Thursday, February 02, 2006

Islington & Clerkenwell

London Borough of Islington

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London Borough of Islington
Shown within Greater London
Status London borough
— Total
Ranked 352nd
14.86 km²
ONS code 00AU
— Total (2004 est.)
Ranked 82nd (of 354)
12,106 / km²
Ethnicity 75.4% White
11.9% Afro-Caribbean
5.4% South Asian
1.7% Chinese
Leadership Leader & Cabinet
Executive Liberal Democrats
MPs Jeremy Corbyn
Emily Thornberry
London Assembly
— Member
North East London
Jennette Arnold
Official website
Arms of Islington London Borough Council
Arms of Islington London Borough Council
Islington Town Hall
Islington Town Hall

Islington is a borough of London to the north of the City of London, west of Hackney, east of Camden, and south of Haringey. Population 179,000 (1998 ), ethnic minority population about 20%. It was formed in April 1965 through amalgamation of the Metropolitan Borough of Islington and the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury. It is an area of significant social contrasts (55% of population live in council housing, yet some houses of value greater than 3 million GBP). Islington contains one of the largest intact areas of urban Georgian architecture , and the borough is also known for its shopping facilities and "trendy" restaurants, bars and clubs. Its most prominent institution is Arsenal F.C., one of the world's most successful football clubs. John Stuart Mill, the famous economist and philosopher, was born in Pentonville, one of its areas, 20 May 1806.

The borough contains two Westminster parliamentary constituencies; Islington North and Islington South & Finsbury.




Districts of Islington

The borough includes the areas:


Famous residents

Tony Blair, Prime Minister, once lived here (at 1 Richmond Crescent in Barnsbury). Other famous residents include the writers George Orwell, Nick Hornby and Douglas Adams, playwright Joe Orton, politician Boris Johnson, former nurse Abi Titmuss and pop musicians Dido, David Gray and John Lydon.


Major Public and Private Bodies in Islington


Attractions in Islington


Demographics of Islington

According to the 2001 census Islington has a population of 175,797. It is 75% White, 6% Black African, 5% Black Caribbean and 2% Bangladeshi. 32% of the borough's residents are owner–occupiers.



The area was recorded as Gislandune (c. 1000) and Iseldone (Domesday Book , 1086), from Old English *Gisla (man's name, genitive *Gislan) and -dun (hill, down).


External links

Crest of Greater London Greater London | London | City of London Flag of the City of London

London boroughs: Barking and Dagenham | Barnet | Bexley | Brent | Bromley | Camden | Croydon | Ealing | Enfield | Greenwich | Hackney | Hammersmith and Fulham | Haringey | Harrow | Havering | Hillingdon | Hounslow | Islington | Kensington and Chelsea | Kingston | Lambeth | Lewisham | Merton | Newham | Redbridge | Richmond | Southwark | Sutton | Tower Hamlets | Waltham Forest | Wandsworth | City of Westminster

Sui generis: City of London

Enclaves: Inner Temple | Middle Temple



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Ordnance Survey
OS grid reference: Maps for TQ315825
London borough: Islington
County level: Greater London
Region: London
Nation: England
Ceremonial county: Greater London
Historic county: Middlesex
Police force: Metropolitan Police
Fire brigade: London Fire Brigade
Ambulance service: London Ambulance
ITV franchise: ITV London
BBC region: BBC London
BBC Local Radio: BBC London 94.9
Post office and telephone
Post town: LONDON
Postal district: EC1
Dialling code: 020
UK Parliament: Islington South and Finsbury
London Assembly: North East London
European Parliament: London

Clerkenwell (pronounced "clarkenwell") is a locality in the southermost part of the London Borough of Islington . Clerkenwell is also known as London's Little Italy due to its once extensive Italian population from the 1850's to the 1960's.




Clerkenwell has a long history. It took its name from the Clerk's Well in Farringdon Lane. In the Middle Ages, the London Parish clerks performed annual mystery plays there, based on biblical themes. Part of the well remains visible, incorporated into a later (19th or perhaps early 20th century) building called Well Court.

Clerkenwell had strong monastic traditions. The nuns of St Mary's, Clerkenwell, lived on the site of the present St James' Parish Church. The Monastic Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem had its English headquarters in Clerkenwell. ( The Blessed Gerard founded the Order in order to give medical assistance during the crusades.) St John's Gate (built by Sir Thomas Docwra in 1504) survives in the rebuilt form of the Priory Gate. Its gateway, erected in 1504, and remaining in St John's Square, served various purposes after the suppression of the monasteries, being, for example, the birthplace of the Gentleman's Magazine in 1731, and the scene of Dr Johnson's work in connexion with that journal. In modern times the gatehouse again became associated with the Order, and was in the early 20th century the headquarters of the St John Ambulance Association. An Early English crypt remains beneath the neighbouring parish church of St John, where the notorious deception of the "Cock Lane Ghost," in which Johnson took great interest, was exposed. Adjoining the priory was St Mary's Benedictine nunnery, St James's church ( 1792) marking the site, and preserving in its vaults some of the ancient monuments. The Charterhouse, near the boundary with the City of London, once served as a Carthusian monastery. The Charterhouse later became a school and almshouse, which latter still remains.

In the 17th century Clerkenwell became a fashionable place of residence. A prison erected here at this period gave place later to the House of Detention, notorious as the scene of a Fenian outrage in 1867, when it was sought to release certain prisoners by blowing up part of the building. Before Clerkenwell became a built-up area, it had a reputation as a resort where Londoners could disport themselves at its spas, tea gardens and theatres. Sadler's Wells has survived, after rebuilding, as heir to this tradition.

Clerkenwell Green and St James' church
Clerkenwell Green and St James' church
Mount Pleasant postal sorting office
Mount Pleasant postal sorting office

The Industrial Revolution changed the area greatly. It became a centre for breweries, distilleries and the printing industry. It gained an especial reputation for the making of clocks and watches, which activity once employed many people from around the area. Flourishing craft workshops still carry on some of the traditional trades, such as jewellery-making. The owners of many former industrial buildings have recently converted them into loft dwellings.

Clerkenwell Green lies at the centre of the old village, by the church, and has a mix of housing, offices and pubs. In conveying some impression of its history it probably gives the appearance of one of the better-preserved village centres close to central London. In Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, Clerkenwell Green is where Fagin and the Artful Dodger induct Oliver into pickpocketing amongst shoppers in the busy market once held there. Indeed Dickens knew the area well and was a customer of the Finsbury Savings Bank on Sekforde Street, a street linking Clerkenwell Green to St John's Street.

In 1902, Vladimir Lenin moved the publication of the Iskra (Spark) to the British Social Democratic Federation at 37a Clerkenwell Green, and issues 22 to 38 were indeed edited there. At that time Lenin resided on Percy Circus, less than half a mile north of Clerkenwell Green. In 1903 the newspaper was moved to Geneva. It is said that Lenin and a young Stalin met in the Crown and Anchor pub (now known as The Crown Tavern) on the Green when the latter was visiting London in 1903. Clerkenwell's tradition of left-leaning publication continues today, with The Guardian having its headquarters a short walk away.

Clerkenwell contains the Mount Pleasant postal sorting office, the largest in London.

Pubs and Restaurants

The first gastropub, The Eagle, opened in Clerkenwell in 1991. The Eagle has been joined by, among others, The Peasant and The Coach and Horses, Clerkenwell pubs which have since been converted in gastropubs.

St John Food & Wine, a traditional English restaurant and the Michelin-starred Club Gascon head up the bill of leading restaurants, taking full of advantage of the proximity of Smithfield's meat market.

Clerkenwell is also home to the capital's two finest Belgian bar/brasseries - the Dovetail and L'Abbaye. Both offer a full range of Belgian ales in the heart of London.


Clerkenwell is the home of two of London's largest nightclubs, Turnmills and Fabric, giving the area reputation as one the very best areas in London for an evening out. The nightlife is centred on the north side of Smithfield market, revellers gathering alongside delivery teams from across Europe at the meat market on nights throughout the week. Several pre-club venues such as Smith's of Smithfield, Meet and Bed Bar have flourished in the area. A number of traditional pubs also line the market and the surrounding warren of streets.

Nearest places

Nearest tube station

External links


  • Andrew Rothstein, A House on Clerkenwell Green, 1966. A history of 37a Clerkenwell Green and activism in the area.

Main districts of the London boroughs | List of places in London

Acton | Barking | Barnes | Barnet | Battersea | Beckenham | Bermondsey | Bethnal Green | Bexleyheath | Brentford | Brixton | Bromley | Camberwell | Camden Town | Carshalton | Catford | Chelsea | Chingford | Chislehurst | Chiswick | City | Clapham | Clerkenwell | Coulsdon | Croydon | Dagenham | Deptford | Ealing | East Ham | Edmonton | Eltham | Enfield Town | Feltham | Finchley | Fulham | Greenwich | Hackney | Hammersmith | Hampstead | Harrow | Hendon | Highbury | Highgate | Holborn | Hornchurch | Ilford | Isleworth | Islington | Kensington | Kentish Town | Kilburn | Kingston upon Thames | Lambeth | Lewisham | Leyton | Mayfair | Mitcham | Morden | Orpington | Paddington | Peckham | Penge | Pinner | Poplar | Purley | Putney | Richmond upon Thames | Romford | Ruislip | Shepherd's Bush | Shoreditch | Sidcup | Soho | Southall | Southgate | Stoke Newington | Stratford | Surbiton | Sutton | Teddington | Thamesmead | Tottenham | Twickenham | Upminster | Uxbridge | Walthamstow | Wandsworth | Wanstead | Wealdstone | Welling | Wembley | West Ham | Westminster | Whitechapel | Willesden | Wimbledon | Wood Green | Woodford | Woolwich

Shaun Coley
London, UK

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