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Historic Newington Green ‘to be kept from developers’

Western part of Newington Green circa 1900. The green  was fenced and landscaped during the 1870s. Western part of Newington Green circa 1900. The green was fenced and landscaped during the 1870s.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
3:52 PM

A place that has been a historic melting pot of non-conformists, radical thinkers and bull-baiters that also gave birth to feminism and the United States of America is set to be protected from developers if a plan gets the nod tonight.

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Mildmay Park circa 1904 looking north towards Newington GreenMildmay Park circa 1904 looking north towards Newington Green

Newington Green, which dates back to the 1400s and when King Henry VIII had a hunting lodge, could have the boundaries of its conservation area increased if a scheme is given the go ahead by Islington Council’s ruling executive tonight.

The new area would cover buildings on King Henry Street, King Henry’s Walk, Mildmay Grove, Mildmay Park, Mildmay Road, Queen Margaret’s Grove, St Jude Street, Wolsley Road and Newington Green Road.

Jenny Littlewood, chairman of the Newington Green Action Group (NGAG) said: “We have been instrumental in the conservation area’s extension as there were some odd plans to develop part of oldest houses 1860s in an unsympathetic way.

“We thought preservation of some of the more architecturally integrated houses a good idea.

Cllr Joe CalouriCllr Joe Calouri

“We will of course only be able to continue to monitor in any depth, the original conservation area, and the most public alterations in the ­extended area.”

Cllr Joe Calouri, who represents Mildmay ward which covers Newington Green, said: “The original conservation area had a few anomalies and areas that should have been protected weren’t.

“Newington Green is steeped in history and it’s great. I think this is a really positive step forward.

It started as a small clearing in the Middlesex Forest first mentioned by name in 1480.

It became a popular aristocratic retreat for hunting wild boar, deer and bulls, which roamed the forest surrounding the green and Henry VIII is believed to have had a hunting lodge on the south side.

The area has a colourful social history, including associations with many Dissenters during the English Civil War.

Another notable resident was Dr Richard Price, who arrived in 1758 as minister to the Nonconformist church.

During his time, Americans, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft were all visitors to number 54 Newington Green.

Historians credit Mr Price as a huge influence on the American constitution and it is likely that his writings inspired Thomas Paine to name the new country as the United States of America.

Around the same time, Ms Wollstonecraft penned A Vindication of the Rights of Women, one of the first works of feminist philosophy. Nearby. John Ball kept a house of entertainment providing bull baiting and other sports at a boarded property called The Salutation. A large pond nearby was used by duck hunters, gaining the name Ball’s Pond.

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