A Barnsbury Walk

Route & what to see


The area west of Upper Street Islington was developed in the 1820s-1840s. Soon after the railways tempted people further out and until the 1960s the area was out of favour. However, its attractive villas, terraces and squares, in a variety of styles, thus escaped improvement and feature on this 3 mile circular walk from Angel tube station (Northern line). A number of the squares are open to the public.

From the station go to the right along Islington High Street (not the main road - Upper Street)
On the corner with Duncan Terrace the former Electric Tramway Transformer Station of 1905-6 is now an antiques market

Continue along Camden Passage to Islington Green
The passage is noted for its antique shops & market. The Camden Head pub was built in 1899. On the Green is a statue of Hugh Myddleton, associated with the New River and on the north side the site of Collin's Music Hall is marked on the bookshop. The hall was destroyed by fire in 1958.

Continue along Essex Road and go left at Dagmar Terrace
From here there is a view of the parish church of St Mary. This is an old foundation and was associated with Charles Wesley. It was rebuilt in 1754 by Launcelot Dowbiggin, who is buried there. After WWII bombing only the tower & steeple remained and the rebuilding of the church was supervised by Seeley & Paget. The churchyard was closed to burials in 1853 and laid out as a public garden in 1885.

Go to the right along Dagmar Passage
Here is the home of the Little Angel Marionettes puppet theatre

Go left at Cross Street
This street has a mixture of buildings. At the end the former Old Parrs Head pub comemorates a man who lived to 152! [
more info]

Cross Upper Street into Almeida Street
On the right is the Myddleton Hall founded in 1875. Opposite is the Almeida Theatre, occupying the Literary & Scientific Institute of 1837-8 by Roumieu & Gough. The auditorium dates from the 1890s.

Right into Battishill Street then go into the garden on the left and bear left.
The frieze has an explanatory plaque. [

Exit up the steps, go left along Napier Terrace and right at Almeida Street
The Royal Mail premises occupy the site of a former sawmill

Go through the passage at the end into Milner Square
These distinctive houses were designed by Roumieu & Gough and built between 1827 and the1850s.

Exit via Milner Place and continue into Gibson Square
The west side of this square was built in 1836 and the remainder in 1839. The 'temple' in the central garden conceals a ventilation shaft for the Victoria line!

Go along Theberton Street and cross Liverpool Road
To the left the former Old Royal Free Hospital is an award-winning residental development.

Continue into Cloudesley Square [pix]
The central Holy Trinity Church was designed by Sir Charles Barry in 1826-9. [

Exit via Stonefield Street and cross Richmond Avenue into Lonsdale Square
These Tudor-style houses were designed by Richard Cromwell Carpenter. They were built in 1835-43 for the Draper's Company who sold them in 1954.

Exit on the north side and go right along Barnsbury Street
The Islington Workhouse of 1777 was sited here at a time when it would have been surrounded by fields. The turreted building on the corner (now flats) was the Workhouse Registrar's Office built in 1872.

Continue across Liverpool Road
On the right Richford's Ironworks (the former Barnsbury Chapel) has been rebuilt as flats. The Islington Proprietary School of 1830 was later put to industrial use. It was replaced by Waterloo Gardens in 1984-7.

Go left at College Cross
On the right is a large estate of Sutton Dwellings built on the site of a Church Missionary College (1787 - 1915) and an earlier botanic garden.

Take the first left
On the right New College Mews incorporates a replica of a former Victorian turkish bath which stood on the site.

Go right at Liverpool Road and first left along Brooksby Street.
This has terraces of the 1820s.

Cross Thornhill Road into Barnsbury Square and go round clockwise
This has a mixture of buildings including Mountford House of 1834 which occupies the site of a moated farm. In the late 19th century it was a home for desitute boys. Mountford Crescent in the NW corner has paired villas of 1837-47 (pictured in header).

Left along Thornhill Road
Thornhill Houses of 1902 were built by the East End Dwellings Company.

Left at Belitha Villas. Cross Hemingford Road and continue along Huntingdon Street. Left into Crescent Street.
There is a small nature reserve (Barnsbury Wood) on the left.

Right around Thornhill Crescent
St Andrew's Church was designed by Francis B Newman and John Johnson in 1852-4. The attractive West Library was designed by Beresford Pite in 1905-7 and financed by Andrew Carnegie. [

Left at Bridgeman Road
To the right is Thornhill Square (begun in 1847). The gardens were donated to the public by Captain Thornhill in 1946. They retain the original railings.

Right at Hemingford Road then left along Ripplevale Grove
The Grove has pretty cottages of 1839-41.

Go right along Thornhill Road
Th Albion pub on the left originated as a teahouse surrounded by the dairy and fields of Thomas Albion Oldfied where cricket was played between the 1780s & 1834. On the right is the attractive Malvern Terrace (1836). the park on the corner was formerly a nursery. At the end of the road are two old shops with wall advertisements. [

Go right along Richmond Avenue
Some of the houses here have Greek & Egyptian details including sphinxes and obelisks. Richmond Crescent on the right was the former home of Tony Blair.

Left into Hemingford Road. At the end go left into Barnard Park.
This was formerly an area of housing. The cobbled road of Alma Grove is visable on the left.

Walk through and exit into Barnsbury Road then go right. Left at Copenhagen Street then right at Cloudsley Road.
On the right is a small park with an entrance to the Culpeper Community Garden. [

Cross Tolpuddle Street and walk ahead through the Sainsbury car park into Chapel Market and go left.
There are plenty of places for refreshments with good value cafes.

At the end go right along Liverpool Road back to the Angel station.

london-footprints.co.uk 2010


Buildings of England London 4: North by Cherry & Pevsner
A booklet has been written on Barnsbury by Mary Cosh for the Islington Archaeology & History Society
The London Parks & Gardens Trust has produced a walk around Islington's Green spaces
[click here]
A Barnsbury Local History Trail has been produced by Islington Library Service
Alan Godfrey OS map reprint No 39 Highbury & Islington 1871 [

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