The Amwell Society celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. It was founded in 1972 to preserve the special character of the area bounded by Pentonville Road, Penton Rise, Kings Cross Road, Farringdon Road, Rosebery Avenue and St John Street. It recruited local residents with an interest in architecture and history, and a focus on heritage remains to this day. Today over 200 households belong to the Society.
Some of our current members were here at the beginning and hold the history of the Society, but as we continually welcome new members who move into the area, so the Amwell Society evolves with the changing times and membership. Our new website is a good example of this. We have brought it up to date, and hope it will be used not only to introduce people to the Amwell area and inform them of its history and its present amenities and attractions, but also to keep our membership and others abreast of what is happening so that they feel involved in the community.
The Amwell Society was established at a time when the area, which had become run down was undergoing redevelopment. A group of residents who were concerned that the important architectural heritage of the area, primarily 18th and 19th century houses, would be damaged, came together to form a campaigning body to preserve the special character of the streets. Over the years the Amwell Society has built up a reputation as a guardian of the area’s heritage. However it is not only concerned with preservation, but seeks to promote high standards of design in new developments. The Society has an additional role in providing education about the history of the area and achieves this through talks and publications.
The Amwell Society also has an interest in issues which affect the environment and the community. We are concerned with clean streets and open space, of which there is very little in Islington; we are keen to foster a community spirit through social events, and support community safety through membership of the Safer Neighbourhoods Panel; we recognise the value of our local shops and work with them to promote their business.
We want the Amwell Society to be open to everyone who lives and works in the area. People will have different priorities, but almost everyone wants to live in a place which looks attractive, feels safe and has a sense of community and things happening where people can join in and avoid some of the feelings of isolation too often experienced in a big city. The Amwell area has the additional advantage of its exceptional historical interest and heritage which needs protection and promotion. We believe that the Society has something to offer to the achievement of all these aspirations.
The Amwell Society gets its income from various sources such as legacies and filming in the area, so we are able to keep our membership fees low. No one should feel that they cannot afford to be a member. The Society is neither a charity nor a limited company, but has a constitution and is governed by a committee which is recruited from the membership and elected annually at the annual general meeting.