Sunday, February 15, 2009

Neighborhood Love

The other day while driving to St. Pancras station I passed a building on North Road I've never seen before: a white clock tower set far back from the road. So on my way to another destination today (which I never reached) I decided to check it out. Here's the tower:
Clock Tower in Caledonian Park
The tower stands in the middle of Caledonian Park, surrounded by council estates and a few ageing buildings. Turns out this was the site of the Caledonian Market, opened by Prince Albert in 1855 and built on the site of Copenhagen House, a tea room and 'pleasure garden' (no, not like that) [update: actually, it may have been exactly like that - thanks MiddleWay!] that was on the site since the 1600s. The market is long gone, having departed after World War 2. It was originally a livestock market as it was on the terminus of the Great Northern Railway, and there were several pubs in the area named after livestock. I passed by one, The Lamb hotel, which has been (recently, it appears) boarded up for refurbishment.

The park is a nice and fairly hidden slice of forest and grass, for Islington anyway. The clocks still seemed to be keeping perfect time. The tower was nifty and these little mysteries are part of the reason I love London so much: how else can you find out that a park by your house was a 17th-century tea room that became a cattle market?

3 comments:

Grace said...

Discovering things like that is one of the things I miss about London so much. Every inch of that city is fascinating!

MiddleWay said...

Oh the 'pleasure garden' would have been exactly like that!
The land used to be Copenhagen House, a gabled building, which got its name through being built as a hostelry for Danish visitors when the King of Denmark came to James I’s court in 1606. James was married to Anne of Denmark.

Jason said...

Very interesting MiddleWay - thanks! I updated the post.