The borough of Islington is some 14.7 sq km in area and extends from the edge of the City right into the suburbs. The borough was formed in the 1960s by the amalgamation of the former metropolitain boroughs of Islington and Finsbury. The latter borough was itself created from the ancient parishes of Clerkenwell and St Luke's.
The greater part of the borough is residential and has little to attract the tourist or the historian; most of Islington's interest lies south of the Pentonville and City Roads, within the old borough of Finsbury. Here lies part of what is regarded as central London; an area that originally developed within the shadow of the Roman city wall and which has for centuries been a district of craftsmen. Traditionally, Clerkenwell was the home of London's precision engineers; watchmakers, locksmiths, toolmakers, and those who fashioned surgical, optical and other precision instruments. Finsbury still has an unusual number of retail outlets and repair shops dedicated to watches, cameras, machine tools and the like, but nowadays it is primarily a residential area and can boast some of London's finest town houses. It also has a couple of seats of learning; the ancient public school of Charterhouse is here, as well as the rather more recent City University (where I spent my formative years).
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This page last updated 10th November 2002