The Angel, Islington

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Angel Corner House
Current building completed in 1899
Former names Angel Inn
Angel Hotel
Angel Cafe Restaurant
General information
Location Angel, Greater London
Address 1 Islington High Street
Country England
Coordinates 51°31′55″N 0°06′22″W / 51.532°N 0.106°W / 51.532; -0.106Coordinates: 51°31′55″N 0°06′22″W / 51.532°N 0.106°W / 51.532; -0.106
Current tenants The Co-operative Bank
ORC International
Completed Rebuilt 1899
Renovated 1979–1982
Technical details
Floor count 6
Floor area 1,083 square metres (11,660 sq ft)
Renovating team
Architect Elsom Pack & Roberts
Renovating firm McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name The Angel
Designated 31 January 1991
Reference no. 369037

The Angel, Islington is a historic landmark and a series of buildings that have stood on the corner of Islington High Street and Pentonville Road in Islington, London, England. The site of the Angel Inn from the 16th century, on lands belonging to the Clerkenwell Priory, it was rebuilt many times and the site was bisected by the New Road in 1756. It gave its name to Angel tube station, opened in 1901, and the surrounding Angel area of London.

The current structure was completed in 1899 and was known as the Angel Hotel. The building was acquired by J. Lyons and Co. in 1921 and was used as the Angel Cafe Restaurant. In 1935 it was chosen as a property for the British version of Monopoly. The building was sold to the London County Council in 1959 to be demolished as part of plans for road improvement works that did not take place. It was returned to private ownership, renovated from 1979 and reopened in 1982 as the Angel Corner House. It is currently used as offices and a branch of The Co-operative Bank, and is a grade II listed building. In 1998 a new pub called The Angel, operated by J D Wetherspoon, opened adjacent to the building.


Early building[edit]

The first building on the site was known as the Sheepcote in the early sixteenth century, located on the Great North Road. It was named after lands belonging to St John's Priory. The area was commonly described as being 'in Islington' but was in the neighbouring parish of Clerkenwell.[1] The boundary ran along Islington High Street. It was being used as an inn by the end of the 16th century and was known as the Angel by 1614.[2]

1638 building[edit]

It was rebuilt around 1638, with William Riplingham fined for constructing "a new building in the Angel's Inn in Islington".[2]

In his book "The Inns and Taverns of Old London" published in 1909, Henry C. Shelley has the following to say of the old inn:

The Angel dates back to before 1665... In the seventeenth century and later, as old pictures testify, the inn presented the usual features of a large old country hostelry. As such the courtyard is depicted by Hogarth in his print of the "Stage Coach."

The building of the New Road in 1756 bisected the Angel Inn site and the stable buildings were cut off on the southern side.[2] The inn was on the northern side, on the corner of what is now Islington High Street and Pentonville Road.

1819 building[edit]

The Angel was rebuilt during 1819 and 1820. The size of the inn was reduced and adjacent plots were sold off.[2] It was mentioned in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: "The coach rattled away and, turning when it reached the Angel at Islington, stopped at length before a neat house in Pentonville". The New Road was renamed Pentonville Road 1857. In 1883 the stables were sold to the London Street Tramways and the main building was sold to the brewers Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co. in 1896.[2]

1899 building[edit]

A new building in pale terracotta stone with a corner cupola was completed in 1899. The parish of Clerkenwell became the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury in 1900 and when the City and South London Railway opened a new tube station in the area in 1901 it was named Angel.

The pub ceased trading in 1921 and the building was sold to J. Lyons and Co.. It was adapted and reopened on 21 February 1922 as the Angel Cafe Restaurant. In 1959 it was closed and sold to the London County Council as part of a plan to demolish it to make way for a new road scheme at the Angel intersection. It was used temporarily by the City University.[3] Finsbury merged with the Metropolitan Borough of Islington to form the London Borough of Islington in 1965 and ownership of the site passed to the Greater London Council. The proposals for demolition of the site along with road changes were opposed by Homes before Roads and the Islington Society. Plans to alter the intersection and create a layout similar to that at Old Street roundabout were abandoned and the building was saved from demolition.[2]

The Greater London Council sold the building to the New River Company, with the property becoming part of the London Merchant Securities portfolio. The building was renovated between 1979 and 1982 by McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd with architects Elsom Pack & Roberts converting the building for office use. The ground floor is now a branch of The Co-operative Bank, and the ORC International market research agency occupies the upper floors. It became part of the Angel conservation area in 1981 and has been a grade II listed building since 1991.[4] The building was sold to a private owner in 2009.[5]


"The Angel Islington" is a property in the British version of Monopoly. In the game it is the third-cheapest property on the board, reflecting the area at time in which the board was drawn up. It is claimed that Victor Watson, of John Waddington Ltd, and his secretary decided to include it in 1935 whilst taking tea at the cafe.[2] This account of events appears on a plaque displayed in the bank within the building since 2003; the inscription notes it is the "only site on the board named after a building".[6] It is part of the light blue group with Pentonville Road and Euston Road.

J D Wetherspoon[edit]

On 27 October 1998 a J D Wetherspoon pub named The Angel opened at 3 Islington High Street, adjacent to the former pub building.[7] It stands on the part of the original Angel Inn site that was redeveloped as shops in 1820.[2]