29 September 2015

A wander in North London

Starting from Kentish Town station, cross the junction with Fortess Road and walk north past The Bull and Gate public house and The Forum. 
On your right on the corner of Highgate Road and Burghley Road is Elsfield, a really interesting block of modernist tiered flats painted blue and white. I like this block; it looks like a ocean-going liner and always cheers me up. In my mind, this is how modern housing ought to look.

Continue walking north. Hints of the past are really noticeable along this stretch of the road, especially the cottages either of the Vine pub which back onto College Lane. As you go under the railway bridge look at the parade of shops etc on the other/west side of the road and imagine how this area might have looked 100 years ago.
The Vine public house, an old Sun Insurance marker, a blue enamel street name sign, and the uncovered carved lettering on the Costcutter at No.157 on the corner of Mansfield Road showing a previous occupier, probably in Edwardian times, was J Ritchie.

Time for a beer
Turn right into Chetwynd Road and walk up the hill, then left at the lights into York Rise to see what used to be a fantastic proper locals' pub called The Dartmouth Arms. It closed down earlier this year and looks to be turned into shops/cafe. 
Facing the pub in Bellgate Mews is one of my favourite old and faded shop advertisements (a ghostsign) listing things such as flannelettes, calicoes, gloves and ribbons. 
Return to Chetwynd Road and continue up the hill. At the top, on the corner of Darmouth Park Hill is the Lord Palmerston pub. I can't quite work out why this pub is still open yet the Dartmouth is closed. A different clientele I suppose.

Dartmouth Arms, St John's Tavern, Boston Arms, Lord Palmerston
Then, cross over and walk down Cathcart Road to meet Junction Road and, depending on your pub preference, turn right to go to the grungy authenticity of the Boston Arms at the junction of Tufnell Park Station, which also has a great live music venue within the building, or turn left to go to St John's Tavern, a pub with great interiors and a restaurant at the rear. There are, of course, other pubs in the area. Which reminds me that 
I always intended to do a pub crawl down the Holloway Road starting at the Archway Tavern and ending at The Famous Cock at Highbury and Islington Station. But since having that idea almost half of the pubs along that stretch have closed down. And I never went in most of them! For instance, The Lion at Archway closed down earlier this year and I heard there are plans to convert the building into a cafe. Another cafe. Do people eat at home any more?

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