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Finsbury
Summer at Finsbury Square - geograph.org.uk - 514787.jpg
Finsbury Square, looking north
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The arms of the Metropolitan Borough refer to the London Wall and the northern gates
Finsbury is located in Greater London
Finsbury
Finsbury
OS grid reference TQ315825
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
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Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district EC1
Postcode district WC1
Dialling code 020
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51°31′21″N 0°05′33″W / 51.5224°N 0.0925°W / 51.5224; -0.0925

Finsbury is a district of Central London, forming the south-eastern part of the London Borough of Islington. It borders the City of London.

The Manor of Finsbury is first recorded as Vinisbir (1231) and means "manor of a man called Finn". Finsbury lay just outside Cripplegate (and on its later construction, Moorgate) in London Wall. At that time, much of the manor was part of the "great fen which washed against the northern wall of the City".

Finsbury gave its name to two larger administrative areas: the Finsbury Division of the Ossulstone Hundred of Middlesex, from the 17th century until 1900, and from 1900 to 1965 the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury. The Metropolitan Borough included Finsbury (also known as St Luke's) and Clerkenwell.

The area should not be confused with Finsbury Park, a public space roughly 3 miles (5 km) to the north, which gives its name to its surrounding mainly residential area.

Etymology

The name is first recorded as Vinisbir (1231) and means "manor of a man called Finn".

History

Finsbury Met. B Ward Map 1952
A map showing the wards of Finsbury Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1952

In the Middle Ages Finsbury was part of the great fen which lay outside the walls of the City of London. It gave its name to the Finsbury division of the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex. In the early 17th century trees were planted and gravel walks made, and the area became a place for recreation. In 1641 the Honourable Artillery Company moved to Finsbury, where it still remains, and in 1665 the Bunhill Fields burial ground was opened in the area. The City of London Yeomanry (COLY) also had its headquarters in nearby Finsbury Square when founded at the time of the Second Boer War.

Building on Finsbury Fields began in the late 17th century. The parish church of St Luke's was built in 1732–33, and at the end of the 18th century a residential suburb was built with its centre at Finsbury Square.

In 1832 the parliamentary borough of Finsbury was created, covering a considerably wider area, part of the Finsbury division of Ossulstone hundred. In 1857 a park was opened some three miles north of Finsbury for the enjoyment of the residents of the parliamentary borough, and named Finsbury Park.

The Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury in the County of London was created in 1900, covering the area of Finsbury and Clerkenwell. In 1938, Dr. Chuni Lal Katial was elected mayor of Finsbury, making him the first Asian mayor in the United Kingdom. In 1942 the borough council erected a controversial statue of Vladimir Lenin in Holford Square (now demolished). The borough was abolished in 1965 and absorbed into the borough of Islington.

Today

The name Finsbury is now most often used of the western part of the district, historically regarded as part of Clerkenwell, which is the home of the former Finsbury Town Hall, Finsbury Estate, Exmouth Market, the Sadler's Wells Theatre, Islington Local History Centre, Islington Museum and City University.

Transport

Nearest places:

Nearest tube stations:

Gallery


Famous residents

  • Charles Gordon, cricketer and grandson of the founder of Gordon's Gin
  • Eric Maxon, Shakespearean and early film actor, died in Finsbury
  • Arthur Mullard, comic actor
  • Dadabhai Naoroji, Indian politician

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