Clock Tower, Caledonian Park

Here is a sketch of the marvellous Clock Tower, which is on the site of the former Metropolitan Market, now called Caledonian Park, N1.

Caledonian Park, Clock Tower. 9″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 9

We ran past this tower on a long run last weekend, and it was looking particularly splendid against the dark sky. I took a photo and later made this sketch.

This clock tower was the centre of the Metropolitan Cattle Market, opened in 1855. The tower was refurbished using a £2M lottery grant, in 2019, and was opened for public viewing.

The history of this market, park and tower are set out in the beautifully researched blog by “A London Inheritance”, in an article written in October 2015

The Horseshoe, Clerkenwell

Here is The Horseshoe, in Clerkenwell Close.

The Horseshoe, 24 Clerkenwell Close EC1

I enjoyed the way the pub is slotted into that corner space, amongst the taller buildings. The building behind it looks as though it might be older than the pub. The arched window-alcove to the left, above the car, has been partly obscured by the wall of the pub. The purpose of this alcove is unclear. It isn’t an ordinary window, and can’t let much light into the building as it is so recessed. It looks as though it might have had some industrial purpose.

And much is happening at roof level. On the right of the pub, high up, someone has made a roof garden. They have a glasshouse, and a weathervane in the shape of a whale. Behind that, even higher up, is a huge bridge-like construction, with arched supports, which looks as though it is a roof on top of a courtyard, behind the buildings I could see. Notice also the formidable collection of communications equipment: a satellite dish and three aerials near the whale, and on the building in the background there were at least two mobile phone masts, with antennae like loudspeakers, pointing in different directions.

The pub itself has a roof garden, with brightly coloured bunting and many flowerpots. I drew this picture yesterday, during Lockdown 2, so sadly it is closed. However it is going on my “After Lockdown” list.

Here are maps:

Here are sketches of work in progress, and some snapshots of the location. I did a preliminary sketch on brown paper, as you see. It was cold, 6 degrees C. I didn’t manage to finish the colour outdoors, but scuttled home to complete the detail in the warm.

This picture took about 1 hour 45 minutes on location, including a chat with a friend who passed by on his afternoon stroll. Then another half hour at home working on the colour detail. The colours are: Phthalo Turquoise (W&N), Burnt Umber (DS), Mars Yellow (DS), Green Apatite Genuine (DS), Fired Red Ochre (DS), with some Perylene Maroon and Prussian Blue to get the greys, and a few dots of Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Hansa Yellow Mid, and Green Gold (all DS). The picture is size 7 inches by 10 inches on Arches Aquarelle 300gsm watercolour paper, in a Wyvern sketchbook (Sketchbook 9)

This is one of an emerging series of drawings of pubs in the Clerkenwell area. Here are some others in the series:

The Sekforde, Clerkenwell

I sketched The Sekforde, sitting on a step on the other side of the road. The pub was closed today. It looked like a good pub. While I was sketching I received confirmation of this. Two portly men strolled past, paused, and asked me if I was waiting for the pub to open. I said … Continue reading “The Sekforde, Clerkenwell”

Jerusalem Tavern, Britton St

Here is a sketch of The Jerusalem Tavern, Britton St, Clerkenwell, made as the light faded. I find this a particularly lovely building. The curves over the windows are semicircles and there is a pleasing symmetry to the upper floors. The semicircle over St John’s Passage exactly matches the door to its left, on another … Continue reading “Jerusalem Tavern, Britton St”

Update:

I discovered this picture of the pub in 1972:

The Horseshoe, from https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol46/pp54-71

The Eagle, 2 Shepherdess Walk

Here is The Eagle.

The Eagle from Shepherdess Walk

This is a very old pub, located at a significant junction on City Road.

In the picture above, the alley on the right of the pub is called “Shepherdess Place”. It leads to a police car park, and several office blocks. I went down there to draw a picture of The Eagle from the other side.

The Eagle from Shepherdess Place. The plants on the right are some sort of vine, climbing on, or falling off the building. In the background are the towers of the new development 250 City Road.

The Eagle is mentioned in the nursery rhyme. We used to sing it as children without the least idea what it meant.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice, 
half a pound of treacle
That's the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel
Up and down the City Road
In and out the Eagle
That's the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel

This needs translation. I don’t know what the reference to “tuppenny rice” means. It could simply mean “rice” of course, but given that the rest of the song is in rhyming slang, I wonder what ‘Tuppenny rice’ might mean. Tuppenny is “two pence worth”. That would be old pennies, of course, pre-decimal.

“Treacle” is rhyming slang: “Treacle tart”. Hence “treacle” is an affectionate term for “woman”, or perhaps “female sex-worker”. I have been called “treacle” by the market traders where I used to live. It was a friendly kind of a word. “Weasel” is rhyming slang: “Weasel and stoat”, hence “coat”.

So my translation is:

A little bit for food, 
A little bit for the lady-friend
Then I don't have any money left
So I pawn my overcoat
Having visited the [betting?] shops on the City Road
and partaken of refreshment in the Eagle
I don't have any money left
So I pawn my overcoat
“Grecian Theatre Pleasure Grounds,
Grecian Saloon and Olympic Theatre”.

The Eagle was not just a pub. It was also a theatre. I wonder if the huge pitched roof I have drawn (top right in the second picture) covers a large hall. According to a plaque on the outside (pictured)

The Eagle Tavern, Grecian Theatre Pleasure Grounds, Grecian Saloon and Olympic Theatre, stood here 1825-1899. Here Marie Lloyd, music hall artiste, made her first public performance in 1885.

I wonder what “Grecian” meant in this context?

Here are some pictures of work in progress.

This junction is changing rapidly. The empty site on the other side of the road, an old bomb-site, now has construction vehicles in action. I took some photos just for the record, and found out a bit more about the site. See the page on this link if you are interested, and please comment if you know more.

Here are some other drawings I have done in the area:

Gambia House from Shepherdess walk

Gambia House constructed 1968, 20 stories, 115 flats. Owned and managed by Islington. Planning proposal for external cladding, 18 Sept 2014. Eagle Dwelling 212 City Road, on the left of the picture, is a “specialist supported housing scheme for single homeless people who may also have additional complex needs”. It seems to be owned and managed … Continue reading “Gambia House from Shepherdess walk”

Courage on Nile St N1

This is the view looking West from the junction of Nile St and East St, in the borough of Hackney, London N1. I was leaning against a wall on a wide pavement, on the corner. I judged that I was easy to avoid there, and social distance could easily be maintained. In fact, there were … Continue reading “Courage on Nile St N1”

Shepherdess Walk at City Road

This is at the junction of Shepherdess Walk and the City Road.

Shepherdess Café, with Eagle Point and The Atlas Building in the background.

Just off the picture to the left is the Eagle pub. Both the Eagle pub and the narrow building I’ve drawn are remarkably dilapidated, given their location in a trendy part of town, right near Old Street Roundabout. I feel their existences are somewhat precarious. See the huge shiny towers, only a few hundred metres away.

But that building above the café has its dignity, for all that it is cracked, and its walls are leaning several degrees off the vertical. Its windows are surrounded by scrollwork and stucco. It is much used, and much modified. There is a spectacular network of pipes and conduits at the back of the building, and an impressive array of TV aerials and satellite dishes on the front.

The alley on the left of my drawing is Shepherdess Place.

Notices on Shepherdess Place.

The white stone in the brickwork tells us that this small street marks a parish boundary. It says “The Boundary of the Parish of St Luke Middlesex, Ths B Johnson, Rd Phillips, Church Wardens, 1864“, with an additional figure “1” whose meaning is obscure to me. Can we assume “Ths” is “Thomas” and “Rd” is Rudyard? The black notice confirms this boundary “St L-S 1893“, 29 years later.

See how lovely the brickwork is! All those pinks and browns!

Here is work in progress on the drawing and some maps.

Five different buses pass the spot where I was drawing. They all head North up Shepherdess Walk:

  • 21 to Newington Green
  • 271 to Highgate Village
  • 394 to Homerton Hospital
  • 141 to Palmers Green
  • 76 to Tottenham Hale

There is a police station next to the Eagle pub, offices and housing all around. Moorfields Eye Hospital is just across the City Road. It’s a busy corner. The Shepherdess Café was closed because of lockdown.

There are many colours in this picture, all Daniel Smith colours: Lunar Earth, Buff Titanium, Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue for the brickwork, Perylene Maroon is in there too, for the grey and black, and Mars Yellow and Transparent Pyrrol Orange for the street signs. This is in Sketchbook 9 on Arches Aquarelle 300g NOT paper. The picture is 10″ x 7″ and took 1hr30min approx.

Jerusalem Tavern, Britton St

Here is a sketch of The Jerusalem Tavern, Britton St, Clerkenwell, made as the light faded.

Jerusalem Tavern, 55 Britton St, 16 Nov 2020

I find this a particularly lovely building. The curves over the windows are semicircles and there is a pleasing symmetry to the upper floors. The semicircle over St John’s Passage exactly matches the door to its left, on another lovely house which has amazing tall windows on the first floor.

Britton Street was surprisingly lively on that Monday afternoon. There are offices along the street and people rushed in and out of doors, or came and stood on the pavement smoking. Delivery drivers were the main traffic, both vans and bicycles. They all seemed to know each other. A package was delivered to the office next to me. A woman came out to receive it. It was evidently expected. The driver returned to his van, and sorted more packages inside.

Here are some work in progress pictures and a map. I have just finished reading “Troubled Blood” by Robert Galbraith. If you’ve read the book you’ll know that much of the action takes place in these streets in Clerkenwell. As far as I can work out, all the streets mentioned in the book exist, and the routes described are realistic.

This drawing took about an hour. The colours are: for the walls – Fired Gold Ochre (DS), Mars Yellow (DS) and Phthalo Turquoise (W&N) , for the light in the windows Hansa Yellow Mid (DS). The drawing is 7″ x 10″, done in a sketchbook on 300gsm Arches Aquarelle Paper.

While I was drawing, I detected a movement in my peripheral vision. A spider of alarming size was climbing the wall against which I was leaning. It was making little spurts across each brick, then secreting itself into the mortar, trying to become invisible, before making its next jump. As I watched, it turned around meaningfully, and started heading down towards my rucksack, which was upright on the pavement, open, leaning against the brickwork like a spider-catching bucket. I moved the rucksack, and closed its flap. I was more-than-usually disconcerted, because we had been watching “Dr No” the previous night. I could recall rather too vividly that scene of the poisonous spider which crawls on James Bond while he is sleeping. I stood away from the wall, and monitored the spider’s progress. I did not have long to wait. It reached pavement level, no doubt disappointed that the bright yellow rucksack had somehow disappeared. Then it went into a pavement-level crack to decide what to do next. I decided to stop worrying about it.

To see the spider, scroll down – if you dare. Trigger warning: SPIDER.

Spider. It is about half the height of a house brick. Those are bricks on the wall, against which I was leaning.

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”