Route & what to see

site map

Neither new nor a river it doesn't even exist in this part of London any longer! However you can follow its course and see remaining evidence which relates to this artifical waterway. Designed to bring fresh water to the City in Tudor times its upper reaches still supply some of London's water.

This 3 mile walk begins at Highbury & Islington Station (Victoria line) and finishes at Angel Station (Northern line) where there are also buses and plenty of places for refreshments.

On exiting the station go to the right, cross the main road over to Compton Terrace and walk through the gardens.
On the left is the Union Chapel of 1877 with a piece of Pilgrim's Rock over the doorway. It replaces an earlier church built with the terrace in 1806.

Go left along Canonbury Lane and through the central gardens of Canonbury Square
The gardens have been refurbished by Loire Valley Wines and include a small vineyard and rose beds. A house on the east side has a plaque to George Orwell

Continue into Canonbury Place
Canonbury Tower is home to the Francis Bacon Society and formerly the Tower Theatre

Continue along Canonbury Park South. At the end turn right and go into the park on the right
This linear park was created in the 1950s along the line of the New River. Notice the 1990s Glass House at 40 Douglas Road.

Cross Willow Bridge Road and continue through the park
A display board gives some information about the New River

Cross Canonbury Road and continue through the park (with children's playground). At the end go right along Essex Road
Notice the taxidermist's shop - 'Get Stuffed' on the corner of Cross Street

Go left at St Peter's Street and right along Colebrooke Row
This follows the line of the New River. Notice at number 55 the wall advertisement from when the building was a women's hostel. Opposite is the former home of essayist Charles Lamb

Go right at Camden Walk through to Islington Green
This open space has been upgraded and has a statue to Hugh Myddleton, associated with the New River project.

From the Green go along Camden Passage and left at Charlton Place. At the end go right through the gardens (New River course) between Colebrooke Row and Duncan Terrace
On the right is the RC church of St John the Evangelist of 1841-3. Just past Noel Road on the left the Regent's Canal enters a tunnel under Islington (marked by discs in the pavement)

At the end go right along the City Road to the traffic lights
The clock in City Road was provided by Smiths of Clerkenwell

Cross and go along Pentonville Road ahead
On the right are the premises of the Crafts Council

Go left into Claremont Square
The mound on the right is a covered reservoir which was constructed in 1709 to extend the distribution area of the New River.

Continue through Mylne Street into Myddleton Square
This was laid out in 1824-7 by William Chadwell Mylne who also designed the church. Following WWII bomb damage in 1941 the church was restored with a simplified interior and the houses on the north side were rebuilt in replica by the New River Company.

Exit at the SE corner into Myddleton Passage
Features of New River Head can be viewed from Nautilus House Garden where there are information panels.

Return to Myddleton Square and exit via River Street
LLoyds Dairy on the corner traded from 1914.

Go left along Amwell Street (Amwell was a New River source)
On the right is the Clerkenwell Parochial School building of 1830. There are more views of the New River Head buildings including the former engine house. The circular building with a conical roof is the stump of an early 18th century windmill which pumped water to the Claremont Square reservoir. A section of London's Ring Main is displayed further along.

Left at Hardwick Street
The former water company headquarters building has been converted to apartments.

Go left at Rosebery Avenue
There is a water feature to the left and a view of the Laboratory block of 1938 (also apartments). Rosebery Avenue was a new road that cut through buildings associated with the spa, replaced by Spa Green. The re-built Sadler's Wells (1998) on the left retains a well feature. There is an information panel outside and the cafe is open to the public.

At the end go left along St John Street
This was an important packhorse route into the City. Owen Street on the right marks the course of the New River and further along is the noted Red Lion Theatre pub.

Cross at the traffic lights into Islington High Street. Angel Station is on the right 2010

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