The Ballad of Highbury Barn

Come along to the farm and pick up a stocking filler with a difference. The Ballad of Highbury Barn is a celebration of local history delivered through music and lyrics. Available as a commemorative CD it is a collection of songs written by Richard Rhys O’Brien local resident, musician and economist. Speaking to Richard his enthusiasm for both the music and the area is clear.

“I have always had an interest in our local history,” said Richard, who has lived in the borough for the past 40 years.

The compositions reflect on the history of the Highbury Barn Pleasure Gardens and are a great introduction to local history. The Illustrated booklet includes news clippings, maps and drawings along with the narration and song words.

“I wrote the ballad shortly after preparing a number of presentations for the Highbury Heritage Centre set up at Christ Church Highbury.

Songs on the CD are performed by Richard and friends including singers from Highbury’s Eclectic Voices and musicians from the Harmony Orchestra.

“It has been wonderful recording them with so many friends from Highbury and further afield’

We are very grateful to Richard who is donating proceeds from the sales of The Ballad of Highbury Barn to the Mayors Charities so 100% of the purchase price of a CD will go to the Farm and CARIS Islington.

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Official Announcement - Introducing.........

The votes have been counted and we have a winner by an overwhelming majority of 42 pine cones (and online votes). Introducing….

The piglets arrived at the farm on the 11th November, Remembrance Sunday, 100 years since Armistice Day. They are named in remembrance of the First World War. Wilfred Owen was a soldier who wrote poetry about the awful reality of the war and lost his life one week before Armistice. Poppies, now a symbol of remembrance, grew on the disturbed land occupied by the trenches and no-mans land between them following the end of the war.

Winter Fun and Fundraising

On Saturday we were joined by volunteers, friends and supporters for a winter fair and fundraiser. It was a busy day with seasonal crafts we used willow and winter foliage to make festive wreaths, planted pots of house plants for gifts with an individual touch. there was a raffle, mulled wine, mince pies and cakes galore as well as the usual warming food in the cafe.

 The Mayor Councillor David Poyser welcoming everyone ready for ribbon duty.

The Mayor Councillor David Poyser welcoming everyone ready for ribbon duty.

The event welcomed a very special guest The Mayor of Islington Councillor David Poyser who has very kindly chosen us as one of his Charities for the year. We share the honour and the fundraising with CARIS Islington Winter Night Shelters who provide beds, hot meals and a friendly face for people sleeping rough over the winter months. The Mayor is raising funds for his charities through various events and activities throughout the year and you can support his fundraising efforts by donating to the Mayors Charities through the Mayors Office or If you have an idea for an event or activity to support the Mayors Charities get in touch. Events supporting the Mayors Charity have included Liberia Road Street Party and currently the sale of a fab CD produced by local resident Richard O’Brien depicting the history of the Highbury Barn in words and music (you can get your hands on the CD for £10 at the farm and a whole host of outlets around Highbury).

 Shiny new stables just finished! (with Bramble front)

Shiny new stables just finished! (with Bramble front)

As well as supporting the farm generally Mr Mayor had an important duty officially opening the renovated large animal barn with its new stables and lighting thanks to funding from Tesco bags of help scheme and everyone who donated online to support the ‘Pig Appeal’. The completed barn also meant that the Pig Appeal achieved its goal of providing new accommodation suitable for new piglets. At our AGM in the summer we had a vote and decided on Kune Kunes a very small breed from New Zealand. On the 11th of November three little pigs arrived from a small holding in Cambridgeshire. Following the ribbon cutting ceremony Mr Mayor and another special guest Father Christmas and a very excited group of children (and a fair few adults) welcomed the piglets to their new home with tummy tickles and back scratches. The piglets have proved to be extremely fond of gentle strokes and people which is fantastic for their role as therapy animals.

 Our special guests and new residents meet some very excited visitors.

Our special guests and new residents meet some very excited visitors.



Thank you to everyone who came along and supported the farm on Saturday it was a lovely day, great to catch up with friends old and new and we raised some cash to help run the farm. The fundraising doesn’t end there though we launched a few fundraising activities running up to Christmas.

We have Non-drop Nordman Christmas Trees, cyclamen, poinsettia, handmade wreaths and winter foliage on sale with all proceeds to support the farm. The Mayor’s Christmas Card featuring Christ Church, Islington and animals from the farm and Richard O’Brien’s Highbury Barn CD are also available both with 100% of the purchase price supporting the farm.

The Winter Silent Auction has some special items you can bid either by completing a slip and putting it in the box on the farm or by email to administration@freightlinersfarm.org.uk with the title Silent Auction Bid (Please include your name, contact email and phone number and bid in the content of your email). Bids can be made until the box is opened at 5pm on the 20th December. We will notify you immediately if you have been successful and you can pick up your item from the farm. The auction items are as follows:

  • The Freightliners Farm Castle

  • 2 Tickets for Arsenal v Manchester United at the Emirates on the 9th March

  • Natural Pearl Bracelet by Stephen Einhorn

  • Be a Freightliners Farmer for an afternoon experience for up to 4 people

  • Paintball Gift Voucher for up to 10 people includes entry and equipment hire but not paintballs (100 paintballs per person to be purchased on booking)

Freightliners Farm Castle a unique model made by Norman for the farm

Wishing you luck! Happy bidding and remember to put in your best bid as you won’t get another chance in the auction.

More news coming soon but for now a reminder that the farm and cafe are open as usual until 4pm on 23rd December. We will be closed for a week with the farm reopening on 2nd January 2019. The cafe will be closed for January opening for 2019 on the 31st January.









Mayor's Charity Walk on Saturday 21st October

Islington Guided Walks are putting on a special guided walk to help the Mayor’s charities for this year. It starts at Angel Underground Station

The Mayor’s charities are Freightliners Farm and CARIS. There is no charge for the guided walk but donations are welcome on the day.
See http://islingtonlife.london/things-to-do/fundraising-walk-for-the-mayors-charities/ for more information.

We hope you can join in!