Hugh Myddelton and Sam Collins

In my previous post, I mentioned the New River, a grand project conceived and carried through by Sir Hugh Myddelton (1560-1631).

Well, here is Sir Hugh or, at least, a statue of him, erected as a memorial in 1862. A plaque on the rear tells us that the statue (of Sicilian marble) was presented by the MP for Finsbury, Sir Samuel Morton Peto. The granite plinth was financed by voluntary subscription and a grant from Islington Vestry. The plaque omits the name of the sculptor, John Thomas.

Although the memorial is now protected by railings, it was originally conceived, appropriately enough, as a drinking fountain. You may be able to make out the two bowls guarded by a pair of putti.

The memorial is now a Grade II listed building.

The memorial is sited on the pavement at the south end of Islington Green, a pleasant green space that also accommodates Islington War Memorial which, strangely, takes the firm of a stone ring leaning against a stone plinth.

To the north of the Green runs an open passageway linking Upper Street and Essex Road. The passageway is home to a couple of eateries and a medium-sized Waterstones bookshop.

Above the shop at second-floor level, one can see a plaque indicating that this was the site of Collins Music Hall from 1863 to 1958.

In 1863, Sam Collins leased the premises at the rear of a pub for his music hall. Sam remained in charge only for a couple of years or so but his project was a success and continued operating under his name.

The façade as we see it today dates from a rebuilding of the premises in 1897. Nothing daunted, the music hall continued until it was finally destroyed by a fire in 1958. Apart from a couple of minor traces, the façade is all the remains of Collins and his music hall. Everything behind the façade was rebuilt.

Sir Hugh Myddelton and Sam Collins were two very different characters with very different preoccupations but, nevertheless, both left their names inscribed in the history of Islington, both contributing to its life in their own way.

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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