Inventory Site Record

Dartmouth Park and Dartmouth Park Hill Reservoirs (Islington)

Brief Description

Dartmouth Park takes its name from the Earl of Dartmouth who bought land here in the mid C18th. Housing development accelerated from the mid C19th and the need to increase the supply of fresh water to serve London’s expanding population meant that water companies were building new facilities. Two covered reservoirs were constructed on Dartmouth Park Hill in 1855 by the New River Company and connected to its new waterworks and pumping station by Stoke Newington reservoirs. Dartmouth Park was laid out on the edge of the reservoirs and opened to the public in 1972. The land slopes steeply to the north and the east of the reservoirs, which are now covered with grassland. The top of the slope gives a bird’s eye view over south-east London. The park has an enclosed seating area surrounded by a hedge, which local children helped to plant in 1991.

Practical Information
Site location:
Dartmouth Park Hill/Bickerton Road
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
8am - dusk
Special conditions:
Children's playground, multi-use sports area
Public transport:
Tube: Tufnell Park, Archway (Northern) then bus. London Overground: Upper Holloway. Bus: 4, 17, 41, 43, 134, 143, 263, 271, 390, C11, W5
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.islington.gov.uk/services/parks-environment/parks/your_parks/greenspace_az

Full Site Description

The New River was a man-made water conduit constructed in 1609-1613 to bring fresh water from springs 20 miles away in Hertfordshire to supply London’s growing population. The man behind this enterprise was Sir Hugh Myddelton who had the support of King James I. Part of the New River is still in use today under the ownership of Thames Water but the working watercourse now ends at Stoke Newington. In 1902 the New River Company became part of the Metropolitan Water Board, created by Act of Parliament to merge London's 8 water companies; in 1973 the Water Board became part of the Thames Water Authority, Metropolitan Water Division. The reservoirs on Dartmouth Park Hill are still owned by Thames Water. The land slopes steeply to the north and east of the reservoirs, now covered with grassland, and although private land there are views of the reservoir site from Dartmouth Park, together with fine views over the south east of London. A viewpoint with shelter, seating and a map were erected, but the shelter is no longer in place and the map is vandalised to the point of illegibility.

Sources consulted:

Michael Waite, John Archer, 'Nature Conservation in Islington', Ecology Handbook 19 (London Ecology Unit), 1992; Mary Cosh, 'An historical walk along the New River', Islington Archaeology and History Society, 2001

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ290863 (529040,186390)
Size in hectares:
2.5 (park 1.09)
Site ownership:
Reservoirs: Thames Water. Park: LB Islington
Site management:
Reservoirs: Thames Water. Park: LB Islington Greenspace
1855; 1972
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance I
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Shopping Policy Area
Other LA designation:

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.