A few months ago, Coleen got in touch with some thoughts on living in Albermarle Mansions and kindly told me about the Islington and Finsbury website which maps all the local soldiers who went to war showing a poppy where they lived.
A brief record of each soldier summarises their life. It struck home when I realised that it was close to 100 years ago that one young soldier, Harold Ffoulkes, only 18 years of age, had lived in and set off from this building never to return.
Countless soldiers lost their lives, and indeed still do, but this one had caught my attention and I didn’t want his anniversary to pass unacknowledged. I couldn’t find a photo of him, nor much other than the following entry:
Private Harold Ffoulkes (3332)
7 Albemarle Mansions Holloway Road London
Served in B Company 19th Battalion the London Regiment, and died in France at the age of 18, on the 26th of July 1915 and is buried in Noeux-Les-mines Communal Cemetery, France, grave reference, I. A. 10.
26 July 1915
This Saturday will mark 100 years since Private Harold Ffoulkes died. It’s not much, but I will think of him and his young life and the family he left behind as he set off from this building, his home. May he rest in peace.
Thanks to my Holloway twitter buddies, @RuthRobinsonLon, @TheHornseyRoad, @HollowayLife and in particular Mark Perronet @AtomGalleryN4, prints of some of my Holloway Road drawings are now up on display in the Atom Gallery, Stroud Green Road, London N4. It’s a five minute walk from Finsbury Park tube station.
The exhibition opens tonight and runs until 4th April 2015. I really wish I could be there but I am grounded with three pelvic fractures, a fractured drawing arm and a chipped elbow. All my own doing as I fell on our own doorsteps, in broad daylight and stone cold sober!
Good luck to everyone showing at the Atom Gallery and thanks Mark, for this wonderful opportunity.
This post is dedicated to my new Twitter Buddies: @The Hornsey Road @Holloway Life @RuthRobinsonLon and AmySmith@Art_Press – a lively bunch!
Walking out of our son’s home on Windsor Road one day last year, I turned right to nip to the corner shop. It wasn’t until I stood at the crossing on my return, that I looked up to take in the sight of Albermarle Mansions. These buildings stand on what is the Great North Road, an old coaching route from London to York and up to Edinburgh. Follow this road into York and you will go past my old school on Blossom Street, through Micklegate Bar and down Micklegate, another York street which I have begun to sketch. I went on to University in Edinburgh so I am curious to know the exact route of the Great North Road. I have sent off for a book on this subject by Frank Morley – so more on this another time.
Back to Holloway Road. I began with a few sketches of the windows which I shared on social media. Much to my delight I had some more feedback from @TheHornseyRoad with a glimpse into life here over a century ago. There must be more insights into the former life of these buildings – if you know anything, I would love to hear from you.
One of the reasons that I like to draw full length street scenes is to show buildings in context to illustrate what happens when good but ordinary buildings disappear and they are replaced with buildings of a completely different scale and proportion.
Much as I love old buildings, I do love well designed new buildings too, but know only too well how hard it is for architects to see their great ideas watered down to meet budgets. It is interesting to see how the oldest buildings (Kale Food Centre) have been dwarfed over the course of the century by the most recent bookend ‘Bloomfield Court’.
I will be scanning the drawing and adding it in full to my website next week and will also be running off a limited edition set of fine art prints. Watch this space and thanks for reading!
Over the summer, I spent some time down in London, with our son. I was in the middle of Sketch Book Skool drawing frenzy, making the most of every moment I could to draw – even on the top of a London bus!
Once you start sketching, you can’t help but notice how much more you want to draw and it was during this time that I made the rash promise to myself that I would draw the Holloway Road.
After a few months preparation I have begun to work on the first of what I hope will be many more drawings, but thought you would like a flavour of what’s to come with some of my summer sketches.