Not a c&p - transcribed from my notes.

Barnsbury is more an area more than anything. It's not a town, not a village, not a city. It's the name for part of Islington, an area in North London.

Barnsbury is located on hilltop fields that made up part of the manorial land in the forest of Middlesex. Although the lands only took up a small area of the medieval manor site, the current suburb of Barnsbury is fairly large, with boundaries stretching in a triangle; From Upper Street on the East, North West towards Holloway Road, West towards the corner of Maiden Lane and South to Angel. The original land was laid out in 1820, and has changes significantly since then.


The original manorial land on which Barnsbury was laid out was owned by Ralph de Berners who held it towards the late 13th century. The name Barnsbury derives from the name of the manor he owned, known as “Berners-Bury”, but the term Barnsbury now refers to land southwards of the manor as well.

In 1532 Ralph de Berners’ land was passed on to his daughter and in 1754 it was made over to the Tufnell family by Sir William Halton, after which the trustees of the estate sold leases on parts of it. Later, a deluge of building on the land developed it significantly, when estates such as the Thornhill and Stonefield ones were built. Over a period, the manor’s land was filled with these estates and the fields of the area had been covered.

Since much of Barnsbury’s land was copyhold, its growth as a suburb was restricted. This slowdown in growth was stopped in 1822 when a parliamentary act removed the disability on copyhold tenants. By the end of 1823, the act meant that the rural area was developing quickly with many new buildings going up, especially between the space north of White conduit house from the canal tunnel to Copenhagen Street.

These buildings, however, and the areas in question were developing into working class zones. In the 1830s, the new railway resulted in an influx of suburban inhabitants into the rural areas. Many prosperous inhabitants of Barnsbury also left resulting in many houses being turned into tenements.


Although the area declined during World War II, the middle class moved back in during the 1960s, because of the affordable and stylish houses. This demand causes a rise in prices and in the 1970s council blocks replaced the older lower quality areas. This rebuilding has resulted a big change for the area, including new views of the landscape and a new street pattern. The area now shows clear signs of gentrification. If you're wondering why I have writtten about an obscure place in North London then gentrification is the answer - this was part of my Geography GCSE coursework, so go see my node on it.