The station was constructed by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway and was built with two lift shafts, but only one was ever used for lifts. The second shaft was the site of an experimental spiral escalator which was built by the American inventor of escalators, Jesse W. Reno. The experiment was not successful and was never used by the public. In the 1990s, remains of the escalator equipment were excavated from the base of the lift shaft. These are stored at the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton. From the platforms, you can see a second exit which is no longer in use. This exit leads to the back of the used lift shaft.
The station is close to the new Emirates Stadium, the new home of Arsenal football club. As part of the planning permission £5m was due to be spent expanding the current station to cope with increased passenger numbers on match days. However subsequent studies showed that to ensure the station could cope with the numbers the lifts would have to be replaced with escalators which would cost £60m. As a result the redevelopment plans were put on hold and now on match days the station will close, or be exit only.
In early July 2007, refurbishment works, as part of Tube Lines station upgrade programme for 2007-8, begun at Holloway Road station. The station was closed to the public over the weekend of October 13-14 and also the following Sunday (October 21), October 27-28, and November 10-11 and 17. Other closures took place in early 2008 although these closures didn't clash with football matches at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.
The refurbishment works included the installation of a new public address system, replacement of ageing customer information screens, and other aesthetic changes to improve the look, feel and security of the station. This includes improved lighting and a dramatic increase in the number of CCTV cameras.