Angel, Islington

The Angel, Islington

A commercial quarter and busy road junction at the southern end of Islington High Street, best known to non-Londoners for its place on the Monopoly board

geograph-5052750-by-Des-Blenkinsopp - The Angel - Islington

Goswell Road fol­lows a Sax­on route out of the City, and the Romans are also believed to have built a road through here. A tav­ern may have been estab­lished as ear­ly as the 13th cen­tu­ry, with a sign show­ing the Angel of the Annun­ci­a­tion with the Vir­gin Mary. How­ev­er, the first pub­lic house that def­i­nite­ly stood here was the Sheep­cote in 1614 and the first con­firmed use of the Angel name came when this house was rebuilt in 1638.

The Angel was a coach­ing inn with a gal­leried yard, offer­ing enter­tain­ment by groups of trav­el­ling actors and play­ers. It was pop­u­lar with overnight guests who were trav­el­ling to the City but did not want to risk high­way rob­bery on the haz­ardous last stretch of their jour­ney. Fol­low­ing the cre­ation of what became City Road in 1761 a turn­pike was set up at the Angel; it was moved east­ward in 1800.

The gal­leried inn was demol­ished in 1819 and rebuilt the fol­low­ing year. The Angel was rebuilt yet again at the turn of the 20th cen­tu­ry, this time in Flem­ish style by the archi­tects Fred­er­ick Eedle and Syd­ney Mey­ers, who were estab­lished pub­lic house spe­cial­ists.

Hidden London: Angel tube station by Philafrenzy

Angel tube sta­tion opened in 1901, by which time the sur­round­ing area had become very run-down. Slum clear­ance after the Sec­ond World War brought some improve­ment. In recent decades the con­struc­tion of com­mer­cial and apart­ment com­plex­es has trans­formed much of the vicin­i­ty.

A branch of the Co-oper­a­tive Bank occu­pies the ground floor of the for­mer inn, but Wether­spoon’s Angel is right next door. The pub­’s north­ern neigh­bour is a Star­bucks that occu­pies the sur­viv­ing sec­tion of the Angel pic­ture the­atre (1913). Its cam­panile-style tow­er (which has been con­vert­ed to res­i­den­tial use) is vis­i­ble on the right of the pho­to­graph at the top of the page. Across the road, the recon­struct­ed tube sta­tion is now part of the unap­peal­ing Angel Square com­plex, built in 1987–91.

Inspired by the French Revolution, the republican Thomas Paine probably wrote the first part of The Rights of Man while staying at the Angel in 1790, although some have suggested that he was at the Old Red Lion.

Waddington’s brought fame to the Angel by including it in the British version of the Monopoly board game, which the company first produced in 1935.

Postal district: N1
Station: Northern Line (zone 1)
* The picture of the Angel, Islington at the top of this page is slightly modified from an original photograph, copyright Des Blenkinsopp, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. The picture of Angel tube station is adapted from an original photograph by Philafrenzy at Wikimedia Commons, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of those licences.