I went for a walk to take some photos in order to test the new software for my geotagger. That’s a story in itself and I will recount it another time. It was a warm day but a little overcast.
These disembodied angel wings, symbolise the area of Islington where we live, which is known as The Angel. I’m not sure that they have any artistic merit but I have grown rather fond of them. (Much the same could be said of local affection for that rusty lump of iron called “The Angel of the North”, I imagine.)
I don’t know what strings have to be pulled or who has to pull them in order to get a street closed off like this. Or is it to prevent it turning into a so-called rat-run? Such streets always intrigue me and this one with its trees and nice terrace of houses seemed very attractive.
Another quaint feature of street design of which there are many examples in the Islington area, is the raised pavement. As well as the raised pavement there are steps up to each of the houses. Perhaps the ground slopes here and this is one way of dealing with it.
Once you venture into the back streets you don’t know what you will find. Curiosities like this wedge-shaped corner building, a number of whose windows have been blinded. (Surely there were windows too on the blank section of wall.) I once lived in a house like this and used to stand in the window imagining the house was a ship that I was directing along the road!
Here is another corner building, the King of Denmark pub. The king in question is said to be King Canute or Cnut, though I have no idea why he is being celebrated. Then, again, why not? I don’t know the age of the pub but it looks like a study piece Victorian architecture.
This rather handsome entrance belongs to what is now a residential property, but what was it originally? The yard could have belonged to a factory or to a merchant; or it could have been a stables or a coach yard. The present gates are modern and I wonder what happened to the original ones. Perhaps they rusted away or were sold for scrap.
It may be overcast (it is also warm and humid) but these trees have no doubt that it is spring. They could not cram more blossom onto their branches. No so long ago, such whiteness would have been snow.
This secondhand shop intrigues me, though the stuffed and preserved animals make me feel queasy. It opens intermittently and has been up for sale for as long as I have lived in Islington but it keeps on going. The owner is in the picture, if you can guess who that is.
Now it’s off home to see whether the geotagger software works as advertised.
Update April 29th 2010
It is very cheering when readers join in and add information to a post. I am happy to say that I have received not one, but two such contributions to this article.
The King of Denmark
I should perhaps return to the King of Denmark when I can and see what its current status is.
Tigger did some research on this and came up with a very interesting history of the Dove Family.
The Doves had more than one yard in their long career and the one that I photographed, in Cloudesley Place, was opened in 1901. They were a family of builders, responsible for a number of important buildings in the Islington area and elsewhere. The firm started with William Spencer Dove (1793-1869) whose two sons started up in their turn in 1852 as Dove Bros. The Cloudesley Place yard belonged to them and continued in use until 1970 when the last member of the family retired.
More details on the Dove Family and the history of the period will be found on the British History Online site. (This site is worth bookmarking as it is a treasurehouse of historical information on many subjects.) The paragraph on the Dove Family is on this page, but you will have to scroll about half-way down a long page to find it. (Hint: if you are using Firefox, use Find with “dove” as the target.)
Just typing “William Spencer Dove” into Google also produces a surprisingly large number of references. He was a very active building contractor.
My thanks to both informants!