A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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Newington Green and Kingsland
Comprise the eastern extremity of the parish, jutting into Hackney, and include the south side of Ball's Pond Road from Kingsland to Southgate Road and the whole area north of Ball's Pond and St. Paul's roads east of the New River. At Kingsland by the 18th century a small green on the west side of the main road (Ermine Street) lay in Islington at the junction of the roads to Newington Green (Boleyn Road) and to Islington (Ball's Pond Road). South of the latter were Kingsland leper hospital and chapel, founded in 1280; the hospital lay in Hackney, but the parish boundary ran southward through the north door of the chapel, which was considered part of Islington. (fn. 64) On the west side of Kingsland green a copyhold farm of Highbury manor, held by a London merchant, stood in the mid 16th century. (fn. 65) In 1664 the Islington part of Kingsland had 7 households, two with 6 and one with 7 hearths, and four not chargeable. (fn. 66)
Newington Green was probably also a medieval settlement, as many free and copyhold tenements of Highbury manor were there in the late 15th century. (fn. 67) The north side of the green lay in Stoke Newington, the remainder in Islington. By 1445 prosperous Londoners lived in the hamlet, where many owned copyhold property in the early 16th century. (fn. 68) Other residents included Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland (d. 1537), 1536-7. (fn. 69) A timber-framed building which stood at the north-east corner of the green until the late 18th century was probably 16th-century, forming four sides of a courtyard and containing gilded and painted wainscotting. By the late 18th century, when it was demolished, it was called Bishop's Place and was divided into tenements occupied by poor people. (fn. 70) By 1611 a large house on the south side of the green, probably of at least six bays with three storeys and with ornate ceilings, was occupied by Alderman William Halliday, who may have built it. It was later called Mildmay House and then Eagle House, nos. 9-10 Newington Green. (fn. 71)
In 1664 Newington Green had 27 taxable households, and 5 not chargeable. Eight of the houses had between 10 and 16 hearths, and 14 had 5 to 9 hearths. (fn. 72) The 17th century brought more building, including the replacement of large houses by several smaller. In 1658 a copyhold house, gardens, orchards, and outhouses on the west side of the green, belonging to Hugh Thomas, were replaced by a terrace of 4 threestoreyed brick houses, (fn. 73) later nos. 52-5 Newington Green, with gabled fronts, brick pilasters on the upper storeys, and recessed blank arches to the first floor windows. (fn. 74) The Halliday (Mildmay) estate, with four houses in addition to the main house in 1622, (fn. 75) had about seven dwellings in 1649, besides the main house. (fn. 76) In 1673 four houses on the estate, which lay mainly south and south-east of the green, were let on repairing leases and some very old houses were sold for improvement. (fn. 77) At the north-east corner of the green probably six houses were built by the 1690s beside a farmhouse belonging to Joan Miller in 1663. (fn. 78) A house on the west side next to no. 55 had 13 hearths in 1664 when it was occupied by Thomas Lavender. (fn. 79) Sir Thomas Halton, Bt., was living there by 1717 and died at Newington Green in 1726. (fn. 80) In addition to having rich residents, the hamlet was popular with nonconformists, several of whom kept academies there from 1665. (fn. 81)
In the early 18th century Kingsland green, much smaller than Newington green, was similarly lined with houses. (fn. 82) A few had also been built away from the two greens, with a small cluster near Essex Road, called Ball's Pond. (fn. 83) Near the large pond, used for shooting, was an inn called the Boarded House and known by the sign of the Salutation, from which John Ball had issued his own tokens probably in the later 17th century. (fn. 84) A Thomas Ball had lived at or near the green in 1645 and Anne Ball occupied a house in the area with 16 hearths in 1663. (fn. 85) On the west side of Newington Road, near its bend, stood the two Virginia Houses by 1735. (fn. 86) About half way along the road on its east side stood an inn called the Weavers Arms by 1725 and probably by 1716. (fn. 87) A little farther north, behind Mildmay House, the Spring Gardens inn had been built by 1725 and was known as Spring Gardens coffee house by 1765. (fn. 88) East of the green, the Coach and Horses stood by 1721 in the lane which later took its name. (fn. 89) By 1725 more houses had been built on the north side of nos. 52-5 Newington Green, including nos. 44 and 45 to which Samuel Wright was admitted in 1727 and 1725 respectively (fn. 90) and which marked the green's junction with Green Lanes in 1735. (fn. 91) In 1740 the Mildmay estate included three brick houses, one very old, together with another used as a stable, and one, at the south-east corner of the green by the passage to Kingsland, formerly called the workhouse and since converted into a dwelling. (fn. 92) The green itself was railed in 1742. (fn. 93)
Residents of Newington Green in the 18th century included ministers of the Unitarian chapel, built on the north side of the green in Stoke Newington in 1708. (fn. 94) Robert Whithear, minister 1732-6, lived at no. 55 in 1736, and Dr. Richard Price, 1758-91, at no. 54 from 1758 to 1783. (fn. 95) The large house nearby, formerly occupied by Sir Thomas Halton, was the home of Samuel Harris, an East India merchant, followed by his daughter Mary and son-in-law Daniel Radford. The Radfords' daughter Mary and her husband Thomas Rogers lived from 1760 to 1767 at no. 52, which was probably where Samuel Rogers, the poet, was born in 1763. The Rogers family moved in 1767 to Radford's house, into which in 1767 Thomas Rogers (d. 1793) incorporated the adjoining no. 55. The large house was rebuilt or refronted in the 18th century and was sold by Samuel Rogers in 1797. (fn. 96) A little to the south a farmhouse, later known as Dells Farm, was built between 1753 and 1793 on land belonging to Peter Maseres. (fn. 97)
By the end of the 18th century building had become relatively dense in the three settlements of Newington Green, Kingsland, and Ball's Pond, but it had not spread very far. Ball's Pond in particular had several new houses. The Virginia Houses had been replaced by a terrace, and another terrace with a crescent at its centre was built on the east side of Newington Road at the south end c. 1791. (fn. 98) Behind the crescent a lane led from Newington Road into Ball's Pond Road, cutting off the corner, and Prospect Row had been built on its north-east side. Houses had begun to spread eastward from Newington Green along Coach and Horses Lane; they probably formed what was later called Keppel Row. (fn. 99)
By 1817 the south side of Ball's Pond Road was lined with two- and three-storeyed terraces, including Brunswick Place dated 1812, Bellevue Terrace, and Union Row at the east end on the parish boundary. Much of the land was still fields but there were also nurseries: Barr's at Ball's Pond, Bassington's at Kingsland, and a third on the south side of Mildmay House on the site of Spring Gardens. (fn. 1) Building continued in the 1830s, with Pleasant Row in Coach and Horses Lane (later Matthias Road) east of Keppel Row and Maberly Terrace in a gap on the south side of Ball's Pond Road. (fn. 2)
On the north side of the road several groups of almshouses (fn. 3) were built in the 1830s and 1840s. The earliest on the south-east side of King Henry's Walk, was designed for the Tylers' and Bricklayers' Company by William Grellier in a Gothic style: eight houses were completed in 1835 and a north block with four houses was added in 1838-9. (fn. 4) The Metropolitan Benefit Societies, founded in 1829, built their asylum in 1836 on the south side of the Tylers' Company's, fronting Ball's Pond Road. The two-storeyed building of buff and grey brick and stone dressings was designed by S. H. Ridley in Tudor Gothic style, with 14 small houses and a central hall around three sides of a large courtyard; the hall was rebuilt in 1930-1. (fn. 5) William Lee's and John Peck's almshouses, belonging to the Dyers' Company of London, moved from Bethnal Green and were built in 1840-1 in King Henry's Walk, north of the Tylers' almshouses. The two-storeyed symmetrical block of brick with stone dressings was designed by S. S. Teulon in a Gothic style, with niches and four-centred arches, to include 10 houses and a central hall or chapel. In 1850-2 Teulon added north-east and south-west blocks of 8 houses each, to rehouse Tyrwhitt's and West's almshouses. The Cutlers' Company of London built 12 almshouses c. 1840 on the east side of the Metropolitan Benefit asylum, in what became nos. 1-12 Cutler's Terrace, a two-storeyed symmetrical block in a Gothic style. (fn. 6) The Bookbinders' Provident Institution, founded 1830, was built in 1843 in Ball's Pond Road at the corner between the Metropolitan Benefit asylum and King Henry's Walk, with the building around three sides of a courtyard. (fn. 7) By 1841 a few buildings had also appeared on the north-west side of King Henry's Walk, and Mildmay Place had been built where the walk joined the extension of Boleyn Road. (fn. 8)
Building also began in the 1830s farther west on the north side of St. Paul's Road, where the marquess of Northampton owned 19 a. of nursery ground. St. Paul's Terrace, nos. 14-100 St. Paul's Road, was built by 1837 with four storeys and basements. The row was broken by St. Paul's Place, linking St. Paul's Road with Newington Green Road, and Northampton Park was laid from the north end of St. Paul's Place in an arc to join St. Paul's Road. A gap between no. 14 St. Paul's Road and no. 4, a Gothic cottage of c. 1830, was not filled until the 1850s. By 1841 St. Paul's Place was similar to St. Paul's Terrace, and Northampton Grove was nearly filled with pairs of two-storeyed Italianate villas. Bingham Street off St. Paul's Place had been built up by 1843 with smaller two-storeyed houses without basements, and a short row, nos. 8-13, of three-bayed houses. (fn. 9)
In the next decade new roads were laid across the Mildmay estate and building increased in the south and east parts of the area. (fn. 10) By the mid 1850s Mildmay Park from Newington Green to Ball's Pond Road was lined with pairs of substantial stuccoed houses of three storeys, with side porches and basements. Mildmay Street was partially built up and the lines of Mildmay Grove North and South had been laid out on either side of the N.L.R. line, which was completed through the district in 1850. In the north-east corner of the parish some small streets were built up with terraces between King Henry Street and Boleyn Road, and extended a little west and north of King Henry Street as Arundel Street, Suffolk Place, and Arundel Grove. The houses were probably all working-class like those in Arundel Grove, two-storeyed, plain, with only one firstfloor window in the front, and opening straight on to the street. (fn. 11) South of the N.L.R. line King's (later Kingsbury), Canterbury, and Stanley roads were laid out with terraces between the alms-houses and Kingsland, and houses were also built fronting Ball's Pond Road. The old chapel at Kingsland was demolished in 1846 and the Star and Garter built there, still straddling the boundary. (fn. 12)
In the 1860s building was extended over most of the Mildmay estate, which was sold in lots in 1859, (fn. 13) and spread west of Newington Green Road. (fn. 14) Mildmay Grove was built up on both sides with three-storeyed stuccoed terraces with porticos and basements. Mildmay Road had similar terraces, except east of King Henry Street where Mildmay Villas contained two-storeyed pairs with basements, side porches, and stuccoed pilasters. (fn. 15) Infilling had taken place between John (later St. Jude's) Street and the N.L.R. line, with a terrace of two-storeyed houses opening straight on to the street but with some stucco decoration, (fn. 16) in addition to a few three-storeyed houses; more terraces were built between the almshouses and Kingsland, principally at the southern end of Kingsbury Road, and in Hawthorn Street and Bishops Grove. Three-storeyed terraces had been built by 1865 in King Henry's Walk and Ball's Pond Road on the edge of the Bookbinders' asylum site, and on the north-west side of King Henry's Walk pairs and terraces were built similar to those in Mildmay Road. Between Mildmay Road and Mildmay Grove North, Wolsey Road and Queen Margaret's Grove were built with two-storeyed houses with basements and stuccoed dressings, while behind the north side of Mildmay Road the small terraces of Woodville Grove were built, together with the southern end of Woodville Road. Northward the ground was still open as far as the houses in Matthias Road. A station was opened in 1858 on the east side of Newington Green Road. Between that road and the New River, south of the N.L.R. line, the whole area had been covered by 1865: Northampton Grove at the eastern end of Northampton Road had two-storeyed terraced houses with stucco dressings by 1862, (fn. 17) and a cul-de-sac on the west side of Douglas Road North (later Wallace Road) filled the space to the New River by 1865.
Most of the land north of the N.L.R. line and east of the New River belonged to the Maseres estate, (fn. 18) and was bought in 1852 by Henry Rydon, who began laying out Highbury New Park. (fn. 19) The land east of the river, which included Dells farm, was mainly brickfields until 1862, when Rydon began to lay it out, extending Grosvenor Road (later Avenue) eastward across the New River to Newington Green Road, and similarly extending Beresford Terrace as Beresford Road, which incorporated Dells Farm on its north side as no. 18. Petherton Road was also laid out, with the New River as an open stream down the middle. (fn. 20) By 1865 a few terraced houses stood at the east end of Grosvenor Road, on both sides, and Beresford Road, on the south side, with new terraces of shops fronting Newington Green Road between the railway and Beresford Road. (fn. 21) In 1859 Rydon also bought c. 6 a. of the Mildmay estate straddling the New River near Green Lanes, and the house and grounds of 4 3/4 a., later called Gloucester House, that had belonged to Samuel Rogers. (fn. 22)
Building continued on Rydon's estate throughout the 1860s and 1870s. (fn. 23) Two terraces of shops were built at the south-west and south-east junctions of Grosvenor and Wallace roads in 1867 and 1868 respectively, and houses were built between the junction and the eastern end of Grosvenor Road by 1870; the houses were three-storeyed stuccoed terraces with basements, more modest than those at the Highbury end. The N.L.R. station was moved from Newington Road to Wallace Road in 1870, (fn. 24) and houses on the north side of Grosvenor Road west of Wallace Road were built as far as the New River by 1872, although the south side was not completed until 1880. Beresford Road was completed in 1871, and the terraced shops between Beresford and Ferntower roads were built in 1868. Building in Ferntower and Pyrland roads began in 1869, and 28 houses in the former were occupied in 1874, with the rest completed c. 1877. The first houses were in a classical style similar to those in Grosvenor Road, but after 1874 the style was changed to an ornate Gothic. Building began at the southern end of Petherton Road in 1870 and nos. 2-10 (even), a terrace of large double-fronted houses, was completed by 1872. On the west side no. 1 was detached and nearby houses were also well spaced. The eastern side was completed by 1880, with shops at the northern end by the junction with Green Lanes, and most of the western side was filled by 1882. The striking width of the road, with the New River down the centre, was accentuated by the stuccoed Gothic terraces, of three-storeys with attics and basements. Leconfield and Poet's roads were laid out in 1873; in 1877 Leconfield Road was nearly filled with two-storeyed terraces with basements, and Poet's Road was built up between Petherton and Leconfield roads.
The grounds behind Mildmay House along the rear of Mildmay Grove North remained open until 1869, when the Mildmay Mission built its conference hall, followed by the adjoining Deaconess House in 1871. Mildmay Memorial hospital was built in the compound in 1883 and Mildmay House, nos. 9-10 Newington Green, was taken over in 1885 for the nurses. (fn. 25) The green itself was bought by Islington vestry and laid out as a park after complaints in 1874 about its condition. (fn. 26)
In the 1880s the few remaining spaces were filled. Poet's Road was extended to Ferntower Road by I. Edmondson and a terrace on the north side built by 1883. The rest was soon built up and Dalston synagogue was added in 1885. Edmondson also added shops to the ground floors of two of the four 17th-century houses at the green (nos. 52-5) c. 1880-2, and the other two were adapted for commercial use. He replaced Gloucester House with a terrace of shops, nos. 56-61 Newington Green and nos. 2-10 Ferntower Road, in 1882-3. (fn. 27) Monte Cristo House, a four-storeyed building at the north-west corner of the green and possibly the former home of Samuel Wright, was for sale in 1889, when its extensive grounds bounded by Green Lanes were one of the last empty sites in a populous district. (fn. 28) By 1886 the open land east of the green was filled with Matthias Road board school, opened in 1884, and Mayville and Woodville roads, stuccoed two-storeyed terraces in a Gothic style; Docwra's Buildings had been built between Mildmay Park and King Henry's Walk. (fn. 29) By 1900 many buildings around the green were shops, and there were clusters of small shops in Matthias Road, Mildmay Park, King Henry's Walk, Newington Green Road, and Mayville Street.
As elsewhere in Islington, social changes took place in the 20th century. The houses along the principal roads had been built for middle-class residents, for whom an additional station had been opened on the east side of Mildmay Park in 1880. In 1934 the station closed because residents worked mainly in local industry. (fn. 30) Most houses were divided but overcrowding in 1929 was not as bad as in some parts of the parish. The Mildmay Mission buildings and the west and south sides of the green had less than one person to a room, and most of the remainder of the district had only 1 to 1.25 persons; the areas from Mildmay Street to Ball's Pond Road and from King Henry Street to Boleyn Road were in the middle range, with 1.25 to 1.50. (fn. 31)
Between 1934 and 1942 Dells Farm was replaced by Beresford Lodge, a block of flats, and another block, Mildmay Court, was built at the corner of Mildmay Park and Mildmay Grove. (fn. 32) Three sets of almshouses were closed: the Bookbinders' in 1927, the Tylers' and Bricklayers' in 1937, and the Dyers' in 1938. (fn. 33) Major changes, however, came only after the Second World War, when widespread bomb damage made room for council housing.
The L.C.C.'s Mayville estate was begun with Congrieve House and Patmore House in Matthias Road, Campion House, Southwell House, and Meredith House in Boleyn Road, and Webster House in King Henry Street, all built between 1947 and 1952. In the 1960s Mayville Street, Arundel Grove, Woodville Road, and the villas at the east end of Mildmay Road made way for blocks including the twelve-storeyed Conrad House, Neptune House, Brontë House, and Beckford House. The estate had 352 dwellings in 1967, with another 173 planned in King Henry Street, and in 1983 comprised almost the whole area bounded by Matthias, Boleyn, and Mildmay roads and Newington Green school. (fn. 34) On a bombed site in Kingsbury Road the four-storeyed blocks of Kerridge Court were built by the L.C.C. between 1947 and 1952; they had 130 dwellings by 1967, when 2.4 a. nearby at Cutler's Terrace, Bishop's Grove, and Hawthorne Street were being filled with 77 dwellings by Islington council. In King Henry's Walk, the Dyers' and Tylers' sites were rebuilt with Tudor Court between 1952 and 1959 and the Bookbinders' site was taken for a Roman Catholic church in 1964. The G.L.C. had built a home for the handicapped on the south-west side of Tudor Court by 1975. (fn. 35)
A bombed site in Poet's Road was used for Masefield Court between 1952 and 1959, and New River Court was built nearby in Petherton Road. (fn. 36) On the opposite side of the road Petherton House was built between 1947 and 1952. Another bombed site, in Queen Margaret's Grove, was rebuilt with Wells Court between 1952 and 1959, and Queen Margaret Court between 1959 and 1964. The Mildmay conference centre was replaced by Besant Court between 1952 and 1959, with 70 dwellings in eleven-storeyed and five-storeyed blocks. The former Mildmay House and adjoining buildings were demolished and the seven-storeyed Hathersage House was built between 1964 and 1975 fronting Newington Green. Farther south near Ball's Pond Road several sites were cleared in the 1960s. In Newington Green Road several blocks of John Kennedy Court had been built by 1975, one on the west side north of the junction with Bingham Street, the others on the east side at the junction with Mildmay Avenue and Street. The rest of the area between those flats and Mildmay Park was also rebuilt, with a library and the thirteen-storeyed Haliday House. On the east side of Mildmay Park, Pennefather House and other flats were built in the late 1970s.
Although some smaller sites were also filled by new buildings, from the 1970s more effort was spent on rehabilitation. Housing action areas were declared to the east and west of Newington Green Road, where many of the three-storeyed terraces were converted to flats. The borough council drew up a plan for the Mildmay area after consultation with the residents. (fn. 37)
In 1983 most of the buildings at Newington Green were in commercial use, including the four 17th-century houses (nos. 52-5) on the west side that survived behind single-storeyed shop fronts. At the north-east corner nos. 31 and 32 form an early 19th-century three-storeyed pair, possibly part of a larger group. No. 30, two-storeyed with attics and stucco dressings, is joined to nos. 29 and 28, a three-storeyed pair with bows on two floors and pilasters, late 19thcentury or a refronting of an earlier house. The Weavers Arms in Newington Green Road, probably rebuilt as a square detached house in the early 19th century, is set back from the road and has a single-storeyed addition in front. An older house survives in Matthias Road at no. 67, three- storeyed and with a bow window on the first floor, possibly early 19th-century and derelict in 1981. South of Matthias Road only a few of the original houses remain in King Henry Street, whose south side is intact. Farther south, in King Henry's Walk there are two pairs of villas, with side porches and pilaster strips, similar to those demolished in Mildmay Road.
To the east the area around St. Jude Street was being partially demolished and partially rehabilitated c. 1980. The least altered street is Mildmay Grove, where all the houses are 19th-century, although many have lost their porticos. The area between Newington Green and Petherton roads is also substantially as built. South of the N.L.R. line very few 19th-century houses remain, except in small clusters in Newington Green Road or Mildmay Park, and there is a mixture of residential and commercial use. The houses around St. Paul's Place and Road are exceptional, belonging more with Canonbury than Newington Green. On the east side of Newington Green Road near the south end a few small houses, part of the late 18th-century crescent, were converted from shops back to dwellings c. 1980. There are still many shops and small businesses, notably motor works and showrooms.