Islington Council have recognised the importance of the structure, and are working on plans to preserve and save the building – as well as make it more accessible to people.
There’s a lot to love about the structure. You can see all the clock machinery in action from inside (absolutely incredible), and stand behind the clock face — but the best bit is the incredible views from the top of the tower. The view of London is like no other, and there is a stunning skyline visible from the top.
Below are some photos from our visit during Open House London 2014, and do check out this English Heritage weblink for more on the tower!
All images © Emily Pulham 2014.