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When I was first married we lived in Hampstead and then Highgate, two fairly salubrious suburbs on a hill above London.  Below us was Islington - then a district of London on the turn.  It was generally a poor area with decaying but beautiful old Georgian houses, divided into squalid flats.  But things were changing.  Robert Carrier - the celebrity chef of his time - opened his first restaurant here and people were beginning to buy up those houses and renovate them.  I have no doubt that Islington is now prosperous due to its proximity to the centre of town.

When you contemplate a painting like the one above it makes you realise how relatively recently London has developed, for this was painted around 1825, by Frederick Nash, just before the explosion in London's growth in the Victorian era.  Islington is on the A1 - the main thoroughfare to the north of England, parts of which follow an ancient Roman Road.  Maybe the road along which people are seen strolling is that road.  The painting is a view of London from Islington Hill, for Islington itself was on a hill whose waters in the form of springs (Sadler's Wells, Clerkenwell...) provided London with much of its water.  The map below, dated 1805 shows how Islington central, at that time, is basically surrounded by fields.  Extraordinary isn't it?


Survey of London 2008 - On the British History Online site is a a London County Council survey of the whole of London.  Volume 46 and 47 are the ones to look at for this area.   It is a very detailed historical survey almost building by building.  Very interesting and well-illustrated.

Islington Life - The local council's local history  blog.  Lots of interesting articles on specific subjects.

Wikipedia - You could do worse than begin here.  It gives you all the basic information.

Islington Local History Centre - The local council has rich collection of material in their local history centre.  Alas there is not much online, but I'm sure it's worth a visit

Islington Archaeology and History Society  - If you live nearby you might like to attend one of the events that are regularly staged by the society.  They have a journal.

Islington Workhouse - A detailed account of the Islington Workhouse, complete with where to find records, from the wonderful Workhouse website.

By the Banks of the New River  to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the opening of the New River, the Wellcome Foundation has dedicated a page to its history

Streets with a story: a history of Islington - a book by Eric A. Willats that has been digitised by Islington Heritage Service

london from islington hill 1825.jpg
islington map.jpg
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