Islington is and always has been an area in constant flux. At the start of the 19th century it attracted wealthy artisans and professionals with its expansive houses and squares, only to be displaced by a more working class community in the mid 1800s, who settled here to build the new railway stations and good yards. Consequently, the area fell into a lengthy decline, made worse by the Blitz of World War II which destroyed a vast amount of its building stock. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that middle-class families rediscovered its potential and Islington once again became a fashionable place to live and visit.
Nowadays, it is an area rich in contrasts, offering impressive Georgian town houses and pretty tree-lined Victorian terraces combined with stylish modern apartments and more affordable flats, which attract throngs of young professionals. With the city on its doorstep, the area benefits from excellent transport links as well as a rare and genuine sense of community, often referred to as a ‘global village’.
At the heart of Islington lies Upper Street, its main shopping area and one of the liveliest and most fashionable stretches of North London for drinking, dining, shopping, socialising and theatre-going. Londoners flock here for its array of hip gastro pubs and wine bars, quirky boutiques and modern leisure facilities. Celebrating a blend of old and new, Upper Street also boasts one of the largest collections of antiques dealers in the Mall Antiques Arcade, as well as London’s largest free wireless internet zone known as the ‘Technology Mile’.
Dominating its skyline is St. Mary’s Church, built in 1754, which remains an important venue for performances of traditional religious music. Other places of interest on Upper Street include Islington Museum and the ‘Hope and Anchor’, once one of the most important venues of the 1970s and 80s punk and new wave movement.
Islington’s nearest tube station is Angel, with the multiple transport connections of Kings Cross railway station nearby.