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.
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.
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.
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.
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” 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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?
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.