Inventory Site Record

Marquess Estate, including St Paul's Park (Islington)

Brief Description

The Marquess Estate was built in 1966-76, the first large estate constructed by the new Islington Borough Council, Designed as a dense urban village and built in the vernacular style, it provided residents with small domestic gardens, larger shared gardens and greens, landscaped footpaths, and incorporated a number of older trees. However it came to be regarded as over-complex and soon became difficult to police, as a result of which re-structuring began in the late 1970s, with major refurbishment from the late 1990s, its name changing to New River Green. As part of the most recent regeneration project, a new public park named St Paul's Park was created, with a formal garden facing St Paul’s Road, as well asa football pitch, wildlife garden and informal play spaces.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
New River Green
Site location:
Essex Road/St Paul's Road
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Housing/Estate Landscaping
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
football pitch, informal play space
Public transport:
London Overground: Canonbury. Bus: 38, 56, 73, 341
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.islington.gov.uk

Full Site Description

The Marquess Estate was originally designed by the architects Darbourne and Darke, based upon their Lillington Gardens Estate in Westminster of 1961 (q.v.). It was built in phases and incorporated existing housing such as flats of the 1950s by architect E C P Monson, and it was to have crossed over St Paul's Road via a bridge. The largest green space of the estate was along Marquess Road. In 1982 the architectural correspondent of The Times commented on 'traces of Tudor gardens and Lutyens ideas' in the houses arranged round an open green. Opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, it was designed as a traffic-free 'village in the city', and won praise at the time but it proved hard to police, becoming unsafe and subject to vandalism and crime. Nikolaus Pevsner described it as 'informal to the point of confusion'. As a result restructuring began in the late 1970s, continuing in the 1990s when over 460 homes were demolished, the street pattern simplified and the name was changed to New River Green. Red House Square was remodelled by 1995. The redevelopment project by Countryside Properties, costing over £21m, aimed to provide 260 new homes for rent and shared ownership, 63 homes for sale to owner occupiers developed by Copthorn Homes, as well as shops and business units developed by Countryside Commercial. To the west was the landscaped New River Walk (q.v.), partly demolished in the late 1990s to provide improved road access and security. A new public park was designed by Islington Architects as part of the Marquess regeneration project. Named St Paul's Park it features a formal garden facing St Paul’s Road, with a football pitch, wildlife garden and informal play spaces adjacent to the houses and school.

Sources consulted:

Keith Sugden, 'History of Highbury', (London,1984); Andrew Saint, 'London Suburbs', (Merrell Holberton, 1999); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ323847 (532593,184712)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Islington
Site management:
Housing Department; Parks Department
1976; 1990s
1966-76: Darbourne and Darke
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:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special 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.