A brief history of Canonbury Square – with thanks to London Borough of Islington

Henry Leroux of Stoke Newington originally started building in Canonbury Square in 1805 on land owned by the Marquess of Northampton. The central garden was formed in the 1840s but was already bisected into two separate areas by the New North Road turnpike, now known as Canonbury Rd. The Fourth Marquess of Northampton opened the square’s gardens to the public in 1884, the first landowner to do so, and in 1884 he donated the land to Islington Council.

The original railings were removed during the Second World War but in the 1950s the gardens were redesigned and enclosed with new reproduction railings. In 2006 Loire Valley Wines Legacy Gardens funded a makeover of the garden on the West Side of the Square, planting vines and rose beds to reflect the planting of vineyards in the Loire Valley.

Many significant figures from the arts and literary worlds have lived in Canonbury Square including George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Samuel Phelps as well as painters and designers Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell.