Finsbury: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°31′34″N 0°06′12″W / 51.52603°N 0.10347°W / 51.52603; -0.10347

Finsbury is located in Greater London

 Finsbury shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ315825
London borough Islington
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district EC1
Postcode district WC1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Islington South and Finsbury
London Assembly North East
List of places: UK • England • London

Finsbury is a district of central London, England. It lies immediately north of the City of London and Clerkenwell, west of Shoreditch, and south of Islington and City Road. It is in the south of the London Borough of Islington. The Finsbury Estate is in the western part of the district. The eastern part of the district is now sometimes known as St Luke's.



The name is first recorded as Vinisbir (1231) and means "manor of a man called Finn."[1]


In the middle ages Finsbury was part of the great fen which lay outside the walls of the City of London.[2] It gave its name to the Finsbury division of the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex. In the early 17th century trees were planted and gravel walks made, and the area became a place for recreation. In 1641 the Honourable Artillery Company moved to Finsbury, where it still remains, and in 1665 the Bunhill Fields burial ground was opened in the area. Building on Finsbury Fields began in the late 17th century. The parish church of St Luke's was built in 1732-33, and at the end of the 18th century a residential suburb was built with its centre at Finsbury Square.[2]

In 1832 the parliamentary borough of Finsbury was created, covering a considerably wider area, part of the Finsbury division of Ossultone hundred. In 1857 a park was opened some 3 miles north of Finsbury for the enjoyment of the residents of the parliamentary borough, and named Finsbury Park.[1]

The Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury in the County of London was created in 1900, covering the area of Finsbury and Clerkenwell. In 1942 the borough council erected a controversial statue of Vladimir Lenin in Holford Square (now demolished). The borough was abolished in 1965 and absorbed into the borough of Islington.

Famous residents


The name Finsbury is now most often used of the western part of the district, the home of the former Finsbury Town Hall, Finsbury Estate, Exmouth Market, the Sadler's Wells Theatre and City University.


Nearest places:

Nearest tube stations:



  1. ^ a b Mills, D., Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names (2000) ISBN 0 19 860957 4
  2. ^ a b Weinreb, B. and Hibbert, C. (ed)(1983) The London Encyclopaedia Macmillan ISBN 0 333 57688 8

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FINSBURY, a central metropolitan borough of London, England, bounded N. by Islington, E. by Shoreditch, S. by the city of London and W. by Holborn and St Pancras. Pop. (1901) 101,463. The principal thoroughfares are Pentonville Road, from King's Cross east to the Angel, Islington, continuing E. and S. in City Road and S. again to the City in Moorgate Street; Clerkenwell Road and Old Street, crossing the centre from W. to E.; King's Cross Road running S.E. into Farringdon Road, and so to the City; St John Street and Road and Goswell Road (the residence of Dickens' Pickwick) running S. from the Angel towards the City; and Rosebery Avenue running S.W. from St John Street into Holborn. The commercial character of the City extends into the southern part of the borough; the residential houses are mostly those of artisans. Local industries include working in precious metals, watch-making, printing and paper-making.

An early form of the name is Vynesbury, but the derivation is not known. The place was supposed by some to take name from an extensive fen, a part of which, commonly known as Moorfields (cf. Moorgate Street), was drained in the 16th century and subsequently laid out as public grounds. It was a frequent resort of Pepys, who mentions its houses of entertainment and the wrestling and other pastimes carried on, also that it furnished a refuge for many of those whose houses were destroyed in the fire of London in 1666. Bookstalls and other booths were numerous at a somewhat later date. The borough includes the parish of Clerkenwell (q.v.), a locality of considerable historic interest, including the former priory of St John, Clerkenwell, of which the gateway and other traces remain. Among several other sites and buildings of historical interest the Charterhouse west of Aldersgate Street, stands first, originally a Carthusian monastery, subsequently a hospital and a school out of which grew the famous public school at Godalming. Bunhill Fields, City Road, was used by the Dissenters as a burial-place from the middle of the 17th century until 1832. Among eminent persons interred here are John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, Susanna, mother of John and Charles Wesley, and George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends. A neighbouring chapel is intimately associated with the Wesleys, and the house of John Wesley is opened as a museum bearing his name. Many victims of the plague were buried in a pit neighbouring to these fields, near the junction of Goswell Road and Old Street. To the south of the fields lies the Artillery Ground, the training ground of the Honourable Artillery Company, so occupied since 1641, with barracks and armoury. Sadler's Wells theatre, Rosebery Avenue, dating as a place of entertainment from 1683, preserves the name of a fashionable medicinal spring, music room and theatre, the last most notable in its connexion with the names of Joseph Grimaldi the clown and Samuel Phelps. Other institutions are the technical college, Leonard Street, and St Mark's, St Luke's and the Royal chest hospitals. At Mount Pleasant is the parcels department of the general post office, and at Clerkenwell Green the sessions house for the county of London (north side of the Thames). Adjacent to Rosebery Avenue are reservoirs of the New River Head. The municipal borough coincides with the east and central divisions of the parliamentary borough of Finsbury, each returning one member. The borough council consists of a mayor, 9 aldermen and 54 councillors. Area, 589.1 acres.

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