The row of faces above comes from a building in Islington, one that I like and often photograph. If you haven’t guessed what it is by then, the answer is near the end of the article.
I went out today to photograph a clock. This clock is also in Islington and I have become very fond of it.
It stands in the strange triangle where City Road and Goswell Road meet. This area has recently been refurbished. Alarmed when the clock disappeared, I was happily reassured when it came back, freshly painted and gilded.
The clock was presented by the firm whose advertisement appears on it, J Smith & Son (Clerkenwell) Ltd. Founded in 1780, the company’s original business was clock making but today, as their own account of their history tells us, they specialize in the supply of metals.
The clock remains as a reminder of their beginnings and is a handsome decoration of this corner of Islington. Long may it remain there.
I have to admit to being somewhat conservative when it comes to clock faces. I like this robust, no-nonsense round dial with clearly marked minute ticks and Roman numerals. The hands have a nice solidity too.
I don’t know whether the company made this clock and when it was set up here in Islington but I am trying to find out and if I discover any useful information I will post a follow-up article about it.
The work gloves you see on the pediment presumably belonged to the workman nearby. The circle around the clock on the pavement contains the rhyme Up and down the City Road, In and out the Eagle, That’s the way the money goes. Pop goes the weasel.
Just as I was talking to the workman, another chap approached and exclaimed “The Eagle no longer exists! They should have done their research before writing that!” Then he looked narrowly at me and asked “Are you the artist?” I quickly denied all guilt in that department…
Walking on down I came to the Regent’s Canal. It passes through the Islington Tunnel, under the place where I was standing to take the above photo.
It is a pleasant walk along the canal on a sunny day. Its traffic is slower and quieter than that on the surrounding roads.
Further along, you come to a little park called Graham Street Park, beside which is a jetty where I had this rather dreamy view of the distant City (you can see the Gherkin hiding demurely in the haze).
I also met this pigeon on the jetty and you know I can never resist a pigeon in close-up, especially a handsome one with clean coral-pink legs like this chap. He was probably hoping for a hand-out but, if so, was disappointed.
Did you guess where the faces at the top are to be found? They belong to the beautiful building on the corner of Pentonville Road and Islington High Street, that was once a hotel and now accommodates a branch of the Cooperative Bank. They are the facing on a decorative ledge that divides the 3rd and 4th floors of the building.
I will leave you with a little mystery. I don’t know the answer to this myself but I expect there is someone somewhere who does.
Why does this door have double doorknockers? Do you use both or only one and, in that case, which one do you use? “Knock the left for Peter, the right for Paul”? It seems unlikely. Maybe the occupants are deaf and it takes a good pummelling with both hands to attract their attention. Then again, there seems to be a doorbell too…
See update on the clock here.