London Borough of Islington

About the London Borough of Islington

Located in Inner London, the London Borough of Islington contains a significant area to the south that forms part of central London.

Islington has a population of 215,667 and was formed in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, which simultaneously abolished Islington and Finsbury metropolitan boroughs.

It remains the second-smallest borough in London and the third-smallest district in England. There are two Westminster parliamentary constituencies in the borough, both once represented by Labour MPs. 

As the party's leader from 2015 to 2020, Jeremy Corbyn represented Islington North and now sits as an independent after the whip was withdrawn in October 2020, and as an independent, Emily Thornberry represents Islington South & Finsbury. Islington Council is the local authority. In the borough, Arsenal is one of the premier league clubs in England, and it's stadium is Emirates Stadium.

In the south of the borough, south of Pentonville Road and City Road, the congestion charging zone and the Ultra Low Emission Zone are located. The southern section of the borough borders the City of London, while the western part borders the London Borough of Camden. There are two stations in Zone 1 in central London: Farringdon and Old Street.


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. 

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). In 1899, the Metropolitan Borough of Islington was established in the name of the parish that covered these villages. As a result of the merger with Finsbury, this name was applied to the entire borough.


Attractions & Institutions

  • Almeida Theatre
  • Angel Central shopping centre (formerly the Islington N1 Centre), containing:
    • O2 Academy Islington
    • Vue cinema
  • Artillery Ground
  • Pleasance Islington theatre
  • Courtyard Theatre
  • Emirates Stadium (and the former Arsenal Stadium at Highbury)
  • The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in Canonbury Square
  • Freightliners City Farm
  • Hen and Chickens Theatre
  • Islington Arts Factory, in Parkhurst Road
  • Islington Local History Centre, located at Finsbury Library
  • Islington Museum, located at Finsbury Library
  • John Salt, cocktail bar on Upper Street
  • The King's Head Theatre
  • Little Angel Theatre a puppet theatre and producer of the Suspense Puppetry Festival of London
  • London Canal Museum, located in New Wharf Road, King's Cross
  • London Screen Academy, on Highbury Grove - specialist film/TV sixth form academy
  • Odeon Cinema, located on Holloway Road
  • Peter Benenson House, headquarters of Amnesty International
  • Sadler's Wells Theatre
  • St John's Gate, Clerkenwell (Islington's badge for London2012)
  • The Screen On The Green, a single screen cinema on Upper Street
  • Union Chapel


Local authority for the borough is Islington Council, which is a London borough council that is one of 32 principal subdivisions of Greater London's administrative area. Founded by the London Government Act 1963, the council replaced Finsbury Metropolitan Borough Council and Islington Metropolitan Borough Council. As the Borough's council building, the former Islington Metropolitan Town Hall is located at the intersection of Upper Street and Richmond Grove.

Islington is divided into 16 wards, which elect three councillors each. Following the May 2018 election, Islington Council has 47 Labour Party councillors and one Green Party councillor. There are 48 councillors on this council, led by Councillor Richard Watts, and led by Councillor Dave Poyser.

Jeremy Corbyn, who was the Leader of Opposition between 2015 and 2020, represents Islington North in the Parliament. A former Labour Party Shadow First Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and current Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, Emily Thornberry represents Islington South and Finsbury.

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



A total of 65,721 people lived in the civil parishes that form the modern borough in 1801, but this number steadily increased throughout the 19th century, when the district was built up to 200,000 by the middle of the century. The rate of population growth increased once the railways arrived, reaching nearly 400,000 by the turn of the century; Finsbury suffered particularly from poverty, deprivation, and overcrowding. In the aftermath of World War I, population growth peaked, but fell slowly until World War II began a migration to new towns under the Abercrombie Plan for London (1944). In the 1980s, population growth reversed, but it remains below 1951 levels.

A 2001 census counted 175,797 residents in Islington, 75% of whom were white, including 5% White Irish, 6% Black Africans, 5% Black Caribbeans and 2% Bangladeshis.

According to the 2011 census, Islington has the highest population density in England and Wales at 13,875 people per square kilometre.

The London Borough of Islington has the second most Irish residents in the country, after the London Borough of Brent.

Approximately a third of Islington residents live in poverty, according to a 2017 survey conducted by Trust for London and the New Policy Institute. In addition, just 14% of local employees earn less than the London Living Wage - the 4th lowest figure of all London boroughs. This is above the London average of 27%.

Among the borough's residents, 39% are Christians, 12.8% are Muslims, 1.7% are Jews, and 42.7% don't have a religion at all. It is populated by Christians, Muslims, and Jews across the borough, but the highest concentration of Jews is found in the Hillrise and Junction wards to the north of the borough.

Hire Promotional Staff for Islington

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0203 637 9653

Want to read about another London borough? Check out the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.