Historic Islington: four of the borough’s oldest ‘buildings’ explored
Four of Islington’s oldest ‘buildings’ have been revealed, shedding light on some of the borough’s most precious architectural gems.
The Londonist has been running a series which explores the oldest buildings in different London boroughs, and this time, it’s Islington.
However, though four structures have been named on the list, there is some debate over what can be defined as a ‘building’.
On the list is St John’s Gate in the Clerkenwell area. This was built in 1504 and was one of the entrances to the Priory of the Knights of Saint John. Much of the gate was restored during the Victorian period, especially the exterior, and only a small amount of the original survives. Interestingly, it served as the childhood home of painter and printmaker, William Hogarth.
Canonbury Tower, which dates from the Tudor period, also made the list. Located only a stone’s throw from Upper Street, the tower is very well-preserved. It boasts some impressive former residents, with both Thomas Cromwell and Francis Bacon once calling the tower home.
The Clerk’s Well also receives a mention, but it’s disputed as to whether it can be described as a building. However, the well, which now sits inside a more modern building, does date to the 12 Century. You can arrange to see the well, but booking is required.
The Charterhouse – or London Charterhouse – falls within the London Borough of Islington. Dating back to the 14th Century, the buildings have been restored over the years, and were once again restored in the wake of The Blitz. Parts of the original building do survive, but extensive restoration means that it can’t necessarily be described as the borough’s oldest building.
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