London Borough of Islington

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Poster 2020 for talk held by Islington Local History Centre
Islington is a London Borough, comprising the former metropolitan Boroughs of Islington and Finsbury. It lies to the north of the City of London.

As well as Islington proper, the borough contains various districts such as Kings Cross, Clerkenwell, Highbury, Highgate, Holloway and Barnsbury.

LGBT history

Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell lived in Islington from 1959 until their deaths in 1967.

Highbury and Islington CHE Group (also known as North London CHE or Islington CHE) was founded in 1972.

The London Gay Teenage Group, set up in 1976, met in the Borough of Islington.[1] [2].

In 1981 the Carved Red Lion pub in Essex Road, just off Upper Street, hosted the Movements disco on Saturday nights [3]. By August 1982 Movements disco had moved to the Pied Bull in Liverpool Road. following a disagreement with the landlord at the Carved Red Lion [4].

Robert Crossman was Mayor of Islington for 1986–87. North London Line was set up in both Camden and Islington in 1987 providing support services and youth club facilities for young lgbt people.

Chris Smith, now Baron Smith of Finsbury, in the London Borough of Islington, was an Islington Councillor (for Barnsbury Ward) before becoming an MP. He received the Freedom of the Borough of Islington in 2010, and was warmly congratulated on that occasion by gay Councillor Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council.[5]

In October 2016, Islington Council announced that it was setting up a new LGBT archive. The archive collection, called Islington Pride, has been HLF funded as a LGBTQ+ Heritage archive project and is housed in the Islington Local History Centre.[6]

Islington Pride has a heritage map with 50 plaques placed at various locations in the borough. [7]

Plaque in Bath Street in honour of Phillip Cox (Photo courtesy Sean McGovern)

External links


  1. Courage to Be: Organised Gay Youth in England 1967-90 by Clifford Williams (2021) (Book Guild Ltd.)
  2. Gay teen group was like a secret society, says author in Islington Tribune 10 December 2021
  3. Capital Gay 28 Aug 1981
  4. Capital Gay Aug 13 1982
  6. James Morris, "‘Highbury Fields gay rights demo was a watershed moment’: Islington Museum to set up first LGBT archive", Islington Gazette, 10 October 2016. updated information from Marlin Khondoker, Islington Local History Centre 24 Oct 2019