7 things you might not know about Islington

Think you know everything there is to know about the borough? Here are seven things that you might take you by surprise...

The London Borough of Islington. Credit: Google Earth Pro

Islington, with its rich and long history, has been home to many famous people and landmarks over the years. Did you know that one of the world’s most famous film directors started his career in Islington? Or that Europe’s largest women’s prison was once located in the borough? Here are seven interesting things that you might not have known about Islington…

1. Islington Labour will have a majority of female candidates for the first time

The Islington Labour candidates for this year’s council elections. Credit: Islington Labour

History is upon us as for the first time the majority of Islington Labour candidates in the upcoming local elections are female. For the council elections on 3rd May 2018 the party has chosen 48 candidates, 26 of them women (54%) and 22 (42%) men.

2. Angel station is named after a hotel

The Angel Inn, Islington High Street.

Angel Underground station got its name from Islington’s most famous hotel, the Angel Inn. It opened in the 17th century before changing to the Angel Hotel in 1903. The landmark building is now used for local businesses.

3. Angel station has the longest escalator in London

The longest escalator on the London Underground network. Credit: geograph.co.uk

Angel station also has the honour of having longest escalator on the Underground network. It has a vertical rise of 27 metres and a length of 60 metres, 4 metres longer than Holborn’s escalator.

4. Alfred Hitchcock, one of the UK’s most celebrated film directors, began his career in Islington.

Alfred Hitchcock portrait
The Master of Suspense… Alfred Hitchcock.

The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, started his movie career at Islington Studios in the summer of 1920.

5. Islington was once home to two of Europe’s oldest and largest prisons.

Holloway Prison
Holloway Prison, back in Victorian times.

Holloway Prison, first opened in 1852, was the biggest women’s prison in western Europe until its closure in 2016. Pentonville prison opened in 1842 and is still functioning as a working prison today, despite hints at its future closure. The design of Pentonville was based on the ‘Separate’ system, which focuses on keeping prisoners in solitary confinement.

6. Islington was the first London borough to have its own fresh supply of water

Islington waterway
New River and West Reservoir. Credit: geograph.co.uk

In 1613 Hugh Myddelton built an aqueduct that delivered fresh water from Ware and Hertford to the heart of Islington.

7. Islington is home to the UK’s first theatre pub

The King’s Head Theatre Pub. Credit: Ewan Munro

The UK’s first theatre pub, the King’s Head Theatre Pub on Upper Street has been serving thespians and Islingtonites since Shakespearean times.