The queue for Waitrose

This is Whitecross Street. The people are in the well-managed queue for the Waitrose supermarket, which is underneath the building to the right.

In the foreground: Ben Jonson House, Barbican. On the left, behind Ben Jonson, in pink, is a children’s playground at first floor level, part of Prior Weston School.

Drawn looking out of the window, about an hour and a half including a phone call from a friend.

The friend called to tell me the answer to a crossword clue which had defeated me.

Colours: Mars Yellow (DS), Perylene Maroon (DS), Phthalo Turquoise (W&N)

Buildings on Errol St

Sketching from home: here is a view of the chimney pots on the Peabody buildings of Errol St:

These chimney pots are interesting because they are all single rows. Also the chimney stacks are arranged in several different ways: along the ridge of the roof, across the ridge of the roof, up from the side of the roof, and along the structural wall between blocks. There must be a lot of fireplaces in these buildings.

Map showing the sightline of the drawing.

These blocks are part of the “Roscoe St Estate”, still managed by Peabody. I think this is blocks E and D, but I’m ready to be corrected. I don’t know what the tall industrial chimney is. If you know, please tell me.

This perspective was a challenge. Also the blocks are quite a distance away, and so it was hard work to pick out which set of chimney pots was which. After a while my concentration lapsed, and it all went into a blur. So this picture took about 3 hours elapsed time, including breaks for lunch, exercises, phone calls, and strolling about the flat.

Here are some photos of work in progress.

Colours used: Prussian Blue, Mars Yellow, Burnt Umber, Perinone Orange. I made the black for the guttering from Prussian Blue and Perylene Maroon.

Horizon panorama

Some time ago, I was given a Japanese sketchbook, which was in the form of a concertina of doubled paper. In the last few days I drew the world outside, as seen from the windows of this flat. It’s about a 270 degree view, mostly over West and North London.

During these days of indoor confinement, the weather outside has been beautiful. Stunning blue skies. So I put that in using Phthalocyanine Turquoise watercolour.

Then I made a videos. The first one, with the pointer, has an audio commentary. It’s quite quiet, you may need to turn the sound up. The second one is silent. This is the first time I’ve put videos on this site. Let me know if it works.

I added written captions also, as you see in the second video.

Here are still pictures from the panorama with captions.

HYLO Building under construction

Here is the “HYLO” Building on Bunhill Row.

HYLO, on the site of the Finsbury Tower.

It will be “premium office and retail space over 29 floors”. The developer is “CIT”:

Steve Riddell, Managing Director Developments, CIT, says [on the CIT website]: “As the line between corporate and creative becomes more integrated, our aim is to provide a workplace solution that offers flexible spaces that embrace collaboration and connectivity at the same time. We are excited for HYLO to become the defining destination in the Old Street district.”

The drawing also shows buildings associated with St Joseph’s Catholic Church, these are in front of HYLO, and dwarfed by it. The cube behind HYLO on the left is “White Collar Factory” and mixed-use office space on Old Street Roundabout. Offices on Lambs Passage are on the right. In the front, at the bottom of the drawing, are the extensive air conditioning ducts and roof apparatus on a building of Lloyds Bank. On the lower left is a YMCA, being rebuilt as accommodation for young homeless people. Here’s a map and an annotated drawing.

HYLO is on the site of the former Finsbury Tower. Here is what it looked like before:

Finsbury Tower 3rd August 2016
Finsbury Tower on Bunhill Row above Peabody Estate buildings. Finsbury Tower was a 1960s office building now undergoing extensive renovation. According to the planning application, the renovation will add 12 storeys to the existing 16, doubling the building’s height. 

Here are some other drawings in this area:

Lamb’s Buildings EC1

St Joseph’s Bunhill Row on right. From the church notice board: “A small chapel in the basement of a former school 1901”. Contains windows from St Mary Moorfields 1820. Remodelled 1993 by Anthony Delarue “in a vaguely Florentine Renaissance manner”. The crib is there until Feb 2nd, and the church is open Fridays 12noon to … Continue reading “Lamb’s Buildings EC1”

YMCA site, Errol St EC1

This site is a few minutes walk from where I live. There will be a “new home for young homeless Londoners”. “146 beds, 10 000 lives, 60 years”, says the text on the hoarding. There will be 146 en-suite rooms, an “affordable gym for the whole community” and a “social enterprise unit”. You can see … Continue reading “YMCA site, Errol St EC1”

Bunhill Fields Memorial Buildings

This small building stands peacefully in a garden, surrounded by later developments. It is the local Quaker Meeting House.

According to the very interesting leaflet produced by the Bunhill Quakers, the current building is the sole remnant of a once large establishment, the Memorial Buildings, completed 1881. These Memorial Buildings housed “a coffee Tavern, mission rooms for the adult schools and breakfast meetings, Sunday schools, a medical mission, and a large meeting house”. The construction was funded by money obtained when the Metropolitan Board of Works wanted to widen Roscoe Street, and purchased land owned by the Quakers to do so. Roscoe Street was then called Coleman Street. “The success of the Adult School brought in funds for the erection of an Extension building in 1888”, they write. 300-400 people attended the meeting in those days.

Bombing raids in 1940, ’41, and ’44 destroyed “all but the caretakers’ house”, and the council “re-zoned” the area to “allow only residential building”. Friends Meetings continued, however, and still continue, in the former Caretakers’ House, which is the building I have drawn. As well as the Quaker Meetings, it is the centre for a travelling library. A small notice by the door says that this is the drop-in centre for an organisation called “At Ease” which provides a “Free, independent and confidential advisory service for people in the Armed Forces.”

The leaflet from the Bunhill Quakers is on their website and also here:

I made the drawing from the Quaker Garden on the site of the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground.

The drawing took about 1 hour 30mins. The sky is a new colour: Phthalocyanine Turquoise, a Winsor and Newton colour, pigment PB16. Other colours are Perinone Orange, and Mars Yellow, both Daniel Smith Watercolours. Here is work in progress:

The air temperature was 5 degrees C. That blue sky was not a “warm blue” whatever the photos seem to say.

Islington Square

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:IMG_0493

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.


Coal Drops Yard N1C from the Skip Garden

Here is the view from high up in the marvellous Skip Garden at Kings Cross. Coal Drops Yard roofs are in the background, behind the crane.


I did this picture with just three colours: cobalt blue, yellow ochre, and alizarin crimson. The yellow ochre and cobalt blue refused to make green. They made grey.

Here is the picture under construction.

IMG_2060On the way to Kings Cross I passed through Duncan Terrace Gardens, in Islington, where there is an extraordinary “bird hotel” in one of the gigantic trees. It was made by “London Field Works” and consists of 300 specially made bird boxes, all different sizes, fitted round the tree.

A nearby notice assured me: “The method of installation has been designed in close consultation with the Forestry Commission and the borough’s ecology dept to enable the tree to continue to grow and expand.”

Old Street Roundabout: Adeyfield House

I saw this redbrick building on the Old Street Roundabout.

Above it are the huge developments on City Road. From left to right they are Eagle Point, M by Montcalm, and the Atlas Building.

Adeyfield House is residential, part of the Sutton Estate, managed by Islington Council.


The Old Street roundabout was sometimes called “silicon roundabout” because of the high-tech start-ups in the surrounding area. I haven’t heard that term used for a while though. There are certainly many incubator-type office blocks. One is called “White Collar Factory” and was near to where I was standing outside Inmarsat. Inmarsat is a satellite data company.


Old Street roundabout is about to be re-configured to make it more agreeable for pedestrians and cyclists. At the moment it is noisy, polluted, dangerous to cyclists and difficult to navigate on foot.

Huge numbers of pedestrians passed by me on the pavement, talking of investments, employment opportunities, stock options, and where to go for lunch.



On the way to Coal Drops Yard

Here is the view from Graham St Garden, Finsbury, on the way to Kings Cross.

IMG_1932 (1)

I sat on a bench dedicated to the memory of someone called Rick Clarke. It was a new bench, in a lovely position. May Rick Clarke rest in peace. I am grateful to those who knew him for putting the bench there.

Graham St is the extension of Central St northwards, and I was on my way north to Kings Cross to meet someone at the Skip Garden. But the Skip Garden was closed on Mondays, and my friend was waiting outside. We adjourned to the marvellous new development “Coal Drops Yard”. This is a 21st century adaptation of old coal sheds. The old sheds are turned into two levels of shops and restaurants, but in the modern way, old brickwork and chunks of Victorian cast iron are retained. Most spectacular is the roof.


The architects were Heatherwick Studio. On the right of the drawing people were experimenting with strange rotating chairs, also designed by Heatherwick Studio, and other people were watching them.

Here is work in progress on the drawings.


A wall in Waitrose Car Park


I like pictures of walls. It seems to me they have much to say. This one, for example, talks of the house that it once supported, of the concrete small bunkers that were at its base. It has been there longer than the development called “Cherry Tree Walk” which is above Waitrose, to the left. And now, behind and above, is the new YMCA hostel.

This wall is brick. It must have taken a long time to build. And it’s still there.

I drew the YMCA hostel from the other side, in December 2017:

YMCA site, Errol St EC1