Inventory Site Record

Islington Green (Islington)

Brief Description

Islington Green is a triangular site that was the former village green and at one time housed the village cage or prison and stocks. Originally unenclosed, in 1777 the green was given to the parish by the Lord of the Manor, and in 1781 railings were erected around it. It was used as a meeting place, and for hustings and polling booths after the 1832 Reform Act. The statue of Sir Hugh Myddelton was installed to the south in 1862 and in 1865 it was laid out as a public garden. The site was acquired by Islington Borough Council in 1897. Recently re-landscaped, a wide tarmac path runs through the site, flanked by fine plane trees, with floral displays and a flag pole and War Memorial installed in 2006.

Practical Information
Site location:
Upper Street/Essex Road/Islington Green
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
8am - dusk
Special conditions:
Various events
Public transport:
Tube: Angel (Northern). Rail/London Overground/Tube (Victoria): Highbury and Islington. Bus: 4, 19, 30, 38, 56, 341, 476
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 village of Islington was prosperous partly as a result of its important position on the medieval route from the City of London and Clerkenwell towards Highgate. North of the village was rural until the late C18th, with a number of medieval houses at Barnsbury, Highbury and Canonbury; some houses of the 1760s remain near Islington Green. There are C19th buildings on the north side of Islington Green, which was built up by 1817, and on the east side is a late C19th warehouse now used as an antiques bazaar. At the south end of the Green is a statue of Sir Hugh Myddelton by John Thomas, which was erected here in 1862 and unveiled by William Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. A goldsmith and merchant, Sir Hugh Myddelton was responsible for building the New River, a man-made water conduit constructed in 1609-13 to bring fresh water from springs 20 miles away in Hertfordshire to supply London’s growing population, terminating at the New River Head (q.v.) in Islington. After the formal opening in 1613, the New River Company was created by Charter in 1619 with Sir Hugh Myddelton as its first Chairman. Collins' Music Hall used to be near the Green at the back of Lansdowne Terrace. It was opened in a converted pub by Sam Collins and operated from 1862 - 1958 with many well-known performers including Lily Langtrey, Dan Leno, Gracie Fields, Charlie Chaplin and Tommy Trinder.

In 1928 Islington Green was described as 'a very attractive open space with well-kept lawns and an avenue of well-grown trees' and it is protected under the London Squares and Enclosures (Preservation ) Act of 1906. Improvement works were undertaken in the gardens in recent years and it was re-opened on 2 September 2006 by the Mayor of Islington. With care taken not to impair the historic layout of the Green, the re-landscaping included new planting and lawns, the relocation of the entrance on Essex Road as well as improved seating and lighting. A new war memorial was commissioned following a competition, which was won by sculptor John Maine RA, with lettering by Gary Breeze. This was on the former site of the War Shrine erected in 1918 to commemorate those who died in WWI.

Sources consulted:

Harold Clunn, the Face of London (c1950); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); John Wittich, 'London Villages', Shire, 3rd ed. 1987; Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ316836 (531657,183624)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Islington
Site management:
Greenspace; Friends of Islington Green
medieval, 1781; 1865
Listed structures:
LBII: Statue to Hugh Myddelton; Slug and Lettuce Pub; Nos. 23 and 24 Islington Green, telephone kiosk outside 26 Islington Green
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:
Conservation Area name:
The Angel
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Archaeological Priority Area
Other LA designation:
Rail Safeguarding Area

Islington Green

Islington Green - Statue of Sir Hugh Myddelton - Photo: London Gardens Trust
Date taken: 14/10/21 12:17

Click a photo to enlarge.

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