Goswell Road

Goswell Road runs north from Aldersgate Street. It is in the London Borough of Islington – the part which was formerly the Borough of Finsbury. You can still see the old Borough of Finsbury street signs.

Originally the whole street from the Barbican northwards was called Goswell Road; but the southernmost bit, in the City ward of Aldersgate Without, is now called Aldersgate Street. It was Goswell Street until 1894 when it became Goswell Road.

The road was named after a nearby garden called ‘Goswelle’ or ‘Goderell’ which belonged to Robert Brandon (after whom Brandon House in the Barbican is named). Robert Brandon was son of Lord Ufford. In mediaeval times much of the land in the area was owned by the Ufford family. Robert Ufford’s claim to fame was a daring exploit to put the young Edward III on the throne. After the murder of Edward II, the kingdom was in the hands of Roger Mortimer, a prominent baron. The young king and some loyal friends, including Brandon, discovered a secret entrance through an underground passage into the castle yard where he was spending the night. When it was dark, they made their way up to Mortimer’s chambers, struck down the two knights who were guarding the door, and captured Mortimer. Mortimer was hanged and drawn to death as a traitor, and Edward took control of his kingdom. In 1336 or 1337, Brandon was made Earl of Suffolk.