Birnam Road, N4

Place Name

The origins of this name are uncertain but Eric Willats in The Book of Islington: Streets with a Story, references the fact that Birnam Wood, in Perth, is mentioned in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In it the regicide is told: “Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.” Later, his enemy’s army comes through Birnam Wood and each soldier cuts a large branch to hide himself, so that when the army moves on it looks as if the wood is moving. Macbeth is defeated and killed. The road was first mentioned in the 1896 Islington Directory. Birnam Villas, on the south side of Tollington Park, were earlier but replaced by small terraced houses in the late 1890s.¬†Moray Road and Moray Mews are also thought to have been inspired by Shakespeare.

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