Finsbury Square, EC2A
Road in/near Old Street, existing between 1777 and now
Print-friendly version of this page Old Street Roundabout is sometimes known as St Agnes Well after the shopping centre beneath it, while the area surrounding the roundabout is often colloquially known as Silicon Roundabout, owing to the prominence of British web-based companies there.
Finsbury Square is a 0.7-hectare square in central London which includes a six-rink grass bowling green.
Finsbury Square was developed in 1777 on the site of a previous area of green space to the north of the City of London known as Finsbury Fields, in the parish of St Luke
's and near Moorfields
. It is sited on the east side of City Road
, opposite the east side of Bunhill Fields
. Named after it, but several kilometers away, are Finsbury Park and its eponymous neighbourhood.
In 1784, Vincenzo Lunardi achieved the first successful attempt at hot air balloon flight from Finsbury Square.
Past residents of the square include Pascoe Grenfell Hill, Thomas Southwood Smith and Philip Henry Pye-Smith. It has also been the site of the bookshop of James Lackington and the first home of the rabbinical seminary that became the London School of Jewish Studies (1855–81), of the Greek Orthodox church of Saint Sophia and of the Roma
n Catholic Church of St Mary Moorfields
From 1907 to 1914, 39 Finsbury Square was the home of the City of London Yeomanry. The site is now occupied by City Gate House which was designed by Frederick Gould and Giles Gilbert Scott and completed in 1930.
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In 2008, there were around 15 media and high-tech companies in close proximity of the Silicon Roundabout, which forms the heart of East London Tech City. Plans to help accelerate the growth of the cluster were announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech given in 2010. A year later, Cameron announced that he was appointing entrepreneur Eric van der Kleij to lead the initiative. By 2011, approximately 200 firms were occupying the area, signifying a rapid increase in interest. Wired magazine updated this figure in 2012 and suggested some 5000 tech companies were located in the wider area centred on the Old Street
Google Campus opened in March 2012 in a seven-storey building near Old Street
station, beneath the roundabout, was originally opened in November 1901 by the first deep-level tube railway, the City & South London Railway, as part of an extension of its line from Moorgate
to Angel. The station is on the Bank branch of London Underground's Northern Line, between Moorgate
and Angel stations. It is also between Moorgate
and Essex Road
stations on National Rail's Northern City Line.