Down City Road to Moorgate

This morning I went to see my optician who has a shop near Moorfields Eye Hospital, conveniently enough, and then I walked down City Road to Moorgate, where I had other business.

A stand of "Boris Bikes"
A stand of “Boris Bikes”

This stand of “Boris Bikes” is at the junction of City Road and Old Street. In case you haven’t heard of them, these bikes are for public hire and are part of Mayor Boris Johnson’s attempts to encourage the usage of bicycles in London. He does at least cycle to work himself, which is a point (some would say the only point) in his favour.

Bunhill Fields Graveyard
Bunhill Fields Graveyard

On the way, I went into the Bunhill Nonconformists’ graveyard. This is an interesting place and I have written about it before. Some famous people are buried or remembered here. You may be able to make out the name Daniel Defoe on the white monument and in a corner over to the left (but out of shot) is the tomb of John Bunyan.

Memorial stone to William Blake and his wife
Memorial stone to William Blake and his wife

The extraordinary poet and painter William Blake is also buried here, along with his wife, even though the graveyard management isn’t quite sure where. I am intrigued by the fact the someone still cares enough about Blake to maintain these floral tributes beside the stone.

Invertebrate hotel
Invertebrate hotel

The structure in the above photo has arrived since my last visit. You might at first sight mistake it for a piece of modern art but, fortunately, it’s better than that. It is what is commonly called a “bug hotel”[1] and is designed to provide living quarters for invertebrates and to encourage them to thrive. I am very pleased to see it here and hope that the idea will be taken up in other graveyards as these are good sites for them.

Moorgate Underground Station
Moorgate Underground Station

On the way home, I waited for the bus at the stop in front of Moorgate tube station. I am not sure of the date of this building but it is a typical example of its type, where the railway system uses only the ground floor (and not always all of that) and the upper floors are rented out as offices, making useful revenue.

Face One Face Two

Opposite the bus stop is a large building called Britannic House. As we often change buses here, we have time to study the decorations on the building which include many sculpted faces. They are all different and the above are but two examples. I think there must be around 50 in all.

Grand buildings at Finsbury Square
Grand buildings at Finsbury Square

I took the above picture through the window of the bus when it stopped at Finsbury Square. I was lucky to bag the front seat upstairs 🙂 These buildings always impress me and I am intrigued by the figure standing on a globe on top of the tower. (You might just be able to make it out in the larger version of the picture.)

The bus stop and the Angel
The bus stop and the Angel

Passengers for the Angel dismount here. This is where two busy and historically important roads meet: Goswell Road on the left, and City Road on the right. Their joining is brilliantly punctuated by the Smith clock tower.

This triangle has changed its form and size many times over the years. In Victorian days, there were “sanitary conveniences” (or public toilets in our parlance) here but they have long since disappeared. I speculate that they – or their vestiges – still exist down below under the smooth surface.

The old Angel station
The old Angel station

Across the road is this ramshackle-looking structure. It is in fact the superstructure of the original Angel tube station. It was quite small and the platforms were together on an island between the north- and south-bound tracks. As the Angel interchange became busier and busier, the station became inadequate and at rush hours there was a danger of people being pushed off the platforms. The new and bigger station is round the corner in Islington High Street. What is the future of the old one?

Decorative sculpture, Moorgate Underground Station
Decorative sculpture, Moorgate Underground Station

1. I very much deprecate the use of the word “bug” to describe small wild creatures. The term is pejorative and its general use (regrettably, often in museums and zoos as well as in books for children) encourages people to despise and treat them with disgust. These creatures, though small, and admittedly sometimes a nuisance, are in fact essential to the health of our environment and should be treated with respect.

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger,, All rights reserved.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to Down City Road to Moorgate

  1. WOL says:

    Your posts such as this one often remind me of those “spy gadget” minicams that are mounted on the frame of a pair of eyeglasses and show whatever the wearer of the glasses is looking at. I do not find this off-putting in the least — I feel as though I’m seeing your world as you see it. It’s interesting to be shown the details of your surroundings that attract your attention.

    I like the “invertebrate lodgings” — gardeners here build “butterfly houses” to provide butterflies with protection from the weather and shelter from cool night temperatures in a place where birds cannot get at them.

    This must be the “eye month” — I’ve got an appointment with my ophthalmologist next week. Hope I get a good report! —

    • SilverTiger says:

      Each moment in each place is a unique experience and worth capturing as far as this is possible. Perhaps one day in the future a photo of mine was cast precious light on the history of a place as chance pictures taken in the Victorian age do for us now.

      I am used to seeing habitats for different species of small creatures created in parks and gardens but this is the first instance of something apparently custom-made for the job. It has “niches”, each with a different sort of habitat suitable for a different species.

      People are beginning to realize that the cities, far from being inimical to wildlife, often provide valuable oases where it can survive and even flourish.

  2. AEJ says:

    Why do invertebrates need fancy hotels? They have OUR houses! 🙂

    • SilverTiger says:

      I think they tend to find themselves persecuted in our houses!

      The ones that inhabit the “hotels” are probably their country cousins who probably wouldn’t move in with us anyway.

      Either way it’s best they stay outside, I think 🙂

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