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Aubert Court Islington

Aubert Court

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Much of the land here was once part of the extensive grounds of Highbury House, a late C18th villa set in parkland. From the 1830s the estate was gradually built over as Islington changed from a rural to suburban area. Aubert Court, named after an owner of Highbury House, is on part of the former grounds of Highbury College of Dissenters, a theological institution founded in 1783 in Mile End but which opened here in 1826. In 1946-53 Aubert Court was built on part of the former college grounds as council housing for Islington Borough Council,
Previous / Other name: Site of Highbury College of Dissenters; Highbury House Estate
Site location: Aubert Park/Avenell Road
Postcode: N5 1BL
Type of site: Housing/Estate Landscaping 
Date(s): 1825; 1946-53
Designer(s): E C P Monson for Islington Borough Council
Listed structures:
Borough: Islington
Site ownership: LB Islington
Site management: Housing Department
Open to public? No
Opening times: private
Special conditions:
Public transport: Rail: Drayton Park. Tube: Arsenal then bus. Bus: 4, 19, 236
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2004
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

The land was formerly part of the extensive grounds of Highbury House, a villa residence set in parkland that was built between 1778-81 for John Dawes. Prior to that it had been part of the Manor of Highbury, which had been given to the Priory of St John of Jerusalem in the C13th and used as a country retreat for the Prior until it was destroyed in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. Dawes' house was built on the moated site of the former manor house, which was known as Jack Straw's Castle after one of the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt. The Highbury House estate comprised 74 acres but from 1835 onwards land began to be sold off for building as Islington changed from a rural to a suburban environment, its popularity due to its proximity to the City, and its good position with fine views.

Highbury College of Dissenters, a theological institution founded in 1783 in Mile End, was built here in 1825-6 by John Davies, set in extensive grounds. In 1913 6 acres of the college land were acquired for Arsenal football club. The college building was destroyed by a fire in 1946, its site now a garden in Aubert Park. In 1946-53 Aubert Court was built on the former college grounds as council housing for Islington Borough Council, designed by E C P Monson. It consists of 7 to 9 storey blocks, those on the west facing a garden area that had previously been that of Highbury College. It is named after Alexander Aubert (1730-1805), a Swiss insurance broker and amateur astrologer who had an observatory at Deptford and commissioned another at Highbury House, where he lived in the late C18th until his death. On a tower in his grounds Aubert re-erected the clock originally on St Peter-le-Poer Church, when this old ruined church in Old Broad Street was rebuilt in 1788-92 (later demolished in 1907). Aubert also organised the Loyal Islington Volunteers in 1798-1801 who exercised on the site of College Cross in Barnsbury, now built over. Highbury House itself was eventually demolished in 1938 and what remained of its grounds were built over after the Old Etonian Housing Association purchased the site for a block of 40 flats to provide 'decent housing for working people'.

Sources consulted:

Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998) p692. See article by Michael-Ann Mullen 'Highbury House and Its Gardens 1778-1938: From Pastoral Idyll to Urban Streets' in The London Gardener vol 14, 2008-09
Grid ref: TQ316858
Size in hectares:
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: Not known
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Shopping Policy Area

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