A summary of news, month by month – plus a few extra things for keen readers.
Islington Faces organised a street tree walk on 10 July around the streets of Finsbury Park with Paul Wood, author of London Street Trees. It’s such a good book and we had around 20 people join us. Even the Islington Tribune wrote up a news item about it, see here.
The walk began at the Auld Triangle and looked at all sorts of trees – fruit mostly in Islington to exotics in Hackney – on the way to The Brownswood pub. Feedback was nice:
Saira: “Thank you for organising that. Wish I could have spent some more time.”
Nicolette: “Delighted to discover the variety – and poetic names – of our local street trees. Might have guessed we had pear, cherry, rowan, birch, magnolias and planes (though not the rarity of some varieties) but a revelation to know we have in our immediate neighbourhood both Mongolian and Crimean limes, Turkish hazel, a nettle tree, a Persian ironwood, a Bragania, a manna ash, a black locust, a white mulberry, a golden rain tree, a hop hornbeam, a bastard service and a wild service, a Judas tree, and a fruiting peach tree … New favourite words; fastigiate (with branches sloping upwards) and lenticel (that scar of bark between the smooth horizontal stripes on a cherry tree that look like ribbon).”
Paul: “A great success overall, and it was nice to meet your neighbours and the others who turned up.”
Brilliant to see two fabulous Islingtonians both give talks to reminiscence therapy groups on the same day in different locations ion Islington. Joe Hagland spoke at the Drovers Centre and David Hammond at the Union Chapel. It was tricky for Islington Faces to see both perform, but luckily we were all able to meet so that Joe and David could continue their trip down memory lane talking about the times they lived off the Cally Road, over a pub lunch at The White Swan, Highbury Corner. See more two pix below.
Do you use instagram? If so please follow @islingtonfaces which has just reached 200 followers, hurray. The great advantage of insta is that there are hardly any words. Have a look – or follow – and let me know what you think. Thanks.
I do quite a bit of interviewing for Get Together Islington, the mag for Age UK Islington, so it was a treat to be allowed to write a feature talking about the process. See the article here.
Both local papers kindly feature Islington Faces this month to help celebrate the 200th published interview. You can read the Islington Gazette story here.
Islington Faces is delighted by this feedback from John Finn, Director of the Clerkenwell & Islington Tour Guides course run at the University of Westminster, who says: “Thanks for the interesting stream of interview features about Islington’s people. I’ve enjoyed everyone since I first came across them.” If you are interested in doing this course – next one starts in September – please see the website.
Lovely feedback on the day I publish the 200th interview on Islington Faces:
“This kind of journalism is one of the best kinds. It’s not the backbiting gossip of Westminster, or the churnalism of press releases: politics and business. It’s honest and positive and revealing – it shows people something new about where they live. Good for you, for starting this series of articles.” Roberta Wedge
Nicola gave a talk about local history captured by Islington Faces’ interviews for Islington Age UK at the Organic Pub – the Duke of Cambridge in St Peter’s Street, N1 on 11 July. Fourteen people turned up and enjoyed the shared stories on this website as well as a chance to talk about their own memories in a session of speed history.
Speed history is a fantastic idea – you just turn to your neighbour and over a short set time (say 5 minutes) share some stories.
In theory one person speaks, and the other listens. In practice it doesn’t matter, and it’s fun to just let everyone talk, talk, talk.
- What are your first memories of Islington?
- What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you in Islington?
- Or ask more specific questions – what was your street like?
- Who do you remember from school?
- What was Upper Street like when it wasn’t full of restaurants?
- Where did you (or your mum) used to shop?
- When you were a child what games did you play? Indoors or outside?
Feedback from Polly Seward at Age UK Islington:
“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the talk! I see it was a good turn out and really lovely feedback, I hear it was a bit noisy in the pub so thanks for bearing with it! Ella told me you’re going to be recording some group members stories so hope it was interesting for yourself too!”
Thanks to generous support from Anthony Pepe, who’ve recently opened an office in Highbury, Islington Faces Blog has been transformed into a unique website full of interviews with Islington characters which has been viewed by 128,735 (July 2012-May 2016). Here’s an interview with Charlie Perdios who runs Anthony Pepe. I really like the way Charlie and his business partner, Ari, dreamt up the idea of running an estate agent while at an Arsenal football game! They are also willing to help community projects including funding the innovative Lab13 science club at Gillespie Primary School.
Please let me know what you think of the new look. Here’s what I was told in the first month it went live:
Sue: Your new website is FABULOUS! I love the way it is set out with photos and tag lines – very professional.
Sarah: “I love the scroller along the top. Kind of miss the group photo though! Great blog, thank you.”
Ceinwen: Just been on to your new Islington Faces website and it looks FANTASTIC. Well done.
James: Your new website is looking great.
Zrinka: My link is not working, but the rest looks great. [Sorted now, Zrinka!]
Andrew: Love the new look.
Rachel: Website looks great.
Sonya: Loving the new look.
Stopped to take a photo of Rosemary Branch pub theatre on the Islington/Hackney border and was snapped by Islington-based @Jonokojonoko (instagram) who takes a pic of Rosemary Works, the building behind me every day. Serendipity as now I must interview him! Here is his Rosemary Works facebook page.
I’ve always felt that everyone has a story… you just have to ask the right questions. But I hadn’t expected interviewing would give me so many new friends.
“Wherever I cycle or walk in Islington I’ll see readers and interviewees to stop and chat with. Shared stories of our inner city lives can be so inspiring. The interviews include all sorts: grannies, shopkeepers, community stars and the people who’ve turned their lives upside down in response to injury. I love hearing about people who are passionate about food, history – anything really.”
NICOLA BAIRD, founder Islington Faces
Thank you to the 16 readers and interviewees joined Islington Faces’ first meet up on Leap Day (29 Feb 2016) at the fab Blighty Cafe, 35-37 Blackstock Road, N4. Faisal and his son were the only ones born and bred in Islington but one lady, who moved here when she married, had lived in Islington for 47 years.
To test our adding skills over a cuppa we tried adding up the number of years everyone had lived in Islington (including the two dogs) and it came to a grand total of 450 years.
Read more about Chris Evans who set up Blighty Cafe on Islington Faces here.
FASHION, ETHICS & BLOGGING
One of my favourite interviews on islington faces was with ethical fashion brand Kitty Ferreira. Brand founder, Valerie Goode, subsequently came into London College of Communication to meet some of my blogging students and talk to them about her motivations and fab clothes.
They took notes for their blogs…
Now Val has posted links to her favourite three posts by my students, see for yourself at http://kittyferreira.co.uk/ual-lcc-students/
THANK YOU INTERVIEWEES & READERS – the blogger’s mega milesonte – 100,000 plus views – was passed on 30 October 2015. Here’s the evidence, plus five fascinating interviews from people who live or work (or have lived or worked) in Islington.
“At The Islington Society’s AGM (12 Nov) members were greeted with handouts that included excerpts from your interview with David Gibson. He was clearly delighted with the interview and used it instead of his End of Year report. He also emailed a link to it to all members.” Ceinwen, Islington Faces reader.
Loved seeing the Q&A about Islington and Islington Faces in the rather fab (uber-free) Cabbie Blog, here’s the interview with me. There’s such a lot of interesting London info on that blog, definitely one to follow.
Just seen the new magazine for Islington Age UK with some islington faces blog interviewees in it – Subhash & Urvashi Patel from Highbury Barn’s Five Boys Natural Health Store. Get Together is a lovely magazine for Islington Residents aged over 55 (but you can have a look if you are younger too). Heere’s a link or go to www.gtislington.com
Thank you for all your views – about 700-1,000 people pop on to Islington Faces every week. Here’s the latest screengrab of happiness.
Heaps of interest in Islington since Jeremy Corbyn, our local MP for Islington North, became leader of the Labour party. Some quotes inspired by Islington Faces, and JC on C4 News (print), http://www.channel4.com/news/jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader-but-whats-he-like-as-an-mp
While on holiday this summer the 150th interview was published on Islington Faces. I was also happy to receive this feedback from an early Islington Faces Blog follower, Lynda, who has suggested a couple of good people (and places) for me interview. Soon after @IslingtonMuseum tweeted a cool pic of Campbell Road.
“Thank you for your great interview with Jerry White – a real coup. I read Campbell Bunk many years ago and found it absolutely riveting.” Lynda
You can read the interview with social historian and London author Professor Jerry White here.
Just received a gorgeous email from Islington Faces reader Kim Hodges. Couldn’t resist sharing it.
I want to thank you for your blog. My family is from Islington – my Auntie lived on Sheperton Rd ( sadly the area she lived in is gone), my mum grew up on Fairbridge Rd and my great grandparents were from Clerkenwell.
Mum is an active 81 and does not have a computer but she loves it when I call and read your blog to her. That’s when we take a stroll down memory lane – remembering the Eel Pie shop on Junction Rd and shopping in Nags Head. So many other places and she loves hearing about what’s changed and stayed the same. From a link on your blog we got to see the interior of my Nan’s flat on Fairbridge Rd. It was for sale/lease this year. My whole family got a kick looking at the photos.
We were in London this summer and strolled around Islington. It was great! Coming home I found your blog and we will definitely consult it on our next trip. My cousin is in London but everyone else has moved away. We’re in the US.
So, thank you again – your blog brings back names and faces of those long gone. Joy knowing the old neighborhood is thriving. Kim
My hope is to get more customers for the great people offering amazing services in Islington (and get some more followers) with this useful guide to where to get your stuff fixed. Check out http://islingtonfacesblog.com/2015/02/25/15-places-in-islington-to-repair-spring-clean-hack-or-get-creative/
— Gelbergs LLP (@Gelbergs) February 25, 2015
During 2014 WordPress monitored this blog – here’s a fact I’m extremely happy to discover: “The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 39,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.”
CLICK: I’d be delighted if you’d vote for Islington Faces Blog in the UK Blog Awards #UKBA15. The link to vote for this blog is here, open from 10 Nov-3 Dec 2014. There are a huge number of blogs on the nomination list… all wanting you to read them.
FILM: Have a look at this link to see a short film and report about the Islington Faces Live 2014 event which raised £200 for the King’s Head Theatre.
ISLINGTON FACES LIVE – to celebrate islingtonfacesblog’s 100th interview there will be a one-off live event with Nicola Baird at the King’s Head Theatre, Upper Street on Saturday 25 October 2014, from 3-5pm.
Tickets are £5 in advance at https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873523048/events or call the box office on 0207 478 0160. Tickets on the door will be £6.
Expect to meet local royalty – the Pearly King of Finsbury; a stargazer from Highbury Fields; stunning Ethiopian singer Hanisha Solomon; Joanna Bevan who runs a unique language cafe at Archway, the Mayor of Islington plus others.
This event is to fundraise for King’s Head Theatre. islingtonfacesblog is delighted that Barnaby’s hairdressing salon at Highbury Barn is sponsoring the show.
I like this news item in the Islington Tribune – Nicola’s blog comes to life at the King’s Head: (24/10/14), see here.
— King's Head Theatre (@KingsHeadThtr) October 17, 2014
Two online pieces by me – research thanks to the time I hang around Islington – for Angel Resident magazine.
September 2014 Lovely feedback: “There’s so much ‘insider’ information about local life on islingtonfacesblog.com This is such an excellent blog; will be my ‘must read’ from now on. Will think of some suggested interviewees for you. Ursula
June 2014 There’s a thriving community in Canada called Islington. In their Summer newsletter they talk about islingtonfacesblog.com, see here August 2014 read the interview with Toronto-based Linda Plater who is the co-ordinator here.
24 April 2014 – I’ve been blogging now for seven years! I still run the three blogs I’ve worked on aroundbritainnoplane.blogspot.com about low-carbon exploring and homemadekids.wordpress.com on childcare. this blog islingtonfacesblog.com gets the most attention these days – and there are 99 followers in total. The next one gets a homemade cake, as long as they live or work in Islington. Here’s some feedback about my blogging career from Facebook. But most of all I want to thank anyone who has ever read any of my posts.
Nicolette Congrats! We have enjoyed your posts. Caroline Thank you Nicola, your posts are wonderful. You’ve really hit your stride with Islington faces. Jennifer Congratulations Nico, I enjoyed reading your posts..so inspiring.. Fleur I am impressed. wish we had some one like you up here in the dales
8 April 2014 – from Twitter @denislawyer Have just discovered @nicolabairduk ‘s lovely #Islington Faces blog. 28 March 2014 – islingtonfaces.tumblr.com is launched. Still figuring out how to use it but think I might put more pix of landmarks on to it. Meanwhile had some lovely twitter feedback from the fabulous IslingtonBlog. https://twitter.com/IslingtonBlog/status/449531877733724160 21 March 2014 It’s spring, and nearly my birthday, so taking a liberty and adding this lovely twitter feedback from @FieldsHighbury – a regular retweeter of islingtonfacesblog interviews. https://twitter.com/FieldsHighbury/status/447022157147930624 If you’ve enjoyed the stories and interviews on this blog, you could: DOWNLOAD the eBook Would you like to read the eBook of Islington Faces 2013 by Nicola Baird. Islington faces 2013 costs just £2.01 – for the Kindle version available from Amazon here. HELP promote a local charity Let me know which local charity any funds raised by this blog should go to. At the moment we are talking zero funds, but just in case that changes. My preference is for organisations that help give people a voice, a skill or local opportunities. Do you know a charity working in these areas? INVITE me to give a 20 minute talk about…
- The brilliant people of Islington What makes a good life story (just about everything!)? How do you get people to share their stories? How do you keep an interviewee’s voice true?
- How to write your life story Simple ways to share all the adventures of your own life with your nearest, dearest and the next generation
- Read all about it Tips on how to start recording family and neighbourhood stories, plus ways to share them.
- Your own group/organisation Be amazed at what you and your friends/family/colleagues know but haven’t always been so good at sharing because they thought you already knew.
Contact: Nicola Baird. firstname.lastname@example.org ================================== MARCH 2014 Join in – Want to try writing an interview for islingtonfacesblog.com, or taking photos for this blog? Have a look at the (unpaid) opportunities via Here To Islington. FEBRUARY 2014 Milestone – Live tweeting via Highbury Barn pub’s website, after interview with pub manager Tony Bedwell. Tony’s post also secured the most views on the first day (231). On a normal week between 500-1,000 views are made for the most recent interviewee. Do follow this blog so you don’t miss out. Very happy to be profiled in Highbury Community Association’s newsletter. There is a pdf of this edition here. JANUARY 2014 Milestone – interview with Hazel, park theatre dog. She’s cute, oh yes, and a Renaissance dog, with her own twitter account. Interview in Angel Resident with Steve Hatt – fishmonger in the My Angel column adapted from islingtonfacesblog. OCTOBER 2013 Milestone – 60th interview about people who live or work in Islington published on islingtonfacesblog.com, see Miles Brown, garage boss. SEPTEMBER 2013 Interview in Angel Resident with Ian Shacklock on the My Angel column adapted from islingtonfacesblog. See here JULY 2013 From Twitter/Highbury Fields: I’ve raved about @nicolabairduk ‘s blog before: her piece on Clara Macedo Cabral and Islington is especially resonant Amrita: “I have been following your wonderful blog for some months and just recently took the plunge to subscribe.” Lynda: “I’m a dedicated reader of Spitalfields Life and saw your link under one of your comments. Until then, I’m embarrassed to say, I had not heard about Islington Faces. Will let you know of any people I come across who might be of interest to you.” JUNE 2013 7 June feature in the Islington Tribune by Pavan Amara and Amy Smith about flower seller Marco Wouters and the amazing 400 year old mummified cat. See their feature here. Marco’s story is on islingtonfacesblog.com here. Rewrite of the interview with unique house portrait painter Teresa Robertson in the fabulous Angel Resident magazine (June 2013). You can see the online version here (the My Angel column starring Teresa is the last page of the mag). From Twitter/Caroline Russell: Another great Highbury blogpost from @nicolabairduk on local activist Sue Jandy. MAY 2013 From the Islington Tribune 3 May 2013 by Amy Smith in the Neighbourhood News column, see what she wrote here:
Did you go to Vaudeville?
NICOLA Baird loves to hear the quirky and unusual stories of Islington people. She has already written about more than 35 residents in her blog, “Islington Faces”, from a circus founder to a milkman. She has asked for the Tribune’s help to find willing interviewees, particularly anyone who remembers attending the Vaudeville Theatre in Finsbury Park or a bus driver who used to enjoy their tea breaks in Plimsoll Road. Nicola would also like to talk to Arsenal’s biggest fan – a title people might fight to claim. If this sounds like you or someone you know, contact Nicola on email@example.com
NOVEMBER 2012 From Philippa W: “You need a better SEO (search engine optimisation).” Reply: Thanks Philippa, I realise I’ve go to improve it, so now the blog is called islingtonfacesblog.com I hope this will be less confusing, and ensure the stories about people have who live or work in Islington will be much easier to find. Nicola DECEMBER 2012
Below are some of the questions people have sent me hoping to find out info about their families or Islington memories. Please do email them or leave a comment below. Thank you.
8 February 2014 from firstname.lastname@example.org
GARAGE: I have read with interest the blog about Don Buckenham and his postcard collection from the Islington/Finsbury Park area. I wonder if any of your readers might know anything about, or have any photographs of Arsenal Garage which was an “automobile training centre” (driving school – apparently the larges and oldest motoring school in north London) during the war at 70 Blackstock Road N4 and which my grandfather (William Brain) used to own. I would really appreciate any info.
Follow up 10 February 2014: