Lost In Clerkenwell


As I sat at my computer this morning, a pair of long tailed tits attempted repeatedly to penetrate the double glazed windows beside me, possibly in order to keep me company.

Richard visited a little later, bringing the instruction manual for the hobs and returning our key. We had as enjoyable a conversation as always.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of colour slides from my Streets of London series. These are from June 2005

http://hidden-london.com/gazetteer/euston-square/ tells us that’In 1869 Euston Grove was extended south from Euston station through Euston Square to connect with Euston Road. The following year two lodges were completed at the grove’s intersection with Euston Road, both of which have now been converted to bars.’

This one is the Cider Tap. I believe the other building is called the Euston Tap. At the time of my photograph above, one of the buildings was being used by a charitable organisation with which I briefly carried out a consultancy role.

The two uniformed gentlemen at opposite corners of Florence Street, N1. are traffic wardens whose task it is to report parking violations. They are, of course most unpopular with drivers. The RAC has useful information on their website 

I wonder how long that heap of rubble and cone cordon occupied this corner of Islington’s Waterloo Terrace before the kerb was repaired.

http://www.closedpubs.co.uk/london/n1_islington_oldparrshead.html updates this picture. ‘The Old Parrs Head was situated at 66 Cross Street. Closed in the mid/late-2000s, the pub has the alternative address of 290 Upper Street. The bar area is a shop, the pub name can still be seen in tiling above the ground floor.’ So, here in Islington the process described above in Euston Grove has been reversed. Uses of London’s buildings are constantly changing.

Pilates Central is situated at 10-12 Gaskin Street. Most of the residential accommodation there consists of flats or apartments. You could rent a three bedroomed one for £1,900 per week, or, if you prefer, purchase a 3 bed penthouse for £3,300,000.

This section of Islington High Street is tucked in between buildings adjacent to Angel, Islington tube station.

Wikipedia tells us that ‘Staple Inn [in High Holborn, N1] dates from 1585. The building was once the wool staple, where wool was weighed and taxed. It survived the Great Fire of London, was extensively damaged by a Nazi German Luftwaffe aerial bomb in 1944 but was subsequently restored. It has a distinctive timber-framed façade, cruck roof and an internal courtyard.

The historic interiors include a great hall, used by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. The ground floor street frontage is let to shops and restaurants, required to use plainer signage than they do on less sensitive buildings. This building will be familiar with those that smoke “Old Holborn” tobacco, as formerly it featured on tins and pouches of this product, this logo is no longer in use.’

During my pipe-smoking days I often bought pipes, tobacco, and various paraphernalia from Shervington’s, the last outlet on the right. Now permanently closed it was one of the last such specialists I once frequented. As one gentleman I passed when we were both smoking quipped “there are not many of us about now”. Declining smoking and increasing rentals drove most of them out.

With his back to Staple Inn, facing down High Holborn towards us near the junction with Brooke Street stands Albert Toft’s bronze Royal Fusiliers war memorial.

Leather Lane Market 6.05

This is where I get a bit lost because I can’t read the road signs. I think this is part of the Leather Lane market;

Greville Street EC1 6.05

as is this corner of Greville Street;

Holborn 6.05

and I’m pretty sure I took this one from Holborn Viaduct. Is that Mount Pleasant, and what? The car park was probably temporary and will have been built over by now.

Sutton Walk SE1 6.05

Finally, we have another view of The London IMax Cinema from the corner of Sutton Walk, SE1

This evening the four of us dined on Jackie’s exquisite sausage casserole, with perfectly cooked carrots, broccoli, green beans, and mashed potato and swede. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Don Lotario, gran reserva Navarra 2009.

P.S. wdeod’s comments below are a useful supplement to this post.

68 responses to “Lost In Clerkenwell”

  1. I love your London ‘tours’, Derrick, having lived and studied fairly centrally (Russell Square, Lancaster Gate, Gloucester Rd., Kings Rd., Chelsea) there for 4 of my much younger years. The street-scapes do change fairly rapidly there. I don’t, however, know Clerkenwell, Euston. Islington well, so your photographs are all the more interesting to me.

  2. Strange behaviour from the long tailed tits. Recently we have had just one of the small flock in our back garden doing exactly the same thing….Very strange!

  3. We’ve a pair of ducks who wait beneath the bird caf’e …tree, for droppings of the edible kind. Long tailed tits, Robins blue tits and tree creepers chatter away in a malaise of feathers and flurry. The Drake has a pale blue beak and politely waits for his lady to finish before he pecks. It is lovely to watch except… i believe It is me who is deemed the intruder. *sigh* I only live here after all.

  4. Definitely Leather Lane. The Holborn Viaduct one is a little out. It is the junction of Mount Pleasant and Warner St immediately outside the Apple Tree – Google maps shows distinct lack of building – I think the tube runs a few feet below. The ‘… with his back …’ photo shows the Griffin marker showing the boundary of the City of London. A few yards below the surface is one of the secret tunnels (there was an anonymous doorway with ‘Entrance to Secret Bunker’ written into the dust nearby for many years). Built in the war (I think as a deep fast tube route that never happened) they tunneled to the Prudential Building (the big red one) who complained of subsidence. Without fuss, the chief engineer donned overalls, checked it out himself, agreed and stopped the tunnelling. It was used by GPO/BT for years and was sold recently I think. An other deep level tunnel (Stockwell) was used to house the Windrush passengers initially and another (Goodge St) the WW2 US London HQ.

  5. Memories…..
    I used to live on Islington Park Street, (in one of the houses not dissimilar to the ones in the photo with the yellow digger, above the shops), in the seventies, whilst studying at City University.
    We used to frequent the Hope and Anchor at the corner of Upper Street, and the Sultan Ahmet restaurant on Essex Road, amongst others.

      • I bought some bird feeders, just one for seeds and one for fat balls. We were then inundated by parakeets (SE London has loads of feral ones) and magpies (who are so clever that they would knock the feeders to the ground and then feast). I looked online found others experiencing similar ‘big’ bird problems. The solution was to enclose the seed, and a new peanut feeder, in two joined hanging basket frames – and leave the fat ball one open. The parakeets seems to have given up, the magpies make an occasional appearance, loads of LBJs (little brown jobbies) flit in and out of the baskets and the woodpeckers seem to rule the place. The pigeons pick up the spills and our cat cannot understand all the activity.

  6. Such interesting buildings. I love your London tours, Derrick. The Staple Inn facade is so striking, and the history there, as well. I can imagine the merchants.
    Most likely the birds were also interested in seeing your wonderful photos! 🙂

  7. Staple Inn was even there when I was last in London 🙂 Isn’t it a wonderful thing that a building can be made to last so long despite many attempts on its life! That is one of the magical things about your country – and Europe in general!!

  8. The Staple Inn really caught my eye. Such an old building and very striking looking. Lots of ghosts and stories.

  9. Nice Pics and description of the area in the past days and current time. Hope the traffic wardens stayed far away from your car!

  10. Those are fascinating shots of the Streets of London series. I trust some of those vistas would have changed over time, but if some day I drop into London, I will surely recognise some of the streets from your posts.

  11. We have lots of car parks like the one you feature. Whole tracts of land in Leeds have lost their buildings but gradually the area round the river is being redeveloped…

      • Oh, I imagine there have been lots of improvements, though not specifically in the last ten years. Most of the stuff I can see from the trainline was built or pulled down before my daughter was born, as far as I remember. Sadly, a lot of the buildings are buy-to-let flats as well. Still, it’s good that there are a few car parks – for those who need to drive into a Leeds for work, parking is a real headache.

  12. Our whole neighborhood is a heap of rubble at the moment. They are putting in a new septic system and line. Dreadful dirt clouds and respiratory issues for everyone! Yay

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