Strolling Somers Town

Lloyd Baker Street
Lloyd Baker Street

The day started with a panic. We had booked flu jabs at our GP surgery at 8:35 and I had completely forgotten until 8:10 when Tigger reminded me. There was then a mad rush to dress and hurry to the surgery. We managed it, fortunately, and received our jabs. Afterwards we retired to the deli for coffee where I took the above photo of Lloyd Baker Street lit by early morning sunshine.

Forecourt, British Library
Forecourt, British Library

Later, we went to the British Library where Tigger wanted to do some research.

Humanities 1 reading room
Humanities 1 reading room

As required, we left our bags in the locker room. This time I remembered to take my membership card with me to be admitted to the reading room but… I forgot my reading specs and the charging cable for my phone. Maybe next time I’ll remember everything,

Ossulston Street
Ossulston Street

Leaving the library, we walked down Ossulston Street (named after politician Charles Bennet, Lord Ossulston, 1776-1859), somewhere we go only rarely (in fact, I don’t recall ever going there).

As an aside: It annoys me intensely that when I want to photograph a street, the view is cluttered by two continuous lines of parked vehicles. I remember that when I was a child, parked vehicles in a residential street were the exception rather than the rule. We children could play in the road because passing vehicles were a rarity.

A private garden
A private garden

Through closed gates, we saw this garden, private to residents. Strange how inaccessible places exercise a fascination on us!

Global Generation
Global Generation

We came upon what appeared at first sight to be a community garden but which, on further inspection, turned out to be much more. It is run by Global Generation which describes itself as an educational charity. Certainly, there was a lot going on and we didn’t really get to the bottom of it all.

Classroom
Classroom

The was a classroom,…

Roundhouse
Roundhouse

…a roundhouse,…

Yurt
Yurt

…a yurt,…

Hugel mound
Hugel mound

…at least one Hugel mound and a story garden which we could not visit because there was an activity taking place in it.

The neighbourhood we were now exploring is called Somers Town. It has seen many waves of immigration, notably that of Spanish political dissidents fleeing the repression of King Fernando VII of Spain in the early 19th century.

Mini park

Mini parks
Mini parks

As we progressed round the streets, we saw a number of these mini parks, spaces created in the road with plants and seating. Anything that reclaims space from motor vehicles is welcome in my book.

King’s Cafe
King’s Cafe

We were both beginning to have thoughts about lunch when we serendipitously came upon King’s Cafe.

In King’s Cafe
In King’s Cafe

It’s quite small as cafes go (in fact it was a tight squeeze between our table and the one next to it) but the steady stream of customers indicates that it is popular with the locals. We certainly have no complaints about our lunch.

The Somers Town Coffee House
The Somers Town Coffee House

My attention was caught by this pub – at least, I think it’s a pub – called the Somers Town Coffee House. They advertise that they serve food all day (and presumably, coffee too). We didn’t investigate it today, though, having just had a satisfying lunch.

Churchway
Churchway

We wandered down this pedestrian street called Churchway. This seems to indicate that the local church once stood hereabouts, an impression supported by the fact that names of saints abound along Drummond Crescent to which Churchway leads.

Glimpse of a church
Glimpse of a church

I think the original church that gave rise to the names must have vanished though, from Drummond Crescent we did glimpse this curious drum-shaped building, identified as a church by the cross on the roof.

St Aloysius RC Church
St Aloysius RC Church

The drum belongs to the RC Church of St Aloysius whose front is in Eversholt Street.

Horizontal housing estate
Horizontal housing estate

I noticed this housing estate, looking cheerful as it basked in sunshine. I thought how nice it was to see a horizontal housing estate instead of the dreadful, dangerous and anti-social tower blocks. It amazes me that such towers are still being built. Planners, it seems, are immune to learning the lessons of history. Or does the idea of a quick profit outweigh all other considerations?

Dead pub
Dead pub

I read that pubs are closing down at a faster rate than ever before. Some are being demolished but some are “repurposed”, often as residential properties. We first saw this one and then, not far away,..,

Dead pub
Dead pub

…another one, seemingly also entering forced retirement. This one still bears its original name – Eastnor Castle – whereas the previous one has been rendered anonymous.

A lane between greenery
A lane between greenery

Another pedestrian path, this one with greenery on both sides, led us to…

Tiny library
Tiny library

…a quiet street where, at the top of a flight of steps, was one of the smallest libraries I have seen. It contained a stock of books and CDs. I don’t know what you do to become a member or whether membership is even necessary. There is a mystery here, though: the flight of steps must surely once have led to a door. What happened to it?

Working Men’s College
Working Men’s College

I had been following Tigger, as I usually do, without necessarily knowing where we are or where we are going, trusting her to lead us safely to wherever we should end up. In seeing this venerable building, the Working Men’s College, founded 1854, I knew where we were – in Crowndale Road.

Aboard the 214
Aboard the 214

This was good news because it brought us onto the route of the 214 bus and I was beginning to feel tired and ready to catch the bus home. A bus duly arrived and we clambered aboard.

Saint Espresso
Saint Espresso

The bus delivered us to our nearest bus stop which is in Pentonville Road. It just so happens that the stop is next to a branch of Saint Espresso. Would a coffee round off our outing nicely?

Coffee at Saint Espresso
Coffee at Saint Espresso

Yes, it would and did! We sat at a table in this tiny coffee shop and lingered a while over our our drinks before finally heading for home.

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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2 Responses to Strolling Somers Town

  1. I know what you mean about cars cluttering the streets on both sides – it used to be so different: human oriented and scale.
    Love the Churchway and Tiny Library (and horizontal residences)
    The Pubs’ alterations is interesting – far better they be repurposed than torn down and replaced by less than historical/solid/confortable architecture
    (Whew – we’ve got to get our flu shots, too!)

    Like

    • SilverTiger says:

      The parked vehicles are here to stay, I fear. I might mention that we don’t have a car in case anyone thinks we are being hypocritical.

      It seems that pub-going in the UK has suffered a decline resulting in too many pubs competing for too few customers. The successful ones survive; the others go to the wall.

      It’s important to have the flu jab before the next epidemic declares itself though the effectiveness of the jab depends on the experts correctly forecasting what will be this year’s dominant virus strain.

      Like

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