Friday, 22 April 2011

Tony's singular adventures - To Newington Green

We are off on another adventure. This time though its in familiar territory. and for once I am not on my own but have a friend in tow as I set of from Delargo Towers down Green Lanes

Lionel and I passed Manor House on the 141 bus rather than on a tram, but other than that its not changed that much since this photo was taken. This is about to change though as work has already started on a massive redevelopment of the area.
From what I have seen they are replacing a lot of old ugly buildings with newer and bigger, ugly buildings. Well that's progress I suppose...

We got off the bus a little earlier than we intended. Which considering the cacophony of gangsta rap played on mobile phones, mad people and screaming children was quite a relief. This also gave me a chance to take this snap of our local landmark.
Lionel told me that the french term for water tower translates as water castle and this is certainly that. Once the main Water Board pumping station. It was designed, by William Chadwell Mylne, to look like a towering Scottish castle.

A little further down is 'The Brownswood Park Tavern' ( a pub I have not ventured into as yet ) This area was just that - Browns Wood - and a popular day-trip destination for Londoners wanting to escape the city for a bit of peace and quiet in the clean air of the countryside.

Brownswood is shown at the bottom right of this map. If any one has a picture of  Brownswood Manor I would love to see it. 

On into Clissold Park
Clissold Park is not only a lovely park but is full of history as well as Spring bulbs.

Clissold House was built for Joseph Hoare, a Quaker merchant and anti-slavery campaigner, in the 1790s. The park was his garden, and the stretch of water that winds around the house was once part of the New River (the New River is a blog to itself so more on that at a later date, methinks).
The house then went to the Crawshay family, the middle-aged daughter of which was courted by the Reverend Augustus Clissold. Her father was against the match. He was probably right, for as soon as her father died Clissold acquired ownership of the estate and his wife's fortune. He changed the name of the estate to Clissold Place and gave up the church. All of a woman's property and money transferred to the husband on marriage at that time. Not much is known about her. I hope she was happy but somehow I doubt it.

I didn't take a snap of the house as it's going through a major refurb, as a Starbucks and wedding location or something of that ilk I expect. It was covered by netting and cement mixers anyway.

This pic was a few years ago.

The story after Mr Clissold is actually more interesting - The growth of London and urban development.

With London ever-expanding there was an outcry from the people to stop all their green spaces being eaten up by bricks.



On 22 June 1886 Clissold Park was to be sold, the trees felled and the land laid out as building plots.
Stoke Newington was losing its open spaces at an alarming rate. In the previous ten years, from 1776-1866, nearly a third of its 2000 acres had been built over.

Two men headed a London-wide campaign. Mr. Beck and Mr. Runtz pressurised the authorities. The estate was eventually acquired under the Clissold Park (Stoke Newington) Act 1887!
Thank heavens they did you can see in the next map how much was lost:

Booth map1889

(Gold means very-very rich, blue means poor.  Black is for the very poor/sub criminal classes.)
Many country estates neighbouring Clissold Park  and shown on the maps above were lost to the developers

1875 Newington Hall,

1887  Holly Lodge / Lordship Park

1890 Sale Plan of Willow Lodge:

1888 Sale Plan of Green Lanes Estate:

and Manor House, Stoke Newington (not to be confused with the Tube station):

When the London County Council took over the land as Clissold Park, they inherited a minor Botanical Garden which had been designed in the grounds of a gentleman’s residence. It was the last of many.

Thank you, Mr. Beck and Mr. Runtz!

The two ponds in Clissold Park were christened Beckmere and Runtzmere and a memorial drinking fountain erected to commemorate Beck and Runtz’s work in securing the park for the public:

After a troll around the park Lionel and I headed of towards the Parish Church of St Mary's:

Now I was confused!
I have seen the church many times from Green Lanes. It creates a wonderful picturesque view seen across the park. It has the tallest spire of any parish church in London.
This was not it!

Stoke Newington has two parish churches next to each other and both with the same dedication. The 'Old' and the 'New' St Marys...

Both are still in use.

From here we walked to Newington Green to catch a bus up to Islington

Newington Green, 1860:

The Newington Green area has always been a little bit posh and a bit alternative. That might be due to Non-Conformists moving there from the city to avoid persecution - or the indeed fact that Hermione Gingold and Barbara Windsor both grew up there, which must have left its mark!

And so to Islington (mainly so that Lionel could do some shopping and I could get a pint in a gay pub with a beer garden).

We did pop into Chapel Street Market for a quick browse:

But we were both felt too hot for the eels, pie and mash that we promised ourselves earlier:

This stall has gone but Manze's is still there:

No eels, no pie, no mash and no liqueur  - hey ho, next time!

Lionel went off shopping and I went to sit and relax in the sunshine in the beer garden of the Edward VI.

I love London! This was basically a trip to Sainsbury's but at the turn of a corner one bumps into history, culture, green open spaces, architecture and the legacy of amazing people .

There is so more to talk about in this short stretch of green Lanes me thinks there should be a follow up blog 

t t f

Thursday, 14 April 2011

London Pubs of note

I love London, I love history and I love pubs!
Here is a random sample of some of my faves. All are well worth a visit and a little research:-

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was  rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of 1666.
There has been a pub at this location since 1538. The vaulted cellars are thought to belong to a 13th century Carmelite Monastery which once occupied the site.
Famous literary figures associated with the place - Oliver Goldsmith, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson,Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Dr. Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens.

My local - The Salisbury:
The Salisbury Hotel was opened in 1899, to loud cheers from the residents. The developer had thought the area too 'exclusive' to include public houses!
The Salisbury was the grandest building on Grand Parade. It was huge and impressive, with a large billiard room, restaurant and concert hall.
It had lost its grandeur along with the rest of Harringay by the 1980s.
New owners transformed the Salisbury in 2003. It was sympathetically restored to make the most of the original Victorian features, which are indeed impressive.

The Spaniards Inn:
A country pub in the City. After a walk on Hampstead Heath and then some well earned refreshment in their large beer garden, it's hard to believe that you are in London at all let alone in Zone 3!
Keats, Shelly and Byron all drank here as well as the old rascal Dickens.
The name itself is meant to derive from the Spanish ambassador to King James who lived there for a time.

The Argyll Arms is opposite the London Palladium.
The facade of the Palladium was originally that of Argyll House, hence the name of the pub. 
One of the few pubs to have its Victorian partitions still in place, which creates a fab intimate (if a little crowded) atmosphere.
Mahogany-and-etched-glass details downstairs are contrasted with portraits of Ken Dodd and Frankie Howerd in the Palladium Bar upstairs.
It’s a Nicholsons pub which is a shame but even so it manages to put on some good beer, including some of my faves Timothy Taylor, Black Sheep and Shepherd Neame.

The Golden Eagle:
A real fave of mine. A backstreet local that has survived. It is unpretentious to say the least.
It has thrice-weekly piano singalongs with Tony 'Fingers' Pearson, and one of the best fish and chip shops in London around the corner.
Now that is my idea of a grand night out!
Oh and is also famous for the grumpiest barman in London too.
He is actually a mate of mine - and yes, he really is like that all the time!

The Black Friar was built in 1875 on a site once occupied by the Blackfriars Monastery. The outside was decorated by Henry Poole, interior remodelled in 1905 by H. Fuller Clark, using multi-coloured marble, mosaics, bronze reliefs and alabaster.
Both Poole and Clark were committed members of the Arts and Crafts movement, and really went to town over this fabulous little pub. The decorative touches such as the elaborate fire-basket with goblin ends, monks singing carols, collecting fish and eels for their meatless days, and one is just about to boil an egg, are a great joy.
The quality and craftsmanship is wonder full right down to the door knobs and window fittings.
Its a gem, lavish yet tasteful a true 'must visit' pub
Go to for more info and photos

Three pubs in Wapping:
The Lady Hilary first took me to the Thameside pubs of Wapping a few years ago. 
A perfect riverside mini crawl; it is still my favorite area for a pint by the river. There will be a few more riverside pubs in the follow up blog I am sure...

The Prospect of Whitby: claims to being the site of the oldest riverside tavern, dating from around 1520
All that remains from the building’s earliest period is the 400 year old stone floor. In former times it was a meeting place for sailors, smugglers, cut-throats and footpads - the hostelry of choice of "Hanging" Judge Jeffreys. According to legend, criminals would be tied up to the posts at low tide and left there to drown when the tide came in. It was mainly pirates that were executed here.
Turner, Whistler, Samuel Pepys and of course Dickens all drank here.

Town of Ramsgate:
A long narrow pub next to an alleyway known as Wapping Old Stairs.
The stairs lead down to the riverside where fishermen from Ramsgate sold their catch.
It was on Wapping Old Stairs, in 1688, that Judge Jeffries was captured whilst trying to flee the country dressed as a sailor.
I also like the story that it was formerly called "the Red Cow", because a barmaid there had red hair!

The Captain Kidd:
This is a fairly modern pub converted from an old warehouse I asume.
Kidd was hanged a little further upstream at Execution Dock. Its worth a mention as it has a fab large beer garden with fab river views and makes a nice set with the other two.

The Anchor Tap is lovely old pub tucked away in Shad Thames.
It's a Samuel Smiths pub like so many of Londons old historic pubs. Originaly the  brewery tap for the Anchor Brewhouse which is still just across the street at the foot of tower bridge

The Bull's Head:
What can I say about Strand on the Green? It is a particularly picturesque part of London.
The footpath runs along the bank of the river, overlooked by numerous imposing 18th-century houses and local pubs which, being on the Tideway, are regularly flooded,
It really is the place to be on a sunny day, especially when the tide is in!
There are three pubs on the strand but The Bull's Head is our fave. Licensed by 1722, it is the farthest east from Kew Bridge.

The Princess Louise is a classic example of a Victorian gin palace.
Built in 1872, the pub had a refit in 1892 in which no expense was spared.
etched mirrors line the walls, surrounded by polychromatic tiling, elaborate terracotta friezes, patterned ceilings, marble pillars with gilt capitals, tiled floors mosaics and stained and painted glass.

Even the toilets are spectacular - thank you Samuel Smith!

George Inn
Dating from the 17th century this public house is London's last remaining galleried inn.
The ground floor is divided into a number of connected bars. The Old Bar used to be a waiting room for passengers on coaches. The middle bar was the Coffee Room, which was frequented by Charles Dickens (my god he got about). The bedrooms, now a restaurant, were upstairs in the galleried part of the building. My friend John hired the Old Bar for his birthday party and we all had a fab time!
This was going to be a post of 10 favorites with out any order. I have gone a little past that already so perhaps this is the place to stop for now.

If you liked this keep an eye out for post two...