To Ilford and Chigwell

The day started sunny but cold – 2°C (35.6°F).

The Angel, Islington

That’s too cold for me. I used to br able to stand the cold but these days I find it harder and harder to do so.

Church of St Nicholas, Blackfriars

We boarded a number 4 bus which took us to Blackfriars where I photographed the Church of St Nicholas with its unusual steeple.

Somewhere in Ilford

It was still cold so we took another long bus ride. This one took us via Stratford (of dire memory!) to Ilford where we took refuge in a Costa Coffee. The above, architecturally indifferent, view is taken just for the sake of completeness.

Ilford, incidentally, takes its name from the local river. Not that you would think so because this is called the Roding. In fact, it used to be called the Hyle and this, joined to ford gave the name to the town.

Old Co-operative store?

We spotted this extensive building bearing the date 1924’and wondered what it was originally. An old Co-operative store, perhaps? Further research required!

Wazir Turkish Restaurant

We were waiting for a bus when we spotted the Wazir Turkish restaurant on the other side of the road and decided that it was time for lunch.

After this we went on a long bus ride as a way of exploring while avoiding the cold. (The temperature reluctantly rose slowly to 6°C, 42.8°F, but it was more comfortable aboard a bus.)

The bus took us to Chigwell and reached its terminus without us realising the fact. So we stayed aboard until the driver saw fit to start the return journey, about 15 minutes, I think. We were upstairs and I don’t know whether the driver knew we were there.

Where’s Chigwell? It’s in the middle of a triangle formed with Ilford, Romford and Epping at its points. (If that helps.)

Interestingly, to arrive there we passed through Hainault. Why is that interesting? Because there is a ancient province called Hainault, sometimes spelled Hainaut, shared by Belgium and France. Is there a connection? Possibly. The official etymology has the British Hainault evolving from Old English words meaning a “wood belonging to a religious community”, in fact that of Barking Abbey. The name was apparently altered to Hainault in the 17th century for supposed but spurious connections with Philippa of Hainault, the wife of Edward III, who came from the French Hainault. So yes, there is a connection with the Franco-Belgian Hainau(l)t but it is a spurious one.

Old Police Station, Ilford

Back in Ilford, we changed buses and passed in front of this old police station bearing a date of 1906. It seems to have been closed like many such in recent times. What is its future? To be repurposed or demolished?

The slow journey home

By now the sun had reached the horizon and twilight was dwindling into darkness. We had a front seat on the upper deck of the bus and I took this photo of the road ahead as we edged slowly in convoy towards Central London.

Around Waterloo

It is a cold (9°C), damp and grey day but we have come out for a wander nonetheless. After a bus ride we found ourselves in Waterloo.

The White Hart, Cornwall Road, Waterloo

I liked the look of this pub, the White Hart, with its dark green tiles. They were manufactured locally by the Royal Doulton factory which enjoyed its heyday in the Victoria era and this gives a general date for the pub.

St John’s at Waterloo

I was too close to this church, St John’s at Waterloo, to take a good photo and had to use the panorama function to cover it all. This has caused the slight bending of the verticals. It was designed by Francis Octavius Bedford and built between 1822 and 1824.

St John’s, interior

This view shows the interior of the church, looking towards the altar. It is unusual in being a clear space without columns or side aisles. The chairs have all been moved away to the periphery, emphasising this feature and the somewhat austere design.

The organ and clock

This shows a view of the organ and clock. Below is the font decorated with humanoid sculpted figures.

We thought we would take a look at the Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel to see whether there any good pieces of street art there. On the way, we saw this intriguing sight.

Pigeons perching on bird boxes

As the site is in shadow, it’s a little difficult to see what is going on here. Someone has affixed a set of bird boxes on the side of a building. They are intended for small birds and the pigeons are too big to access them but they are happy to use them as conveniently placed perches. Each box has its attendant pigeon, keeping watch for any chance of food!

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel

The Tunnel used to be a good place to see street art and well known artists at work. The turnover of works was rapid so that every visit revealed new paintings. In recent years it has become less lively and today tourists and sight-seers easily outnumbered the artists.

We walked the whole length without seeing anything that impressed me. So I collected a couple of examples for the sake of completeness.

Abstract or illegible calligraphy?

A plague of “abstract” art has gone round the world several times since the beginning of the 20th century and it has naturally infected some street artists with its dire bacillus. Another popular strand of street art is calligraphy. This has become more and more complex to the point where it has descended into complete illegibility. Whether this piece is intended to be abstract or is illegible calligraphy is hard to tell.

Cartoon figure

This piece is happily neither abstract nor calligraphy. The cheerful little cartoon figure is perhaps familiar to readers of comics (or “graphic novels”) but is unknown to me.

We rambled a little further until we caught a bus near Victoria Station to return home with seeing anything further that I felt was worth recording photographically.

Horse, elephants and market

We went out this afternoon for a bus ride and ramble. As usual, I took a few photos along the way though the light was wintery-dull and not very suitable for this.

We saw some sculptures at Marble Arch.

Still Water

The first sculpture has been in place long enough now to be a familiar landmark. It is a massive horse’s head by Nic Fiddian-Green, entitled, somewhat counterintuitively, Still Water.


The second is the group of life-size elephants by Gillie & Marc entitled Orphans.

The intention is to publicise the damage being done to wild elephant population by ivory poachers and conflict with humans. The display focuses on the orphans, young elephants left helpless and unable to survive as a result of the killing of their mothers. A fuller explanation will be found on the Marble Arch website.

Happily, there is a charity that cares for some of the orphans, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Like all charities, this one needs, and deserves, donations.


This is just one of the individual sculptures of juvenile elephants, a female named Malkia.

The mother

In the centre of the group and focal point of the design is a larger figure, representing the mother whose death has left the orphans in their precarious state.

Mercato Mayfair

This building in Mayfair, now crowded with people and market-style stalls, was obviously once a church. When it was such, it was called St Mark’s. Today it describes itself as “a cultural hub and sustainable community market“. It rejoices in the somewhat pretentious (but, then, this is Mayfair) name of Mercato Marfair. More information will be found on this website.

I missed the opportunity to photograph the striking pillared entrance of the building but you will find a picture of it and information about the old church in this Wikipedia entry.

Post Post Office

This beautiful building used to be the Post Office. Many times I have posted items here, renewed my transport pass and performed sundry other transactions that fall within the purview of the Royal Mail.

The old Islington Post Office

Behind the public access area was the sorting and parcels offices. A couple of years ago, the site was sold off for redevelopment and the public office replaced by a modern shop front further along the road. Waiting for a bus to take us home, we spotted that the building is now open in its new incarnation, with the somewhat pretentious name of “Islington Square”. Having 12 minutes to wait for our bus, we crossed the road to take a look.

Here are a few views of what we saw.

Hall with glass ceiling

All traces of the post office have been swept away (except for a plaque recording the building’s original role) and it appears to have become a shopping mall. The need for such seems highly doubtful in an area already well supplied with every kind of retail outlet but, then again, when did developers ever consider social need as a factor in their designs?

Dark passage illuminated with Christmas lights

Quite a few – probably the majority – of premises were boarded up, perhaps still awaiting tenants. The Christmas lights help to make the place look cheerful and it remains to see what it is like when they have gone.

Open area with more shops

Behind the old Post Office is this open area with shops and, presumably, residential accommodation.

We did not explore thoroughly, firstly because the site was clearly not in its final state and, secondly, because it was cold and we didn’t want to miss our bus.

As it stands, I am not sure how useful a contribution this new development will make to the area. That will depend on the businesses that are established here. If they meet people’s needs, it will flourish; if not, it will wither on the vine like so many other ill-conceived projects.

Welcome to the new decade!

Welcome to the brave new world of 2020.

St John Street, Angel, Islington

I took this photo from the bus stop in St John Street as we waited for a number 19 to take us up the road to Islington Green where we hoped to find breakfast.

It’s mid-morning already but the streets are very quiet. Many shops and cafes are closed but the buses are running and I have even seen a refuse lorry collecting rubbish from business premises.

Gallipoli, Turkish Resaurant

This is where we came for breakfast. They served us a Turkish breakfast with Turkish tea. Next to Russian Caravan, Turkish is my favourite tea.

Caffé Nero, Islington Green

After breakfast we strolled down to the Islington Green branch of Caffè Nero. Tigger has some crochet work with her and I have books to read on my phone and so I expect we shall be here for a while.

Happy New Decade!

Home again

From Costa we walked along the seafront to the railway station.

Victoria Jubilee Clock Tower

On the way I could not resist photographing one of my favourite Margate landmarks, the Victoria Jubilee Clock Tower. Just before I took the photo, it chimed the three-quarters (1:45 pm).

Margate Staton, Platform 3

Our train was due at 2:30 pm. It was a few minutes late but it made good time during the rest of the journey.

We stopped at more stations than I care to remember but at last pulled into St Pancras. We reached the bus stop in time to board a 214 that sped up the hill to our destination.

During our absence, the indoor temperature had dropped to 15°C (59°F) but the heating soon restored liveable conditions.

As I write this, I am enjoying a good cup of my favourite Russian Caravan tea. One of the pleasures of going away is that of returning home!