St George’s in the sun

A beautiful day today so it was a pleasure to be out campaigning in the sun. Today I was up in St George’s ward, in Islington North. The team there have given me so much support that it’s good to be able to help them for a change. Walking up Tufnell Park Road I was amazed how good the old St George’s church was looking.

This Victorian church building was opened by a breakaway congregation in 1863 and closed a century later when it needed repairs. It was sold off by the Anglican church in the 1970s, and the parish is now served from a modern building nearby in Crayford Road.

The old church building was used for years as a theatre but that too closed, and the building was squatted. It was recently purchased by, appropriately enough, another church, ‘the House on the Rock’. They have got heritage funding to restore the building, which is an unusual round shape, based on the medieval church of St George in Salonica. All the time I’ve known it, the stone was dirty and the building seemed squat as well as squatted. Now it’s been scrubbed clean, showing off the lovely honey-coloured stone. And you can see the separate campanile, which was partly hidden before by various temporary buildings. I don’t know what the inside is like, but judging from the outside, the restorers have done a fantastic job.

We ran into the Council’s graffiti clean-up team, busy cleaning tags from the walls in Carleton Road. This is one of the schemes started when I had the environment brief on Islington Council, so it’s a real joy to see them now. I also asked them about the work they do along with the Greenspace team, putting young offenders to work. Their view is that it’s hard work, because most of the youths don’t want to be there and just go through the motions; but for one or two in each group it really makes a difference, so it’s worth the effort.

As ever, we met some fascinating people, including a retired nurse who had come to Britain from Antigua in the late 1950s. She told me about her children – teachers and doctors – and how angry she is when people talk about the importance of being born here, when she and her family have contributed so much to this country.

Finally we took a look at some of the new school buildings, the nursery at Tufnell Park School, the Bridge school and the new hall at Holloway school. Outside the Bridge was a minibus sponsored by the Lords Taveners and presented by Ashley Cole. Maybe not the best role model at the moment.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] environment, graffiti, videos, Will Perrin Meeting the Islington graffiti cleanup team last week reminded me of this lovely video made by the splendid Will Perrin. I defy you not to […]

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