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Marquess Estate Islington
Summary: 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.
Previous / Other name: New River Green
Site location: Essex Road/St Paul's Road
Postcode: N1 > Google Map
Type of site: Housing/Estate Landscaping
Date(s): 1976; 1990s
Designer(s): 1966-76: Darbourne and Darke
Listed structures:
Borough: Islington
Site ownership: LB Islington
Site management: Housing Department
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Public transport: London Overground: Canonbury. Bus: 38, 56, 73, 341
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

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.

Sources consulted:

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)
Grid ref: TQ323847
Size in hectares: c.11
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation:

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