Created By: Islington Society
The land-locked enclave off Upper Street now comprising Almeida Street, Battishill Street, Napier Terrace and Waterloo Terrace was once the physic garden of distinguished physician Dr William Pitcairn FRS (1712 - 91).
In 1750 Pitcairn was elected as physician to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, becoming treasurer in 1784 and from then on lived in the treasurer’s house in the hospital. He acquired his “country residence” (as the Dictionary of National Biography described it) in Upper Street, Islington, in 1772 and created a five acre botanical garden behind it. He was an accomplished botanist who employed collectors in the East and West Indies.
After Pitcairn’s death in 1791 his house and garden were sold by auction and acquired by John Wilson (1753 – 1826). Wilson was a prosperous merchant in silk cloth with warehouse and offices in Wood Street, Cheapside. Following the purchase of Pitcairn’s estate, Wilson moved from Highbury Place to Pitcairn’s house, which was located in Upper Street on the southern corner of what is now Almeida Street.