Newington Green was a hugely influential area in times past.
Newington Green as an area has a long history of links to education.
In the 1660s the area around Newington Green became a haven for non-conformist preachers and teachers, who had become social outcasts under the repressive laws of James II. After the Act of Uniformity in 1662, about 2,000 clergymen from across the country were banished from the church and many went to the Newington Green area to worship in secret. Several academies were set up to educate those refused entry to Oxford and Cambridge for religious reasons. Both Daniel Defoe and Samuel Wesley were educated at Charles Morton’s Academy (1667-1696). Charles Morton emigrated to America in 1686 and became the first Vice-President of Harvard University. Defoe married a girl from the area and lived in the locality for many years.
Mary Wollstonecraft, the writer of the seminal work, Vindication of the rights of Women and mother to Mary Shelley, was another famous resident of Newington Green. She ran a girl’s school in the area from 1784 until 1786 despite having little formal education herself. Samuel Rogers, the poet and wit, lived in the area from 1763 until 1793 and the poetess Leatitia Barbauld moved to the area of the Green in 1802 (see fig. 8). Edgar Allen Poe (see fig. 10) also went to school nearby. He wrote of the green in 1817-20 as being “a misty-looking village of England with gigantic and gnarled trees… deeply shadowed avenues… and a thousand shrubberies!”
Find out more about the history of Newington Green here: