The Islington estate was built in 1865 on a site that was reputed to have once been the home of Sir Robert Duce, a 17th century Lord Mayor of London. It was the second estate built by Peabody and is now the oldest one we still own. Designed by Henry Astley Darbishire, Peabody architect until 1885, the first four blocks cost just over £40,000 to build. By 1965, the estate had grown to 10 blocks.
An annual report in 1866 praised the estate for its ‘good order and contentment’, as well as the ‘health and morality of the children’. In 1883, the land was mortgaged to Rothschilds in one of the Trustees' earliest borrowing exercises.
During the Second World War the Islington estate suffered damage from incendiary and flying bombs. In 1996, major portions of the estate – namely Peabody House, the 12 workshops in Peabody Yard, and Blocks A to D – were all designated Grade II listed buildings by the Department of National Heritage because of their significance in the history of housing provision for the working classes.