Newington is a part of central London, England, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It was an ancient parish and the site of the early administration of the county of Surrey. It was the location of the County of London Sessions House from 1917, in a building now occupied by the Inner London Crown Court.
The area remained as a farming village with a low level of population until the second half of the 18th century. There was a little industry, for example, the manufacture of clay pipes for tobacco smoking. In William Shakespeare's time, there was a theatre called Newington Butts (also the name of a street in the area) and later there were further theatres. Newington gained in importance with the creation of the Westminster Bridge in 1750 and the associated improvements of London Bridge which required a series of new roads across St George's Fields to interconnect the routes from them and allow traffic from Westminster and Chelsea and places further north to travel south and to Southwark without transitting through the City. These routes were Westminster Bridge Road and Borough Road for the West End and Southwark; for the route to the south London Road and St George's Road supplemented and by-passed the Borough High Street and Newington Causeway. All of these roads converged at a junction where there was a blacksmith's forge and inn called Elephant and Castle which then became a name to signify the area. Traffic heading to the southeast from the West End was connected to the older route from the City of London and Southwark to Kent as New Kent Road from Newington to a junction with the older route at the Bricklayers Arms.
New roads brought development opportunities. The local landowner started to sell some of his farmland. The 19th century brought more dense speculative housebuilding, and some philanthropic provision too. The Trinity House Newington Estate, laid out on on property the institution was left in the seventeenth century, became a high class residential district and is still largely in existence.
Further urban stimulus was given by the arrival of mainline railway routes from the City to the south, the London, Chatham and Dover Railway built a station at Elephant and Castle in 1863. In 1890 the City and South London Railway (now the Northern Line City Branch of London Underground) was projected through the area with stations at what was termed 'Kennington' (but in fact within Newington) and also at Elephant. In 1906 the new Bakerloo line of London Underground also terminated at the Elephant.
The parish of Newington St Mary was part of the Brixton Hundred of Surrey and this contained all of the manor of Walworth. In 1855 it came within the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works and the parish vestry was incorporated as a local authority. In 1889 the parish became part of the County of London. There was a reorganisation of local government in 1900 and the parish became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark and the vestry was abolished. The civil parish was finally abolished in 1930. The parish was of 633 acres (2.56 km2) and the population peaked in 1901 at 121,863. Newington is the northern part of Walworth on the adjacent map.
The ancient parish, dedicated to St Mary, was in the Diocese of Winchester until 1877, then the Diocese of Rochester until 1905, and then finally in the Diocese of Southwark. From 1826, as the population of Newington increased, a number of new parishes were formed:
In addition, as the population of neighbouring areas increased, parts of Newington parish were included in new parishes:
The scientist Michael Faraday was born here, in Newington Butts, in 1791. Charles Babbage (1791-1871), the promoter of the first computing machine, in Walworth Road; William Jowett, a 19th-century missionary and author, was born at Newington in 1787, as was the visionary English artist Samuel Palmer in 1805 in Surrey Square. Also born here was William John Swainson (1789-1855), the ornithologist and renowned natural history artist.