The woman who named Navigator Square
As the final preparations for Archway’s St Patrick’s Day 2019 celebrations are made, we spoke to the local woman behind the name Navigator Square, which was made in memory of the area’s Irish community who have long called the area their home.
Trish O’Flynn has lived in Archway for the past 19 years – give or take a few years while she lived in Ireland studying for a PhD. Both her parents are Irish; her mum a nurse and her father a book keeper for a building contractor, who came to London after the Second World War and settled in the Holloway area.
“I’ve always had a strong connection with Ireland,” Trish says. “Like many other second generation London Irish, I used to go back to Ireland to the farm every summer during the school holidays. I would have great fun and come back with an Irish accent, which would cause me some grief in the playground when I went back to school.”
Trish is the person who thought up the name Navigator Square.
In 2018, the council asked local people to suggest names for the new traffic-free public space following a major redesign of the busy gyratory.
“I must have seen it in the local paper or on Twitter,” she says. The name didn’t immediately pop into her head. Inspiration came from local history booklets about the building of Archway Bridge, her own Irish heritage, and her love of the Pogues.
“I’m interested in social history and I was thinking about the people who are often invisible in society. I used to work in Westminster and I’d noticed a plaque on the side of Transport House to commemorate the men who had built the building. This got me thinking.
“I’m also a fan of the Pogues and they have a song called Navigator that celebrates the Irish ‘navvie’, all these invisible people who dug the roads and built the railways. So all these ideas came together for the name.”
Trish’s name was one of four that were put on a shortlist and put to public vote.
She says: “I thought nothing more, just that I’d find out the result when it was announced. Then I got an email and found out my name had been chosen. To be honest, I was delighted to have even made the shortlist!”
Navigator Square came into being in early 2018. “I get a little buzz when I walk past the sign,” Trish says.
And we couldn’t imagine a better name for it!