Willen House EC1

Corner of Galway St and Bath Street, EC1. Willen House is on the right, then in the background is Galway House in the Pleydell Estate. The LSO St Luke’s monument is just visible.

An old man said, “Ah. You are drawing. All little houses, there used to be. I’ve lived here all my life. You know what that [Willen House] used to be? The Income Tax. That primary school? Used to be a pub. Round the corner here, we got bombed out during the war. I’m giving away my age now! And that place – down there – Argos? – you look across the road and what do you see? A bus stop. And that building behind it? Used to be a school. I went there. The man there, conducted during the Cup Final. “Abide With Me”. All dressed in white he was.”

Mostly I did this drawing standing up, leaning on the wall of the “Institute of Ophthalmology, 11-43 Bath Street”. While I was doing the colouring I had to sit down. Two women approached. “You’re drawing,” she told me. Then, “I’m a Community Police Officer”. One of them showed me her badge, in a little case: a metal low-relief sculpture on a blue cloth background. They both admired my drawing, and looked at the view. I said “It’s OK to sit here?” She said, “Oh yes. It’s just, you’ve got your things all round you. Want to be careful you don’t get them swiped. You aren’t in a position to run after them.”. Which was a good point. I moved my bag until I was leaning on it, squeezing it onto the wall behind me.

Willen House is now Student residence, and also home of NTS Fashion Ltd, on the ground floor. I could see their racks of clothes through the window.

About an hour, drawn and coloured on location. The car moved.

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