Islington N1 timber windows

The History of Timber Sash Windows in Islington (N1)

While Islington offers visitors a mix of architecture to marvel at, remnants of its historic past can be seen right across the borough.

The streets and squares of Islington and Barnsbury are lined with flat-fronted Georgian terraces, many of which boast iron railings and original fanlights.

Highbury is also home to a wealth of Edwardian and Victorian red-brick homes, which line roads including Calabria and Baalbec (N5), both of which are located near Highbury Fields – the largest open space in the borough.

The wealth of period property on offer may come as no surprise when you consider the fact that Islington has 40 designated conservation areas, covering around 50% of the local authority area, and 4,500 statutorily listed buildings as well as a number of locally listed buildings.

17th Century Marks the Beginning of Wooden Sash Window

Islington made its leap from a hamlet to a village in the 17th Century, with residences sprawling up across Upper Street (N1) and Lower Road – now Essex Road (N1).

Despite this development Islington was still largely made up of agricultural land during the 1600s and was famed for supplying the capital with butter, cream and milk thanks from its extensive dairy herds. Towards the end of the 17th Century Islington attracted visitors who wanted a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city and were keen to take in the delights of the Islington Spa (Clerkenwell), located opposite Sadler’s Wells (EC1R).

By the early 18th Century housing developments began to gather pace in Islington, with number of houses in the London borough rising from 325 in 1708 to 1,200 by 1793.

Islington Sash Windows

Because of its proximity to London by 1819 Islington’s population was said to be primarily made up of retirees and those with a connection to the capital, all of whom lived in Georgian terraces along the main road or in the streets directly behind them for more affluent members of Islington society.

The classic Georgian sash window design boasting six panes over six panes would likely have featured in these terraces, with the design remaining in place even with the advent of larger panes of glass in the latter part of the 19th Century. As stocks of mahogany and oak had begun to deplete during the 18th Century, sash windows were increasingly made with pine and other softwoods imported from the Baltics.

Islington’s rapid development continued at a pace throughout the 1800s with the area’s population – 1841-51 (+ 71%), 1821-31 (+67%) and 1851-61 (+63%) – and buildings – 1841-1851 (+62 %) and 1851-61(+50%) – growing exponentially.

As Islington Develops, so do its Box Sash Windows

Original or historic single glazed sash windows feature on many of Islington’s historic buildings to this day, in particular featuring the slim profiles and glazing bars common to 19th century sash windows. This delicate design arose as a result of improvements to the manufacturing process, however, their narrow design left the frame vulnerable to stress particularly in the frame corners.

As a result horned sashes – featuring a stronger through tenon joint – were a key feature of sash windows from the mid-19th Century onwards.

Islington windows

Today’s Canonbury still features many homes boasting the traditional 19th Century double hung timber vertical sliding sash windows. Unlike the earlier single hung sash windows, double hung sash windows used a system of counterbalanced weights to allow both the bottom and top sash to be moved independently.

Sash Window Restoration – the hallmark of Islington today

Today Islington features sash windows on a variety of period properties, from the Victorian terraces of Liverpool road (N1) to the period conversion flats in John Spencer Square (N1).

Ultimately, Islington has historic architectural charm a plenty allowing residents and visitors to seamlessly journey from the 17th Century to the present day.

The Sash Window Workshop has 30 years experience working on timber windows and doors in Islington. To replace or draught proof your timber windows or doors, contact The Sash Window Workshop for a free, no obligation quote or call us on: 01344 868 668.