Archway and some libraries

Tigger has a day off work today (like last Tuesday) and so we are going out and about but in a fairly relaxed way.

King’s Cross and St Pancras

We started by walking down to King’s Cross Station. The temperature today has again risen a few degrees (to a majestic 11°C) making it quite pleasant out.

King’s Cross Departures

For our coffee, we went into King’s Cross Station Departures and…

The terrace

…took the escalator up to the terrace. We bought coffee from the Costa takeaway outlet and sat at a table neat the rail, watching the activity in the station.

Roof support

From our seats we had a good view of the unusual roof support that holds up the station roof while leaving the busy floor space completely free.

Aboard the 17

After our coffee, we went round into York Way and caught a number 17 bus.

Archway
Photo by Tigger

The bus brought us to Archway though we did not go near enough to the famous road bridge to take a photo.

The Garden Cafe

We walked down Junction Road, looking for somewhere for lunch. We noted a couple of “possibles” but then spotted the Garden Cafe.

Inside the cafe

It was not at all busy and we were soon served. We had a good cafe lunch of the sort we like.

Once the Friendly Society
Photo by Tigger

After lunch, we went back along Junction Road, passing this building still bearing an inscription identifying it as once the premises of the London Friendly Society. A history of this enterprise and its modern heir, see here.

Cut-price store

We visited this cut-price store in case there was something to interest us. There was: Tigger bought some wool for her crochet projects!

Archway Library

We then visited the first of today’s libraries – or rather, we failed to visit it because it closes on Tuesdays. Archway Library is situated in the basement of a residential tower and therefore looks rather dark and gloomy but once inside, that impression fades.

The bus stop

We then went to the bus stop to catch a bus for the next stage of the outing.

Once more the 17

We boarded a 17 again, though in the opposite direction this time.

Caledonian Road

We left the bus partway along Caledonian Road (or The Caledonian Road, as some call it).

West Library

Turning up Bridgeman Road, we came to the handsome West Library. Built in 1906-8, with a contribution from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, it is now a Grade II listed building.

The “lantern”

Note the strange metal snd glass “lantern” on the roof.

We asked if we might take photos inside but received a flat “No!” in response. Boroughs do vary in how willing they are to allow photography inside their buildings.

St Andrew’s enshrouded

On a nearby corner, we spied St Andrew’s Church, completely enshrouded in netting, to what purpose I do not know. I have not seen any other examples of this.

We paused at Costa
Coffee break!
Photo by Tigger

Back on the main road, we found a branch of Costa Coffee and went in for a welcome coffee break.

Old pub

Continuing on, we noticed this old pub, now obviously repurposed as a residential property but painted in a contrasting colour as though to draw attention to it and its past life.

From chapel to paint shop

Not far sway we discovered another example of changed usage: this old church or chapel has resounded to its last sermon and is now a shop selling paint.

Aboard the 153

We now caught a 153 single-deck bus which carried through the Angel down St John Street.

Finsbury Library

Thus we came to our third library, the Finsbury Library, the one that is nearest home.

Inside Finsbury Library

We went into the library and spent some time in there. Tigger was studying some books and I was writing this blog post!

London Metropolitan University

Leaving the library, we passed this handsome building with its clock tower which is currently one of the sites of the London Metropolitan University (it has buildings all over London). It was not far from here to home so we walked rather than taking the bus.

At home, we made tea and settled in for a relaxed evening. This was a welcome break from the workaday week.

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A stroll with sculpture

The temperature has risen a few degrees so that it is not quite as bitingly cold as it has been recently but the sky is grey and cloudy.

Sainsbury’s

We shopped this morning at Sainsbury’s as usual and returned home for a leisurely lunch.

Cloudy skies in Penton Street

After lunch, we set out on foot along Penton Street.

Path through the estate

We went down this path through a housing estate. These paths are supposed to be reserved for pedestrians (as the iron barriers indicate) yet we frequently encounter cyclists on them with the consequent risk to life and limb.

A “cliff of dwellings”

We passed this residential block of a design that I have described as “a cliff of dwellings” and we wondered what it is like living in one such. Is it noisy? I can imagine it might be, especially in summer when people open their windows.

The Thornhill Arms

We passed this pub called the Thornhill Arms. I would guess it dates from the late Victorian period, say the 1890s.

Wharfdale Road

This is one of the backstreets we passed through, this one being called Wharfdale Road.

Lounge, Premier Inn
Photo by Tigger

We found a branch of the Premier Inn hotel chain and went in for coffee. When I went to the bar to order, I was directed to a coffee machine to serve myself! (I still had to pay for the coffees, though!)

Continuing on, we came to the King’s Cross area and the entertainment and cultural centre called Kings Place. Round the outside are a number of sculptures, some of which we had seen before and some that were new to us. Below is a selection.

Ark: High and Dry (2917)
Jon Buck

Some pieces, like this one were abstract – or perhaps I should say “non-representational”. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned or simpleminded (or both) but I find it hard to relate to such works. If art is supposed to be expressive, it is hard to see what such works are trying to express.

Fish on a Bicycle (1997)
Steven Gregory

Whether the intention is humorous or serious, you can at least see what it is and it has a no-nonsense title.

Breakout II (1992)
Bryan Kneale

As I don’t know what to say about this one, I won’t say anything!

Boar II (1999)
Terence Coventry

This is representational though stylised, perhaps to give an impression of the strength and vigour of the wild boar.

Sitting Couple (1989)
Lynn Chadwick

There were two works by Lynn Chadwick, the above, which we had seen (and photographed) before and a second (below) which we had not previously seen.

Stairs (1991)
Lynn Chadwick

I have to say that I like Chadwick’s sculptures. They have a mysterious aura about them and a definite presence. With the Sitting Couple, for example, I almost feel that when I stand in front of them, they are aware of me. Curious but fascinating.

Battlebridge Basin
Regent’s Canal

Kings Place is beside the Regent’s Canal and its Battlebridge Basin, which adds something to its character.

Granary Square

Walking on once more, web passed through Granary Square

Camley Street Natural Park

Further on, we had a view, this time across the Regent’s Canal, of the Camley Street Natural Park that we had visited during our New Year’s walk.

St Pancras Lock

We passed the St Pancras Lock and on this occasion there was a barge in the process of going through it which is always fascinating to watch.

St Pancras Old Church

We walked through the grounds of St Pancras Old Church. This was once the church’s burial ground but has now been renamed St Pancras Garden though the remaining tombs leave no doubt as to its nature.

Waiting for the bus

As we had met our walking target for today, we felt justified in taking the bus for the journey home. There is a bus stop conveniently located in front of the church where we had a bus within a few minutes.

Aboard the 214

We boarded a number 214 bus which carried us past St Pancras and King’s Cross Stations and up the hill back to the Angel and home.

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Sloane Square to Knightsbridge

We hadn’t a particular plan in mind on starting out but let the day develop as it might. We did, though, decide to go for coffee, choosing Caffè Nero in Exmouth Market for that.

Myddelton Square Garden

Setting out, we crossed through Myddelton Square Garden which was deserted but for a couple of dog walkers. The weather was dry but cold.

Caffè Nero

We found a table at Caffè Nero and I went to the counter to order our coffees. For years, we had the little blue and white loyalty cards that the assistant stamped when you made a purchase and which gave you a free coffee when full. The cards still exist but we now have ours on our mobiles as part of the Caffè Nero app. I had earned two vouchers from our previous visits and so today’s coffees cost us exactly nothing!

Cafe Maya

After coffee, we went to the nearby bus stop to catch a number 19. There was a bit of a wait for the next one and just across the road was Cafe Maya. This suggested the possibility of going there for an early lunch. No sooner thought of than done!

Aboard the 19

After lunch, we went back to the bus stop and caught a number 19. It was fairly full and we occupied the rear-facing seats in the centre.

Duke of York’s Square

In the meantime, the idea had come to visit the Saatchi Gallery and so we left the bus in Sloane Square and walked to Duke of York’s Square where there was a market in full swing.

Approaching the Saatchi

The Saatchi Gallery is in the Grade II* listed Duke of York’s Headquarters. As we approaching we were struck by how few people were there. The reason soon became clear: the gallery was closed!

Draycott Place

We started wandering and exploring, more or less at random. This is Draycott Place, a street of elegant town houses, many of which are now divided into flats.

Old Guinness Trust property

We observed this residential block built by the Guinness Trust in 1892, a Victorian project in “social housing”.

Marlborough Primary School
Photo by Tigger

We came upon the Marlborough Primary School which attracted our attention because it is a fairly modern build but with fragments of the original 1902 building incorporated in the façade.

Mossop Street Telephone Exchange

In Mossop Street, we found this telephone exchange dated 1930. There is very little to show that it is still a telephone exchange and we are uncertain whether it still functions in that role.

Old Harrods Store

If you think of Harrods as being forever a resident of its current location in Knightsbridge it might surprise you to come across this handsome building bearing the Harrods name and the date 1911.

Muchelin House
Decorative Panels

We reached Michelin House, built in 1911 as the UK headquarters of the famous tyre manufacturer. Along the wall is a set of decorative panels with a motoring theme.

Michelin House entrance
Photo by Tigger

The Art Deco entrance is particularly eye-catching and beautiful. Once a tyre retail outlet, with a tyre-fitting bay, the building is now home to a restaurant and oyster bar.

We thought about stopping somewhere for coffee and a warm but everywhere was crowded so we kept on going back to the main Brompton Road.

Brompton Oratory

Here stands the Brompton Oratory, also known as the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which was consecrated in 1884. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Victoria and Albert Museum

We crossed into Thurloe Place to wait for a bus in front of another famous building, a secular one this time, the Victoria and Albert Museum. We didn’t visit it today but will no doubt do so on another occasion.

Cabmen’s shelter

Waiting for the bus gave us time to photograph the nearby Cabmen’s Shelter, one of the 13 surviving out of the 61 originally built. For a history of these curious but important buildings and the organisation that supports them, see this Wikipedia article.

Aboard the 74

We boarded a number 74 bus to start our journey home.

Old Marylebone Town Hall

We changed buses in Marylebone Road close to the fine old Marylebone Town Hall. Built in 1914-20 it is now a Grade II listed building, listed under its alternative name, Westminster Council House.

Here we caught a number 205 bus that was too packed for me to take photos but it carried us quickly and safely back home to the Angel. (I use the adjective “safely” advisedly as a bus caught fire at the Angel only a couple of days ago. Happily, no one was hurt.)

It was pleasant to leave the cold behind us, make tea and relax. Tomorrow is another day and we shall see where it takes us.

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