Council celebrates 400th birthday of New River

17th Century print of New River Head, Islington

17th Century print of New River Head, Islington - Credit: Archant

Special party planned

Islington Council is throwing a birthday party with a difference to mark the 400th anniversary of the New River Walk.

Storytelling, Punch and Judy, den building and period costume actors will all be on offer to residents eager to take part in the free fun.

The main event takes place on Sunday at the New River Walk in Upper Street, Islington, to celebrate the river’s construction – which was opened on 29 September 1913 but took 11 years to complete.

The brainchild of businessman Sir High Myddelton, The New River was designed to bring clean, fresh drinking water into London - 38 miles away from Ware in Hertfordshire.

Its construction triggered the transformation of Islington from an area of cattle pasture and farmland to an important population centre and industrial powerhouse producing, among other things, gin and clocks.

Cllr Rakhia Ismail, Islington Council’s executive member for

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sustainability said: “The New River Walk is not just a popular and pretty park but a living reminder of Islington’s vibrant history which we are celebrating this week.

“In a built-up borough where many residents do not have gardens, we take

pride in preserving the quality of our green spaces and ensuring access

to them for everyone.

“We invite residents to join us in a week of community events to mark

The New River’s 400th birthday.”

Mainly built-over during the urbanisation of large swathes of London during the 19th century, the New River can still be seen above ground for a 1km stretch in Canonbury.

Signs at the site tell the story of the river’s construction and a map helps walkers orientate themselves.

Now a linear park, The New River Walk is one of Islington’s most

attractive and popular wildlife locations with a large collection of

plants and animals such as amphibians and waterfowl.

For more information visit