St Pancras Old Church NW1

On a sunny day I went to draw a church tower in a country churchyard. The churchyard is near Kings Cross and the church tower is that of St Pancras Old Church.

St Pancras Old Church, tower. 20th March 2022 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

I sketched sitting on the grass beside the River Fleet, while the river flowed behind me, in my imagination.

It’s a real river though. These days it’s under St Pancras Way. But it used to flow by the church.

“St Pancras Old Church and churchyard in 1827. The River Fleet is in the foreground.” notice on the railings of the churchyard.

As you see from that picture, in 1827 the church looked very different. The south tower which I sketched is not as ancient as it looks. It was constructed in 1847 to the designs of A.D. Gough.

The church site itself is very ancient. According to the church website, this is one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in London, possibly dating back to the 4th century:

The suggestion that St Pancras Old Church dates back to Roman times has a long tradition, with most suggesting that it was founded in 313 or 314. Most churches in England named for the martyr St Pancras have, or may have, ancient origins, suggesting that veneration of the saint spread quickly after his death in 304.

https://stpancrasoldchurch.posp.co.uk/history/church-history/

Today it is an active church, and a music venue. The churchyard is a glorious green space, much used. Many people wandered past on the paths. No-one paid any attention to me drawing. The dogs did though. I was inspected and approved by each dog that went past.

Here is work in progress and a map (click to enlarge the image)

The Boston Arms – monoprint

The Boston Arms is in Tufnell Park, London, 178 Junction Road N19. I love the way this building presides over the junction.

Boston Arms monoprint 1, packaging print, paper size 21″ x 17″, on Shiramine Select Japanese paper

This is one of five prints I made with this plate made from a cardboard box of biscuits, experimenting with the “packaging print” technique.

The technique produces a twilight atmosphere, which I like very much, and seems suitable for a pub in winter. Here is a different print using the same plate.

Boston Arms monoprint 2, packaging print, paper size 14″ x 10″ Awagami Washi Masa Japanese paper

The Boston Arms is a Grade II listed building. The listing says “Dated 1899 in a panel on the Junction Road front. Designed by Thorpe and Furniss”, and goes on to describe its “Corinthian pilasters to the flat frontages, engaged Corinthian columns to the bow, all of black polished granite, supporting a fascia; scrolled pediments over former entrances with subsidiary pedimented panels between the scrolls,…”. It concludes on rather a flat note: “The interior has no original features of interest.”

It looks like a good pub. I’ve passed it lots of times, usually on an early-morning run, but I’ve never been inside.

Here is the map from the listing, showing the location:

Location of the Boston Arms (Historic England, listing)

Here is the plate from which I made the prints:

Print plate made from a soup carton
Boston Arms print, detail

39 Clerkenwell Road, EC1

Here is a row of shops on the Clerkenwell Road.

Roni’s Café, 39 Clerkenwell Road, 15th Feb 2022, 10″ x 8″ in Sketchbook 11

In the centre of the picture is Roni’s Café, where I sheltered to finish my drawing of 84 Clerkenwell Road.

My idea was to draw the view looking West along the Clerkenwell Road, from number 84. By the time I reached the spot, the rain was falling heavily. I spotted a large window. The people inside kindly agreed to host me for 45 minutes while I sketched my lines. Then I went out into the rain. I finished the picture at my desk.

Colours are: Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, Transparent Pyrrol Orange.

Windmill Walk, SE1

Here is a view of the tower of former London Television Centre building, seen from Windmill Walk, off Roupell Street near Waterloo Station.

LWT Building from Windmill Walk, 7th Feb 2022, in sketchbook 11
Bollard with stars.

I enjoyed all the wires and aerials! The swooping wire from the top right is a telephone wire or electrical cable. It’s unusual to see them above ground in London. Note also the marvellous bollards, which are mentioned in the Conservation Area Statement (Note 1).

Here you see layers of London development. In the foreground is Windmill Walk, part of the Roupell Street residential area built around 1824, and still residential. The paler building in the mid-distance is on Theed Street. It is a converted factory. It now contains some residential properties which I found listed on a holiday lettings site, and some offices listed on an estate agents’ site. Different accounts list it as a Violin Factory and/or a “Komptulicon Works”. Komptulicon was a sort of floor covering made of cork and rubber.

On the skyline is the London Television Centre, 1972, which I have drawn previously:

London Television Centre SE1

Here is a view of the London Television Centre, 60-72 Upper Ground, SE1. It is on the South Bank of the river Thames, a little to the East of the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall. It was completed in 1972 to the design of…

Click to read more

Here are some maps and work in progress on the drawing:

A London Inheritance article provides a carefully researched and fascinating history of the area:

[Roupell] street was laid out and construction started around 1824….. Roupell had built the street for what were described as “artisan workers” and the 1841 census provides a view of the professions of what must have been some of the first people living in the street. This included; painters, labourers, clerks, printers, bakers, carpenters, bricklayers, compositors, paper hanger, hatter, an excise officer, lighterman, warehouseman – all the typical jobs that you expect to find in such a street in 1840s London.(A London Inheritance)

Note 1: Conservation Area Statement

“Roupell Street Conservation Area” statement by Lambeth Council, 2007, describes the streets and details what can and cannot be done in modifications to the houses. It also mentions the “Komptulicon Works”, north of Windmill Walk.

Langton Arms, Norman St, EC1

In the late afternoon, I walked round a corner near St Luke’s, and noticed the pub sign.

Langton Arms, Norman Street, EC1 sketched 29 Jan 2022, 4:15pm, in Sketchbook 11

The pub closed sometime around 1989, according to https://pubwiki.co.uk. It is now residential flats.

The pub was in existence in 1842, according to “closedpubs.co.uk”. There was a nearby Langton Street, shown on a map from the British Library dated 1901. The Langton Arms is marked “PH”.

1901 map. Langton Arms circled. Insurance Plan of London North District Vol. D: sheet 17 (British Library) Shelf mark: Maps 145.b.23.(.d)

See how dense the housing was in this area in 1901. Here is the same area today. Langton Street has disappeared.

Norman Street area, 2022 (c) Open StreetMap, Langton Arms circled
Pub sign today

I sketched the closed-down pub at around 4:30pm, as the light faded. The pub sign is still there, but eaten away at the lower edge now. The street sign “Norman Street” is the same one as shown in a photo from 1958. It has “Borough of Finsbury” written above the street name. The Borough of Finsbury was absorbed into Islington in 1965.

This picture is a story of vanishing: vanishing street, eaten away pub sign, closed down pub, a missing borough, sun setting in January. Behind me as I sketched I could hear the squeak of gym shoes on hard floors, the other side of the closed steel doors to Finsbury Leisure Centre.

St Monica’s Church, Hoxton N1

On a cold day, suddenly the sun came out and lit up the stone of St Monica’s Church.

Bell tower of St Monica’s Church, Hoxton Square. 26th January 2022, 13:40 in Sketchbook 11

This church was built in 1866, to the design of E.W. Pugin. It was part of the Augustinian Priory on this side of Hoxton Square.

E.W. Pugin (1834-75) is the son of A.W. Pugin, who collaborated with Charles Barry on the design of the Houses of Parliament. E.W. Pugin designed a large number of churches, 60 English churches are listed in his Wikipedia entry, with another 6 or so in Wales and Scotland and 16 in Ireland.

84 Clerkenwell Road, EC1

This building is at the junction of Clerkenwell Road and Albermarle Way.

84 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M, 21st January 2022, 14:30, 7″x 10″ in Sketchbook 11

The land, on the recently established Clerkenwell Road, was bought in 1879 by a jeweller, Edward Culver, who funded a new factory for his business on in this rapidly developing area. The building cost £11,ooo, and was finished in October 1879. His business occupied it until about 1894. (from British History online, see Note 1)

In 1915, the ground floor and basement were converted for use by the “London County & Westminster Bank” (Note 1). This turned out to be a long tenancy. A photo in the London Picture Archives shows that a descendant of the same bank, the National Westminster Bank, was there in 1976. (Notes 2 and 3).

The ground floor is now a design company, “Frem”. Before that, it was a hairdressers. The building is labelled “The Printworks” but I am unable to discover when, or indeed if, it was a printworks.

I sketched the building from the corner of the Clerkenwell Road and St John’s Lane. On the other side of the road, I saw a man come and lay out a large flexible chess mat on the stone bench in St John’s Square.

Later, a woman appeared at my elbow carrying a green metal chair. “Would you like to sit down while you draw?” she asked. I would indeed. She told me she was from the café just up the road. Very grateful, I sat down and continued sketching. By the time I’d finished the pen sketch, there were several dozen people clustered round the bench in St John’s Square. There were now many chess sets laid out. And I was very cold.

Roni’s Cafe: warm and friendly

I picked up the green chair and went to the café to give it back. It was warm and friendly in there, so I stopped for a coffee. I learned that the chess players come every Saturday. First there were just a few, now there are dozens. The youngest is 7 years old. As I drank my coffee, some of the chess players came into the café, hopping from one leg to the other with the cold, as I had done earlier. They bought takeaway coffee or hot chocolate, left a phone to charge up by the till, and took off again to join the fray.

The friendly proprietor of the café admired my picture and pointed out that I could see the building, if I took a certain table by the window. “Then you can do the colour”, she said. I could. She brought a cup of water, a porcelain saucer, and a large amount of paper towel. This is a lady who knows what watercolour painters need. A mug of tea arrived as well. Comfortable and warm, I continued my sketch.

If some of these road names seem familiar to you, it might be because this area is the setting for much of the story in the novel “Troubled Blood” by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling.

————————————————————–

Note 1: 84 Clerkenwell Road, early history: ‘Clerkenwell Road’, in Survey of London: Volume 46, South and East Clerkenwell, ed. Philip Temple (London, 2008), pp. 385-406. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol46/pp385-406 [accessed 22 January 2022].

Note 2: 1976 photo: London Picture Archive, Record 60792, on this link

Note 3: NatWest Group has an excellent History section on its website: https://www.natwestgroup.com/heritage.html?intcam=. The current “NatWest” is the result of the acquisition of over 250 banks over several centuries. The London County and Westminster Bank was one of them.

London & Westminster Bank Ltd (1833-1909) opened in 1834 with a head office at 38 Throgmorton Street and a branch at 9 Waterloo Place. It acquired a succession of other banks, then in 1909 it amalgamated with London & County Banking Co to form London County & Westminster Bank Ltd. London County and Westminster Bank underwent a number of amalgamations and mergers, notably merging with the National Provincial Bank in 1968 eventually to form the National Westminster Bank in 1970.

The Cottage, 3 Hayne Street EC1

Hayne Street is a North-South lane just to the East of the new Crossrail station at Smithfield. It has been closed for some time, while the station was built and the office block on top of the station was constructed.

On the west side of Hayne street is this house:

The Cottage, Hayne Street EC1, 17th January 2022, 5pm. 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

As I sketched, around 4:30 to 5pm, construction workers were coming off shift from the CrossRail site. They walked past me, lighting cigarettes, jostling, and talking in various languages. One person stopped to talk to me: “It’s a funny old building!” he observed. I agreed that it was, and wondered if anyone lived there. “I’ve not seen anyone go in or out,” he told me, “And I’ve been here four weeks.” Another person joined the conversation.

“I’ve seen a car,” said the newcomer. He indicated the black roller door, and made a sweeping gesture, showing how the car went in and out.

We all looked to see if there were lights in the windows at the side of the house. There were none. “It’s railway property,” declared the first person.

“It’s big, isn’t it?” said the second person, “It goes way back!”.

It does go way back. I’ve tried to show this in my drawing.

It’s a bit of a miracle that it has survived. This house is about 150 years old. There are jagged modern offices all around it. The Pevsner guide has a small paragraph on Hayne Street, in the section labelled “Long Lane and Hayne Street”. He says this:


Long Lane and Hayne Street
Long Lane first recorded in 1440[……]
The N side, shorter because of the market buildings at the W, is mostly undistinguished medium-sized post-war offices. Not 18-19 are by Morrison, Rose & Partners, 1972-4, brick with smoked gland window bands. The upper storeys step back down Hayne Street, named after its developer in the early 1870s. Of this date the unpretentious brick warehouse at Nos. 8-10 W side and No. 3 opposite, a little house perched on the brink of the railway cutting.”

The Buildings of England London 1: The City of London by Simon Bradley and Nicolaus Pevsner (first published 1997, republished with corrections 1999) page 546

The “unpretentious brick warehouse” which was on the west side of Hayne Street in 1999 has now been replaced by the building above CrossRail. The “little house” remains.

It was there in 1873. At that time it had neighbours! See this map, from the marvellous British History online resource.

‘Charterhouse Square area: Introduction; Charterhouse Square’, in Survey of London: Volume 46, South and East Clerkenwell, ed. Philip Temple (London, 2008), pp. 242-265. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol46/pp242-265 [accessed 17 January 2022].

Aldersgate Street Station is now Barbican Station. See the huge number of railway lines in 1873. Today there is just one line on the surface. The new CrossRail line is 40metres below.

Here is a modern map of the area:

Hayne Street Area 2022, from Open Street Map, (c)OpenStreetMap contributors

Here are some views looking up and down Hayne Street, and my sketch map and sketching location. Click to enlarge.

3 Hayne Street has intrigued people. Mr Tim Dunn on Twitter found an “environmental statement” from Crossrail saying they were going to demolish the building. But it doesn’t seem to have happened, so far…..Mr Dunn’s research also contradicts the construction worker’s assertion that the building is “railway property”. From what he’s found, it’s privately owned. Here is his Tweet thread:

@MrTimDunn on Twitter, August 8th 2021

“LookUpLondon”, aka Katie Wignall, a tour guide, published an article about it on November 22nd 2021, here: https://lookup.london/cottage-3-hayne-street/

“The City Gent” published photos of The Cottage in his “Symbols and Secrets” blog on the 6th of January.

I’m glad so many people appreciate this strange building in a back street.

I have sketched in this area before. The building in the back left of my picture is on the other side of the railway line. It is now swathed in plastic and being restored or redeveloped. I sketched the West edge of this buildings in April last year.

Rose and Crown, SE1

Here is the Rose and Crown, just south of Blackfriars Bridge.

Rose and Crown, Blackfriars SE1, 20 November 2021, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

This pub stands amongst modern blocks: linking past, present and future in a swirling area of change. Behind the pub, unexpectedly, is a beer garden, giving onto a wooded area around the nearby church, Christ Church.

Above the arched window of the pub, two dates are carved in the stone work: 1787 and 1887

Above the arched window: 1787 and 1887 (or 1881?)

The pub’s website says the building “is thought to date back to the late 1800s”. The marvellous “pubwiki” entry tells me that the pub “was established in 1787, re-built in its present form in 1887″. They trace the landlords’ names and dates through census and insurance records, and note a John” Clark, victualler at this location, in 1789.

1789/John Clark/victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives” (data from Ewan of “pubwiki”)

Sketch map showing the Rose and Crown, SE1, and the viewpoint of my drawing, 20th November 2021

The roads round here have changed names. Colombo Street was “Collingwood Street” until 1937 (London Metropolitan Archives, notes on photos). Before that it was “Green Walk” in the 1789 insurance records quoted above. Paris Garden was previously “Brunswick Street”. The area in front of the pub, now the Colombo Centre and a Novotel, is a bombsite in a 1951 photo in the London Picture Archive.

The area continues to undergo change. North of the pub is a huge empty lot. Buildings were demolished in or around 2019, and construction has not yet started.

The planning application (2019) is for 4 levels of basement and 6 buildings from 5 to 53 floors.

Planning application 19/AP/0414 from “planning.southwark.gov.uk”

If you walk into my drawing and turn into the dark passage to the right of the pub, you find this notice, written in stone. Recently another notice has been added, asking patrons to leave quietly.

By my calculation MDCCCXIX is 1000(M) + 500(D) + 300(CCC) + 10(X) + 9 (IX) = 1819

The purpose of the watch house was to guard the adjacent burial ground from body snatchers, according to the note on the London Metropolitan Archive Picture Gallery. Here is the watchhouse in 1932. The pub would be immediatly to the left of this photo:

View of Christ Church Watchhouse, record number: 113829, Catalogue number: SC_PHL_01_366_A8882 Photo date: 1932 © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London) Used under licence.

London Picture Archive notes:

“The Parish Watchhouse was built in 1809 and stood in the Church Yard until demolished in 1932. The Watchhouse was used to guard new burials against body snatchers. The Rectory, a new building similar in style, stands on the same site. Colombo Street was previously known as Collingwood Street.”

Here is work in progress on the drawing. You see the current rectory, which replaced the watch-house, on the right.

Location:

The pub cat, sleeping.

Royal Courts of Justice from Bell Yard

It was morning. As I walked down Bell Yard the sun streamed into the alley.

Royal Courts of Justice from Bell Yard, 16th November 2021, 10:45

Later, I visited the Royal Courts of Justice. During the week, the Courts are open, and you can go in. I put my backpack on the conveyor belt. The friendly security guard asked me to drink from my water bottle: “The Sip Test” he called it, to check that my bottle did not contain a noxious substance. It didn’t. The equally friendly and welcoming person at the enquiry desk issued a photocopied information sheet setting out a self-guided walk around the building, which I followed.

It’s well worth a visit. It is an extraordinary example of Victorian architecture. And, of course, it contains working law courts. Photography is not allowed, and they were not enthusiastic when I suggested I might do a drawing inside, so I didn’t. People are at work, and court sessions are in progress, so respect is in order. The Café was not open, which was a pity.

My drawing shows the Eastern part of the building. I sketched it on location in about 40 minutes and did the colour later at my desk.

I sketched the Royal Courts of Justice from Carey Street earlier in the week, under an overcast sky:

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