Canonbury Towers
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Canonbury Towers

The oldest building in Islington where Goldsmith once wrote.


The most historic building in Islington is the Canonbury Tower, a remarkably preserved Tudor building. It was built as country residence for the Prior of St. Bartholomew in the time of King Henry VII, and later transformed into a mansion by Sir John Spenser in the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

Sir John was a good friend of Sir Francis Bacon, as was his son in law, Lord Compton, 1st Earl of Northampton, who inherited the mansion.

The tower has been occupied by many historical figures, including Francis Bacon and Oliver Goldsmith (who wrote The Vicar of Wakefield and The Traveller here).

The Tower Theatre Company was based here from 1953 to 2003. It is currently used as a Masonic research centre.

It is said that underground passages connect to the Priory of St Bartholomew in West Smithfield.

Location: Canonbury Place, Islington, N1 2NQ