Islington Faces: treasured interviews

Estimated reading time:5 minutes, 8 seconds

Everyone has a story. At Islington Faces’ party to celebrate the 250th interview there were many familiar faces… writes Nicola Baird. Photos from Kimi Gill (& Emily Finch)

Kimi Gill & Nicola Baird – photographer & interviewer on Islington Faces (c) Kimi Gill for Islington Faces

“Some of Islington’s most familiar faces gathered on Monday (4 October 2017) to celebrate” wrote Emily Finch in the Islington Tribune. She was right – most of the guests at the Lamb pub on Holloway Road have starred on Islington Faces, including the 250th interviewee, Roshni Shah who runs a fabulous supper club in Archway, 8 Plates.

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Adrian Clarke, pub landlord at Lamb Beer & Liquor. (c) Kimi Gill for Islington Faces

Photographer Kimi Gill came from an acting job out of the borough… Pub landlord Adrian Clarke, and bar staff, kept the soft drinks, wine and craft beer flowing… Tara Button talked about her new book A Life Less Throwaway written off Holloway Road (and due out in early 2018)… Highbury locals Tim Sayer, MBE, and his wife Annemarie Norton, a costume maker, were there talking about art (they’ve donated their collection to the Hepworth Collection, a public art gallery in Wakefield), commas and dinner (at 129hrd over the road). Jane Parker who has leads walking tours along Holloway Road discussed famous local pubs with born and bred Islingtonians including Edward Quigley and Freightliner Farm’s Jane Gregory… and the Islington Tribune came by to record it for next week’s newspaper.

Alice Kaye with Islington Talking News‘ Elizabeth Jones. (c) Kimi Gill for Islington Faces

It was a real neighbourhood gathering with a chance for everyone to talk about the big thing we all have in common – living or working in Islington.

Mechanic/poet Stanley Smart; potter Pauline Finnegan and painter Andy Parker. (c) Kimi Gill for Islington Faces

A collection also raised money for charities –¬†¬£44.38 for¬†Islington Giving and ¬£44.47 for Migrants Organise.

Jane Howell, Tim Sayer and Annemarie Norton. (c) Kimi Gill for islington faces

Thanks to everyone who came along. Here are some lovely messages of support including:

  • Chris Stuchbery, Big Issue: ‚ÄúCongratulations on the 250th¬†published interview.¬† It really is a great community initiative that I really enjoyed being involved with.‚ÄĚ
  • Muhammad Ali: ‚ÄúWow. Congratulations on reaching such an amazing milestone!‚ÄĚ
  • Emerald Robertson-Rose, Cripplegate.Foundation: “Congratulations again for publishing your 250th¬†piece, what an achievement. Greatest thanks for choosing Islington Giving as one of your charities to collect for. As you may know, Islington Giving is administered by Cripplegate Foundation, which means that 100% of what is raised will go directly towards funding for organisations in the borough who work to improve the lives of our residents.”
  • Zrinka Bralo, Migrants Organise: “The¬†Islington Faces Get-Together Event¬†sounds amazing. I am so sorry to miss it. Thank you again for raising funds for Migrants Organise.”
  • Nicolette Jones: “Many congratulations on your 250th interview.”
  • Jane Parker:¬†“Congratulations on the big milestone.”
  • Lorraine Brown: “Thank you but although I am a member of Islington group I actually live in Australia! Would love to relocate back but international exchange rate/property prices don‚Äôt go in ex pat’s favour. ¬†Love the website.”
  • Rachel Cooke: “Congratulations on the blog – I enjoyed the furniture restorer.”
  • Joanna Moncrieff: “Congratulations on achieving 250 interviews!”
  • Gary Kennard: “Well done for your wonderful blog.”
  • Dermot Kavanagh: “I hope the evening goes well and more power to your arm with Islington Faces…it’s a great project.”
  • Sheila: “I’m sorry but I’m unable to come (but much enjoying the blog).”
  • Roberta Wedge: “You have created something rather good, and infinitely replicable. Do you know if other boroughs or towns have copied your format? Well done, anyway.”
  • Lucy Mathen: “Congratulations on the 250th anniversary.”
  • Ursula: “THANK YOU for inspiring my own column ‚Äėface to face‚Äô which is about dietitians. I have done this column since January 2017 in the magazine Network Health Digest magazine, which is read by 6000+ UK dietitians. It seems to be really popular, and lots of dietitians have said how much they enjoy reading about the careers of their peers. But I really did get the idea from you.”

Nicola Baird, who set up Islington Faces, seizes the chance to talk rather than listen. (c) Kimi Gill for islington faces

Islington Faces is part of a growing trend to focus on a place and collect the stories of ordinary – but extraordinary – people. I did try to sell an article about hyperlocal story collection to one national magazine and was amused by the reply… “Thanks very much for the pitch about Islington. It sounds interesting, but might be a little too local for us.”

So long as you readers are enjoying meeting neighbours – both via the ¬†interviews or even bumping into them at meet ups like this, or even in the street – then there’s definitely a place for hyperlocal championing.

Nicola Baird with 250th get-together party helpers – daughter Nell and husband Pete May. (c) Kimi Gill for islington faces

If you are reading this from another borough – village, town, county or even country – and like the idea of creating a collection of interviews from people in your area, please go ahead. It’s not just fun, it’s a great way to meet the neighbours.

  • Thanks again to anyone who’s been involved in Islington Faces. Plus a special thanks to Oxinternet web developers and Charlie Perdios at Anthony Pepe.

Over to you
If you’d like to nominate someone to be interviewed who grew up, lives or works in Islington, or suggest yourself, please let me know, via at

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z  index, or search by interviewee’s roles or Meet Islingtonians to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola