Agar Town

Object: The Story of Agar Town by the Reverend Conyers Morrell

This book, published in 1935, by a St Pancras Ward Councillor, tells the story of a place that no longer exists. During its short life, Agar Town became notorious, but all traces have now vanished. Built on fields at the edge of London, the first houses went up in 1841 and Agar Town was complete by 1847. With street names such as Cambridge Crescent and Oxford Crescent, it looked respectable on the map but soon became known as ‘Ague Town’, after the cholera that bred in its polluted streets. With no drains, road surfaces or lighting, it was described as ‘more fitted for the occupation of wild beasts than for human beings’. People looked down on the ‘miserable population of navvies, refuse collectors and casual workers’ forced to live in these conditions.

Agar Town was located next to Somers Town, on the other side of the Regent’s Canal. In 1866, the Church of England sold the whole neighbourhood to the Midland Railway Company. In just two months, as many as 4,000 people were evicted and everything demolished for coal sidings. Today, Elm Village occupies the site, and this is the only memorial to its lost predecessor. 

By Tom Bolton

Images: Paradise Row, Agar Town, 1854

Agar Town views, 1857