We made a late start today as we had a visit planned for later and had no need to hurry.
Myddelton Square Garden
We started by calling in at Myddelton’s deli for our ritual coffee. All the tables were occupied and so we carried our cups to Myddelton Square Garden where we found a bench in the shade. We spent some time here as it was pleasant and we could watch the pigeons, squirrels and other denizens.
The pub vine
As the hour of our visit approached we set off, passing along Myddelton Passage to see how the famous (well, famous to us, anyway) vine was getting on. It was looking very good.
Bunches of grapes
There were plenty of grapes, developing nicely.
A few days ago, I spoke to the pub landlord about the vine. He told me that it had been planted in the 1960s (when the pub was rebuilt) and has been thriving ever since. It stretches round the pub garden and even right to the top of the big old tree next to the pub. I asked about the grapes: they are too sour to eat raw but a lady living nearby uses them for cooking.
We walked through Spa Green where the grass, as you can see, is suffering from the prolonged heat and has turned dry and brown. We are being urged to save water and to use watering cans rather than hosepipes in the garden. I am sure it will become worse yet.
Our way took us along Exmouth Market which was very busy. All the eateries, of which there are many, had tables outside and customers sitting at them.
As it was hot and we had a little time to spare, we went into Caffè Nero and ordered ice tea.
Leaving Caffè Nero, we crossed through Spa Fields. There was still plenty of greenery and flowers in the park but the grass, as elsewhere, is dried like hay.
London Metropolitan Archives
Our planned visit was to the London Metropolitan Archives which is currently holding an exhibition entitled Magnificent Maps of London. Tigger is an enthusiast of maps, knows a lot about them and, yes, knows how to use them correctly. While I am prepared to use a map when it is useful to do so, I do not share Tigger’s passion, so I followed her quietly around the exhibits.
Maps on the stairs
The exhibition is on the first floor where the information and study area is but there were already maps and other displays in the small entrance and along the staircase.
London. The Bastion of Liberty, c. 1950
There are all kinds of maps, from very ancient to modern, that show London through the ages and from different aspects. For example, one can overlay a bomb damage map from the Second World War. For more about The Bastion of Liberty, see Mappig London.
Large scale map by R. Horwood, 1792-99
This enlarged map by famous map maker R. Horwood shows the London of the day in amazing detail.
Large computer screens, study area
There is a large study area where members of the public can view maps and overlays on large format computer monitors. Staff are on hand to help with enquiries and we found them both knowledgeable and helpful.
On the wall screen…
We asked about the development of Myddelton Passage (site of, among other things, the pub vine) through the centuries. We were shown a series of maps through the years which gave a good idea of its history.
…on the computer
A computer was then loaded with maps so that we could explore for ourselves. It is a remarkable facility.
A treasury of information
There are shelves loaded with books and maps to explore.
Photo by Tigger
We returned to Exmouth Market to look for lunch. We found it in Gail’s. For dessert, we selected two and shared them.
Back through Exmouth Market
After lunch, we walked back through Exmouth Market. As Tigger did not have her bus pass with her, we were going to walk home.
Wilmington Square Garden
Photo by Tigger
As we were not in a hurry, we took the “scenic route” and when we reached Wilmington Square, found a shaded bench to sit on in the garden. We spent a while here before confronting the hill to home. (At the map exhibition, we found that this was in times past known as “Islington Hill”, a name that has since fallen out of use.)
On the way, we passed through the pleasant little street (pedestrian only at one end) called Cumberland Gardens which we have not visited for a while.
From Cumberland Gardens, we were soon home where we made tea and where I rather think we will now stay for the rest of the day.