The volume is the first to cover parts of Middlesex which lay from 1889 until 1965 within the administrative county of London, with histories of the parishes of Islington and Stoke Newington. Before their inclusion in Greater London the parishes embraced the metropolitan boroughs of Islington and Stoke Newington, with a total population of over 250,000. Detached parts of Hornsey parish are included in the account of Stoke Newington. Islington, stretching north from where two routes from the City met at the Angel, was built up early with roadside settlements along Upper Street and High Street, forming Islington town, and farther north at bower and Upper Holloway. Canonbury, Highbury, and Barnsbury, which had been medieval manors, were built up as middle-class suburbs in the 19th century. The south-west corner of the parish, near King's Cross, was given over to industry, working-class housing, and institutions, which included the royal Caledonian asylum, the Metropolitan cattle market, and Holloway and Pentonville prisons. Islington was noted in the 19th century for its evangelical churchmanship and in the 20th for local political issues.
Stoke Newington lay on the north-east side of Islington and was a much smaller parish. Settlement grew up along High Street, which was a stretch of Ermine Street forming the eastern boundary with Hackney, and along Church Street, which joined it at right angles. Stoke Newington was favoured by wealthy City men, many of whom from the late 17th century had marked nonconformist leanings. From the 19th century successive waves of immi-grants from London and its east end gradually changed the character of the parish, although they did not reach the north-western part until the building of the large Woodberry Down estate after the Second World War. The area today contains little open space, apart from Highbury Fields in Islington and Clissold Park and Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington. Most of the housing consists of 19th-century terraces and villas. Large-scale refurbishment from the 1960s has helped to promote conservation but, by leading to the 'gentrification' of parts of Islington, to produce controversy and social divisions.