By 1794 Highbury consisted of Highbury House and Highbury Hill House, Highbury Barn and the gated terraces of Highbury Terrace and Highbury Place, which had been built on land leased by John Dawes. Highbury may have stayed this way, as the plan was to create a 250 acres (1.0 km2) park – Albert Park – between St Paul's Road/Balls Pond Road and the Seven Sisters Road. Instead a 27.5 acre (111,000 m²) site, which is now Highbury Fields was saved in 1869 and the 115 acre (465,000 m²) Finsbury Park were created. The rest of the area was developed.
The majority of the development of the area occurred in two phases; until the 1870s many large Italianate villas were built, mostly in the southern part of Highbury. After this time, development went high-density with close packed mostly terraced houses being built, mainly in the north of Highbury. Available land continued to be in-filled with more housing until 1918, but little else changed until after World War II.
Highbury was bombed during the Blitz and again by V-1 flying bombs. For example, on June 27, 1944, a V-1 destroyed Highbury Corner, killing 26 people and injuring 150. Highbury Corner had an impressive station and hotel; that was damaged in this attack but its main building remained in use until demolished in the 1960s during the building of the Victoria line. The original westbound platform buildings remain on the opposite side of Holloway Road, as does a small part of the original entrance to the left of the present station entrance. A red plaque mounted on a building wall overlooking the roundabout, commemorates this event.
After the Second World War large-scale rebuilding in parts of Highbury replaced bombed buildings and provided new municipal housing. Some villas that had not been modernised were demolished to make way for yet more municipal housing; some buildings had to be listed to protect them. Following the property boom in the early 1980s, there has been some gentrification in the area and the council has begun selling some of the grand villas to private developers who have the finances to restore them, e.g. in 2004 Islington council sold four buildings on Highbury New Park to developers for £1 million each.
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