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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1297987



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: Islington

District Type: London Borough


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 29-Sep-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Sep-1994

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 369170

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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This list entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 18/07/2017

TQ3183SE 635-1/65/652

ISLINGTON NOEL ROAD (North side) Nos.7-9, 13-53 (Odd) and attached railings

(Formerly Listed as: NOEL ROAD Nos.7-53 (Odd))

29/09/72 GV II Terraced houses. c.1840. Yellow brick set in Flemish bond, stucco, roof obscured by parapet. Three storeys, two windows each except No. 9 which has four, including former No 11. Basement and ground floor stuccoed, the ground floor decorated with banded rustication. Segmental-arched entrance with pilaster-jambs, cornice and fanlight, with decorative glazing to Nos. 7-9, 17, 23, 31-39, 51; panelled doors of original design to Nos 7, 13-17, 25-27, 37-39, 51; the former No. 11 has a window in place of the door. Ground-floor windows round-arched. Stucco terminates at first-floor sill band. Upper windows flat-arched with gauged brick heads and iron balconies to first-floor windows; sashes of original design to Nos. 7 and 9 (ground floor), 13, 19 (first floor), 25, 29 (ground floor), 31-37, 39 (ground and first floors), 41-43, 45 (ground floor). Parapet to all houses, with considerable rebuilding, except cornice to Nos 17 and 31. Cast-iron railings to area. Note: Joe Orton (1933-1967), author and playwright lived in a bed-sit at 25 Noel Road from 1959 until his murder there in 1967. The London Borough of Islington has commemorated this with a plaque at second floor level. He had purchased the small flat, just 16’ by 12’, with his partner, Kenneth Halliwell. Orton had trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) between 1951 and 1953 (where he met Halliwell) and began his career as an assistant stage manager in Ipswich while collaborating with Halliwell as a writer. Their early works were rejected. Later as a solo writer, Orton would use pseudonyms such as Edna Welthorpe. In 1959 he wrote the play ‘Fred and Madge’ and the novel ‘Priapus in the Shrubbery’.

Orton reached the height of his career in the mid 1960s. His plays brought homosexuality into the open. In 1963, Orton wrote 'Entertaining Mr Sloane' (in theatres by 1964) and The Boy Hairdresser' which was sold to the BBC and re-titled 'The Ruffian on the Stair'. The play 'Loot' written in 1964, was revised and performed in 1965. 'What the Butler saw' was written in 1967. On 9 August in the same year, Halliwell murdered Orton and committed suicide in Noel Road. Orton and Halliwell had not been impressed with the local Islington Library’s range of books and in a form of protest, they began stealing and altering volumes. They extracted plates from art books and with 1,653 of these created montages on the walls of the flat. They also changed the covers and added material to the dust jackets. Orton confessed that ‘I used to stand in the corners after I’d smuggled the doctored books back into the library and then watch people read them. It was very fun, very interesting.’ The subterfuge did not last, however, and on 28 April 1962 the police entered the bed-sit and arrested the pair, who were found guilty and sentenced to six months in prison. Orton believed that the Magistrates gave a relatively long sentence ‘because we were queers’.

Orton was changed by the experience of prison, explaining in 1964 that it affected his attitude to society. He separated briefly from Halliwell thereafter and experienced a sense of liberation, a new detachment from his writing that unlocked his creativity. He was then able to scorn conventional society and focus on what he saw as its hypocrisy and double standards.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Willatts, E, Streets with a story The book of Islington London, (1986)
Joe Orton Online, Life and Work, accessed 14 July 2017 from
Remembering Kenneth Halliwell, The Guardian, accessed 14 July 2017 from

National Grid Reference: TQ 31798 83329


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End of official listing