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North London History

North London History Although London was created by the Romans around 43AD, north London is a little less long in the tooth.

Today North London is known for its villagey vibe, the leafy lanes and the open spaces, but for centuries North London was just fields and open countryside.

In the 17th century Islington was known for cricket at White Conduit Fields, where noblemen and aristocrats used to don their top hats and play for the thousands of Londoners that used to gather to watch.

White Conduit Fields was the home ground of the club of the same name who later went on to become the MCC, the cricketing governing body who are now based at Lords. The change happened in 1767 when the White Conduit Fields Club changed its name to Marylebone Cricket Club after moving across to a field near Marylebone.

Islington was also known as a good place for the upper classes to shoot ducks, enjoy cream cakes and take leisurely strolls across the field to Canonbury or Wanstead.

Although the capital was gradually growing outwards, it wasn’t until the 1800s that the spread of London really began to affect the northern villages. With the advent of Regents Canal and later the railways, Islington became engulfed by Londoners and went into significant decline as a result.

But while Islington slipped into poverty, Highgate managed to retain an air of respectability. Although omnibuses had made a small change to the landscape of the capital, it was the cheap and quick railways that saw London balloon. The first third of the 20th century saw London’s population increase from 865,000 to more than 1.5 million and saw middle class Highgate residents finding themselves with hundreds of new neighbours.

Over the years London has continues to grown northwards taking boroughs like Wood Green, Finchley, Edmonton and Whetstone under its huge wings, changing them from remote villages to part of the suburban sprawl.

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