This is my penultimate post of the 8-day tour of London proposed by Mr Bradshaw in his Illustrated Hand Book to London, and a tour which I began in January 2013! But we have not yet finished the tour of London – the Environs of London remain to be explored, Bradshaw in Hand.
The Angel is named after The Angel Inn which, in various forms, has stood at this corner since the 16C. The New Road (the Marylebone Road) and the City Road merge at a point where Upper Street leads northwards, i.e. this has always been a busy entry point into London.
Mr Bradshaw says ‘..proceeding eastward on the City Road, first opened in 1761, we must pause to notice the Elizabethan Almshouses, founded by Lady Owen in 1610, and recently rebuilt…’. I should also note a school for poor boys of Islington and Clerkenwell. The Almshouses were demolished in 1889-90 and Dame Alice Owen’s School for boys and girls is now in Hertfordshire, still under the Trusteeship of The Brewers’ Company, as she had originally decreed.
Today the Islington & City College for Applied Sciences is on the site of the school, but I think these two pillars come from either the original school, or the almshouses.
‘..Crossing the bridge that spans a branch of the Regent’s Canal, we pass ‘The Eagle’ on our left, a minor, but generally well-conducted house for operatic entertainments, under the title of the ‘Grecian Saloon’..’. Looking at a map of 1851 the City Road did indeed cross the City Basin of the Regent’s Canal and today, although the canal stops short of the road, the road itself still arches to rise over the ‘canal.
Mr Bradshaw, however, would not recognise the area around the City Basin today!
The Eagle stands in Sheperdess Walk, in splendid isolation in a very busy area – this is the pub of nursery rhyme fame.
St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics (designed by George Dance the Younger and built 1782-84; demolished in 1963) was built because The Royal Bethlehem Hospital, Bedlam, was overcrowded. St Luke’s was intended for the poor, initially, and for those believed to be curable. It was though to be one of the handsomest buildings in London! Today there is a new building on the site, which is now on the corner of ‘Silicon Roundabout’, an area of London which houses IT businesses.
But across the road from the site of St Luke’s there is a reminder of the past. St Luke’s Parochial Schools were founded in 1698 to cloth and educate the poor children of St Luke’s parish and only moved from this site in 1972.
The Church of St Luke’s, now also known as LSO St Luke’s, was built in 1733 on marshy ground in Moorfields and so subsidence was always a problem. The architect was John James but the unusual spire and tower were added by Nicholas Hawksmoor. The Church was closed as unsafe in 1964 and deconsecrated redeveloped for use by the LSO as an educational centre in early 2003.
You may be interested in
Dame Alice Owen – article in the Clerkenwell Post
A biography of Dame Alice Owen by Clive Rose
The Eagle Pub
Eagle Tavern & Grecian Theatre at the Bishopsgate Institute and here for a tremendous post by Spitalfields Life
The lost hospitals of St Luke’s
The Sessions House
The Clerkenwell Historical Trail
The Angel Inn over time – excellent post with photographs