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Location within Greater London
Population12,072 (2011 Census. Ward) [1]
OS grid reference TQ325845
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district N1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°32′37″N0°05′18″W / 51.5437°N 0.0883°W / 51.5437; -0.0883 Coordinates: 51°32′37″N0°05′18″W / 51.5437°N 0.0883°W / 51.5437; -0.0883

Canonbury is a residential area of Islington in the London Borough of Islington, North London. It is roughly in the area between Essex Road, Upper Street and Cross Street and either side of St Paul's Road.


In 1253 land in the area was granted to the Canons of St Bartholomew's Priory, Smithfield, and became known as Canonbury. The area continued predominantly as open land until it was developed as a suburb in the early nineteenth century. [2]

In common with similar inner London areas, it suffered decline when the construction of railways in the 1860s enabled commuting into the city from further afield. The gentrification of the area from the 1950s included new developments to replace war-damaged properties in Canonbury Park North and South as well as restoration of older buildings.


Canonbury is traditionally an area of Islington, and has never been an administrative unit in its own right. For this reason it has never had formally defined boundaries, but approximates to the area between Essex Road, Upper Street and Cross Street and either side of St Paul's Road. The Canonbury electoral ward within the London Borough of Islington extends as far east as Southgate Road.

East Canonbury is the south-eastern corner of the district, bordering on the Regents Canal. Parts of this area were transferred to the district from the London Borough of Hackney in a boundary adjustment (along the line of the northern towpath of the canal), in 1993. [3]

In the east is the Marquess Estate, a 1,200 dwelling council estate, completed in 1976 on 26 acres (110,000 m2), and designed by Darbourne & Darke. [2] A dark red brick, traffic free estate, it was praised as an example of municipal architecture, but acquired a bad reputation and has since been extensively redeveloped to improve security for residents.

Places of interest

Literary and artistic connections

Canonbury Square 069 Canonbury Square.jpg
Canonbury Square

George Orwell moved to 27b Canonbury Square in the autumn of 1944 – he and his wife having been bombed out of their previous flat, in Mortimer Crescent, on 28 June 1944. [5] Evelyn Waugh lived at 17a Canonbury Square from 1928 to 1930. [6] Charles Dickens wrote a Christmas story about a lamplighter in Canonbury, which features the Tower. [7] Leslie Forbes, the travel and detective story writer, and amateur historian Gavin Menzies both live in the area.[ citation needed ]


St Paul's Church, now a school St Paul's Church, Canonbury - - 347564.jpg
St Paul's Church, now a school

Groups in Canonbury

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Gardens of Canonbury Square



The 2011 census showed that the population of Canonbury ward was 72% white (53% British, 15% Other, 4% Irish), and 6% Black African. [15]

Transport and locale

A map showing the Canonbury ward of Islington Metropolitan Borough as it appeared in 1916. Islington Met. B Ward Map 1916.svg
A map showing the Canonbury ward of Islington Metropolitan Borough as it appeared in 1916.

Nearest stations


London Buses routes 4, 19, 30, 38, 56, 73, 236, 263, 341, 393 and 476 serve Canonbury. [16]


Compton Road 003 Compton Road.jpg
Compton Road

Canonbury Road School, now Canonbury Primary School, opened in 1877. [17] It is a Community primary school taking boys and girls from 3 to 11 years of age. In 2010, the school was placed in special measures. [18] By 2013, when Ofsted inspected Canonbury Primary School it was rated as a Good school. [19] In 2013, there were 460 pupils on the school roll. [20]

Founded as a charity school in 1710, St Mary's Church of England Primary School has, since 1967, been situated on Fowler Road in Canonbury. [21] When Ofsted inspected the school in 2012 it was rated as a Good school and there were 178 pupils on the school roll. [22]

The North Bridge House Senior School & Sixth Form is located in Canonbury. [23]

Notable residents

Canonbury Tower Canonbury Tower 20200803 071402.jpg
Canonbury Tower

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Alwyne Villas 015 Alwyn Villas.jpg
Alwyne Villas
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