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

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