Back – without going away

I usually write a post to say that we are back from our holiday and resuming our usual daily life. This time, however, I am presented with a slight problem: although we were on holiday, we never actually went away and therefore cannot be said to be back, except perhaps in a metaphorical sense.

Of course, we did go away on day trips, some of which kept us within the boundaries of Greater London and others of which took us further afield, but in saying that I am perhaps getting ahead of myself as I have not yet posted about what we did. I will do so as and when I can find time to catch up on myself, so to speak.

Bowman's Foundry
Bowman’s Foundry

Having an errand to run I took a walk down Amwell Street and took a photo of this building which intrigues me. Once a “Non Ferrous Foundry”, established 1865, it is a private dwelling today and a listed building. The listing includes a couple of houses in the row to the left of the picture and their railings.

The Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul a few doors down boasts a foundation date of 1835, which gives a ball-park age for the row as a whole. Apart from that, I know nothing about the buildings or about F. Bowman who has left us this fascinating memento of the past.

Top of the back stairs
Top of the back stairs

If you have been following this blog for a while, you may remember the ongoing saga of “The Fungus on the Stairs”, and you may be thinking that the matter has been forgotten. Not so.

I last wrote about this topic on October 6th last year – see Fungus, the saga continues. Quite recently, activity has resumed on repairing the broken and fungus-infected staircase. Compare the photo above and the one below with those taken on October 6th.

A new staircase
A new staircase

They tell me that they have ripped out all the infected woodwork and treated the area in order to eliminate the fungus. I hope that is true because, otherwise, the problem will return and may spread.

Lion face
Lion face

Walking around Claremont Square, I was able to renew my acquaintance with this lion. He and his lamp preside over an entry door in a basement. Islington is a good place for lions: you find them all over the place as doorknockers and roof decorations.

Copyright © 2011 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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6 Responses to Back – without going away

  1. WOL says:

    As best as I can make out through the railing, Bowman was some kind of a pattern maker. Perhaps they founded brass or bronze. A perusal of was helpful in understanding the former occupant’s line of work. It looks as though at one time there was a door in the middle of the “shop window” – but there is obviously some sort of space below ground — a basement flat?. These old buildings fascinate me. Looks like whoever lives on the first floor has a lovely wrought iron railed balcony.

    We will hope the fungus is gone for good.

    • SilverTiger says:

      It certainly looks as if there was a typical shop front middle in the middle of Bowman’s but how that fits with the basement and the railings (which are listed and therefore old), I don’t know. It’s possible that they opened it just for ventilation and that customers entered and left by the door at the side.

      A few of these small workshops are still functioning. For example we know of a beautiful bindery, where books are still bound, and often pass it on one of the bus routes home. Most, though have been turned into modern shops or private homes and all that remains is the signage indicating the name and type of business.

      It is in the Council’s interest to have the job on the staircase done properly as, otherwise, they will have to start all over again and the work cannot have been cheap.

  2. The new stairs are beautiful! Not in the sense of traditional beauty, of course, but beautiful in the lack of fungus which would make them not so. I hope they stay nice and clean and fungus-free.

    • SilverTiger says:

      So do I, because if it starts up again, there is a danger that it could invade our flat and that would be disastrous for us.

      Today the decorators have arrived to paint the stairs and the surround.

  3. Alan Cook says:

    Hi, I was most interested in your blog regarding the F Bowman building as I can shed some light on the questions you raised. Frederick Bowman (1845-1918) is my two times Great Grandfather and started a foundry business that existed into the 1970’s, by which time it was run by my Grandfather Clifford Bowman. Entry was gained by two central doors (below the name ‘BOWMAN’) and there were no railings. After the business ceased trading the old shop front remained for a number of years until the premises were eventually turned into flats. It was at this time that some enlightened person thought it would be a good idea to incorporate the shop front into the design. Whilst now known as 13 Amwell Street the original address was in fact 95 Rosoman Street, although I’m not sure when this name change was made. The building was used as a home as well as a foundry for the casting of brass, gunmetal and aluminium (metals except iron, i.e. non ferrous). I hope this has been of some interest.

    • SilverTiger says:

      The information is of great interest indeed, and I thank you very much for passing it on. For me it adds very much to the value of the post and I hope other readers appreciate it too.

      While it is good when the identities and shop fronts of old business are preserved, it is sometimes frustrating to find that any information about the business and the people who ran it elude any attempts to discover them. Your comment is therefore very helpful and satisfying especially as you have a personal link to Bowman’s.

      I assume that if the entry was by the middle door, without the railings, the “area”, today accessible by steps, must have been covered over. Or was there perhaps a bridge from the pavement to the door?

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