Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for ISLINGTON

ISLINGTON, a metropolitan suburb, a parish, and a district in Middlesex. The suburb stands on the underground rivers Fleet and Walbrook, on the New river, on the Regent's canal, and on the North London and Great Northern railways, 2 miles NNW of St. Pauls; and has stations with telegraphs on the railways, the head postoffice† of London N, and many sub-offices‡ and letterboxes. It was originally, and long, a rural village; and was known at Domesday as Isendune, afterwards as Iseldon, Yseldon, Eyseldon, and Hyssylton. It possessed some importance in the time of the Saxons; yet remained strictly rural so late as about 1793. It is mentioned in Percy's "Reliques" as a "merry country village;" it occupies a high site as compared with that of the city and of Westminster; it enjoyed from early times, and continues to enjoy, reputation for salubrity; and it was, for many ages, a favourite retreat of the citizens for custards, cakes, duck ponds, and rural sports. So early as the time of Henry II., it was noted for archery, quoiting, wrestling, and other athletic pastimes; and in 1514, when enclosures were formed on the common fields around it, curtailing the spaces for the pastimes, the citizens assembled in multitudes and levelled the enclosures. But the place is now nearly all urban; forms a compact, though not dense, section of the metropolis; contains several squares, and very numerous streets, generally well built and airy; and is inhabited, for the most part, by families of the middle classes, and by the better sort of artizans.-The Welsh chiefs who followed Llewelyn to do homage to Edward I. Were quartered at Islington; but felt so annoyed by inadequate supp1ies of milk, mead, and Welsh ale, that they threatened ' ' never to visit it again but as conquerors. '' Henry VI. was taken prisoner here, in his wanderings after the battle of Hexham. Rough, the friend of Knox, was seized here in the time of Mary; and he and thirteen other Protestants were here brought to the stake. Ramparts and trenches were, at the commencement of the civil wars of Charles I., constructed here for the defence of the city. The parish contains also Highbury, Holloway, Ballspond, Battlebridge, Kingsland-Green, Barnsbury-Park, and part of Newington-Green. Acres, 3, 127. Real property, in 1860, £756, 698: of which £20, 274 were in canals. Pop. in 1851, 95, 329; in 1861, 155, 341. Houses, 20, 704. The increase of pop. arose mainly from the facility of communication to the City and to Westminster. A large proportion of the inhabitants are employed there, during the middle hours of the day, as clerks or men of business. More than half of the adult population are immigrants from the country, or persons not born in London. The influx of male provincials takes place mostly between the ages of 20 and 25, and appears to be nearly four times as large as that into the metropolis generally; while the influx of female provincials takes place chiefly.between the ages of 15 and 20, and is very much larger than that of males. The density of population, in proportion to the house accommodation, was less in 1864 than previously; the sanitary conditions, in a general view, had then been materially improved; and the number of licensed slaughter-houses then was 108, - of cow sheds, 71. Much industry is carried on in most departments of handicraft; several extensive manufactories exist for white-lead, floor-cloths, furs, pasteboards, and other articles; and a great trade, together with regular marketing, is connected with the new metropolitan cattle market. That market is situated at Copenhagen Fields, in the NW of Islington toward Camden Town; was formed by the corporation of London, at a cost of above £300, 000; was opened in June 1855, by the late Prince Consort; occupies an area, proximately rectangu1ar, of upwards of 30 acres; has. such connexion with the North London, the Great Northern, the Northwestern, the Great Western, the Great Eastern railways, and others, as to receive deliveries of live stock in the best condition, and without intermediate driving through the streets; contains accommodation for 6, 616 bullocks, 34, 980 sheep, 1, 425 calves, and 900 pigs, besides resting places for 3, 000 bullocks and 8, 160 sheep; includes slaughterhouses, a meat market, water posts, and other app1iances; has, in the centre, a clock tower, 150 feet high, surrounded by banking houses, railway offices, an electrictelegraph station, and other business apartments; and has also two taverns at the N side, and public houses at the angles. Both business and amusements are connected with the Agricultural Hall, in Liverpool road. This was erected in 1863, principally for the annual show of the Smithfield Cattle Club; presents a frontage with great entrance arch, flanked by rather peculiar towers, each 95 feet high; measures 380 feet in length, and 200 feet in width; has galleries, 34 feet wide, and iron arched roofs; includes exhibition courts, an implement court, and refreshment rooms; and is used occasionally for concerts, balls, and public meetings. Two chief public buildings,in the parish, are the Model prison, in Caledonian road, and the City prison, in Holloway; and these, at the census of 1861, had respectively 584 and 386 inmates. The Model prison was built in 1842, at a cost of £85, 000; occupies an area of 6¾ acres; contains 520 cells, each 13 feet long, 17 wide and 9 high; has five ranges of exercise yards; and was established for the double purpose of a prison and of a reformatory for convicts. The prisoners are supplied with books from a library of about 2, 000 volumes; and, in 1858, they made 5, 700 pairs of shoes and 4, 000 jackets and trowsers, and wove 40, 000 yards of prison cloth and nearly 20, 000 yards of other fabrics. The City prison was erected in 1854, at a cost of £92, 650; occupies an area of about ten acres, surrounded by a wall 18 feet high; has a castellated Gothic front, copied from Warwick castle; comprises six wings, radiating from a central tower; contains accommodation for 373 male and 65 female prisoners; is all warmed by hot water; and each cell measnres 13 feet by 7, and receives a constant supply of fresh air by means of a ventilating shaft. Other public buildings are the Clerkenwell new county court, the modern Vestry hall, and a Metropolitan police station; and another is the Conference hall, founded in 1869. A statue of Sir Hugh Middleton, on Islingtongreen, the gift of Sir M. Peto, with drinking fountains by subscription, was inaugurated in 1862. The statue is of marble, 8½ feet high, from the chisel of the late Mr. Thomas: and stands on a broad granite pedestal, on each of two sides of which is a marble figure of a boy pouring water from a vase. The places of worship within the parish, at the census of 1851, were 14 of the Church of England, with 15, 548 sittings; 1 of the Church of Scotland, with 600 s.; 1 of the Presbyterian Church in England, with 1, 000 s.; 13 of Independents, with 5, 739 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 870 s.; 2 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1, 686 s.; 2 of the Wesleyan Association, with 459 s.; 1 undefined, with 600 s.; 1 of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, with 300 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 550 s. But, at the beginning of 1866, there were 35 belonging to the Church of England, and 40 in connexion with other denominations. Some of the places of worship, and likewise some other edifices, are noticed in the articles HIGHBURY, HOLLOWAY, CANONBURY, BALLSPOND, and BATTLEBRIDGE. The parish church, or church of St. Mary, was built in 1751-4, on the site of a previous one of 1483; is a brick structure, with tower and spire; and contains two brasses, and monuments to Lady Owen, Dr. Hawes, Aubert of Highbury, Bishop Blackbourn, Poole, the founder of the small-pox hospital, the learned Dr. Cave, and Sir Richard Cloudesley. The churchyard contains the graves of Osborne, the bookseller, Earlom, the engraver, and Nichols, the editor of the Gentlemen s Magazine. The other churches of the establishment were built chiefly in the years from 1828 to 1870; and most of them are handsome or elegant structures. A church which afterwards became that of the Presbyterian Church in England was built in 1834. A United Presbyterian church, at Highbury, was built in 1863; is a neat edifice, in the Anglo-Italian style, with tower and spire; and was preceded, for two or three years, by the temporary occupancy of a public hall. Five of the Independent chapels date from 1730, 1788, 1801, 1825, and 1835; others are quite recent; and several are ornamental. One of the Baptist chapels, that in Cross-street, was built in 1855. The Wesleyan chapel in Liverpool road was built in 1827; and that in Mildmay Park was built in 1863, at a cost of £5, 170, and is an edifice of Kentish rag and Bath stone, in the decorated English style. The Wesleyan Association chapel, now designated the United Free Methodist chapel, was built in 1842. The chapel of the Catholic and Apostolic church was built in 1834. The Roman Catholic chapel was built in 1843. A Unitarian chapel, called Unity church, for a congregation previously meeting in Carter-lane, in the City, was built in 1862, at a cost of upwards of £10, 000; is a cruciform edifice, in Italianized decorated English style, with broad nave, narrow aisles, and shallow semi-octagonal chancel; and has a handsome tower, with double buttresses, surmounted by a spire 120 feet high. The ultramural cemetery is situated at Finchley; was opened in 1854; and comprises 30 acres, purchased for £9, 000.

The schools in the parish, at the census of 1851, were 26 public day schools, with 5, 716 scholars; 209 private day schools, with 4, 681 s.; and 31 Sunday schools, with 7, 136 s. Eight of the public schools were national; 6 others were connected with the Church of England; 5 were British; 1 was Roman Catholic; 4 were unsectarian ragged schools; 1 was an orphan school; and 1 was a prison school. A new suite of national schools at the corner of Cross-street and Dorset-street, was built in 1862; is an edifice of yellow stock bricks, with red and black brick quoins and window arches; has Gothicheaded windows, and a bell-turret; and accommodates 180 boys and 120 girls. A new ragged school, for about 400 children, with reformatory work-shops, two play-grounds, and a separate building for domiciliary uses, was erected, in Copenhagen-street, in 1863. Other public schools also have been built since 1861; and there are parochial schools, with £160 a year from endowment. Some of the private schools have a high character; and they may be said to inherit it from old times. Local historians relate that, toward the latter part of the 17th century, Islington appears to have become one great academy. Samuel Clarke, the learned orientalist, one of the editors of the Polyglott Bible, was a schoolmaster here about the middle of that century; and several of the ministers ejected from the Church of England by the act of 1662, opened schools here, and sent forth distinguished pupils, among whom were Matthew Henry, Dr. Edmund Calamy, and Sir Joseph Jekyll

Numerous institutions, scholastic, literary, philanthropic, and miscellaneous, are in the parish. The Royal Caledonian asylum was established in 1813, and incorporated in 1815, for supporting and educating the children of Scottish soldiers and sailors, who have died or been disabled, and the children of other indigent Scottish parents resident in the metropolis; stood originally in the neighbourhood of Hatton-garden, but stands now in Copenhagen Fields; was built there in 1828, at a cost of £10, 000; has a tetrastyle Grecian portico, surmounted by a statue of St. Andrew; clothes its boys in the tartan costume; and, at the census of 1861, had 121 inmates. The Church missionary college, in the Upper street, was built in 1827, for the training of Church of England missionary students; and has capacity for 46 inmates. The Church Missionary's Children's Home, in HighburyGrove, was erected in 1853, at a cost of about £20, 000; and, at the census of 1861, had 98 inmates. The Church of England training college, in Highbury-Park, was founded in 1849 for the training of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses; is now an institution for educating candidates for the Christian ministry; and occupies premises which previously belonged to an Independent theological seminary, and which were altered and enlarged. St. Joseph's Retreat, on Highgate Hill, is a Roman Catholic institution; and, at the census of 1861, had 20 inmates. The literary and scientific institution is proprietorial, but has also many annual members; and maintains weekly lectures, for half the year, in literature and science. The Barnsbury literary institute is of similar character, and has an average of about 500 members. There are also two working men's institutes, a Church of England's young men's society, and# a mutual improvement society. The London fever hospital, in Liverpool road, was built in 1850; succeeded a previous edifice of about 40 years' duration at Kingscross; is a spacious structure, well adapted to the prevention and cure of contagions fever; has an income of about £3, 000; and, at the census of 1861, had 44 inmates. The smallpox hospital, on Highgate Hill, was erected in 1850, at a cost of about £20, 000; also succeeded a previous edifice, of long duration, at Kingscross; has an income of about £1, 500; and possesses capacity for 70 patients. Another hospital, called the Great Northern, is in Caledonian road; and, at the census of 1861, had 18 inmates. Whittington college, a magnificent charitable foundation, in the Archway road at Highgate, is within Islington parish; several suites of alms houses are in varions parts of the parish; and the school and alms houses of Lady Owen within Clerkenwell belong partly to Islington. The total of endowed charities is nominally less than £1, 000 a year; but the amount actually distributed yearly through their medium, is upwards £15, 000. A Valuable fund was left, in 1517, by Cloudesley, for endowing a chantry, which has ceased to exist; and this fund, by virtue of an act of parliament in 1811, has been applied to the repairing and maintaining of four Establishment churches. The Islington new workhouse is in Upper Holloway; and was built in 1869, at a cost of £63, 300. Two other institutions are the Islington Infant poorhouse and the Clerkenwell Infant poorhouse; and these, at the census of 1861, had 140 and 181 inmates.

Islington was once noted for its springs. Certain spas, near the quondam village, but within Clerkenwell parish, were discovered, in 1683, by one Sadler, in a garden belonging to a house which he had opened as a musicroom, and which afterwards became a theatre; and these waters gave that place the name of Sadler's wells. Another spa, which came to be called Islington spa, or New Tunbridge wells, was in repute at the time of Sadler's discovery; and it is a very light chalybeate water, much resembling that of the springs of Tunbridge. Noted taverns and tea gardens also were in Islington; and one, called White-Conduit-house, derived its name from a conduit belonging to London charter house. Coins of the year 110, Roman weapons, and other Roman relics were found, in 1845, near White-Conduit-house; and a stone, with a Roman inscription, was found in a field adjacent to Caledonian road. Traces of a Roman camp, supposed to have been that of Suetonius Paulinus, previous to his victory over Boadicea at Battlebridge, existed till recently in the vicinity of Barnsbury Park. A Roman station was at Highbury, and served as a summer camp for the garrison of London; and the Roman Erminestreet went through the parish, probably at or near the Highbury station. A moated seat of the priors of St. John stood near Highbury Barn, and was demolished by Jack Straw's mob. A mansion at Canonbury, built about 1362, belonged to the priors of St. Bartholomew, and had attached to it a structure of later date, called Canonbury Tower, which was a resort of Queen Elizabeth for hunting, and afterwards was partly occupied by Oliver Goldsmith and several other literati. A small chapel to a lepers' hospital, at Ballspond, built in the 12th century, and belonging to St. Bartholomew's hospital, was taken down so late as 1847. Some noted old houses stood on Henry VIII. 's walk, leading to Newington-Green; an old mansion of' the Fishers, called Fisher House, stood in the Lower road: an old seat of the Fowlers of Barnsbury stood in Cross street; an old timbered house stood on the spot afterwards occupied by the ' ' Queen's Head; '' and the house of Raleigh stood on the spot afterwards occupied by the "Pied Bull." Very many notable persons figure in connexion with the parish, as incumbents, residents, or natives. The chief of these, in addition to some which have been already mentioned, are Bishop Stillingfleet; Dr. William Cave; Bishop Wilson; G. Morland, the painter; Topham, known as the strong man; Pepys, author of the "Diary;" Defoe, author of "Robinson Crusoe;" Cruden, author of the "Concordance;" Dr. Pitcairn: Newland, the bank cashier; Browne, the founder of the Brownists; Mrs. Robinson, the translator of the "Death of Abel;" John Henderson, the tragedian; Mrs. Cowley, author of the "Belle's Stratagem;" Colley Cibber; Thomas Paine, author of the "Rights of Man" Bagford, the antiquary; Edmund Halley, the astronomer;-Dr. Price; the Rev. John Palmer; and the poets Collins, Lamb, and Rogers.

The parish is ecclesiastically divided into twenty-two charges with defined limits, and six with undefined limits. The twenty-two defined, together with their respective pop. in 1868, are St. Mary-Islington, 15, 468; St-Stephen New North road, 3, 071; St. Peter, Riverlane, 13, 509; Christchurch, Highbury, 3, 229; St. James, Lower Holloway, 4, 313; St. Clement, Barnsbury, 5, 000; St. Luke, West Holloway, 3, 500; St-Philip, Arlingtonsquare, 9, 015: St. John, Upper Holloway, 6, 286; St. Mark, Tollington Park, 1,873; St-Mary, Hornsey-Rise, 2, 000; St. Paul, Ballspond, with St. John Baptist, Gloucester road, 11, 789; St Matthew, Essex road, with Rosemary-Branch chapel, 6, 791; St-Jude, Mildmay Park, 6, 620; Holy Trinity, Cloudesley-square, 6, 504; All Saints, Kings-cross, 13, 446: St. Andrew, 6, 193; StMichael, 5, 182; St. Thomas, 5, 598; St. Bartholomew, 4, 250; St. George, 1, 400; and St. Barnabas, 8, 000. The six with undefined limits are the Chapel of Ease, Holloway; St. Saviour, St. Augustine, St. Anne, St. David, and St. Matthias. St. Mary-Islington is the old or original parochial charge; the Chape1 of Ease, Holloway, dates from 1814; St. James, St. Paul, and Holy Trinity were constituted in 1830; and all the others range in date from 1839 till 1867. Twenty of the livings are vicarages, and all the others p. curacies, in the diocese of London. Value of St. Mary-Islington, £1, 500; of St. Stephen, St. Mark, St. George, St. Matthew, and St. Jude, each £400; of St. Peter, £400; * of St. Luke, £500; of Christchurch, £600; of St. James, £800; of St. Clement, A1l Saints, St. Andrew, St. Thomas, and St. Bartholomew, each £300; of St. Philip, £355; of St. John, £600; of St. Mary, Hornsey-Rise, £375; of St. Paul-with-St. John Baptist, £420; of Holy Trinity, £485; of St. Barnabas, £350; of St. Michae1, £233; of St. Augustine, £1, 000; of the Chapel of Ease, £550; of St. Anne, St. David, and St. Matthias, not reported. Patrons of St. Mary Islington, Christchurch, St. Luke, St. Philip, St. John, St. Mary-Hornsey-Rise, St. Paul-with-St. John Baptist, Holy Trinity, St. Michael, St. Thomas, St. Bartholomew, St. Barnabas, St. Augustine and St. George, Trustees; of St. Stephen, St. Peter, St. James, and the Chapel of Ease, the Vicar of St. Mary-Islington; of St. Clement, G. Cubitt, Esq.; of St. Mark, the Vicar of St. John; of St. Matthew and St. Jude, the Vicar of St. Paul; of All Saints and St. Andrew, the Vicar of Holy Trinity; of St. Saviour, the Rev. W. D. Morrice; of St. Anne, St. David, and St. Matthias, not reported..

The district, or poor law union, is conterminate with the parish; is administered under a local act; and is diVided into the sub-districts of Islington-West and Islington-East, by a line drawn from the corner of Liverpool road, along High-street, Upper-street, Lower Holloway, and Upper Holloway, to Highgate. Acres, 1, 228 and 1,889. Pop. in 1861, 75, 442 and 79, 899. Houses, 9, 427 and 11, 277. Poor rates in 1863, £52, 779. Marriages in 1863, 1, 400; births, 6, 094, -of which 224 were illegitimate; deaths, 4, 340, -of which 1,868 were at ages under 5 years, and 46 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 10, 901; births, 41, 915; deaths, 26, 009.


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a metropolitan suburb, a parish, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Islington CP/AP/Vest       Islington PLPar/RegD       Middlesex AncC
Place names: EYSELDON     |     HYSSYLTON     |     ISELDON     |     ISENDUNE     |     ISLINGTON     |     YSELDON
Place: Islington

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