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Inventory Site Record

Northampton Square Gardens (Islington)

Brief Description

Until c.1805 the site was used as a 'Greenyard', a pound for stray animals. The Northampton Estate was developed as a residential area around the Manor House, which was later demolished in 1896. The district later became overcrowded as London expanded and many houses in the area became workshops and tenements. Northampton Institute was built as a Working Man's College in 1896-98 and later became a polytechnic and then City University in 1966. Only the south-east and south-west sides of Northampton Square still have the original buildings, with a few early C19th houses surrounding the railed central garden, although much bomb damage occurred. The gardens were opened to the public in July 1885 with assistance from MPGA, the layout by Fanny Wilkinson.

Practical Information
Site location:
Northampton Square
Postcode:
EC1V 0HL
What 3 Words:
agent.pine.bunch
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
Islington
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
8am - dusk
Special conditions:
no dogs
Facilities:
café
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Angel (Northern) then bus. Bus: 4, 56, 153
Research updated:
01/04/2012
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

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

Northampton Square is a lozenge shaped garden and was developed as part of the Northampton Estate as a residential area around the Manor House, which was later demolished in 1896. Northampton Institute was built as a Working Man's College in 1896-98 as part of improvements to the estate, and was designed by E W Mountford. Northampton Square Gardens were opened to the public in July 1885 with assistance from the MPGA. The design of the garden was by Fanny Wilkinson, who was landscape gardener to the MPGA for some 19 years, over which period she designed over 75 public gardens in London, many of them disused burial grounds. The late C19th bandstand is now used as a shelter and the gardens have a number of large trees, including a fine circle of London plane trees dating from Wilkinson's layout. Like others of the period, Wilkinson advocated planting such trees as London plane and Tree of Heaven in urban situations 'where the atmosphere is more or less laden with smoke' in a leaflet she wrote in 1899/1900, 'Suggestions for the Planting and Maintenance of Trees in Public Thoroughfares'.

Sources consulted:

Mary Cosh, The Squares of Islington Part I: Finsbury and Clerkenwell, London, 1990; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Elizabeth Crawford, 'Enterprising Women: The Garretts and their Circle' (Francis Boutle Publishers, 2nd ed. 2009)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ317826 (531735,182641)
Size in hectares:
0.28
Site ownership:
LB Islington
Site management:
Greenspace/Friends of Northampton Square
Date(s):
1805; 1885
Designer(s):
1885: MPGA (Fanny Wilkinson)
Listed structures:
LBII: 18-33 Northampton Square
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Yes

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:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Northampton Square
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
Local/strategic view corridor

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.