Who are the ‘Humans of Islington’?


A collection of photos depicting the people of Islington, who are beautiful inside and out. We give you an insight into the characters making up our diverse borough. Here are the best ‘Humans of Islington’.


Teddy, 23 years old, has lived in Islington since he was seven

There have been quite a few deaths of close friends. Life is life, you know what I mean. You’ve got to pick yourself up and shake yourself off. When I was 17 I had two mates die in a coach crash, a year ago a friend died on a moped, and a year before that another friend died on a moped. It’s those kind of things that made me realise you have to appreciate all that you have and appreciate there are people out there who have less. At the end of the day, you might have a s**t card dealt to you, but you are the only person who controls it.

I’d love to own a business one day. Right now I’m working in recruitment. I’m still living with my parents, because I can’t afford rent. I want to have some sort of foundations to build my own life off. I am just using this job to save up so I can go on and do what I want to do in a year or two. In recruitment there is an element of sales. I’m good at that, but I want to sell something I believe in. It’s a bit stupid but I have got a few mates in the market who do street food. Seeing the passion they put into it means it’s something I can see myself doing. At this
moment in time I can’t tell you what it would be, but as long as I can tell you I’m my own boss, that’s what matters.

Life is life, you know what I mean.




Lesley, 56, has lived in Islington all her life

My Mum and Dad had a pub while I was growing up.

I was never lonely – put it that way. I was an only child, but there were always people to talk to in the pub.

My dad had me serving behind the bar, from age five. Ever since, I’ve always worked with the public: in betting shops, in a couple of cafés, and now I work in a baker’s.

My mum was a character – all four foot of her. When I was five, she lost her eye, so she had a glass one. Moorfields Eye Hospital did a fabulous job. They gave her a false eye so you couldn’t tell she was missing one.

I remember one night, a bloke called Steve asked if he could borrow my dad’s car for a job. My dad was a nice guy, so he let him use it. That night we had a phone call. My dad ran downstairs thinking someone must have died because of this midnight call. It turned out it was a copper on the phone. He said: “Where is your car? It’s been involved in a robbery.”

My family didn’t get in any trouble, but Steve got about six months. My mother was furious. She said: “I’ll have him.” So when Steve got out of prison and came to the pub, she was going to get even. My mum waited until he went to the toilet. She took her eye out, gave it a rinse and popped it in his drink.

He got back and took a sip of his whiskey. When he noticed the eye, he fainted.





Anonymous – lives in Islington

“You can take my picture, but I’m no good with words. You make it up, sweetheart.”





Rolstern, lived in Islington for four years

I used to be in the army, the Royal Logistic Corps. I loved it. You get to play with bang sticks, it beats this life I can tell you.

I left after a three year tour, I thought I had had enough. I did some travelling, a bit of work, but then I ended up being homeless.

Part of the reason was because I had been institutionalised in the army. You get your meals and accommodation sorted for you.

When I left I was sent on a quick reset course then just told to get on with it. It wasn’t that I was scared, it’s that I didn’t know how to work the system. I didn’t even know how to sign on. Unless you are married, you’re a bit lost.

Now I’m a freelance stage technician. It’s a good crack. When I’m at work it doesn’t feel like I’m working.

Ballet and opera are a big part of my work. It’s funny when I’m at a pub quiz now I’m answering questions on Benjamin Britten.





Vivian, 19 years old, lived in Islington her whole life.
Matthew, 20 years old, visiting Islington for the day
They have been “seeing each other” for four months.

Vivian: “I really like Corbyn, I am proud he is representing my borough.”

Matthew: “I wish he was a better speaker though. He speaks too plainly.”

Vivian: “You don’t think he is a good speaker? I think we should move away from that elite kind of talking, politicians should represent everyone. I like that he is not too polished.”

Matthew: “Yeah but will he get far in politics?”

Vivian: “I’d still rather have someone that stands for what they believe in. You can just tell he really cares. He is not someone with a lot of spin doctors.”





Courtney, 23 years old, just passing through Islington

“I’ve just got back from traveling with my boyfriend. We were away for a year. It was incredible, I’ve been around the continents of Africa, Asia and then finished off in Australia. I must like countries that begin with A.

In Australia I got a job being a camel Sherpa to pay off some of my overdraft. That was a great job, I love horses, so camels were the closest thing I could get to them. I became a kind of camel whisperer in the end.

It is weird being back. I loved the freedom of travelling but now that I am home I feel like all of my friends have got their lives sorted. I don’t even have a job. It’s pretty nerve racking. Plus I am living with my mum so it’s like one step forwards two steps back.

I was so lucky to go travelling and I will treasure those experiences forever, but it is just hard to face the reality of being a grown up again.”





Paul, meeting a friend for dinner in Islington

I guess I would like to be a little more satisfied with life. I am always striving for more, I want to work on being more present.

My friends have told me to start doing something called mindfulness, but I haven’t got around to it yet.



One comment on “Who are the ‘Humans of Islington’?

  1. I’ve got some news for Courtney about Asia and Africa…They’re continents! How can you remain so ignorant after travelling around the world..?!? Oh dear…
    Otherwise this was a great read. I would love to see more posts like this one.

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