A Brief History of Islington

Regents Canal, IslingtonIslington was originally known by the Saxons as Giseldone, which over time, becameIsledon, and did not change to Islington until well into the 17th century. During medieval times, Islington was just one of may small manors in the area, along with Bernersbury (Barnsbury), Hey-bury (Highbury) and Canonesbury (Canonbury).

The earliest record of a church in Islington was St Mary’s in the 12th century, and in 1548, there were 440 recorded communicants. It was a very popular area for the rich and those with social standing, due to the easy access to the City and Westminster. Having said that, the local inns had a reputation of harbouring many fugitives and recursants.

The Regent’s Canal was built in 1820, and passes through Islington (886 metres of it through a the Islington Tunnel thatárunsá from Colebrook Row to Muriel Street). The area to the to the east of the tunnel and north of City Road, was once a key industrial area, and many of the buildings that survive today, are now residential or small work units.

The Royal Agricultural Hall was built in 1862, and had an arched glass roof that spanned 125ft and was 75ft high. Built for the annual Smithfield Show in December 1862 and being able to hold 50,000 people, it was also popular for many other purposes and such as recitals and the Royal Tournament, and it became the primary exhibition centre for London up until the 20th century. During World War II it was requisitioned for use by the Mount Pleasant sorting office and has now been incorporated into the Business Design Centre.