Islington pictures

The Islington Archaeology & History Society is here to investigate, learn and celebrate the heritage that is left to us. We host lectures and other events, organise walks and produce a quarterly journal. The society, its events, shop and journal are run entirely by volunteers.

On this page: Events Historical and literary walks Journal Our 18th century Islington font

On other pages: Research resources Store: buy books, old maps and more About us and contact Membership

          Archaeology & History Society is on Facebook Keep up to date and join the conversations at our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory, which has hundreds of members.



We host 10 lectures a year, usually on the third Wednesday of the month at Islington Town Hall on Upper Street, N1, as well as book launches and other events. Talks are free to members; we ask non-members for a £1 donation.

The society runs history walks, including regular George Orwell walks – click here for information on walks.

Saturday 4 November, 11am until around 12.30pm

Walk: Islington 1667 – After the Great Fire

Walk led by Lester Hillman, society academic adviser and accredited local guide.

Islington was a front line responder to the Great Fire. The walk will uncover the area’s multiple roles of in receiving refugees, recovery and reconstruction, as well as law and order.

Popular ballads, work by institutions such as the New River Company, charity appeals and more indicate that, in a chaotic and fearful period, Clerkenwell stepped up to the plate.

The walk will also cover postwar rebuilding after the Blitz.

Meet at Moorgate tube station. Cost £7, free for those aged 14 and under. No need to book

Wednesday 15 November, 7.30pm, Islington Town Hall

Talk: the History of the London Fire Brigade

Paul Hobbs, Islington borough commander, London Fire Brigade

Paul Hobbs will be talking the anniversary of the King’s Cross fire, the Clerkenwell fire station building and fire safety.

The fire at King’s Cross St Pancras tube station started on 18 November 1987 at around 7.30pm. It began on a wooden escalator serving the Piccadilly line, and killed 31 people and injured 100. A public inquiry was highly critical of London Underground’s attitude toward fire safety.

Last year, London’s fire service celebrated its centenary. Previously, fires in London had been tackled by fire brigades run by insurance companies. Although 10 fire insurance companies united to set up the London Fire Engine Establishment in 1833, the LFEE became far too small to deal with rapidly growing London so the Metropolitan Fire Brigade was set up as a public service in 1866.

Clerkenwell was home to one of the UK’s first fire stations, which was opened in 1872. The building, which is grade II listed, was expanded as the brigade’s needs changed; works that took place in 1912-17 gave it its distinctive front elevation on to Rosebery Avenue. It was closed in January 2014.

Events contacts

If you are interested in giving a talk to the society, please contact chairman Andrew Gardner on Andy [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk

If you are running an event, such as a local history fair or community festival, and think we would be interested in running a stall, please contact Catherine Brighty on 020 7833 1541, catherine.brighteyes [at] hotmail.co.uk, 8 Wynyatt Street, EC1V 7HU

Events we are attending and organising are listed on our Facebook group page at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory

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Historical and literary walks

A great way to see Islington’s history is through one of our walks. These look at places including Canonbury, Angel, Barnsbury and its squares and the Regent’s canal.

Our Islington Back and Forth stroll looks at distant and recent local history from Angel to the New River and Canonbury, noting literary figures along the way including Tom Paine, John and Charles Wesley, Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Joe Orton and Douglas Adams.

Andrew Gardner, the society chairman, also leads guided tours of the grade I listed Union Chapel, which includes visiting areas rarely open to the public.

For more information, to join or organise a walk for a group of friends of family, contact walks [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk


George Orwell walks

A favourite is the George Orwell walk. Orwell was at his most prolific during his time in Islington. While he was living at 27b Canonbury Square, Animal Farm was published and he worked on drafts of Nineteen Eighty-Four, published numerous essays and articles, and broadcast extensively.

Proceeds from these walks are divided between the Islington Archaeology & History Society and the Margins Project at the Union Chapel,which works with homeless, isolated and marginalised people in Islington, helping them to break the cycle of poverty and crisis, and regain control of their lives.

For more information on walks and booking, email Andy on walks [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk.


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Journal of the Islington
        Archaeology & History Society journal cover
Journal of the Islington Archaeology & History Society

The society produces a quarterly journal, which is sent to members. Back copies can be downloaded from www.clcomms.com/iahs.

We welcome articles on local history, memories and research, and information on books and events. If you would like to write for the journal or have some memories or pictures you would like to share with readers, or have questions you think readers could ask, contact the journal editor Christy Lawrance at christy [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk

Books for review should be sent to Christy Lawrance c/o 6 Northview, Tufnell Park Road, N7 0QB



Typography: an 18th century banner font

Our heading in the banner image uses a Caslon font.

William Caslon ran England’s leading typefoundry in the 18th and early 19th century. He was the first major letter founder in London and remains the most notable letter founder this country has produced

His premises in Chiswell Street, in Clerkenwell in the south of Islington, were established in 1734 and continued to trade until 1936. While at Chiswell Street, Caslon staged monthly organ concerts and served beer he brewed himself.

The Caslon variant in our banner images was designed by Carol Twombly and is based on the Caslon’s specimen pages printed between 1734 and 1770.

The story of William Caslon and his typefoundry can be read on Spitalfields Life.



          Archaeology & History Society is on Facebook Keep up to date with society and Islington news and events by joining our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory


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