On a shopping expedition in Islington, I made a diversion through the new development: “Islington Square”, opposite St Mary’s Church. It’s not a square, more of a passage, a covered road, very high. Lots of huge empty windows wait like empty stages for the retail theatre to begin. At the end is an open-air space, also not a square, more of a rectangle. Here is a grand kitchen equipment shop, where you can buy a saucepan in copper, or other high-grade metal such as stainless steel. Then looking back towards the passage, I made a sketch:
This was a very quick sketch, about 20 minutes (that’s quick, for me). Drawn and coloured sitting on one of the benches near the kitchen shop.
As I was finishing a man emerged from the passage and announced “We have our first artist!”. He meant me. Other men followed. I asked him if he lived here, as I was interested in the flats I had been drawing. He said no, he was the Manager of the Development. I said I appreciated the fine wooden bench, which was placed in a good position for drawing. He looked at my drawing and said I should come back in different seasons – and put on a show! Good idea.
He was a busy person and walked off. One of the other men came up and very kindly offered to fetch me a cup of tea or coffee. I was just packing up though, and so declined. It was nice of him.
“Islington Square, just an eight-minute walk to Angel Underground Station, offers 263 new homes and 108 serviced apartments at a maximum height of just eight floors, fusing Edwardian grandeur and contemporary style. The build will be complemented by 170,000 square feet of retail, dining and leisure amenities including a luxury Odeon cinema and a premium Third Space gym.” (Olivier Heath, writing in “House Beautiful” April 11th 2019)
The new development is around and about the former postal sorting office, which has been empty for some time. The dates I could see in the brickwork said “1905”. The new buildings are curved, as you see in my sketch, and one group is covered in purple tiles. I thought it looked good. At least they haven’t just imitated the Victorian architecture, but courageously added something decidedly 21st Century.