Thursday, April 26, 2018

Clerkenwell Walk (CityLit London Villages)

Week 2

Second week out on the streets with London Villages walks and our leader  John Sinclair again providing a great source of information.

One of the key things from the day was to find that many London Squares aren't - they were often built speculatively and the terraces spanned different periods of time  depending on the demad at the time.
Lloyd Square - with subsidence 

Interesting to learn of the houses in Lloyd Square which until the 1970's had no indoor toilets.

They're in a really prime location with quite a history  but  the  final private owner Olive Lloyd Baker was not a perfect landlady.

A former dairy in Amwell Street

The area we were walking in has many links to the river and water supply to London - Amwell Street and River Street for examples where some shops keep the look of the 'olden days' .

And River Street

They say it's a small world - when I returned from this weeks walk I had a look to find out more about the Fig Tree (below) it's one of 'London's Top 20 Trees' - in fact the guy who measured the tree (Steve Waters) lives just down the road from us!

A top 20 tree - As researched by Steve Waters tree Expert

London has always struggled with the lawless and part of the way of keeping order was Local Police as the case is now housing cost could be prohibitive and Police housing was provided in this rather austere looking form (Charles Rowan House - it is no longer Police housing but retains metal Crittal Window frames) .

A sign

Charles Rowan House 

Peabody Housing 

We saw examples of the Philanthropy of  the Peabody Estate (actually a an American who was horrified by the poor housing in London) - affordable housng of its day


Religion (as well as water) was important to Clerkenwell another way of keeping some form of control (some would say) - Christian religion evolved and often the newest and best churches were in poor areas - Methodism offered a 'reformed' form of worship .

Our most Holy Redeemer 

And inside the church still looks good
The Area would have once been relatively poor and the market nearby would have provided fresh produce - the nature of the market has now changed but remains and lots or restaurants from the gently vegetarian to the blatantly carnivore.

next door meat

A 'Veggie' haunt


We saw  examples of the health service which included the Michael Palin Stammering Centre and 

As seen in 'A Fish Called Wanda'
The nearby Finsbury Health Centre was designed by the architect we were introduced to last week Berthold Lubetkin and although in some disrepair an idea of its grandeur remains - it was commissioned by the local council before the advent of the NHS

Finsbury Health Centre

Well Well

The advantage of having a proper guide was apparent for both our visit to the (quite literal) source of Clerkenwell - we saw where water was once drawn.

Water wells were important as not only did they provide fresh water but also community meeting places.

Once water was drawn.

Above the well Red marks the area


It's more than 5 years since I visited the Marx Memorial Library and we just took a look outside, Clerkenwell Green the area it's situated in was well known as a radical hangout in the 19th Century and the Irish Republicans were active with Michael Barrett being imprisoned nearby (12 people were killed in an attempt to 'spring him from the jail)

Marx Memorial Library Clerkenwell Green (but no green)

And St John

Finally on to another access that John Sinclair was able to arrange a visit to the Crypt of the really old St John's church (Norman Church 1143).

Lovely Crypt

Aryt stuff too

Some of the Church still remains

St John in evidence at the nearby gate too..

St John's gate

And Home

Already looking forward to Week 3

Farringdon - A convenient end point

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Allotments and connections of Cildo Meireles

My little helper
Finally feel like I'm making some (limited) progress on Plot 202 - weather and other activities are my excuse.

Big help is the  Mountfield Tiller (running on a rechargeable battery)  -it  gives a good half an hour of tilling the soil and managed to get onions and garlic in yesterday - potatoes to follow soon (I hope).

Onions and Garlic planted 

Connections with Cildo Mereiles

On my Citylit Walk last week I saw an intriguing work/bird sanctuary (left) following tweet I followed up to find the work which it reminded me of which I'd seen in Tate Modern.

The bird house is called "London Fieldworks Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven" and is a sculptural installation located in Duncan Terrace Gardens it has 300 birdhouses

Tower of Babel (2001)
"London Fieldworks Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven"

Tower of Babel (2001) is by the Brazilian artist Cildo Mereiles coincidentally (perhaps) Cildo is the one person who I referenced when I did 365 pictures featuring red - as he had a totally Red room.

You can see more and find out a bit on the Tower of Babel here

Sunday, April 22, 2018

One year celebrations at The Showroom, Leeland Road W13

The show
Via an introduction from Mandie at OPEN Ealing I got peripherally involved with an exhibition in West Ealing this weekend.

Pictures for sale

 As part of 'Dare 2 Dream' Ealing Mencap is helping people via creating products and gaining experience in  The Showroom , to mark one year of this shop a small exhibition was held and I put some of my photographic prints together to be part of the offering.
Mencap Staff members were in attendance 

It was (as always) nice to see my work in a place where people felt comfortable looking and generally a nice vibe.

I hope that the next year goes well for the enterprise and thanks to Adrian Ford at Ealing Mencap for including me on the 'ticket'

Do stop by the shop if you get the chance:

When: Monday to Friday,          9.30am - 3.30pm 

Where: 1-2 Leeland Road, West Ealing, W13 9HH

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Modern History through the lens of Branding

The entrance

Probably about once every couple of months over the last year or so I've met up with a friend to chat and visit an Exhibition or Museum - our most recent visit was  this Friday and  the venue was The Museum of Brands Packaging and Advertising - it's currently located in Notting Hill (it's been moving around a bit).

The guiding light behind the project is a guy called Robert Opie - he describes himself as a social historian (not a crazed collector).

The Museum is actually quite delightful and somewhat eccentric but offers a nice route into modern history, there's a nice little cafe, which on the day in question meant we could have a pleasant cup of coffee and a pastry in the sunny courtyard.

Me and my shadow

Although the day was very hot - premises were comfortable and airy.

Rather oddly we traversed the collection in reverse starting out in the modern day and moving back in time to conclude in what could be described as Victoriana.

 Unlike many exhibitions this was 'text light' and relied on visitor putting in some work - as long as you've been around for some time (or are a student of history) you'll inevitably have some moments where you're transported back in time - as someone who has radios of various kinds for over 50 years there was plenty of items I could relate to.

Just opposite was a splendidly decorated old pub/hotel

Once the Kensington Park Hotel

Staff are nice there are various discounts available on £9 ticket (I was half price by virtue of being a National Trust member) , there's a shop and staff are very nice and friendly.

My companion for the visit was an ardent left wing environmentalist but was able to get something from the visit - although like me he was a bit puzzled by the growth of novelty products that can carry your own name (Marmite, Coke and Heinz beans to name just a few).

and here's a panorama of the current premises (Photography is prohibited).

Great entrance...

[On entering museum I was embarrassed by a tourist wanting to know the nearest police station sadly London has lost so many (seems more than 4 in 10 to me) - the guy had been pick-pocketed, he asked at reception of the museum and they struggled to help hi too - felt a bit like we were a developing country]