Survey of London: Volume 47, Northern Clerkenwell and Pentonville. Originally published by London County Council, London, 2008.
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When the Survey of London resolved to tackle Clerkenwell some years back, the revival of that richly intricate district of the capital had not yet advanced very far. Northern Clerkenwell, described in the present volume, has long boasted some of London's most enjoyable Georgian housing and urban landscapes, as well as an intriguingly mixed quarter beyond the Angel and Pentonville Road, reaching north into what most people think of as Islington. Parts of this area have been admired since the 1930s, but its reputation stands higher than ever today. Meanwhile Southern Clerkenwell, covered by the companion volume XLVI of the Survey, published simultaneously, has become one of London's prized locations. Just north of the City, it is home to many in the creative industries, its restaurants and bars are thronged, and its population has been rising for two decades. Long ripe for study, the two interlinked parts of Clerkenwell are surely among London's most fascinating historic districts.
Clerkenwell's present prosperity is deeply indebted to its past. Its density of development, its patterns of land-use and its street layout are all rooted in a long, unbroken history, going back to monastic foundations. The continuities in the area's industrial and commercial history are striking, while many of its robust and excellent buildings are now enjoying their second or even their third type of use. We now recognize that the juxtaposition of new and old architecture helps to endow our inner cities with vitality and character. In this respect, Clerkenwell has been exemplary. So it is appropriate that the Survey of London should crown the area's renewal with the in-depth analysis and description of its history and architectural fabric which it is uniquely equipped to do. Within the compass of the present volumes, the Survey brings together the riches of the area, aiming to omit nothing of significance, old or new. In so doing it has created a practical record of enduring value and usefulness for planners, residents, historians and the wider public.
Because of Clerkenwell's multiplicity of layers, these volumes are probably the most complex to have been undertaken in the hundred-year span of the Survey of London. They also mark some new departures. They are the second and third to be produced under the auspices of English Heritage, but the first to be sponsored by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, which has generously agreed to support publication of the Survey for an initial five-year period. Under this agreement, Yale University Press has become the publishers of the Survey volumes. The present books are the first fruits of that arrangement.
In another departure, these are the first volumes of the Survey to have photographs integrated with the text alongside the drawings, and to make widespread use of colour images. Integrated layouts promote ease of reading and reference, but require much attention to detail and appearance of design. It is to be hoped that those who are accustomed to the old-style Survey of London volumes with plates at the back will feel that standards of appearance have been maintained, and so will welcome and embrace the change.
While the Clerkenwell volumes have been in preparation, all previous parish volumes of the Survey have gone on line through the British History Online project, as part of English Heritage's commitment to widening access to its resources and scholarly activities. In that way, the knowledge contained in the series now reaches a far broader public. In due course, the intention is to make Clerkenwell accessible in the same way. But those who feel most at home with the format of the printed page may be assured that it is English Heritage's intention to maintain this august and beautiful series in book form, along with its proud standards of scholarship, writing and discrimination. For those qualities, it is hoped, these volumes may stand as the equal of their predecessors.
As with most Survey of London publications, the Clerkenwell volumes have been the product of a team of writers, researchers, illustrators and photographers. Much of the work was done during the General Editorship of John Greenacombe, and completed under the guidance of his successor, Andrew Saint. Both volumes were edited by Philip Temple. Research and writing on the area was begun by Alan Cox, the late Catherine Mullen (Catherine Steeves) and Rosalind Woodhouse. The greater part of the research and writing was undertaken by John Greenacombe, Peter Guillery, Aileen Reid, Harriet Richardson, Andrew Saint, Philip Temple and Colin Thom; additional contributions were provided by Carol Davidson Cragoe, Stephen Porter and Suzanne Waters. The drawings were prepared by Gemma Bryant, Michael F. Clements, Malcolm Dickson, Andrew Donald, Helen Jones and George Wilson, and new photography carried out by Sid Barker, Derek Kendall and Mike Seaforth. Charles Walker prepared many of the images for publication. Outside English Heritage, Wendy Dellit, Michael Jardine, Colin Taylor and Stephen G. Yoder also helped with some additional research.
English Heritage gratefully acknowledges the numerous individuals and institutions who have assisted in the preparation of this volume, particularly the following:
Alan Baxter & Associates; British Architectural Library, Royal Institute of British Architects; British Postal Museum & Archive; Camden Local Studies & Archive Centre; City of Westminster Archives Centre; City University; Crafts Council; Eastglen Property Services Ltd; Guildhall Library (Corporation of London), especially Jeremy Smith and the staff of the Print Room; all the staff and former staff at the Islington Local History Centre, Finsbury Library, in particular Martin Banham, David Withey and Vada Hart; Alec Forshaw, David John and colleagues in the Islington Borough Conservation Department; Vaughan Melsom and colleagues at Islington Borough Council Building Control Service; Martin Tasker and colleagues at Islington Borough Council planning department; Kogan Page Ltd; London Electricity plc; all the staff at London Metropolitan Archives (Corporation of London); Metropolitan Police Archives; Model Railway Club; Museum of London Archaeology Service; staff at English Heritage's National Monuments Record Centre in Swindon, in particular Lyndsay Jones, Alyson Rogers, Ian Savage and Nigel Wilkins; Northampton Estate Archives, Castle Ashby; Northamptonshire Record Office; Peel Centre; RHWL Artsteam Architects; Royal Free Hospital Archives; Sadler's Wells Theatre; St Bartholomew's Hospital Archives; Sisters of Bethany; Society of Friends Library, Friends House; The National Archives; and the Victoria County History of England, especially Patricia Croot.
Ian Albery; John Allan; Richard Andrews; Father Paul Bagott; Susie Barson; Alan Baxter; Victor Belcher; Maggie E. Bird; Bridget Cherry; Jonathan Clarke; Peter Cormack; Mary Cosh; Henry Crallan; the late David Crellin; Alice Dugdale; John Eichler; John Elliott; I. D. Emmerson; Mike Franks; Emily Gee; Alex Gordon; Anthony and Christopher Hartnoll; Jonathan and Martin Hopkinson; Professor Allan S. Jackson; David John; Mike Joseph; Derek Keene; Michael Kerney; Edward Lee; Henry Lloyd-Baker; Peter Mann; Mike Mason; Peter Murray; Rory O'Donnell; Alan Powers; Stephen Remington; Anthony Richardson; Treve Rosoman; Donna Skelton; Alistair Spalding; Roger Spence; Gavin Stamp; Father Anthony Symondson; Robert Thorne; Elisabetta Versari; Jane Wainwright; Robert Ward; Isobel Watson; James Weeks; Sigrid Werner; Sir Christopher White; Cordula Zeidler
In addition, the help and co-operation of all those owners, occupiers and agents who have allowed access to properties for inspection and recording is gratefully acknowledged.
Owners of photographs and other illustrations reproduced in this volume are acknowledged in the List of Illustrations.