No. 503: Holloway Road, N7
London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre, Holloway Road, London, N7. Photo © Roger Dean 2012
Sketches of London Life and Character – Albert Smith, Editor, c.1849:
Covent Garden Market – Charles Kenney
The patches of struggling vegetation in square, park, or garden, whose only commerce with the sun is a sort of bowing acquaintance – a distant nod exchanged en passant through the chinks of a smoky cloud – have been wittily designated “Nature put in the pound for straying.”
But this is wit at the expense of truth. They are not Nature at all, but a vile caricature, daubed in charcoal and lampblack. The petrified trees of a coal-mine have as much claim on our sympathies. They satisfy no yearnings, but are silent and sullen as the walls that frown on them. They make no response to the inward voice that “babbles of green fields;” and, like the windows of a prison, show us a glimpse of the unencompassed world only through a black grating that reminds us of our imprisonment.
[ The tree in the photograph above stands in front of the Daniel Libeskind-designed extension to the London Metropolitan University on Holloway Road, built in 2004. The three dramatically intersecting blocks clad in stainless steel look as if they have been hurled into the streetscape by some giant and have then settled themselves into the North London clay. R.D.]