The Marquess Estate was originally built in 1966-76 for Islington Borough Council, the first large estate of the new Council. Designed as a dense urban village and built in the vernacular style, it provided small domestic gardens and larger shared gardens and greens, with landscaped footpaths and a number of older trees. However it was regarded as over-complex and soon became difficult to police, as a result of which re-structuring began in the late 1970s, with major refurbishment from the late 1990s, its name changing to New River Green.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2010
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The Marquess Estate was originally designed by the architects Darbourne and Darke, based upon their Lillington Gardens Estate in Westminster of 1961 (q.v.). It was built in phases and incorporated existing housing such as flats of the 1950s by architect E C P Monson, and it was to have crossed over St Paul's Road via a bridge. The largest green space of the estate was along Marquess Road. In 1982 the architectural correspondent of The Times commented on 'traces of Tudor gardens and Lutyens ideas' in the houses arranged round an open green. Opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, it was designed as a traffic-free 'village in the city', and won praise at the time but it proved hard to police, becoming unsafe and subject to vandalism and crime. Nikolaus Pevsner described it as 'informal to the point of confusion'. As a result restructuring began in the late 1970s, continuing in the 1990s when over 460 homes were demolished, the street pattern simplified and the name was changed to New River Green. Red House Square was remodelled by 1995. The redevelopment project by Countryside Properties, costing over £21m, aimed to provide 260 new homes for rent and shared ownership, 63 homes for sale to owner occupiers developed by Copthorn Homes, as well as shops and business units developed by Countryside Commercial. To the west was the landscaped New River Walk (q.v.), partly demolished in the late 1990s to provide improved road access and security.
Keith Sugden, 'History of Highbury', (London,1984); Andrew Saint, 'London Suburbs', (Merrell Holberton, 1999); Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993)