Chapel Market

Here are the pictures that I scanned yesterday from my Streets of London series of July 2005:

Percy Circus WC1 7.05

Percy Circus WC1 remains a tribute to 19th Century town planning and 20th Century restoration. offers this description: ‘The whole area was set out on a south-facing hillside, in classical layouts; a Circus, Squares and numerous Rectangles. It was a planned as a Classical estate layout, designed to be near the City of London but away from its old crowded houses. It could have come directly from some 18th Century architect’s notebook when he returned from the Grand Tour. It was completely different from the traditional City of London layout. There the streets were narrow lanes. Here roads wer generously wide and laid out as vistas. Houses were large and impressive, not the narrow fronted, tall houses squeezed upwards by the old City walls.

The people who first moved into these houses had ‘arrived’. They were the successful ones and could now enjoy the new, spacious houses. It was exactly like the contrast between the tenements of Old Edinburgh and Edinburgh New Town, laid out on its Classical grid.

The air was better in Percy Circus than in the City of London, but it was near King’s Cross and Euston and would not be free of soot for another century and the Clean Air Acts of 1956, 1968 and 1990.

The houses were built as separate properties and some remained like this, but soon many were divided into floors and even separate rooms. Decades before 1939 and the Second World War, in it had become a densely packed area, full of bed-sitting rooms and single women. Their potential husbands had been killed in the First World War. The most relevant novel seems to me to be Riceyman Steps by Arnold Bennett, which is set nearby.’

This very informative site provides historic maps and photographic descriptions of the restoration carried out following the destruction brought about by numerous bombings in the second world war.

Vernon Square WC1 7.05

Down the hill we arrive at Vernon Square, the early residents of which would be amazed at the traffic congestion encountered on Penton Rise,

Acton Street/Kings Cross Road WC1 7.05

which joins Kings Cross Road. Following the BBC television series ‘The Urban Chef’ of 2006, The Prince Albert, at the corner of Acton Street, has become a thriving gastropub.

Frederick Street, WC1 7.05

Frederick Street WC1 lies parallel to Acton Street. You could buy one of these houses for £2.5 million give or take a grand or two.

Lloyd Street WC1 7.05

On a level with Percy Circus stands Lloyd Street, part of the Lloyd Baker estate where I once lived and which has featured a number of times in this series.

White Conduit Street N1 7.05

Islington’s Chapel Market N1 is still a bustling, colourful, source of stall-holders’ produce. Fosby’s Café, on the corner of White Conduit Street, was a popular eating place. It seems now to be no longer in business.

Grant Street N1 7.05

In Grant Street a fruiterer sets out his oranges over which are suspended string bags of garlic.

North West Place N1 7.05

Clothes and books are on offer in North West Place.

Baron Street N1 7.05

The fruit on the Baron Street stall remains as fresh as it was when sampled yesterday. As far as I can tell, the bar with the beautiful floral display is the Alma which has been recently updated.

Tolpuddle Street N1 7.05

Tolpuddle Street N1 lies parallel to Chapel Street. The Angelic, with its address in Liverpool Road, is a popular gastro-pub.

Hemingford Road N1 7.05

Hemingford Road N1 is situated between Caledonian Road and Liverpool Road,

Moon Street N1 7.05

to the east of which, Moon Street is an attractive little cul-de-sac.

In a short while Jackie will be driving me to New Hall Hospital for my first post-discharge physiotherapy session. I will report on that tomorrow.

I’ll Give You A Clue


Today the sun slunk back behind the newly whitewashed ceiling from which occasional leaks did spring.

In July 2005 the weather was finer, so I took a trip back there in the form of scanning another dozen colour slides of the Streets of London series.

Sandwich Street WC1 7.05

Unless they’ve relocated to much grander property in Wisconsin, Double K’s Snack Bar in the aptly named Sandwich Street WC1 is probably no longer trading.

Havelock Street N1 7.05

The mural on this corner of the Lewis Carroll Library in Islington’s Havelock Street has not escaped the attentions of a graffiti spray can. Its premises in Copenhagen Street N1 currently appear to be rather more splendid. This is a popular educational resource for children and adults.

Freeling Street N1

A palette and bags of building materials in Freeling Street serve as a seat for a worker taking a break for refreshments and phone conversation.

Chapel Market/Penton Street N1 7.05

A typical London corner shop stands on this corner of Chapel Market and Penton Street.

At the close of the 18th century townhouses with rear gardens were built along what was then Chapel Street, when it formed the eastern boundary of the new suburb of Pentonville. A fire engine house was erected in 1792 and heightened in 1822; it survives today but in poor condition. gives us this information about the market:

‘The essayist Charles Lamb lived at two addresses in Chapel Street in the late 1790s.

To the annoyance of the well-heeled residents, costermongers began to sell their wares along the street during the 19th century and by the 1860s a fully-fledged and relatively reputable market was in operation. Official designation as a street market came in 1879.

Chapel Market in March 2014*

Three years later John James Sainsbury opened his first Islington store at 48 Chapel Street, managed for a while by his eldest son, John Benjamin. The venture was so successful that the Sainsburys opened three more shops in the street, including their first branch specialising in poultry and game.

By the 1890s Chapel Street had one of the two largest markets in the Clerkenwell and Islington areas, divided roughly equally between food and non-food stalls. Furniture, earthenware, second-hand clothing and drapery were among the most popular merchandise. The council renamed the street Chapel Market in 1936.

A few mainstream retailers and fast food outlets now occupy premises towards the eastern end of the street but for the most part this remains a traditional and unpretentious market, selling mainly household goods and food. It is open every day except Monday. Despite its continuing popularity, Chapel Market is vulnerable to a future change of use owing to the high value of land in Islington.’

The Victorian Royal Free Hospital began life as The London Fever Hospital. By the 1990s this redundant facility was redeveloped for varying types of residential accommodation. has much interesting history on this site, modern manifestations of which include

Old Royal Free Square N1 7.05

Old Royal Free Square N1

Southwood Smith Street N1 7.05

and Southwood Smith Street N1

Battishill Street N1 7.05

London’s feral pigeons are ubiquitous. Here a trio dice with death near a corner of Battishill Street.

Kember Street N1 7.05

I do hope the driver of this Urgent Courier in Kember Street had managed to deliver his package before his van was clamped.

Bernard Street WC1 7.05

The gentleman on the balcony in Bernard Street WC1 appears to have scaled great heights in search of a mobile phone signal.

Victoria Street SW1 7.05

Now, can you spot Louisa and Errol outside the Victoria Palace Theatre?

Victoria Street SW1 7.05

I’ll give you a clue. The woman in white conversing on her mobile stands beside them when the traffic crossing figure is green. It becomes red while she approaches me, still apparently engrossed in the screen.

Victoria Street SW1 7.05

These three shots were all taken from outside an Indian restaurant where the three of us had enjoyed a pre-theatre meal before seeing the show, aptly described on the board as ‘The Greatest British Musical I’ve Ever Seen’.

Once more, by late afternoon, the sun shone from a gently clouded blue sky.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole and mashed potato flecked with carrot. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016.