Sunday, December 21st 2014
As is usual for a Sunday, we trundled our shopping trolley round to Pret (the relatively new one in the N1 Centre), where we had breakfast, and thence to Sainsbury’s to do the weekly shopping. Having returned home and put the shopping away, we lazed around for a while and then thought of going out for a stroll.
It was cold and we didn’t spend long on our walk. Below I show you some of the photos I took along the way.
It might seem odd that the Judge’s Entrance of a court – Clerkenwell County Court, in this case – is decorated with a Christmas wreath but that is easy to explain.
Having become surplus to requirements, what with boundary alterations and other changes in circumstances, the old courthouse closed in 2006 and has been converted into apartments.
The Judge’s Entrance is in a pleasant street called Duncan Terrace. It runs parallel to Colebrook Row and in between them runs a narrow park or garden called Duncan Terrace Gardens. The verb “runs” is appropriate because what this was once a stretch of Hugh Myddelton’s New River, now covered and turned into a park. In the foreground of the above picture is a tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) into which have been inserted a set of nesting boxes of various sizes, suitable to provide nesting for small birds and insects.
Created by London Fieldworks and entitled Spontaneous City, this structure is both a work of art and a practical contribution to management of the environment. The actual design is said to be inspired by that of the rows of Georgian houses in the neighbourhood. I’m not sure that I see this myself but I am glad that the smaller members of the environment are being catered for. You will find some more information about the project here.
Crossing the City Road and Goswell Road, one comes to what is now a small park called variously Owen’s Field (singular) and Owen Fields (plural). I think the reason for the confusion is that this open space was once very much bigger than it is today, the area being open fields, part of which was used as butts – a public range for practising use of the bow and arrows. The Owen in question was a certain Dame Owen who endowed almshouses here. In the centre of the Field(s) is a concrete plinth upon which resides a sculpture in stainless steel. It is entitled Edgerunner and is by Romanian, and later British, sculptor Paul Neagu (1938-1004). I can’t say that this object does anything for me but click on the picture to see a slideshow of various views and make up your own mind.
On the corner of the Owen Street and St John Street is what was once a pub called the Crown and Woolpack, for a while a haunt of Lenin during his exile in London. Today is it a hairdressing salon but the exterior still shows that it was once a pub, as is also suggested by this figure at one end.
This fine relief decorates that doorway of a fine building in St John Street today occupied by the City University but built in 1894-6 as the Northampton Institute. I always stop to admire this Grade II listed building with its beautiful clock. I do not know who carved the relief (the architect was E.W. Mountford) or what the iconography means. That is a subject for further research…