Faraday Close, N7

Place name

Previously Barnsbury Grove. Along with Ellington Street, this was laid out on land owned in 1806 by Samual Pocock and known as Pocock’s Fields. Michael Faraday (September 22, 1791 – August 25, 1867) was a scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Born at Newington Butts, London, he spent his childhood in a squalid London flat, with no formal education beyond elementary school. When he was 14, he began as an apprentice at a local shop where he learned the craft of bookbinding. After he strung the books together by day, he read them by night, hungry to understand the enigma of electricity. He was still at it seven years later, when a customer gave him a ticket to see leading scientist Humphry Davy demonstrate electricity. Davy offered the young man an apprenticeship and he began to learn first hand the marvels of this new power. His discovery of electro-magnetic induction revealed the principle of the electric motor and dynamo, the transformer, and the telephone. He was the first to demonstrate continuous motion of a current-carrying wire in a magnetic field (a proto-type motor) and the continuous production of current from a conductor moving in a field (a primitive dynamo). He developed the laws of electrolysis. It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. But he is not honoured here purely for his science, in fact quite the opposite – for it was where he attended chapel. Faraday was an elder of the strict Sandemanian Christian sect, apparently once excluded him for not attending on the Sabbath – having been summoned by Queen Victoria. It later became the North Telephone Exchange and in 1906 Lord Kelvin unveiled a plaque to him on behalf of the National Telephone Company.

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