The road was formed in pursuance of an act of Parliament, 6 Geo. IV 156 (1825), obtained by the Battle Bridge and Holloway Road Co. They built the Caledonian Road privately in 1826 as a toll road to link the New Road with Holloway Road (which is part of the Great North Road), hence providing a new link to the West End from the north. It was first known as Chalk Road but changed its name after the Royal Caledonian Asylum, for the children of poor exiled Scots, was built here in 1828. This building has since been demolished. It occupied the site of local authority housing called the Caledonian Estate built 1900-7. The first residential buildings on Caledonian Road were Thornhill Terrace (numbers 106-146) built in 1832, with other terraces were built in the 1840s. From around 1837 to 1849, a group of cottages in gardens were built (between Brewery Road and the site of the current railway); these were part of the failed Experimental Gardens or French Colony founded by a philanthropist, Peter Baume. Due to poor lighting and roads, the cottages declined into slums. Pentonville Prison was built on the road in 1842 immediately to the south of the Asylum. Cattle drovers used the Caledonian road on their way to Smithfield until 1852 when the City of London Corporation transferred the Metropolitan Cattle Market here and it became known as the Caledonian Market. Drovers' lodgings, five public houses, and two hotels were put up around the market, and the Corporation built a block of working-class dwellings c. 1865.
The station opened in 1870 as "Barnsbury" replacing the 1852 Caledonian Road station which was slightly west of the present site. Barnsbury was renamed "Caledonian Road & Barnsbury" in 1893. The station entrance on Offord Street leads to the old westbound platform (until February 2010) from which a footbridge gives access to the brand new island platforms, curiously numbered 2 and 3, probably to distinguish from the old platform 1. There is a footpath, with Oyster readers, from Caledonian Road to the entrance. NOTE. There are lifts to allow accessibility over the bridge. A pleasant spot on a summers day but a bit exposed in the winter. The station is in Travelcard Zone 2 and has wi-fi, lifts, boarding ramps, and a waiting room but no toilets.
Connections: London Buses routes 17, 91, 153, 259, 274 and night route N91 serve the station.