For today’s walk, we headed north once again and to the district known as Barnsbury. It was quite a long walk where we discovered a lot of interesting items, some of which I present here.
Once again we walked up Baron Street into Chapel Market which I photographed to the right (top) and to the left (bottom). To the right are the usual denizens of Chapel Market and to the left is the Farmers’ Market, though I would not guarantee that all of the latter really do sell produce from their own farms.
S. Cohen’s shop
We passed through White Conduit Street and found this shop open. It struck me as ironic because in “normal” times, weeks often go by without it ever opening and now, as shops are beginning timorously to open their doors, this one does too.
The shop front is quite old (19th century, I’m guessing, though it could be later) and the original name, “S. Cohen”, is barely legible, though the words “Costumier” and Furrier” stand out clearly. These days, though, the shop sells secondhand goods, of which it has an amazing selection.
White Conduit Street leads into Sainsbury’s car park and from there we cross Tolpuddle Street into Cloudesley Road. The park was closed with chain and padlock. Perhaps we will visit it one day when it reopens.
As if in compensation, one of the park’s inhabitants was leaning out through the railings to brighten our passage.
I haven’t given the photos a caption because I don’t know what these pretty flowers are called. Any information gratefully received!
A. Wyld, French Milliner
At number 71 Cloudesley Road, one of the original early 19th-century houses had been converted by the addition of a shop front later the same century. We can still read the sign: A. Wyld French Milliner. A “French Milliner” was a particular kind of purveyor of ladies hats, presumably one specializing in French fashion, and not necessarily of French nationality himself.
The whole row has received a Grade II listing and the listing includes these words about the shop: “no 71 has relics of a C19 shop-front to ground floor with part of the glazing remaining and, most obviously, the ornate stucco brackets either side of the fascia; it is of one-window range with sashes of original design”.
Number 97 Cloudesley Road
Further along the street at number 97 is another 19th-century shop front. Even though it has lost the original name and type of business, Historic England likes it enough to assign it its own Grade II listing, describing it as a “Terraced house, c.1830, altered to shop or pub in later C19. Yellow brick with stucco dressings”.
Cloudesley Road, incidentally, is named after a tudor gentleman named Richard Cloudesley who died in 1517 and in his will left two fields in Islington, known as the ‘Stony Fields’, to the parish of St Mary’s, the income from this land to be put to charitable use.
The Crown is a large pub on the corner of Cloudesley Road and Cloudesley Square. At first sight, it is just one more big pub but there was something about it that made me look further. My instinct was right: it is Grade II listed, a late 19th-century pub with Queen Anne styling. You may wish to read the lavish description in the listing.
Tall coach entrance
This unusually tall coach entrance rather impressed me. The building to which is belongs seems to be residential though it may not always have been so. Why the tall entrance? Perhaps in did once form part of a commercial enterprise. I do not know.
These corner houses are in Cloudesley Square. I had seen such houses on a previous visit and it had occurred to me to wonder whether their odd position caused the rooms to be oddly shaped. On that occasion, our photographing the houses had raised the suspicions of an inhabitant who had enquired what we were about. We were able to pacify him and as he lived in a corner house, I asked about the shape if the rooms. Yes, he said, they were not rectangular but slightly tapered to fit the floor plan.
This is a pub called The Rainbow, a name, one might say, that has come to have a symbolic resonance in these times of pandemic. It bears the date 1879, the year in which it was rebuilt in its current form. There had been a pub here since no later than 1827. This one seems to have ceased being a pub as long ago as the 1930s and is residential today.
All round the façade there are some rather good mouldings, of which the above are examples. Care – and money – was obviously lavished on the rebuilding.
Preston Memorial Hall
In Florence Street this building intrigued me. Over the door is a plaque bearing the inscription “Preston Memorial 1906”. That is all. I hoped to find out more about it but my search failed to discover anything about it, except that it is also known as Unity Church Hall, suggesting that it is currently owned by Unity Unitarian Church, Islington. What its original purpose was, and who is celebrated by the name Preston, remains unknown, at least for now.
Spooner & Bushman, veterinary surgeons
This is one for lovers of “Ghost signs”, those painted or incised remnants of long disappeared businesses. This is more than a “vestige”, a solid piece of moulding that seems destined to endure well into the future. It advertises the veterinary surgery of Spooner and Bushman, established 1850. According to the inscription, they had premises here “and at 18 Holloway Road”. Unsurprisingly, there is no sign of them now at either location.
And so at last we came to Islington Green. It was pleasant, after our long ramble, to sit on a bench in the green shade for a rest before the last lap to home. When we started back, I took this photo because we have not strayed this far from home, or spent so much time among people, since the onset of lockdown. It thus represents another step in that return to “normality” towards which we are all cautiously moving.