Today, I’m visiting Thornhill Gardens in Islington. Other boroughs surrounding Islington have large open spaces: to the north, Hampstead has Kenwood and the Heath; to the south, the City of London offers you the spires of numerous Wren city churches and the dome of St Paul’s cathedral. Two hundred years ago, Islington itself scarcely existed, except as a village with a small spa attached and it was viewed by City dwellers as a pleasant place to take a walk. It sits on a hill, well above the City of London smogs.
Map of Thornhill Gardens 1940-1960s
Continue reading A Visit to Thornhill Gardens
Today, I’m taking a walk along the Regent’s Canal from the Angel, Islington, to the Kingsland Basin, en route to the London Docks.
Backs of Noel Road houses seen from the opposite side of the canal
Looking down on the canal from the bridge above Islington Tunnel, I can see the backs of the houses in Noel Road. In the 1960s the whole area was run down, derelict and renting was cheap. One of the area’s claims to fame – or notoriety – was the playwright, Joe Orton, who lived at 25 Noel Road, was murdered here by his lover, Keith Halliwell in 1965.
Islington Tunnel, opened 1820
I come down onto the towpath by Islington Tunnel and the view instantly opens out onto the City Road Lock. You can see the lockkeeper’s cottage hiding behind a willow. The temperature is barely above freezing but it’s already starting to green up.
Continue reading The Regent’s Canal: Angel to the Kingsland Basin
I often walk along the towpath of the King’s Cross to Islington Tunnel section of the Regent’s Canal. It takes ten to fifteen minutes and I love the walk for its interest and variety. It was built 1812-20 and that’s the period I’ve always been interested in.
The second-hand bookshop boat
The first thing I see is the wonderful second-hand bookshop boat – my idea of heaven. There are books piled high everywhere – this is definitely my kind of place.
Continue reading The Regent’s Canal: All Human Life is Here