Some areas are made for night. Secret alleyways, abandoned buildings, mysterious figures hidden behind windows… really Clerkenwell is London’s horror film set.
The smell of the city is thick here. What is that odour? – you ask. Age. Great age. We have somehow forgotten the Orders that used to call this part of town home but if you look hard enough – or just read the signs – they’re here in a befuddled kind of way. The Order of St John, that crazy sect from Jerusalem, spreads its tentacles everywhere.
People hang out in pubs like the Jerusalem Tavern little knowing of its connection with the Knights of the Grand Order of Malta.
And many wouldn’t realise that Ely Place just off the junction of Holborn High Street is – or was – owned by Ely Cathedral. If anyone has been to Ely, it is a village but a shadow of its former self at least in terms of size. The great towering cathedral once owned plots of Clerkenwell.
The meat market seems so out-of-place even though it has been pride-of-place at the epi-centre of Clerkenwell. Cowcross Lane owes its name to it. But perhaps meat has always had a certain religious significance? Shrove Tuesday and all that…
The market was heavily bombed and there are threats to pull down part of it. I kinda love the wacky 70s architecture, that honeycombed middle-part that is so out of context with the rest of the Victorian structure it is outrageous.
Hidden behind panels of glass are other worlds. Never forget that people actually live here and have done for centuries. This is old London, the part of tales and mysteries.
In the morning this is the view that strikes me:
Day 11 of my fifty shards. This is when light opposes dark. E.L James can go crap herself over that one.