Islington pictures

The Islington Archaeology & History Society is here to investigate, learn and celebrate the heritage that is left to us. We host lectures and other events, organise walks and produce a quarterly journal. The society, its events, shop and journal are run entirely by volunteers.

On this page: Events Historical and literary walks Journal Our 18th century Islington font

On other pages: Research resources Store: buy books, old maps and more About us and contact Membership

          Archaeology & History Society is on Facebook Keep up to date and join the conversations at our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory, which has hundreds of members.



We host 10 lectures a year, usually on the third Wednesday of the month at Islington Town Hall on Upper Street, N1, as well as book launches and other events. Talks are free to members; we ask non-members for a £1 donation.

The society runs history walks, including regular George Orwell walks – click here for information on walks.

Wednesday 21 February, 7.30pm, Islington Town Hall

‘The Germans Are Here!’: 31 May 1915 - London’s First Zeppelin Raidy

Ian Castle, author and First World War expert

Ten months into the Great War and the feared onslaught on London by Germany’s much-vaunted fleet of airships – Zeppelins – had failed to materialise. There was sympathy for those caught up in air raids on East Anglia, Essex and the north east, but these were far away and easy for Londoners to ignore.

Then, shortly after 11pm on a quiet Monday night at the end of May 1915, all that changed. A Zeppelin raider appeared over the city – the war had finally come to London.

Ian Castle gave a well received talk to the society in May 2017 on the German bomber raids on London during the First World War. He is the author of a number of books on the First World War air raids on Britain and is fascinated by their impact on the civilian population at a time when aerial warfare was in its infancy.   

Wednesday 21 March, 7.30pm, Islington Town Hall

Doctor Who and Me

Andrew Cartmel, former script editor and show runner, Dr Who

Andrew Cartmel was the script editor and show runner on Doctor Who from 1986 to 1989. During his time on the programme he introduced the seventh Doctor (played by Sylvester McCoy) and oversaw 42 episodes. He also presided over the introduction of the character of Ace (played by Sophie Aldred), who was one of the most influential Doctor Who companions ever, and definitely the first to attack a Dalek with a baseball bat.

With a mission to revive Doctor Who, he formulated what was later termed the “Cartmel masterplan”, establishing McCoy’s Doctor as a master player of dangerous games, a weaver of cosmic strategies and a powerful enigma.

His work had a profound effect on this classic show and emphatically set the template for its successful return in the 21st century.

Wednesday 18 April

Rubbish or ritual? Medieval treasure in the Thames

John Clark, Museum of London curator emeritus

The event takess a look at whether items were thrown in the Thames as part of a ceremony.

Fine and valuable items been found in the river Thames – were they just thrown-away as rubbish, or accidental losses – or “votive deposits”? It is accepted that many prehistoric objects, such as Bronze Age swords, were deposited in rivers as part of a ritual. This talk is about whether this can also be applied to Anglo-Saxon, Viking and later medieval finds.

Wednesday 16 May

The Arvon Road allotments

Kerry Platman will tell the story of the allotments alongside a railway line

Wednesday 21 June

AGM and talk tbc

Please note the AGM will start at 7pm

Events contacts

If you are interested in giving a talk to the society, please contact chairman Andrew Gardner on Andy [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk

If you are running an event, such as a local history fair or community festival, and think we would be interested in running a stall, please contact Catherine Brighty on 020 7833 1541, catherine.brighteyes [at] hotmail.co.uk, 8 Wynyatt Street, EC1V 7HU

Events we are attending and organising are listed on our Facebook group page at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory

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Historical and literary walks

A great way to see Islington’s history is through one of our walks. These look at places including Canonbury, Angel, Barnsbury and its squares and the Regent’s canal.

Our Islington Back and Forth stroll looks at distant and recent local history from Angel to the New River and Canonbury, noting literary figures along the way including Tom Paine, John and Charles Wesley, Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Joe Orton and Douglas Adams.

Andrew Gardner, the society chairman, also leads guided tours of the grade I listed Union Chapel, which includes visiting areas rarely open to the public.

For more information, to join or organise a walk for a group of friends of family, contact walks [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk


George Orwell walks

A favourite is the George Orwell walk. Orwell was at his most prolific during his time in Islington. While he was living at 27b Canonbury Square, Animal Farm was published and he worked on drafts of Nineteen Eighty-Four, published numerous essays and articles, and broadcast extensively.

Proceeds from these walks are divided between the Islington Archaeology & History Society and the Margins Project at the Union Chapel,which works with homeless, isolated and marginalised people in Islington, helping them to break the cycle of poverty and crisis, and regain control of their lives.

For more information on walks and booking, email Andy on walks [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk.


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Journal of the Islington
        Archaeology & History Society journal cover
Journal of the Islington Archaeology & History Society

The society produces a quarterly journal, which is sent to members. Back copies can be downloaded from www.clcomms.com/iahs.

We welcome articles on local history, memories and research, and information on books and events. If you would like to write for the journal or have some memories or pictures you would like to share with readers, or have questions you think readers could ask, contact the journal editor Christy Lawrance at christy [at] islingtonhistory.org.uk

Books for review should be sent to Christy Lawrance c/o 6 Northview, Tufnell Park Road, N7 0QB



Typography: an 18th century banner font

Our heading in the banner image uses a Caslon font.

William Caslon ran England’s leading typefoundry in the 18th and early 19th century. He was the first major letter founder in London and remains the most notable letter founder this country has produced

His premises in Chiswell Street, in Clerkenwell in the south of Islington, were established in 1734 and continued to trade until 1936. While at Chiswell Street, Caslon staged monthly organ concerts and served beer he brewed himself.

The Caslon variant in our banner images was designed by Carol Twombly and is based on the Caslon’s specimen pages printed between 1734 and 1770.

The story of William Caslon and his typefoundry can be read on Spitalfields Life.



          Archaeology & History Society is on Facebook Keep up to date with society and Islington news and events by joining our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/islingtonhistory


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