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.

Clifton House 75-77 Worship Street EC2

This is the building on the corner of Worship Street and Clifton Street, on the northern edge of the City of London.

Clifton House, 75-77 Worship Street, EC2, 13 September 2021, 7″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10
Location of the drawing

Holywell Street is to the left of the drawing. I sketched this from a bench in the little pedestrian square that now exists where Clifton Street meets Worship Street.

What is this building? Well, now it is inhabited by an organisation called “NEL NHS” according to the notice on the door. From what I can discover online, NEL stands for “North East London” and the organisation is an in-house consulting organisation for the NHS (the UK National Health Service). They are a “Commissioning Support Unit (CSU)” which means they supply services to, for example, GP practices, and area administrators of parts of the NHS. Computing projects and change programmes amongst the service offerings listed on their website. NEL is quite a big organisation. LinkedIn records it as having 967 employees of whom 457 work in London.

Clifton House circa 1920, from the website of the Tony and Sheelagh Williams Charitable Foundation.

That’s who’s there now. But the building has a history. It was built in 1900, for the printers Williams Lea. Williams Lea printed stamps, newspapers, and foreign language material. In the 1939-45 conflict, they printed UK government propaganda in German, which was dropped into Germany. They also printed the first copy of the Radio Times, in 1923, probably in this very building. Williams Lea has itself undergone various transformations, and is now called Perivan. The Perivan website has a history section which helpfully provided me with this information. (Note 1)

In 1978 Tony Williams took over the family business of Williams Lea. Under his leadership the business flourished. He took the decision

“to establish Williams Lea as a Financial Printer serving the City community with its specialist printing needs. This move coincided with the privatisations of many state-owned industries and utilities and in 1990 Williams Lea was awarded the printing for the privatisation of the electricity industry, one of the largest and most complex jobs of its type.” []

It did well. He sold the business in 2006, and with the money established a charitable foundation which exists today.

My drawing took 90 mins on location, with colour added later at my desk.

I spent a long time looking at this building. There are the large windows, which are also doors, so that large items can be lifted out from the different floors. Some of the windows have louvres for extraction fans.

There are many textures in the brickwork. Some cobwebs have been there a while.

Here is a 1945 map showing the location:

Map from “”

I sketched this location as a “microsketch” earlier this year:

Note 1: History of the building: references.

Pevsner LONDON 4: NORTH, page 525 refers to “Clifton House, at the corner of Clifton Street and Worship Street, another printers, (WIlliams Lea & Co) built 1900, five storeys, with handsome red brick arched windows.”

Perivan website: Perivan say:

A Mr J E Lea became a partner of the business in 1864, and it was promptly renamed to Wertheimer Lea & Co. When John Wertheimer passed away in 1883, Mr J H Williams purchased his share (great grandfather of Philip Williams, who works within Perivan today). Over the years, J H Williams acquired the rest of the company and in 1899, Wertheimer Lea built a new factory in Worship Street, London, to consolidate 5 production sites. Now central London, at the time the new factory was built, it was possible to see fields from the top floor. The biggest USP was that all the machines were powered by electricity. The business was renamed in 1914 to Williams Lea to reflect the existing founders. A fun fact – Williams Lea printed the first edition of the Radio Times in 1923!……Throughout the wartime years, Williams Lea survived the blitz where many other printers did not. With its specialism in foreign language printing, this was understandably in very high demand at this point in history, and Williams Lea was heavily involved in the printing of propaganda materials in German which bombers distributed by throwing them out of aeroplanes over Germany – containing messages encouraging the enemy to give up. Williams Lee also printed newspapers for governments in exile in London, including Poland and Norway, and stamps for the Post Office.”

On a specialist postage stamp collectors site there is a reference to Williams Lea printing stamps:

“Williams Lea & Co
Contractor to De La Rue after their premises were bombed on 29th December 1940. William Lea & Co printed the Bermuda high value stamps during 1941.

Other historical information came from the website of the Tony and Sheelagh Williams Charitable Foundation.

67 Redchurch Street E2, “Jolene” bakery

Jolene bakery is on the corner of Redchurch Street and Club Row.

Jolene, 67 Redchurch Street, from across the road. 19th August 2021. 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

This is a lively corner in a street on various edges: on the edge of the City, at the boundary between a new London and an old one, at the intersection of 21st century entrepreneurial culture and 19th century housing projects.

Redchurch Street is just North and West of Brick Lane. There are restaurants, independent clothes designers, hairdressers, and various 21st century businesses I couldn’t identify but categorised in my mind as broadly “creative”. It’s a good place to walk around, and Jolene is a great place to pause for coffee. They close at 3pm, though, so best be quick.

I arrived there at about 1pm today, and sat outside on one of their benches. Here’s the view looking up Club Row.

Looking North up Club Row, from “Jolene” Redchurch St. 9 September 2021, 2:45pm 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

Further North up Club Row, to the left of my drawing, is Arnold Circus. This is the centre point of the Boundary Estate which was the London County Council’s first social housing project, completed on 1900. I have drawn there and written about it here:

Plumage House, N1

Here is Plumage House, 106 Shepherdess Walk, London N1.

Plumage House, 7″ x 10″

This was a feather factory. According to Spitalfields Life this operated until 1994. The building is now rather shabby, though in a dignified way.

I wonder what will happen to it?

In the drawing, the main colours are Fired Gold Ochre, Buff Titanium, Phthalo Turquoise, and Perylene Maroon, with Mars Yellow and Green Apatite Genuine for the green.

Shepherdess Walk (the main street North-South) and the location of Plumage House.

Principal Tower and The Stage

If I look East, along a narrow angle, I can see two new tall buildings in Shoreditch: the “Principal Tower”, and “The Stage”. They are on adjacent sites, about a mile away.

Looking East: The Stage and Principal Tower

The Stage is the tall building on the left, under construction. Their website tells me this will be a “dynamic 37 level landmark for luxury living”. The reason it’s called The Stage is because the remains of the Curtain Theatre were discovered on the site. This theatre was a location for the staging of Shakespeare’s plays, and dates back to 1577. The tower is provides luxurious accommodation. The planning report says:

The scheme does not include any affordable housing, and the viability appraisal confirms that it is not possible to deliver any due to the financial burdens of excavation and archaeological work to the remains of Curtain Theatre in order to create a cultural facility.

planning report D&P/2975/02 18 December 2013, Mayor’s decision*

The architects are Perkins+Will. The developer cited on the planning application was Plough Yard Developments Ltd. That company was dissolved on 23rd Aug 2019. The current owner/developer is “The Stage Shoreditch Development Limited” according to the website “New London Development”.

The building with the truncated spire in front of The Stage is “Triton Court”, which is on the North side of Finsbury Square. The little dome is part of the same building. This dome in on the older, western, part, which was built in 1904-5. The taller part with the spire was later, 1929-30. It was the headquarters of the Royal London Mutual Assurance Society. The building interior was redeveloped in 2013-15 and is now an office development called “Alphabeta”

The tall block on the skyline to the right of picture is “Principal Tower”. This is a residential tower which, according to the website:

“..offers the opportunity to own an architectural masterpiece, equivalent to a priceless piece of art that will give constant pleasure and lasting value.”

from the sales website:, copied on 2nd April 2020

The architect is Foster+Partners. The developer is Brookfield Property Partners. Alongside and beneath the residential tower are offices and shops, in a space called “Principal Place”. One tenant of the office space is Amazon.

Here are some pictures from the sales website:

Here are some maps:

My sketch map showing the locations of the towers in the picture
Map downloaded from the Principal Tower website. The brown dots are “cultural locations”. The red arrow shows the sightline in the picture.

The drawing took just over 2 hours. The colours are: Phthalo Turquoise (W&N), Mars Yellow(DS), Perylene Maroon (DS) and a bit of Perinone Orange (DS).

*The document is on the site at this link: (downloaded 2nd April 2020) Planning Application 2012/3871

Click to access the_stage_curtain_road_report.pdf

You can download the document here:

Paul Street, Shoreditch

Shoreditch, in East London, is a mix of a place. In this view you see many of the constituents of the mix. IMG_3731

The staircase on the right is “Development House” 56-64 Leonard St. It is boarded up, and adorned with graffiti. It is not, however, empty. I saw several sets of people descend the stairs while I was drawing. It was not at all obvious what they were doing there. I could not tell if they were residents, security guards, architects, property investment professionals or graffiti artists.

There is an unremarked and very lovely statue on the side of Development House. It shows people helping each other climb a steep staircase. I can find out nothing about it. It’s an inspiring image. I hope it doesn’t get scrapped when the site is re-developed.*

The glorious brick wall on the left of the drawing is the back of a warehouse at 62/72 Tabernacle Street. It looks as though it might still be a warehouse, since the signboard at the front says “EMA Textiles”, and cardboard boxes are stacked behind the windows. Next to it, further left out of the picture, is 52-60 Tabernacle Street, which is also a warehouse, but that one has been renovated and all the brick is marvellously repointed and neat: “warehouse space to lease” says the notice.

The red brick building is on the opposite side of Tabernacle Street. It is “McQueen” which is a night club and bar. The gap between Development House and the nightclub is what looks like an old bomb site. It is now a car park, and is a sunken area, with remnants of walls, and buddlia bushes. It all looks rather provisional, but it’s been like that for years. Sometimes there is a dance venue in the sunken area. I’ve drawn in this area before. See this post:  Shoreditch skyline

The modern buildings in the background are “White Collar Factory” on the left, a multiple occupancy office space, and the Bezier Building on the right, with the flagpole or antenna. It doesn’t look like a flagpole.

The ecclesiastical building in the centre is part of the Central Foundation Boys School, a state school.

I drew this picture standing up overlooking the litter strewn area by Development House. While I was drawing, a horn bleeped. A car drew up, running its engine. The bleep had come from a motorbike behind the car. I saw to my astonishment that the back of the car was connected to the motorbike by a strap. The car was trying to tow the motorbike. This was obviously not working out well. They had stopped to reconsider. The motorcyclist dismounted and removed his helmet. Manoeuvring followed. I returned to my drawing. They tried this twice more before giving up.

When I’d finished the pen and ink I crossed the road to a little restaurant with wooden slatted tables outside. I gestured to the table, and smiled at two people of asian appearance behind the window.  They nodded and smiled and continued their dialogue with the mobile phone screen. I sat down and got out my watercolours. Before long, a smiling person appeared and asked what I wanted. I said tea. She said “Bubble tea?”. I did not know bubble tea. It was 4pm and I am English so I said “ordinary tea”. This caused her to nod, smile and disappear. She came back with a menu. I pointed to the only tea I recognised, which was “oolong tea”. “With sugar?” she said. I smiled and said no thankyou. I went on with my painting.

What appeared at my table was not what I expected. I was expecting a teapot, or a mug. Steaming. Hot. Fragrant. With a spoon, perhaps. No. What appeared was a bottle. Chilled. “Oolong tea, no sugar,” announced the server, placing the bottle ceremoniously on the table.  She smiled. I smiled. She went back inside. I cautiously opened the bottle. It was indeed tea. Cold tea in a bottle. Not what I expected, but pleasant, and plentiful.

Cold tea in a bottle.

The restaurant was “Buy and Bite: Popular Taiwanese Street Food”. A new experience for me. And only a short walk from home. The food looked really good. To try. Another time. Amazing London.

*Redevelopment of “Development House”

Online I found a planning application [Development House, 55-64 Leonard Street, London Borough of Hackney Local planning authority reference: 2017/4694] for demolition and rebuilding on this site, dated 2017. Here’s what the proposed building will look like:


But since the website declares “completion in 2018” and it is now 2019, there may be a subsequent scheme. Here’s an extract from the Allford Hall Monaghan Morris website.

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (architects)
Melvale Holding Ltd with client representative Darmouth Capital
The proposal for the new Development House will replace the tired and almost empty existing building with a new 100,000sqft per nine storey building of office with A1 activities at ground floor that will activate the frontage along Leonard Street and Circus.

Melvale Holding Limited is a company incorporated in Jersey, with a registered office in Jersey which has an address in common with a large number of other registered companies: Equity Trust (Jersey) Limited.  “Melvale Group”, which may well be related, describes itself as ” a diversified management, international trade, foreign direct investment and financial advisory consulting organisation and we work for both the Private and Public enterprises and institutions.”. But I am no further on. This Melvale Group has an address in Cobham in Surrey.

Dartmouth (not Darmouth) Capital is based in the City of London. They list “Development House” in their “portfolio”, and say about it, on their website:

The scheme prepared by local architect Waugh Thiselton is for an impressive new office development of circa 90,000 sq ft which will include ancillary retail space at ground floor level. The Shoreditch area is at the heart of the Technology, Media and Telecoms sector and enjoys demand for offices, particularly for unique buildings, and is a market with limited supply.

The scheme by Waugh Thiselton is quite different from the scheme above, and pre-dates it.  Here’s their 2016 proposal:


They say:

“This nine-storey timber-framed office block will be the tallest engineered timber building in London, and a beacon building for Shoreditch.”

They propose a whole lot of green and environmental ideas. But since the Allford Hall Monaghan Morris proposal is later, then that’s the one we’ll get, most likely. The street which goes back on the left of the building in their drawing is the one where I had my oolong tea, and did my drawing. None of these proposals say what is going to happen to the statue.

Shoreditch skyline


This is a view on an intriguing house which is on Clere Street in Shoreditch. A sort of greenhouse has been built on top of an older Victorian house. Very modern. As far as I can work out it is 17-18 Clere Street. There are various names on the door bell, and the top one is labelled “Nucco Brain”. Nucco Brain is a “visual storytelling company”. They make videos. But this may not be the glass structure, as that looks residential. Hard to tell.

The view is from the corner of Leonard Street and Tabernacle Street, EC2. In the foreground is a sunken bar, and then, amazingly, a bomb site used as a car park. The bomb site and the warehouse building on the left of the drawing are “EMA textiles”, with Acme bar in “EMA House” on the ground floor.

EMA Textiles, based on the edge of Shoreditch and the City of London is a large specialist babywear and childrenswear fashion importer. We have been established for 60 years and successfully supply many high street retailers with a full range of products” (LinkedIn)

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