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Before the railways

The Regent's Canal opened on 1 August 1820, finally connecting the Grand Junction Canal at Paddington with the London Docks at Limehouse. Only then was the world’s greatest port linked to the 18th century canal network which connected with England’s industrial heartlands. 
Long distance travel, before the first main line railways arrived in Camden, was by coach. The railways represented a looming menace to the coaching business and the infrastructure, including the coaching inn, that had grown up around it, even though their North London termini were not permitted to encroach close to the City than the New Road. Both Euston at Euston Square and King's Cross at Battle Bridge were located as far south as permitted.
Battle Bridge was a locality with a poor reputation stretching back to the middle ages. With the arrival of the New Road, which was progressively lined with fine villas, Stephen Geary was commissioned to erect a monument to George IV at Battle Bridge in 1835, and the name was changed to King's Cross
The area around Battle Bridge, since the start of the nineteenth century, had brick fields and tile kilns that exploited the brick earth for London stock bricks and the clay for tile making.  Its unsavoury reputation was not enhanced by the proliferation of dust heaps, which provided employment for a small army of dustmen and cinder-shifters, recycling refuse for a variety of higher value purposes.