London Borough of Islington

Coat of arms of Islington
Official logo of Islington
Islington shown within Greater London
Islington shown within Greater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Created1 April 1965
Admin HQIslington Town Hall, Upper Street, Islington
 • TypeLondon borough council
 • BodyIslington London Borough Council
 • LeadershipLeader & Cabinet (Labour)
 • MayorCllr Troy Gallagher
 • London AssemblySem Moema (Labour) AM for North East
 • MPsJeremy Corbyn (Elected as Labour, now independent)
Emily Thornberry (Labour)
 • Council LeaderCllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz (Labour)
 • Total5.74 sq mi (14.86 km2)
 • Rank315th (of 309)
 (mid-2019 est.)
 • Total242,467
 • Rank74th (of 309)
 • Density42,000/sq mi (16,000/km2)
 • Ethnicity[1]
47.7% White British
3.9% White Irish
0.1% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
16.4% Other White
2.1% White & Black Caribbean
0.9% White & Black African
1.4% White & Asian
2.1% Other Mixed
1.7% Indian
0.5% Pakistani
2.3% Bangladeshi
2.2% Chinese
2.6% Other Asian
6.1% Black African
3.9% Black Caribbean
2.8% Other Black
0.9% Arab
2.4% Other
Time zoneUTC (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
Area code020
ONS code00AU
GSS codeE09000019
PoliceMetropolitan Police

The London Borough of Islington (/ˈɪzlɪŋtən/ (listen) IZ-ling-tən) is a London borough in Inner London. Whilst the majority of the district is located in north London, the borough also includes a significant area to the south which forms part of central London. Islington has an estimated population of 215,667. It was formed in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, which simultaneously abolished the metropolitan boroughs of Islington and Finsbury.[2]

The new entity remains the second smallest borough in London and the third-smallest district in England. The borough contains two Westminster parliamentary constituencies, both formerly represented by Labour Members of Parliament: Jeremy Corbyn, the party's leader from 2015 to 2020, represents Islington North and currently sits as an independent after the whip was withdrawn from him in October 2020, and Emily Thornberry represents Islington South & Finsbury. The local authority is Islington Council. The borough is home to football club Arsenal, one of the premier league clubs in England and its home Emirates Stadium.

The southern part of the borough, south of the A501 Pentonville Road and City Road, forms part of central London, central London congestion charging zone and the Ultra Low Emission Zone. A significant part of the southern section of the borough borders the City of London, with the area to the west bordering the London Borough of Camden. The central London area includes Farringdon and Old Street stations both in Zone 1.


Islington was originally named by the Saxons Giseldone (1005), then Gislandune (1062). The name means 'Gīsla's hill' from the Old English personal name Gīsla and dun 'hill', 'down'. The name then later mutated to Isledon, which remained in use well into the 17th century when the modern form arose.[3] In medieval times, Islington was just one of many small manors in the area, along with Bernersbury, Neweton Berewe or Hey-bury, and Canonesbury (Barnsbury, Highbury and Canonbury – names first recorded in the 13th and 14th centuries). "Islington" came to be applied as the name for the parish covering these villages and was the name chosen for the Metropolitan Borough of Islington on its formation in 1899. On the merger with Finsbury to form the modern borough, this name came to be applied to the whole borough.


The borough includes the areas:


A map showing the wards of Islington since 2002
  • Barnsbury
  • Bunhill
  • Caledonian
  • Canonbury
  • Clerkenwell
  • Finsbury Park
  • Highbury East
  • Highbury West
  • Hillrise
  • Holloway
  • Junction (part of Archway and Upper Holloway)
  • Mildmay
  • Saint George's
  • Saint Mary's (covering most of Upper Street)
  • Saint Peter's
  • Tollington


Islington Council is the borough's local authority. It is a London borough council, one of thirty-two principal subdivisions of the administrative area of Greater London. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced two local authorities: Finsbury Metropolitan Borough Council and Islington Metropolitan Borough Council. The former Islington Metropolitan Town Hall, at the intersection of Upper Street and Richmond Grove, serves as the present Borough's council building.[4]

Islington is divided into 17 wards, each electing three councillors.[5] Following the May 2022 election, Islington Council comprises 48 Labour Party councillors and 3 Green Party councillors. Of these 51 councillors, the Leader of the council is Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz and Councillor Caroline Russell is the leader of the Green opposition group.[6][7]

Islington is represented by two parliamentary constituencies. Islington North is represented by Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party, the Leader of the Opposition between 2015 and 2020. Islington South and Finsbury is represented by Emily Thornberry, former Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and current Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade of the Labour Party.

Islington forms part of the North East constituency for the London Assembly, represented by Jennette Arnold, also of the Labour Party.


In the Victorian Age, some parts of Islington such as Clerkenwell were known for their poverty, which George Gissing describes in his naturalist novel, The Nether World (1889).

Inmarsat head office

Inmarsat has its head office in the borough.[8]

Major public and private bodies


There is one prison in Islington, a men's prison, HM Prison Pentonville. Until it closed in 2016 there was also a women's prison HM Prison Holloway, which in the early 20th century was used to hold many suffragettes.


The Borough boasts a large transport network for rail, bus, cycles and road users.

London Underground

There are ten London Underground stations in the borough across London fare zones 1, 2 and 3. These stations are principally served by the Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines, although the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines also pass through the Borough:

The Piccadilly line carries passengers to key London destinations, including the West End and Heathrow Airport (Airport interchange). The Northern and Victoria lines also link the Borough to the West End, whilst the Northern line (Bank Branch) also passes through the City of London.

Just beyond the Borough's borders are King's Cross St Pancras (in the London Borough of Camden) and Moorgate (in the city).

London Overground

There are also several London Overground stations in the borough, all but one of which are in London fare zone 2:

National Rail

There are several other National Rail stations in Islington, which offer direct services to destinations across London, East Anglia and South East England:

Farringdon and Finsbury Park are served by Thameslink services, with some trains travelling direct to Gatwick Airport (Airport interchange), as well as destinations including Cambridge, Peterborough, Brighton and Sevenoaks. Other stations, including Finsbury Park, are served by Great Northern trains which normally operate between Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City. The Elizabeth line calls at Farringdon.

Moorgate lies just to the south of the Borough, in the City of London, whilst King's Cross lies to the Borough's immediate west, with destinations including Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Inverness.

Travel to work

In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: underground, metro, light rail, tram, 19.4% of all residents aged 16–74; bus, minibus or coach, 10.3%; on foot, 10.3%; bicycle, 6.2%; driving a car or van, 6.0%; train, 3.7%; work mainly at or from home, 3.6%.[9]

Attractions and institutions

The 'Angel Central' shopping arcade


Population pyramid of the Borough of Islington
1801 65,721—    
1811 83,679+27.3%
1821 108,333+29.5%
1831 137,271+26.7%
1841 162,717+18.5%
1851 214,090+31.6%
1861 266,010+24.3%
1871 317,930+19.5%
1881 369,850+16.3%
1891 397,799+7.6%
1901 405,301+1.9%
1911 412,944+1.9%
1921 401,054−2.9%
1931 389,513−2.9%
1941 324,143−16.8%
1951 269,743−16.8%
1961 232,258−13.9%
1971 200,022−13.9%
1981 157,512−21.3%
1991 173,384+10.1%
2001 175,787+1.4%
2011 206,125+17.3%
2013 215,667+4.6%
Source: A Vision of Britain through time

In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 65,721. This rose steadily throughout the 19th century, as the district became built up; exceeding 200,000 in the middle of the century. When the railways arrived the rate of population growth increased—reaching nearly 400,000 by the turn of the century; with the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury particularly suffering deprivation, poverty and severe overcrowding. The increase in population peaked before World War I, falling slowly in the aftermath until World War II began an exodus from London towards the new towns under the Abercrombie Plan for London (1944). The decline in population reversed in the 1980s, but it remains below its 1951 level.

According to the 2001 census Islington had a population of 175,797. It was 75% White, including 5% White Irish, 6% Black African, 5% Black Caribbean and 2% Bangladeshi. Thirty-two per cent of the borough's residents were owner–occupiers.

According to the 2011 census, Islington has the highest population density of local authorities in England and Wales—13,875 people per square kilometre.[10]

Islington has the second highest proportion of Irish people in the country, behind London Borough of Brent.[11]

A 2017 study by Trust for London and the New Policy Institute found that a third of Islington residents live in poverty. This is above the London average of 27%. It also found that just 14% of local employees are in jobs which pay below the London Living Wage - which is the 4th lowest figure of any London borough.[12]

39% of the borough are Christian, 12.8% Muslim, 1.7% are Jewish and 42.7% have no religion.[13] Christians and Muslims live throughout the borough, while the Jewish population is highest in the north of the borough in the Hillrise and Junction wards (bordering Highgate and Crouch End).

The following table shows the ethnic group of respondents in the 2001 and 2011 census in Islington.


Ethnic Group 1991[14] 2001[15] 2011[16]
Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 133601 81.12% 132,464 75.35% 140,515 68.17%
White: British 99,784 56.76% 98,322 47.70%
White: Irish 10,057 5.72% 8,140 3.95%
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 163 0.08%
White: Other 22,623 12.87% 33,890 16.44%
Asian or Asian British: Total 10,199 6.2% 12,558 7.14% 19,034 9.23%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 2424 2,851 1.32% 3,534 2.06%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 615 912 0.52% 951 0.46%
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 2695 4,229 2.41% 4,662 2.26%
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 2141 3,074 1.75% 4,457 2.16%
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 2324 1,492 0.85% 5,430 2.63%
Black or Black British: Total 17,446 10.6% 20,856 11.86% 26,294 12.76%
Black or Black British: African 6009 10,500 5.97% 12,622 6.12%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 8320 8,550 4.86% 7,943 3.85%
Black or Black British: Other Black 3117 1,806 1.03% 5,729 2.78%
Mixed or British Mixed: Total 7,234 4.11% 13,339 6.47%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 2,329 1.32% 4,236 2.06%
Mixed: White and Black African 1,241 0.71% 1,912 0.93%
Mixed: White and Asian 1,543 0.88% 2,964 1.44%
Mixed: Other Mixed 2,121 1.21% 4,227 2.05%
Other: Total 2,685 1.53% 6,943 3.37%
Other: Arab 1,893 0.92%
Other: Any other ethnic group 3440 2.1% 2,685 1.53% 5,050 2.45%
Ethnic minority: Total 31,085 18.87% 43,333 24.65% 65,610 31.83%
Total 164686 100% 175,797 100.00% 206,125 100.00%



The London Borough of Islington is home to two higher education institutions:

Moorfields Eye Hospital is a major centre for postgraduate training of ophthalmologists, orthoptists, optometrists, and nurses.

Further Education

The borough also currently contains three colleges of further education:

There are two performing arts colleges. The Urdang Academy and the Musical Theatre Academy are both based in Islington.


The borough currently maintains 47 primary schools, 10 secondary schools, three special schools and five Pupil Referral Units. In 2000, Cambridge Education Associates, a private firm, took over the management of the Islington's state schools from the local education authority.[17]


The Islington Gazette is a local newspaper.

Freedom of the Borough

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough of Islington.


Military Units

See also


  1. ^ 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Office for National Statistics (2012). See Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom for the full descriptions used in the 2011 Census.
  2. ^ "London Government Act 1963". Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  3. ^ 'Islington: Growth', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8: Islington and Stoke Newington parishes. 1985. pp. 9–19. Retrieved 13 March 2007.
  4. ^ "Islington Town Hall". Islington Council. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Councillors and Wards". Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Members of Islington Council". Islington Council. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Your Councillors". Islington Council. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Privacy Policy." Immarsat. Retrieved on 26 March 2014. "99 City Road London EC1Y 1AX United Kingdom"
  9. ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013. Percentages are of all residents aged 16-74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey’s longest part by distance.
  10. ^ "2011 Census - Population and Household Estimates for England and Wales, March 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  11. ^ 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales
  12. ^ "Poverty and Inequality Data For Islington - Trust For London". Trust for London. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  13. ^ "Population by Religion, Borough – London Datastore".
  14. ^ "1991 census – theme tables". NOMIS. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  15. ^ "KS006 - Ethnic group". NOMIS. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Ethnic Group by measures". NOMIS. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  17. ^ "BBC News | EDUCATION | Islington schools: is privatisation working?".
  18. ^ "Arsenal to get a place on the political map". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  19. ^ "The HAC receiving the Freedom of the Borough of Islington". Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for Greater London. 1 October 2009. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012.
  20. ^ Brigstock-Barron, Rory (20 March 2015). "Former councillor and veterans given freedom of Islington".
  21. ^ Drew, Rosie (5 July 2017). "Freedom of the borough for Islington and Holloway's firefighters".

External links

Coordinates: 51°32′N 0°08′W / 51.533°N 0.133°W / 51.533; -0.133